I was quite surprised to know that most yakiniku grills and samgyupsal joints in the country charge extra for solo diners. Let’s say their “per head” is P499 (for a minimum of two diners)—their rate for single customers would be P899. I guess most of those businesses just want to be practical—firing up a grill for one person isn’t so cost-efficient.
Enter: Yakiniku Like Philippines. This is the first solo dining yakiniku restaurant in the country. Its operations are now in full swing after a successful soft opening in December and a grand launch in late January. All diners are welcome, especially all the singles out there.
This is the same chain found in Japan, Singapore, and its other locations worldwide. Shantelle, who owns and runs the place, tells Cosmo.ph that they franchised the brand after trying it on a trip abroad. “I think right now, people love that ‘single-friendly’ narrative,” she shares. She adds that they aim to be one of the first options for solo diners looking for affordable but quality choices and fast service.
Here are the single-friendly features you’ll love at Yakiniku Like
Grills and Seats Dedicated to Solo Diners
Sure, you can dine at regular BBQ places, but it does feel awkward to have a big table with two or four seats to yourself, right? The solo diner seats provide you with your own space. There’s a hamper where you can store your bag and get it out of the way as you grill and enjoy your food in peace.
Introvert-Friendly Ordering System
When a waiter asks about your order, most introverts might get pressured to choose right away. At this yakiniku grill, you’ll just need to connect to the restaurant's WiFi by scanning their QR code, accessing their online menu, and ordering virtually.
You can also order additional meat or sides and check your running bill from time to time. When you’ve finished dining, you just bring your QR code to the cashier to pay. Easy and convenient! (But if you need assistance, their crew is friendly and approachable!).
Yakiniku Like currently offers the Basic Menu, so the number of choices isn’t overwhelming. You can select from the sets, which usually come with 100-gram or 250-gram meat portions. The 50-peso cup of rice comes in three sizes—small, medium, and large—to suit your mood for carbs.
The top customer favorites are the Karubi & Harami Set (thin slices of beef short plate and skirt steak; starts at P359) and the Like Set (beef tongue, skirt steak, and short plate; starts at P589). We were able to try the former and those were the freshest meats we've ever tried in other BBQ joints around the same price point. Hindi lasang galing sa freezer! If you want to spoil yourself, go for the premium Angus Sirloin Steak set (starts at P999).
The kimchi and salad dressing are on the sweet side, and both are refreshing—perfect palate cleansers for grilled meat. Don’t forget to try their savory and spice sauces, and their sides, too. (Another PSA: the Japanese-style Like Cheesy Curry is so good—it might just make you order more rice!)
A Legit Smokeless Experience
Okay, this might be trivial for some, but one of the things I hate about BBQ joints is how you end up smelling like the food after eating. The franchisors took pride in telling us how their one-of-a-kind grills are genuinely smokeless. We were so impressed because it was true! You won’t stink like ulam, so you can still go about your day without needing to wash your hair and change your clothes.
Like we said earlier, all diners are welcome here. So, if you finally get a jowa or you convince your bestie and would like to come back, there are seats made especially for duos. The partition between solo seats that face each other can also be removed.
If you’re coming back with your barkada or family, they have tables for groups. You can even have a section closed off for special events. Yakiniku party in 2023? Yes, please!
Yakiniku Like is located at the Entertainment Hall of the Mall of Asia (across the Seaside Amusement Park). They plan to open SM North and Megamall locations this year.