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Rekindle The Kilig In This Quaint, Romantic QC Resto

Looking for an extra-special place to awaken l’amour? Cosmo recommends you make it happen by booking a dinner for two at this lovely locale.
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Is a milestone in your romantic life coming up? Say, if you’re single, you’re set to go out on a first date with the guy of your dreams. Or if you’re dating, you’re finally telling that long-suffering dude you’ve been seeing, “Tayo na.” Maybe if you’re a guy who happens to love reading Cosmo, you’re about to pop the big question and flash the matching sparkly diamond. If you’ve been together for heaven knows how long, you’re in the mood to rekindle the fiery flames of your romance that have long since gone kaput.

Such special moments require an equally special setting, even if it means shelling out more to achieve that cozy romantic vibe. You wouldn’t want to tell your grandkids when you’re 80 that you got engaged at a fast food booth, would you?

Cosmo recommends you celebrate your love at Ninyo Fusion Cuisine & Wine Lounge at Estaban Abada St. in Loyola Heights, QC. We’ve always found Ninyo Fusion Cuisine to be one of the most romantic date places in the metro. The lovely house-turned-resto--a picture of contradiction to the row of fast food fixes that riddle the Loyola Heights thoroughfare--looks more at home as a secret haven in lush Tagaytay, known only to the most discerning of diners. We adore Ninyo so much that we even shot Valentine Online Hunk Jiro Shirakawa there!

Romance Is In The Ambiance

Picture this: A cozy little corner outside an off-the-beaten track restaurant. Hanging vines and shrubs greeting your entrance to the restaurant. Soothing bossa nova music floating in and out of your consciousness. Lanterns suspended from above giving everything a lovely glow. And the food hasn’t even been served yet.

Ninyo’s al fresco dining area is all that. There are gazebos draped with white curtains that are perfect for couples who desire privacy. As you near the wooden double doors, you notice a koi pond at your feet. It's lit up to reveal the little fish in giddy motion, as if scrambling for your attention.

Inside the restaurant, there is more to see. Little trinkets gathered from travels around Asia blend well with mixed media art that line the walls. Wooden furniture and capiz windows are complemented with more modern touches, giving everything an eclectic yet homey feel.

Go upstairs to the wine lounge at the second floor, and you’ll be greeted by a different world of downtempo music, low lighting from woven lamps, and Filipiniana elements incorporated into contemporary cool. At times, guests can even enjoy live jazz or acoustic music here. Bring your lover to this nook and get a light love buzz going.

No wonder Ninyo has consistently been named one of the most romantic restaurants in Manila. In fact, there have been couples who spent their first date here, then gotten engaged here, and they eventually ended up getting married. The Ninyo folks don’t mind playing along to their elaborate plans for love! It’s easy to imagine why Ninyo will always hold a special place in the hearts of these lovebirds.

Good Food, Good Wine

But Ninyo’s romantic appeal stems from more than just the rustic facade and the charming little trinkets. Every dish of the fusion fare prepared by Chef Nino Laus is a delightful adventure for the palate. The dishes may be pricey, with entrees at P500 and above, but you get bang for your buck with the exquisite presentation and taste, which is really something else!

The a la carte menu reads like a dream, with bestsellers like Duck Leg Confit (P610) and US Hanging Tender Steak (P595), but Chef Nino recommends that couples try a degustation menu, which includes as many as 12 small-sized servings of different courses in one meal. This allows you and your beau to sample a whole range of the chef’s cooking. Prices range from as low as P595 for a four-course degustation, P1,800 for a more elaborate meal, to as much as P2,500 for an 11-course meal made expressly for special occasions such as Valentine’s or Christmas. You and your date can order different degustation menus and share the delicious feast.

Ninyo’s recently launched wine lounge boasts of a plethora of wines (P500-P6,000 per bottle) and appetizers (P200-P1,000) for both the connoisseur and the greenhorn to enjoy. If you’re one of the uninitiated, fret not—Ninyo’s owners have been thoughtful enough to suggest wine and appetizer pairings in the menu. To keep that love buzz going steady, you and your beau can order wine by the glass—or an entire bottle, if you’re that way inclined!

Featured Feast

The degustation currently featured at Ninyo is Food for the Grads, made especially for this year’s graduates, but available for just about anyone or any couple with a healthy appetite. There are seven degustation menus, aptly called Grades 1 through 7 (with prices ranging from P695-P2,000). In Cosmo's recent visit to this date place, we opted to try the sumptuous eight-course Grade 7 degustation, even if school is the last thing on our mind! Click through the gallery to view the dishes.

You can avail of Food for the Grads until March 31, Wednesday. The best thing about it? You don’t have to flash your dimploma to enjoy Chef Nino’s graduation feast.

At Ninyo, you can turn an ordinary date night into a gargantuan feast of good food, good wine, and a generous heaping of l’amour--that both you and your date would love. If you’re hoping to revive that old flame, surprise your beau by booking a dinner for two here. If you’re a dude, make your girl feel like the princess she is by taking her to this enchanting date spot. Who knows? When you pop that all-important question, she just might say yes.

Ninyo Fusion Cuisine and Wine Lounge is located at 66 Esteban Abada St., Loyola Heights, Quezon City. It is open on Monday at 6PM-2AM (wine lounge only), Tuesday to Saturday at 11AM-2PM and 6PM-onwards, and on Sunday from 6PM onwards (restaurant only). For inquiries and reservations, contact 02-4260301, 0917-5385813, or ninyofusion@gmail.com.
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