Dinner, drinks and a party? Yes, please! Have the perfect night out at Izakaya Geronimo
When you think of an izakaya, you imagine an intimate, delicate space featuring Japanese-informed pieces and natural materials. Izakaya Geronimo in BGC is far from traditional. First of all, the space is huge. It has minimalist interiors, showcasing modern pieces, all while remaining faithful to a Japanese polished aesthetic.
As izakayas are popular avenues for after-work hangs, typically frequented by colleagues and groups of friends, Izakaya Geronimo is the perfect space for a night out without actually having to step out and navigate Manila traffic. Lui Clavano, co-owner of the establishment, tells Wonder, “Our goal was really for people to come in for dinner, drinks and then a party—all in one place. Instead of you having to get in a car for dinner and then pregame, then endgame in another place, we want to do the transitions for you.”
While at traditional izakayas, you’re seated the entire time, here, you’re bound to dance the night away. “You come here, lights are still pretty bright while you’re having dinner. By 9PM, we dim the lights a little, and the music gets a little louder and you feel like it’s time to drink. Once it hits 11, that’s when we really pump up the music, shut the lights and then the DJ starts playing. It’s like everything you want on a weekend in one place,” explains Lui. “We wanted to make sure that every aspect was done right—from the food, to the kitchen to the service to the nightlife. There’s no reason for people to leave anymore.”
It all started in 2017 after their group’s travels to Japan, which made them realize that there’s a lack of more interesting, specialized Japanese concepts in Manila. Wagyu Studio was born, where you can savor wagyu at its finest. After its success, they decided to grow their company with a “proper fun izakaya in BGC.”
“We wanted a big place with nice music and an open kitchen…Everything that you find around [Manila] is serious; it’s quiet, with lots of lanterns, lots of wood—very classic Japanese. We wanted to do a modern, contemporary izakaya,” notes Lui.
Filipino American Head Chef Erik Idos, who has spent 25 years in the F&B industry, is at the helm of Izakaya Geronimo. He spent years as a chef at NOBU Restaurants in America and Asia. He opened up Chino Manila and Hong Kong, too, before the restaurants closed down during the pandemic.
The inspiration for the menu is good food and, well, everything izakaya restaurants are known for. Chef Erik reveals, “When you go to Japan, at any type of izakaya, you can get everything. You can get ramen, you can get noodles, rice dishes, yakitori, sashimi, tamakis. You could come here and get anything you want from a Japanese restaurant.”
Izakaya Geronimo’s menu is a contemporary take on an izakaya, but straightforward, easy for the Filipino palate to understand and appreciate. Lui explains, “We still wanted it to be straightforward; it’s not at all fusion, we don’t really like that word. It’s still Japanese with a twist of more modern ingredients.”
Delight your senses with the Toro Wasabi Salsa, a high-grade fatty tuna served drizzled in a yuzu miso sauce, topped with a dollop of wasabi and microgreens for a rich umami flavor and a zesty citrus punch. The succulent Pork Katsudon is out-of-this-world—thick, quality pork cuts prepared to succulent perfection with crispy exteriors and juicy interiors. Their twist on this izakaya classic comes from infusing the egg omelet with dashi soy sauce, delivering a unique flavor profile that’s just as uniquely plated.
The must-try Toro Uni Caviar Temaki is a hand-rolled piece of edible art, made from the finest of ingredients—fatty tuna, Kaluga Queen caviar and freshly flown-in uni from Japan—making every bite an indulgent dance of tastes. Have some melt-in-your-mouth goodness and feast on the Fillet O Fish. In playful contrast, the tenderness of the fish is underlined by assertive takana pickles and the bursting, exotic taste of mentaiko roe.
And here’s a bestseller for every kind of diner: the Popcorn Shrimp. It’s fried in a panko batter that’s both gooey and crispy, tossed with yuzu mayonnaise to strike a perfect balance between a subtle creaminess and a spicy kick.
If you plan to stay the rest of the night, don’t miss out on the incredible, one-of-a-kind cocktails. A personal favorite is *checks notes*, the Accidental Creampie. The Izakaya Geronima team highly recommends the Kaku Hi, a classic Japanese highball, for something plain and simple. If you want something on the sour side, the Lemon Sour is great. If you’re feeling a bit adventurous and want something unique, the Clarified Bloody Mary and Wasabi Wour are fantastic. And for a classic, fruity drink, the Peach Cobbler is a winner.
End the night with Izakaya Geronimo’s stellar line-up of desserts. My personal pick is the G Sundae, a beautifully deconstructed sundae sent from heaven. It’s a chocolate love affair made with Araro’s chocolate yema gelato, miso caramel, PB fudge and banana. Absolutely divine!
Best of all, the contemporary izakaya is open until the last person leaves—yep, you heard that right. “We want you to have the most amazing experience while not being pretentious at all,” shares Lui.
Izakaya Geronimi is open for lunch from 11:00AM to 3:00PM and for dinner from 4:30PM to last person standing. Visit them at G/F Asian Century Center, 3rd Avenue corner 27th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.
Photos Sonny Thakur for Izakaya Geronimo
Art Macky Arquilla and Sproos Creatives