MANILA -- I’m not a vegan, but I happen to be friends with one. And let me tell you, eating out with her requires a lot of planning because most local restaurants really cater to carnivores. I’ve realized that there are very few restaurants that actually serve vegetarian and vegan-friendly options aside from French fries. Even salads are drizzled with cheese or topped with meat.
When we eat out as a group, most of us end up trying vegan restaurants just so that she can eat too. And surprisingly, as a carnivore, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything during these food trips. In fact, it’s made me rethink my own diet and make a conscious effort to reduce my own meat consumption.
Here are five spots in the foodie neighborhood of Maginhawa for those looking for vegetarian and vegan-friendly fare.
From the same team behind Pino Resto Bar, one of the pioneer restaurants in Maginhawa, comes Pipino, which serves 100% plant-based dishes. The recently renovated cafe on Malingap Street (which took over the space formerly occupied by Breakfast & Pies) takes locally grown fruits and vegetables, and turns them into creative Filipino vegan dishes, combining new and familiar flavors and textures.
Apart from not serving meat, they also ensure that no animal by-products make it to the dishes they serve. This means that you won’t find any honey, fish sauce, and white sugar on the menu.
Pipino now serves breakfast meals daily from 6 a.m., with choices like Tofu Tocino, Vegan Torta and Mushroom Adobo. Other bestsellers include Portobello inasal with red beet puree, ensaladang talong and brown rice, kale malunggay pesto, and buffalo cauliflower wings, to name a few.
They also have a lot of dessert options including vegan leche flan and halo-halo, cookies, muffins and vegan ice cream made with soy milk, cashew milk or coconut milk. With the wide variety of dishes, Pipino is a good option any time of the day for full meals or snacks.
Pipino Vegan Food by Pino. 39 Malingap, Diliman, Lungsod Quezon, 1101 Kalakhang Maynila. Open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
2. Likha Diwa sa Gulod
Likha Diwa sa Gulod on the corner of Krus na Ligas and CP Garcia has been around for decades. This homey and hippie spot is not exactly located along Maginhawa Street, but is walking distance away and worth visiting for the variety and affordability of cuisine if you’re already in the area.
The humble resto started as a vegetarian and seafood café, but now serves vegan dishes including crispy and crunchy tofu and mushroom, sinigang na tofu, vegchon kawali, mushroom burger, vegetable kare-kare as well as yogurt, soya and fruit-based drinks.
On Saturday nights, they hold themed buffet dinners for just P250 a head.
Likha Diwa sa Gulod. 1 Lot J. Francisco St., Brgy. Krus na Ligas, UP Diliman, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines. (+63 2) 925-5522. Open Monday to Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Closed on Sundays.
3. Van Gogh is Bipolar (Light)
Van Gogh is Bipolar, which is turning a decade old this year, is one of the most well-known dining destinations in the Maginhawa area. While many restaurants have come and gone, VGIB continues to evolve. The unique restaurant, with its ever quirky interiors and ever-changing menu revolves around the idea of healing and setting moods.
They’ve expanded their restaurant it into two distinct spaces: Light and Shadow. The airy Light area, which serves lunch and tea, now serves a 100% plant-based menu with a focus on natural ingredients with no preservatives, such as soups and salads with brown rice and assorted vegetables. They also have a variety of natural teas you can choose from.
The dishes here are a bit on the expensive side, making this a good choice for special occasions or small tasting portions for sharing in between heavier meals. But the ambiance and interiors makes the space worth the visit. Be sure to take a peek at the original VGIB Shadow (open for dinner).
Van Gogh is Bipolar. 154 Maginhawa St., Sikatuna Village Diliman, 1103 Quezon City, Philippines. Open from Wednesday to Monday for lunch 12 noon – 3 p.m. and dinner from 6-11:30 p.m. Closed on Tuesdays.
4. Veggie Guys at Malingap Central Food Hall
For those looking for quick bites, unique versions of street food and or no-nonsense rice meals, Veggie Guys inside Malingap Central Food Hall serves healthy home cooked meal vegan meals. This stall serves rice meals like Tofu Sisig Rice, Taco Rice, Oyster mushroom fries, Tofu sisig, Un-pulled BBQ slider, and Bistek rice.
They also have vegan takes on pulutan including veggie isaw, nachos with vegan cheese and dynamite (spicy cheese sticks). Everything on their menu is affordable, costing P80-P150 each.
For those who can’t make it to the area, the food park seems to be big on delivery as evidenced by the number of Grab food riders who hang around the area.
Malingap Central Food Hall. Malingap Street, Diliman, Lungsod Quezon, 1101 Kalakhang Maynila. Open from Tuesday to Sunday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Closed on Mondays.
5. Indulge Vegan Pizza at Z Compound
Proudly proclaiming to be the Philippines first all-vegan pizzeria, Indulge has found a space in one of the original food parks in the area -- Z Compound. All their pizzas (which come in 12 inch and 6 inch pies) are made with their own whole wheat dough, topped with home-cooked tomato sauce and homemade cashew mozzarella.
Their Supreme Indulgence is their signature pizza topped with mushrooms, pineapples, onions, bell peppers and chili flakes. They serve vegan versions of popular pizza flavors including Cheezy Peppero-nice (classic pepperoni and cheese, soy pepperoni and extra cashew mozzarella), Trinity (a three-cheese combo of cashew mozzarella, tofu ricotta and chickpea parmesan) and Atplantis (their take on seafood pizza).
Indulge also serves a few pastas and finger foods like mac and cheese, potato wedges, vegan seaweed fritters and highly recommended broccoli bites. They also sell specialty bottled products like vegan bagoong, vegan tofu feta cheese and vegan spaghetti sauce.
Indulge. 33-A Malingap Street, Teachers Village, Quezon City. Open daily from 12 noon – 12 midnight.