Food

Discovering Maginhawa Street—’Melting Pot of Street Cuisines’

Maginhawa Street sign on UP Village. Photo by Yvette Anne Macalino for InterAksyon.com.

For food enthusiasts who want to feast on a wide selection of food, Maginhawa Street offers a long row of homey food stores and a variety of cuisines. Located near UP Diliman campus in Quezon City, Maginhawa Street is a residential area. But now, the street has become a haven for refreshments and relaxation and has sometimes been referred to as the “melting pot” street of cuisines.

Maginhawa, named after a positive Filipino characteristic which could either mean “convenient” or “refreshing,” has been one of the favorite hang out spots of students, faculty and employees in Quezon City area.

“It’s convenient and maraming pwedeng kainan and tambayan. Relatively mura yung mga kainan and it really caters to college students. Kahit na marami nang establishments, andoon pa rin yung village feel unlike sa Katipunan (Avenue also in Quezon City) na masyado nang maraming sasakyan“, Monica Tipton, a student from the University of the Philippines, said.

Anthony Mendoza, an employee working in Makati, still chooses Maginhawa as a hang out spot over other places near his workplace. “Kahit na sa Makati pa ko nagtatrabaho at sa Sampaloc nakatira, mas pinipili kong pumunta sa Maginhawa kasama mga friends ko para lang mag-food trip. We always consider this as ‘foodie haven.’ Our cravings are always satisfied. From burgers, ice cream, and pastas, pati sa mga pagkain na pang-chill lang, andoon na lahat.”

The street’s whole stretch covers an approximate distance of three kilometers, according to Teacher’s Village barangay officials. In that span, here are some of the must-try and must-visit food stores along Maginhawa Street.

Roberta Flavors of Asia
45 Maginhawa Street

Simple yet cozy interiors of Roberta Flavors of Asia. Photo by Yvette Anne Macalino for InterAksyon.com.

Formerly known as Seafood Cantina, Roberta Flavors of Asia has been serving a variety of Asian cuisine in Maginhawa street for more than two years.

Must Try:This little resto’s house specialty is Tinola sa Pakwan (Php135), which digresses from traditional chicken tinola cooked with papaya or sayote.

Roberta Flavors of Asia's specialty and one of its best sellers is Tinola sa Pakwan. Surprisingly, it tastes good—the watermelon gives the dish some crunch and a subtle sweetness. Photo by Yvette Anne Macalino for InterAksyon.com.

Jek’s Ku-bo Bulalo at Ulo-Ulo
77 Maginhawa Street
This food store in Maginhawa is a newbie on the street. It just opened last May 24, 2012. Jek’s Ku-bo’s peg is the carinderia and offers casual dining. It got its name from its owners who are siblings. Jek and her older brother Kuya Boy or Ku-bo.

Jek's Ku-bo. Photo by Yvette Anne Macalino for InterAksyon.com.

Must Try: As the name implies, bulalo and ulo-ulo are the specialties of the food store.

Jek Ku-Bo's sinigang na ulo-ulo of pink salmon (Php120 per ulo) and bulalo (Php135). Photo by Yvette Anne Macalino for InterAksyon.com.

Crazy Katsu
Unit 1, 81 Maginhawa Street
If you’re a lover of Japanese food, then Crazy Katsu might be the place for you. Owned by musicians Shinji Tanaka and Bryan Kong, Crazy Katsu’ first and main branch opened at Maginhawa street in May 2011.

Crazy Katsu is a small resto fit for casual get-togethers. Photo by Yvette Anne Macalino for InterAksyon.com.

Must Try: Chicken Katsu is one of the bestsellers in its short menu list.

Chicken Katsu (Php145) with shredded cabbage, which is both sweet and spicy. Photo by Yvette Anne Macalino for InterAksyon.com.

Chillout Cafe
88-C Maginhawa Street
Several milk tea shops have been sprouting along Maginhawa and one of those tea shops is ChillOut Cafe. But what makes it different from other milk tea stores is that ChillOut serves a variety of dishes like pasta, sandwiches, and desserts besides milk tea drinks.

ChillOut Cafe can only accommodate few customers due to its small place. Photo by Yvette Anne Macalino, for InterAksyon.com.

Must Try: Sandwiches like Ham and Bacon, Chunky Chicken and Pesto Sandwich
Delish
103 Maginhawa Street
Now on its third year in Maginhawa, Delish is a restaurant that offers food, drinks, and acoustic music in one. Starting at 10 pm, customers can take the floor, sing their heart outs in the videoke or can either have a jamming session with the acoustic performers. 

Delish has a broken schedule of operating hours. It is open during Mondays-Saturdays from 11 am-2 pm then opens again by 6 pm-2 am. During Sundays,the resto is open from 6 pm-2 am. Photo by Yvette Anne Macalino, for InterAksyon.com

Must Try: A favorite among diners is Pinakbet with Bagnet.

Pinakbet sa Bagnet (Php165) is an Ilocano vegetable dish made more tempting with chunks of bagnet. Photo from animetric.blogspot.com.

The Burger Project
122 Maginhawa Street
The Burger Project’s catchphrase is “Customize Your  Own Burger.” As you enter the place a pen and paper will be given to you. The paper is a checklist of what kind of burger patty, sauce, toppings, cheese, etc. you’d like for your burger.
So far, The Burger Project’s branch is only at Maginhawa although according to its friendly store supervisor, Mr. Mico Santillan, its owners are planning to open another branch in the Taft area by August 2012,

The Burger Project has been serving at Maginhawa for almost two years already. Photo by Yvette Anne Macalino for InterAksyon.com.

Must Try: If you are having a hard time in choosing what ingredients to put on your burger, the food store has a menu called “designer’s burger”. Some of the best-sellers are Western Bacon Melt (Php200+) and French Lick (Php200+).

Frequent customer Ed Gonzales selects the ingredients for his customized burger (left) and the filling sandwich just the way he likes it—Hawaiian-style with pineapple on top (right). For Php150-Php300, you can create the burger you've been craving for. Photo by Yvette Anne Macalino for InterAksyon.com.

Blacksoup Cafe + Artspace
Unit G, 154 Maginhawa Street
As its name implies, it’s not just a food store but also an art space. Interested artists may rent a portion of the restaurant and exhibit their artworks. It was originally located in the Cubao X area but eventually moved to Maginhawa Street. The cozy ambiance is perfect for quiet or casual conversations.

Blacksoup Cafe + Artspace serve both visual and tummy-filling feasts. Photo by Yvette Anne Macalino for InterAksyon.com.

Must Try: Blacksoup Pasta (Php200) and Vigan Longganisa Pasta (Php150). For vegetarians, Blacksoup also serves vegetarian dishes like tofu steak and tofu burger.

Blacksoup Pasta (squid, fish egg with nori, and Japanese mayo) and Vigan Longganisa Pasta (Vigan longganisa, tomatoes, mushroom in olive oil) Photos from: indayguapa.com and eaturistas.wordpress.com

Van Gogh is Bipolar
Unit H, 154 Maginhawa Street
Just a few steps away from Blacksoup is a unique restaurant called Van Gogh is Bipolar. Owned by Jetro Rafael, the restaurant got its name from the owner’s personality. He was diagnosed with a bipolar disorder at the late age of 28.
Van Gogh is Bipolar is the owner’s home by day, turned restaurant by night. When asked about the restaurant’s operating day and hours, Jetro says, “Actually, by chance lang. Madalas kasi out of the country ako.”

The restaurant can only accommodate 12 diners per night. Jetro is the only one doing all the work in his restaurant. Guests are attracted by its quirky interiors. Photo by Yvette Anne Macalino for InterAksyon.com.

A table for three set against a red wall in Van Gogh is Bipolar. Photo by Yvette Anne Macalino for InterAksyon.com.

Must Try: Larry Flynt’s Cabbage Experience (salad), Axl Rose Egg Shot (appetizer), Mel Gibson’s Darkest Secret (dessert), Courtney Love Potion (drink).

Larry Flynt's Cabbage Experience. Set meals consisting of three, four, and five courses are priced from Php 666 and up. Photo courtesy of Van Gogh is Bipolar.

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