Here are our top suggestions for the next time you’re considering a plant-based dish—and no, it doesn’t have to be a salad.
Filipinos love their meat dishes. It’s evident whenever you see a whole lechon baboy present in a gathering. Although it’s definitely not bad to have meat in your regular diet, there are health benefits to having less of it and adding more plant-based foods within your meals.
For some, a vegan diet, which omits all products derived from animals like meat, eggs, and dairy, is too extreme even to attempt. But the reasons why people become vegan vary from ethical and environmental issues to the controversial belief that it’s the healthiest way to nourish ourselves.
However, you don’t have to be strictly plant-based to enjoy these vegan restaurants’ healthy offerings. Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, or omnivore, you’ll find that there are endless ways to incorporate more organic ingredients into your diet than just having a plain salad.
Here are five restaurants that have an entirely vegan menu or serve many plant-based options for you to try. You’ll even discover that you don’t have to give up your favorite desserts, sisig, pizza, and burgers when you’re lessening your animal product intake.
As a born vegetarian turned vegan, Dan Saulo, Cosmic’s founder’s goal when he began the venture was to provide affordable vegan options to “Manila’s growing health-conscious dwellers.”
Established in 2018, Cosmic offers an entirely vegan menu that recreates predominantly Filipino favorites along with Japanese and Italian dishes. The restaurant has branches in Poblacion and Kapitolyo, has an expansive selection that took 10 years to develop.
You can try indulgent Filipino dishes without the animal meat through Cosmic’s Kare Kare with Bagnet, Sisig with Bagnet, BBQ Isaw, and Vegan BBQ.
You can order from Cosmic here.
Corner Tree Cafe
When Chiqui Mabanta visited London in 1996, she noticed how much easier it was to eat healthily in Europe compared to the Philippines.
“I then got excited with the idea of setting up a cozy place that would serve tasty, hearty meals with both vegetarian and vegan (no eggs, no dairy) dishes. And to present the food as great comfort food but with no meat. [Vegetarianism and veganism] was something new for Manila,” Corner Tree Cafe’s owner says on their website.
Then in 2009, Mabanta opened their first branch in Jupiter, Makati, and recently opened their Rockwell outlet last year.
Their vegan options include Crispy Vegetable Lumpia, Chili Bowls, Teriyaki Bowls, and a selection of plant-based cakes for those with a sweet tooth.
You can order from Corner Tree Cafe here.
The Katipunan spot provides healthy options even if you don’t want to go through the strictly plant-based route. In their updated menu launched last May, Little Seed is serving Cajun Patties Bowl, quinoa bowls with grilled chicken and vegetable patties, and even frozen versions of the patties you can stock at home.
Their vegan options span from BBQ wraps to curries and more vegetable-packed quinoa bowls to choose from. You can also try their yogurt drink and ginger kombucha for gut-friendly beverages.
You can order from Little Seed here.
When you want to indulge in pizza but are watching your calorie intake, Plant Pizza serves classic pizza flavors that are vegan, made with a sourdough crust, and baked in a brick oven. Although their offerings like Pesto Pizza and Chorizo Jalapeno Pizza are still decadent, there’s a calorie count for each of their pies.
So if it fits your macros for the day, you let yourself have more than one slice guilt-free.
You can order from Pizza Plant here.
Founded by sisters and vegans, Jaderani and Sarada Santos, Green Bar began as a small deli with a limited menu at Legaspi Village, Makati, in 2014. Today, they offer an expansive selection that aims to prove that “plant-based food isn’t just boring salads.”
Instead of the usual vegetable medleys, you can get burgers, burritos, tacos, and cupcakes that are all organic and plant-based.
But how do they create indulgent dishes with plants? For example, Green Bar’s “Wild Thing Bacun Cheeseburger” uses a mix of jackfruit, homemade seitan turkey, and homemade vegan cheese. In fact, all of Green Bar’s cheeses, sauces, and vegan meats are made in-house from scratch.
You can order from Green Bar Manila here.
Banner photo from @cosmicphilippines on Instagram.