Being a student means resisting the urge to binge on anything that’s cheap, fast and filling. And being a vegetarian doesn’t really change the fact that you’re broke and hungry, so we still follow the average student’s diet. The only difference is that everything is meatless. We’re talking instant noodles, McDonald’s fries, and all kinds of starchy junk food. Quite the opposite of what your classmates think you’re eating, right? However, if you’re going to eat unhealthily, do it right! Make the extra calories count by exploring all the glorious vegetarian comfort food that Katipunan and Maginhawa have to offer.
Picture this: your midterms are coming up, taking a “quick nap” means risking a 3-hour snooze fest, and squeezing stress balls won’t cut it. To make things worse, you suspect that you’re quickly becoming immune to caffeine. When that happens, forget about your dream of having Boracay-worthy abs for a while and grab some real food. With these 7 inventive delights from the UP/Ateneo area, you can eat as heartily as a carnivore every day of the week.
1. Flaming Wings’ Linguine with Bleu Cheese (PHP 120)
Their famous buffalo wings are off limits to you, dear vegetarian, but this pasta dish doesn’t feature prominently on their menu so there’s more of it for you. So, while your friends are getting their hands dirty with honey mustard and ranch dressing, you can enjoy every al dente linguine strand dripping with rich, tangy sauce, which you’ll want to mop up with an extra bread stick (or two).
318 Katipunan Ave., Loyola Heights, Quezon City
(02) 929 6900
2. The Burger Project’s Tofu Patty (PHP 75++)
The Burger Project’s Tofu Patty + all the toppings your wallet (and stomach) can handle (PHP 75 for a basic tofu patty and poppy seed bun, PHP 35 for your cheese of choice, PHP25 for premium toppings like bacon or caramelized onions, PHP 20 for basic toppings like mushrooms or pineapples).
The Burger Project is a godsend for any vegetarian who misses biting into a fully-stuffed cheeseburger. Wait, who am I kidding? It’s a godsend to anyone. The same dudes behind Good Burgers came up with the concept for this joint, where you can load a tofu patty with every sort of topping there is; from the lowly pickle to the upscale fried Portobello. As a bonus (and for a small extra charge of PHP15), you can also choose to have your pseudo-burger with a vegan oatmeal bun!
BRGR: The Burger Project
122 Maginhawa St., Teacher’s Village, QC
(02) 351 74 74
3. Friuli Trattoria’s Buono Verdure Pizza (PHP185)
Friuli has a cozy, homey vibe, much like an authentic Italian trattoria. In this little corner of Maginhawa, you’ll find an extremely affordable menu where you’ll be spoilt for choice. Their Buono Verdure, which is Italian for “good vegetables”, fully lives up to its name. It’s got perfectly roasted eggplants, tomatoes, onions, black olives, and mushrooms resting beautifully atop layers of mozzarella on a crispy crust. And they all deserve to be in your belly, like, right now.
79A Maginhawa St., UP Village, QC
(02) 434 1416
4. Pipino’s Squash Risotto (PHP125)
The earthy, all-vegan vibe at Pipino reminds vegetarians like me that you don’t need meat to make a delicious meal. Their squash risotto, topped with fresh ginger, toasted pine nuts, and vegan sausages, is one of my many favorites. This risotto has no meat but it’s packed with carbs, so eating a whole bowl of it will make you look and feel like one happy Buddha.
39 Malingap St., Teacher’s Village, QC
(02) 441 1773
5. The Chocolate Kiss’s Eggplant Parmigiana (PHP190)
Known for serving hearty meals, The Chocolate Kiss is a great place for quiet dates, business lunches, and binging on big plates of food that’ll make you feel better after that awful Calculus test. Located in the heart of the UP campus, it’s a haven for students who want to eat good food but don’t feel like leaving the school grounds. And their exquisite dish of eggplant, mozzarella, and herbed tomato sauce should be motivation enough for any UP student to study hard and stay in school.
The Chocolate Kiss
Bahay ng Alumni, UP Diliman, QC
(02) 921 86 63/ (02) 921 86 59
6. ROC’s (Restaurant of Choice) Queso Bianca (PHP148)
Most people think vegetarians subsist on carrot and celery sticks, but ROC does away with that. Instead, they’ve got battered, deep-fried, and oozing kesong puti sticks, which you can dip into a zesty marinara sauce. Does that sound like rabbit food to you?
ROC (Restaurant of Choice)
Bahay ng Alumni, UP Diliman, QC
(02) 425 0191
7. Sandwicheese’s French Onion Sandwicheese (PHP130)
Sandwicheese along Katipunan Extension is the place to go to when you’ve had a long day, and only a shower of star-shaped confetti can make it all better because the party starts once you sink your teeth into their French Onion Sandwicheese. On one such day, I deliriously turned from Smeagol into Gollum as I savored the caramelized onion, gruyere, cheddar, and garlic cream cheese on wheat bread. Forget the ring, this sandwich is far more precioussssssss….
225 Katipunan Ave. (Extension), QC
(02) 440 3677
So now you can still be a vegetarian and have as much fun (and calories) as the typical carnivorous college student. Sure, being fit and fabulous is great, but let’s face it—a salad isn’t going to make you feel better about failing an exam.
[cover photo via gettyimages]