This Eat List is for me to share the restaurants we frequent along the Maginhawa food strip. What you won’t find here are restos that we don’t really care for just so we’re clear. I don’t really go out of my way to try a resto just because it’s new so I can brag later on that I’ve tried it, even though we don’t really go for the type of food it offers. Instead, I’ll make a round up of places we regularly go to and what dishes we like. Regular meaning, we’ve eaten there quite a number of times –not only once or twice but many times.
The Sweet Spot
Maginhawa street is just one of those places that does not quit. There’s always a new resto or cafe opening or a new lot being set up as a food park or a new building being constructed. Crazy busy place. But I have a handful of places I go to where I’m most comfortable. No one bothers me nor looks at me and wonder why I’m alone.
Sweet Spot is one. People here just go on their ways, are quiet, and are oblivious to the world. Students come here to review. Work people come here for a bit of catching up while I come here for a cup of Flat White before I go pick up my daughter from school.
Sometimes we have lunch and order the same things: flat white, truffle mushroom soup, crisped beef shortribs and the southwestern chicken. All seem to satisfy my kid and I. The cakes are a hit and miss for me. The only thing I did like was the blueberry cheesecake. The rest are misses.
If I ever moved to Thailand, I would eat Pad Thai every single day until I get tired of it. This is just one of the few dishes I’ve tried many times to recreate at home. Always an epic fail.
So imagine my excitement when I saw a new Thai resto along Maginhawa street. I had to make a u-turn to see if I was seeing it correctly. True enough, it’s a Thai restaurant.
Yum Thai has this hole-in-the-wallish feel. Sits about 10-12 people. If it weren’t airconditioned, I’d say I’m back in Ao Nang and having lunch at some house turned into a cafe in a small village.
Of course, we ordered Pad Thai along with Thai Iced tea, Basil Chicken and Pork Sate. Serving time was fast considering there were also 3 other customers. I love the Pad Thai here. It’s so simple. There were only a few ingredients but it was brimming with flavor. Sour, sweet, and spicy the next. Why can’t I do that at home? It was the same for the Chicken Basil. Not too crazy about the Pork Sate though. Or we were just too full. And I thought it was overpriced. The Thai Iced Tea could use a little less sweetener.
When you want something satisfying and cheap, the burger at Snack Shack is your best bet. Be prepared to wait as it usually takes 20 minutes or so for orders even without a queue. I guess what patrons do is to call ahead for their orders. Pick it up or dine there once ready. And that, my friend, is the reason why orders take so long.
But it’s worth the wait. You can check out the 2 boutiques nearby while they make your burgers.
Our go-to resto when we want no surprises. Artsy Cafe serves homestyle comfort food. We always order the Kani Salad, Mushroom soup, and Lasagna. The Gising Gising, Lengua, and Salpicao are worth ordering as well as they always hit the spot. Come early for lunch or dinner as the place is always packed. But it’s worth the wait. Affordable, too.
Not too fond of ice cream but I like their Cheese Closed. There are generous bits of cheese in every spoonful. I would often buy a pint for later consumption or for when we have cravings for ice cream which usually happens late at night. I also like the forbidden rice but they’re almost always out of it. The tarragon is nice too and refreshing.
Another place in Maginhawa where you can tambay alone and nobody would even care. There’s wifi, strong barako coffee, decent cakes and airconditioning.
Spicy Chicken with free iced tea is what we also come here for plus the maruya. The cafe basically serves Quezon province specialties like pancit habhab and lucban longganisa.
When you don’t want to go to a mall to satisfy a tonkatsu craving, Katsu Cafe is your best bet. But what I actually like here are the curry and kani salad. They can still improve on their tonkatsu though. All in all, a good alternative to pricey katsu places considering you also get free refills on soup, rice and cabbage.
Burgers are ubiquitous in Maginhawa. But when you want a burger with less fat and cholesterol but big in taste, choose Good Burgers. Very apt name, right? I havent’t tried the veggie patty and I’m actually afraid to try because I had one before (can’t remember the name of the resto) and it tasted nasty.
We always go for the Margherita, Silly and Persian burgers and always with double patties.
When you want cheap Chinese food, this is the place! We come here for the Sweet n Sour meatballs (a personal fave and beats the ones served in more expensive restos), hototay soup, camaron rebosado, beef broccoli, torta and lumpiang shanghai.
Service is fast during off hours. Parking is always a problem as it’s beside a tricycle terminal.
Thank God for Sancho! There’s definitely a need for this type of cuisine in Maginhawa. Sometimes it gets frustrating driving along this street and all you see are restos serving burgers, ribs and pasta.
We usually get the Sopa de mariscos, marinara pasta, salpicao and spanish beef stew.
I don’t know why Brazo gets a bad rap when everything we normally order here is spot on. The Iberian Chicken, Pakbet with Bagnet, Sinigang na Corned Beef, Sizzling Tofu, and the Callos are what make us come here again and again.
Service is fast and always with a smile. For dessert, I love the dulce de leche. It’s best with their strong barako coffee.
Here’s one thing I’ll never be…a vegetarian! But Pipino makes it seem easy to become a vegetarian. The cafe offers dishes we are familiar with like the fried rice, kare kare, pinakbet, pancit canton and even burgers but without the meat. So good you won’t even notice. Plus they have desserts, too. Love this place!
Chicken Katsu — not the ultimate katsu but it’ll do especially if you want a meal fast, hot and affordable. You’ll probably have to wait for a table at this tiny place in Maginhawa but diners here don’t really linger to chat or make tambay. They come to eat. Short menu. Simple food yet it satisfies.
Pork Ginger is good, too.
Cupcakes by Gremlins
Look, I’ve tried more cupcakes than I can count in the past two years, so I’m just going to declare that this is one of the best cupcakes I’ve tasted. My all-time fave is Manskee’s cupcakes from La Union. This is second.
While my favorite is actually the red velvet, the Banana Nutella is equally good. Love the frosting. I actually finished off the frosting before I got to the cake. For the more adventurous, try one of the unique flavors like the Beer and Pretzel.
Kind of like a DIY noodle bowl. You choose your broth or soup, toppings, noodles and level of heat or spice. The process saves you from burning your tongue. Tried the Assam Laksa. Disappointed as it’s far from the assam laksa of Penang. Tried the classic which I enjoyed as it doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a warm bowl of broth. Serving size is generous. We also like the kuchay dumplings. So worth your money. I like that they serve soya milk drink.
Come early or at a dead hour as it’s always full during lunch and dinner. No parking.
Pi Breakfast & Pies
This used to be a favorite breakfast haunt before the brunch place boom in Maginhawa. Yes, it’s not budget-friendly. But serving size is quite generous. For instance, it seems like they actually use a whole can of Spam for their Caramelized Spam dish.
The must try here is the Huevos Rancheros. The homemade sausage has the right amount of spices which is complemented with all the other ingredients like the peppers, sweet potato, tomatoes and egg. I just wish more bread came with the dish. A slice is not enough.
They could also up the coffee game a bit. Get a decent espresso machine and a good barista because the Pies (Smack Pi is lovely) pair well with a great cup of Flat White.
Whenever we are craving meat and we have this desire to stuff ourselves crazy, we go here and order the Churrasco Fiesta. It has everything your tummy needs. Rice, meat, salad, potatoes and beans…they’re all on this one huge plate.
The Beef Burrito is surprisingly good. Love it more than Army Navy’s and it’s way cheaper. Skip the Quesadilla. The burger with the black bun is also worth trying. It was fun eating it.
You can find all my restaurant reviews on Zomato. Follow me there and let’s talk food. If you’re heading to Singapore soon, do check out the this budget-friendly eat list I’ve compiled. Lastly, do visit this post regularly for updates as we scour Maginhawa for more yummy eats.
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