Holy Week is an opportune time for solemnity, prayer, family – and, admit it, a well-spent long weekend. In the midst of all the Visita Iglesias, travelling, and general chillax-ing, devout Christians who have made it a commitment to stick to the no-meat protocol often must search far and wide for a restaurant that serves not-too-penitential portions of fish and veggies. Worry your hungry tummy no more though, because we’ve rounded some awesome seafood and vegetarian picks in and around the city that taste so good it might just become your favorite even when it’s not semana santa!
Born in Cebu, Choobi Choobi is quickly capturing the Manileño heart for its straightforwardly delicious approach to shrimp, seafood, and other pinoy classics. While you might have to steer clear temporarily from their meaty mains, you can happily try out the 5 yummy sauces that drench their shrimps-in-a-bag: butter garlic, sautéed in garlic, spicy gata, whole choobang, and salted egg. Eat with a spoon and fork or with your hands with a platter of unlimited rice or other delicious seafood side dishes, because all is well and chill in this casual family restaurant.
Multiple branches in Metro Manila and Cebu
Care for some unli-seafood during the Lenten break? At El Cangrejo, you can indulge in as many crabs as you want with their unli crab and steak combo for less than Php 1000 per pax! Indulge in a little wine, make sure to bring good company, and snack on some more seafood platters (whilst averting your temptations for their unli steak!) and you are guaranteed to have a fulfilled tummy!
Unit D1 Jardin de Zenaida, 34 Sgt. Esguerra Avenue, South Triangle, Quezon City
It’s hard to eat only vegetables because we can’t help but imagine how bland and unexciting it will be – but it seems it isn’t so when chefs with a lot of passion get their hands on the menu. Qualifying as a 100% vegan (meat-free, dairy free, egg free) and gluten free restaurant, Susi prides itself in its delicious renditions of spaghetti bolognese, chilli con tofu, and house specials like the Chimichurri Black Bean Burger and The Emerson, which is a lentil-mushroom loaf with a side of ratatouille and garlic mashed potatoes. Generously served and beautifully plated, be ready to pamper your body with the healthy stuff whilst making good on your Lenten penitence!
2nd Avenue, Burgos Circle, Taguig
Pipino Vegetarian Food by Pino
Pipino prides itself in deriving 100% of its meals from plants. It started as a humble 6-dish line from Pino’s menu in 2010, but upon discovering that there is a solid demand from vegetarians, vegans, and veggie-loving Pinoys, it became a full-fledged restaurant of its own only 6 months later. If you’re also using the Holy Week as a trial period if you can live healthier (because, hello, summer is here!), then Pipino Vegetarian Food is a great place to get started! You won’t be disappointed by their creativity – from kare-kare with black bean bagoong, Portobello inasal, and mushroom risotto – your tastebuds are in for a treat with a twist!
2F No. 39 Malingap Street, Teachers Village, Quezon City
Corner Tree Café
Conveniently located in Makati en route to the next church in your Visita Iglesia list, the Corner Tree Café is a posh but relaxed place that serves healthy dishes all throughout. With their cauliflower fritters, Buddha Bowls, and Zucchini Parmesan Fries – you might just forget it’s lent because the wholesome flavors are just as good, if not better – less the guilt!
150 Jupiter St., Bel-Air Makati 1209
Sonya’s Garden Buffet
Relax and contemplate about your spiritual life amidst a blooming garden of flowers and herbs, serenaded by softly rustling leaves and the soothing sounds of flowing water and melodic chimes. As poetic as that was, your body will thank you even more when you indulge in their healthy but delicious buffet consisting mainly of salads and saucy pastas. Indulgent but in a very light and Holy Week-appropriate manner. Make sure to try their in house array of salad dressings and spreads to switch up the flavor of your healthy meal.
Barangay Buck Estate, Alfonso, Cavite