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When in Maginhawa
This bustling street in Quezon City has everything you need for a relaxing weekend.
A lot has been written about Maginhawa Street in Quezon City. The once ordinary suburban stretch of residences, with only a handful of typical neighborhood conveniences, has seen major developments over the past couple of years. Here are a few (among the many!) worth checking out.
If you’re tired of the usual, gentrified coffee shops in the metro, head over to Maginhawa for some specialty café experience. Cool Beans Library Café (67-A Maginhawa), which prides itself as the first library café in Metro Manila, has been around since 2013. Coffee beans from the northern part of the country take center stage here. You can enjoy a cup of joe after rice meals, pasta, or with pastries. And while you’re at it, grab something to read from the shelves that line up one wall—there are comic books, fiction novels, magazines, and even children’s books! Cool Beans also hosts workshops occasionally.
Cat lovers will have a ball at Cat Café (189 Maginhawa corner Makadios Sts.), which is home to felines that are up for adoption in partnership with CARA Welfare Philippines. Enjoy snacks and drinks as you bond with the kitties. Who knows? You might fall in love with a fur ball who’s looking for a forever home. Just make sure to make reservations (catcafemanila.com) prior to your visit, as the place can accommodate only a limited number of people.
Meanwhile, The Nook Café (164-A Maginhawa) is a haven for Harry Potter fans. The place sports interiors inspired by J.K. Rowling’s best-selling series. Owls painted on the wall prove to be good company as you settle in and sip your butter beer. It’s not surprising if Potterheads wouldn’t want to leave this magical place.
To the Nines (80 Maginhawa) carries local brands—from shoes to clothes and fashion accessories that are au courant. If you have a penchant for vintage items, head to When Uan Met Sally (39B Maginhawa), a charming shop where you can sift through racks of vintage-inspired clothes and baubles. It also has an adjacent restaurant that’s cozy enough for after-shopping meals.
Bibliophiles will have a field day browsing through racks and racks of pre-loved books in Bookay Ukay (78 Maginhawa). You can also trade or sell your books here, so you’ll have more space for new reads.
Restos, of course!
A visit to this neighborhood won’t be complete without sampling the many dining options. A few that you should try: The Lost Bread HQ (80 Maginhawa) serves French toasts and milkshakes, but don’t be limited to just those; also try their generous rice meals and the very Instagrammable Soda Pop, a concoction of mango puree, vanilla, and strawberry popsicle.
Filipino dishes steal the spotlight at Provenciano (110 Maginhawa). Set in a bungalow reminiscent of your tita’s well-kept home, Provenciano welcomes you with lush greens and a kalesa. Sample its sawsawan bar (a variety of dips) and get your fill of Adobong Pusit, Lechong Kawali, and Binakol na Manok amid interiors decked in distinctly Pinoy décor.
If you’re after refreshing, healthy fares, try Ahi Hawaii’s (3 Maginhawa) poke bowls—rice bowls topped with tuna or salmon sashimi. Order the Kobe bowl or Ahi bowl, and finish off with sweet malasadas, which are deep-fried balls of dough rolled in sugar.
There are, of course, food parks. Gerry’s Jeepney (7-B Maginhawa) sets itself apart from the rest with its lineup of colorful jeepneys that serve as dining gazebos, complete with kitschy signage. Pinoy dishes can be ordered boodle-style, as a set, or ala carte. Meanwhile, be sure to immediately save a seat at StrEat (91 Maginhawa) as soon as it opens at 5pm. The menu from various kiosks ranges from Southeast Asian, Korean, Italian, and even Turkish.
A few restaurants near Maginhawa are also worth mentioning: Pino on Malingap Street is a crowd favorite. On its menu are Pinoy fares with a twist. Start off with nori cheese sticks, then proceed to the sinful Kare-kareng Bagnet or Red Wine Adobong Tadyang. For desserts, try the Pino Choco Turon or Tablea Cheesecake.
On Matimtiman Street is quaint Leona Art Restaurant. Its unpretentious Italian dishes are complemented by a rustic, laid-back ambiance. Try any of its freshly prepared pizza, and pair a slice or two with a plateful of al dente pasta.
Maginhawa is best experienced on foot, as parking can pose quite a challenge especially on weekends. Other than that, consider this neighborhood of good eats and delightful finds a part of your must-visits when in Quezon City.
TEXT: SUNSHINE SELGA FUNA
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