After our last Fearless Foodie’s Guide to Maginhawa, ilang tambling lang and we find ourselves along another foodie haven — Katipunan!
The restaurants along this stretch of road have found a steady stream of customers — students and residents of nearby universities and schools.
With thousands of kids and their youthful appetites (as well as their modest allowances) passing the road on a daily basis, it’s no wonder that that Katipunan has evolved into the budget-friendly foodie hub it is today.
Having dozens of establishments in the Katipunan area can be an indecisive foodie’s nightmare. You’ll find a branch for almost every major fast-food joint and coffee franchise there is, and a lot of the best places aren’t necessarily the easiest to find. Here are some of the top-reviewed and most popular Katipunan restaurants and cafes based on reviews from the looloo iPhone app:
An appropriately-named third wave coffee joint that just recently opened, Third District is turning into a popular option for people who are looking for something else besides the usual options at Starbucks, Coffee Bean, or Bo’s. The place has some pretty
hipster eclectic interiors, which match its uncommon array of caffeinated offerings like hand-brewed or hand-drip coffee. Give their Affogato a try! They get their gelato from Afters!
Going head-to-head against the fast food joints in the area isn’t easy, but the place has already developed a bit of a following, based on reviews. Big servings, more variety when it comes to sauces and dressings, and student-friendly prices — all reasons to try going Chubby instead of Jolly.
Sometimes students need more than just caffeine to get them through a hectic day. When coffee just isn’t enough, there’s always the good ol’ sugar rush. Starr’s shakes are heavy, sweet, and generous with toppings that include your favorite imported chocolates. Don’t worry, they’ve got diet-friendly options too, but really… why bother?
While it has a somewhat notorious reputation for not being the classiest or cleanest joint in the neighborhood, reviewers still can’t deny that the food they serve is pretty good. The place has been around for what seems like forever, and signature dishes like their sisig or the adobo rice are likely to have people coming through their doors for more years to come.
A textbook example of a hidden gem, Ninyo is actually one of the top-rated restaurants in the city. The fine-dining feel and homey decor have earned it praises such as being called “the perfect date place.” With a wine bar and a price-per-head figure that we wouldn’t say is geared towards students, Ninyo is best reserved for your special occasions and special someones.
Yes, the name gives off the impression that they’re all about desserts, but the real meat behind this place is the all-you-can-eat Mongolian BBQ. If their a la carte offerings aren’t to your liking, you can spend a little more than P300 and eat as much meat, veggies, and rice as you want! Cap off the meal with a slice of cheesecake and doze off into a food coma after.
For cotton candy feels and fairy tale whimsy, drop by Picket Fence! To quote a number of reviewers, “yes, it’s an ice cream parlor that has good food.” Their PF Burger has been raved about by many — think of it as an appetizer in preparation for the main event: the ice cream and milkshakes. Macadamia, Swiss Chocolate, and even… a Rainbow flavor? You’re bound to find something that’ll appease that sweet tooth of yours.
Ask any student from the schools nearby if they’ve eaten at Flaming Wings and you won’t find many who haven’t. One of the area’s “classics,” you’ll read a lot of reviewers on looloo talking about how they returned to the simple eatery, just to reminisce on their college and high school days. The best part? Prices really haven’t changed all that much since they opened. You can still get a serving of hunger-busting chicken tenders for less than P100.
Now that eating healthy is all the rage, and perfectly situated right next to Gold’s Gym, Go! Salads immediately drew in customers as soon as it opened. With nothing on the menu over P100, you get fresh salads that are good AND good for you. Tip: Their Sweet Caroline is said to taste just like Cyma’s Roka Salata… at a fraction of the cost!
Whether you like your coffee mild or with a bit of a kick, you can count on the baristas at Craft in Katipunan to find something to suit your fancy. After the landslide success of their Broadway/E. Rodriguez branch, the coffeeheads behind Craft have taken their expertise to Katipunan, to the delight of the caffeine-fueled student population nearby.
Savory chocolate dishes haven’t quite gone mainstream just yet, but for the adventurous looking to give it a try, look no further than Xocolat. A lot of menu items incorporate some form of chocolate into the mix (the Xocolat Chicken Pasta seems to be a favorite!), and reviews so far have been pretty good! It goes without saying that the place serves some of the area’s best cups of hot chocolate as well.
The brainchild of Chef Sandy Daza, heir to Nora Daza’s culinary legacy, Wooden Spoon puts just the right amount of flair and pizzazz to a number of traditional Filipino dishes. If you’re in the area, willing to put up with the crowded parking area, and are looking for some good old-fashioned home cooking to remind you of your lola’s kitchen, this is the place to be.
Most mainstream katsu places put a premium price on their offerings with their choice cuts and unlimited cabbage sides. Katsu Cafe in Katipunan seems to take a simpler approach by offering quality katsu at a friendlier cost. It may not have the same appeal compared to its larger competitors, but don’t let that deter you, your wallet will thank you later!
Cello’s was serving awesome donuts even before donuts were cool. A staple in the area for over a decade, they’ve since moved to a new location, but still serve some of the best donuts out there. The selection may not be as diverse, as their flavors don’t extend too far beyond the basics, but Cello’s donuts have a unique taste and texture that a lot of big name chains just can’t quite match.
Fun fact: the owner of Gino’s is Cello’s (of Cello’s Doughnuts) wife! No wonder their establishments are right next to one another! On the savory side of things, Gino’s offers brick oven pizzas that you won’t get at your nearby pizza chain. A stand-out from their menu is the much-raved about SMEGG pizza, topped with sausage, mushroom, eggs, gouda, and cream. This is also one of the very few places where you can get fresh burrata cheese!