Eight Unique Maginhawa Hangouts to Visit this 2017
Maginhawa and the surrounding streets in Quezon City have been a popular food trip destination for barkadas for the past few years, with lots of small restos dishing out unique eats.
As someone who lives in the neighborhood, I’ve seen how the food landscape has changed in over the years. While there are a few good mainstays that have stood the test of time, creative new restaurants continue to set up shop, while older ones have reinvented themselves to give residents and visitors a reason to keep coming back to Maginhawa: The Eat Street.
Here are a few of the places that have captured the attention of the public this 2017.
StrEat: Maginhawa Food Park
- Address: #91 Maginhawa Street
- Telephone: 0933 371 7559
There are a LOT of food parks in Maginhawa, but one of the first that popularized it in the area is StrEat: Maginhawa Food Park, a trendy food hang out built from customized shipping containers where visitors can enjoy backyard picnic style dining. This is a collective space for foodies to hang out with family, friends, strangers and even pets.
They’ve since branched out to other neighborhoods while the original food park recently unveiled their new look, inspired by the Memphis Movement’s post-modern architecture and aesthetics. To match their IG-worthy exteriors, they’re offering new and interesting food concepts including giant butterfly squid, laksa, ramen and taco x sushi fusion to name a few.
Rainbow Dreams Cafe
- Address: #80 Maginhawa Street
The newly-opened Rainbow Dreams Cafe is currently making social media buzz for those with like eating out with kids (or are just kids at heart). Unicorns seem to be all the rage these days, and this quirky unicorn-inspired cafe is just bursting with sunshine and rainbows.
Their colorful treats include pink and purple colored pasta, monster milkshakes in vivid colors topped with crazy topings, and much more. But what’s been attracting the crowds is the fact that diners can wear unicorn onesies for free while dining at this place, making for fun OOTD snaps.
The Wander Space Store & Cafe
- Address: #80 Maginhawa Street
Those bitten by a serious case of wanderlust will love what The Wander Space has to offer. The Wander Space aims to provide a unique, travel-inspired shopping experience, offering locally-made crafts and products by small entrepreneurs and online stores that want a physical space to sell their goods. They carry a wide range of Philippine-made travel and arts inspired products available, varying from clothing, bags and footwear to jewelry, journals and other trinkets.
As a bonus, at the back of the store is a small nook where people can hang out over drinks and pastries, or work in a conducive environment (minus the usual chatter in coffee shops). It also serves as a venue for arts and crafts workshops by partner retailers.
The Other Room
- Address: 17 Malingap St Teachers Village
- Telephone: 09278413596 / (02) 518-7001
The Other Room is a small new coworking space “slash” vinyl cafe located along Malingap Street. It has all the basics of a co-working space including unlimited coffee and juice, fast internet, lots of sockets for you to plug your gadgets too, peace and quiet, and no corkage. For freelancers, the rates are pretty good too if you just need a place to work or have meetings (at just P50/hour or P350/whole day).
As a vinyl cafe, expect a great selection of music. They also have board games for those who are there for play instead of work. Space can be rented out for events, book launches and the like.
The Nook Cafe
- Address: 164 A Maginhawa Street
- Telephone: 0915 974 3660
The Nook Cafe has been around for a while now, but this quaint Harry Potter-inspired space continues to appeal to Potter-heads and muggles alike. It’s not uncommon to see a line of people waiting outside just to have a mug of Butterbeer on weekends. On weekdays, the cafe is less crowded and offers a space where you can get some work done over coffee and light meals. Friends who are first-timers in the area always seem to want to pay a visit to The Nook.
Il Pittore Cafe
- Address: Unit D, 63 Maginhawa Street
- Phone: (02) 955 8223
It’s a bit hidden, so not many people are familiar with Il Pittore Cafe, a Parisian-inspired communal art cafe that hopes to be a one-stop art haven for everyone. Its name comes from the Italian word which means “The Painter.” This cozy space offers artsy nooks for art-lovers, as well as pretty good Italian dishes and artisanal coffee. This 3-storey home-type art space is a good space for group study, meetings, gatherings, and special events.
Buen Comer Poquellas
- Address: Mapagkawanggawa st. Corner Mahabagin St.
The hidden places seem to offer the best food and Buen Comer (Poquellas) is no exception. This Filipino Mexican Restaurant is just a food stall that serves really good quality and unique food choices that have quickly spread through word of mouth. They offer tasty dishes like Kare-Kare Burrito, Peri-Peri Chicken with Dirty Rice, Chicken Teriyaki Burrito and more, with the most amazing sauces you will want to take home and drizzle on everything you eat.
Their hours of operation are limited since the chefs also run a catering business (they are open only from Wednesday till Saturday, from 4pm to 11pm), making them them more sought after by regular customers. Good for takeout and hoarding!
Merkanto: International Street Food
- Address: #38 Mayaman Street
- Phone: 0916 165 6117
Merkanto is one of the most underrated places to eat in the area, and one of my personal favorites. It’s not exactly a food park, as there are only a few stalls inside, hidden at the back of a carwash. Newer stalls outside along the street are currently being built, but their current best sellers like Brazilian Churrasco, Nasi Goreng, Beef Satay, and Indian Pratha always make this unpretentious spot worth visiting again and again. They serve good-tasting quality food, which in my opinion, trumps all the IG-worthy interiors and gimmicks a lot of the newer restos in the area seem to be going for.