10 Must-try Salads in Manila (2014 Edition)
A plate of greens never tasted this good.
(SPOT.ph) Eating healthy is in, and no dish can quite hit that spot better than a salad. But what makes one bowl of greens special compared to the rest? Making the freshness and flavors of vegetables stand out requires precision. Every component has to complement each other like a beautifully choreographed dance. This salad bucket list for 2014 is a combination of old reliables and new salad bowls for those who are atoning for a sinful spread-or those who just like greens on their plate.
This list is not ranked.
1. Greek Caesar Salad (P350; add P150 for chicken, P185 for fried calamari) at Greeka Kouzina
Deceptively simple-looking, this huge plate, which can satisfy up to three Caesar Salad-loving people, can easily be overlooked on the menu. The fresh greens, bits of bacon, and shaved Parmesan cheese make for a light and guilt-free affair. Dressing crafted from light Greek yogurt gives it a healthier update, a creamy texture, as well as a touch of sweetness for the palate to enjoy. When ordered with fried calamari, the squid acts as a dash of salt, offering more depth to the flavors.
Greeka Kouzina has branches at SM Aura, Bonifacio Global City, and 285 P. Guevarra Street, San Juan.
2. Wild Arugula Salad (P265) at The Girl + The Bull
When a salad looks up at you with a pretty, sunny side-up egg, you know something magical is about to happen. The runny yolk coats the arugula in richness. Underneath, there’s a medley of apple chunks and radishes, giving the peppery greens a whisper of sweetness. Strips of bacon on the side add crunch, smokiness, and just plain good sense. It actually reminds us of a beautiful breakfast.
The Girl + The Bull is at 346 Aguirre Avenue, BF Homes, Parañaque City (0905-572-2556).
3. Farmhouse Salad (P550) at Green Pastures
If summer were a salad bowl, the Farmhouse Salad at Green Pastures would be it. Sliced mangoes, honey mustard, and dill vinaigrette dance to sweet and tangy notes; romaine lettuce, corn, goat cheese, and bacon add a new dimension of texture and flavors without overpowering each other. This is a bowl that's surprisingly light even with its hefty number of ingredients. That the Farmhouse Salad is this farm-to-table restaurant’s signature salad is a title well-deserved.
Green Pastures is at the 4/F Shangri-La Plaza East Wing, Mandaluyong City.
4. Beef and Citrus Salad (P290) at Earth Kitchen
Subtlety isn’t a strong point of this salad. Papaya dressed in dayap vinaigrette offers crunch and texture while the greens and herbs lend a refreshing touch. Each bite bursts with lipsmacking zestiness, with a hint of sweetness that stops it from going over the edge. The boneless beef ribs aren't an afterthought either-they're soft and well-seasoned, making this a salad bowl worth ordering a second time.
Earth Kitchen is at White Plains, Katipunan, Quezon City.
5. Bacon and Quinoa Salad (P420) from Chelsea Grand Cafe
The revamped Chelsea is starting out fresh with a plate of greens. It’s a serious soiree of mesclun greens where oranges mingle with grilled heirloom carrots, roasted tomatoes with red onions, double-smoked bacon lardons with quinoa; only a sweet and tangy cherry balsamic vinaigrette ties everything together. There’s texture, flavor, complexity, and putting a superfood together with bacon? Priceless.
Chelsea Grand Cafe is at Serendra, Bonifacio Global City.
6. Bawai's Salad (P335) at Bawai's Vietnamese Kitchen
One bite of the Bawai’s Salad will immediately perk you up with its refreshing flavors. Shredded carrots, which replace the usual greens, and coconut sprouts provide crunch, while prawns and glazed pork give us a littl surf ’n’ turf action. The house dressing enhances the dish with a coat of sweet-saltiness. It's a salad plate that doesn't overwhelm, rather it whets your appetite for more dishes on the Bawai's menu.
Bawai's is at 79 Katipunan Avenue, White Plains, Quezon City.
7. Caramelized Pear Chopped Salad (P380) at Cyma
Cyma’s tried-and-tested Roka Salata is your easy introduction to Greek food, but this crunchy number may pave the way for you to get out of your comfort zone and try Chef Robby Goco’s new lineup of Mediterranean eats. More fruity than leafy, the blue cheese is a delightful contrast to the freshness of pears and beets, and the white balsamic vinaigrette brightens up the flavors further. Just like the Roka, it is speckled with walnuts.
CYMA’s new menu is currently available only at the Shangri-La Plaza, Mandaluyong branch. Other CYMA branches are at Eastwood Mall, Robinsons Place Manila, Trinoma, Robinsons Magnolia, and Greenbelt 2.
8. Grilled Caesar Salad (P350) at Grace Park
Gaita Fores’ Grilled Caesar Salad is a playful version of a timeless classic. Half a head of romaine is grilled to complement-not to mention enhance-the smoky flavors of very crisp prosciutto and to bring out the saltiness of parmesan shavings. There’s not a lot of dressing in there, but there’s definitely enough to layer on a creamy dimension that gives the dish a lot of zing. This is one Caesar Salad that lets the greens-not the sauce-do the talking.
Grace Park is at One Rockwell, Rockwell, Makati City.
9. Ay Caramba! (P205/regular size; P145/half) at Juju Eats
Tickle your palate with the salad version of a Mexican burrito: greens, grilled chicken, nacho chips, roasted red pepper, beans, and cheddar cheese are held together by its special Ay Caramba! dressing. Pickled jalapeños give it a spicy but welcome kick.
Juju Eats is at G/F BCS Building, 2297 Chino Roces Avenue Extension, Makati City, and at G/F Le Grand 1, Eastwood Corporate Cyberpark, Quezon City.
10. BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad (P595; P395/half size) at California Pizza Kitchen
You don't usually order salad at a pizza joint, but when you do, pick CPK. This chain has proven to be a good standby with their Thai Crunch Salad, and they’re just doing more wonders with chicken and greens with this one. The greens are served with grilled chicken chunks, tomatoes, tortilla strips, beans, corn, and topped with a barbecue sauce. It’s a medley of sweet, smoky, and salty flavors, with the tortilla lending a crunchy texture. The serving is quite hefty too, even for the half-sized portion, so you have more than enough space for more salad-or pizza.
California Pizza Kitchen has branches in Trinoma Mall, Quezon City; Shangri-la Plaza, Mandaluyong City; and Alabang Town Center, Muntinlupa City.
Photos by Trixie Zabal Mendoza (Earth Kitchen, Bawai’s, Green Pastures), Angelo Comsti (CYMA, Chelsea, The Girl + The Bull), and Sasha Lim Uy (Grace Park); and courtesy of Happy Lab (Greeka Kouzina), CPK.com (CPK), and Juju Eats’ Facebook page.