MANILA -- It’s generally hard to find ready-to-eat plant-based meals that are budget-friendly. While there are more specialty vegan restaurants these days, the average price of vegan food can really put a strain on one’s pocket and make meat-based dishes seem more economical.
Vegetarians, artists, foodies and NGO workers who live and work nearby are very familiar with Likha Diwa sa Gulod. Walking distance from the Krus na Ligas market and right next to popular watering hole Sarah’s along CP Garcia, Likha Diwa has been around since June 1999. Previously offering seafood and vegetarian dishes, they now serve mostly vegan dishes at an accessible price point.
The homegrown haunt sports a refreshed look this year with a colorful mural on the gate welcoming diners. Guest can dine surrounded by potted plants in the al fresco area right next to the busy thoroughfare.
Likha Diwa’s interiors have been Bohemian long before it became cool with colorful floors, mismatched chairs and a seating area with low tables where diners can sit on the floor.
Considering the average cost of food in the top restaurants along nearby Maginhawa Street, Likha Diwa’s dishes are budget-friendly, most in the P100 to P200 price range. While their menu has stayed the same for years, a few experimental dishes appear now and then.
Appetizers include the Quesadillas (P145), Nacho Verde (P100), and Shiitake Strips (P120) which comes with a dipping sauce. For soups, they have Calabasa and Molo priced at P70 each. For light snacks and pasta, thers’s the Veggie burger with fries (P155), Falafel wrapped in Pita (P120) and Pasta ala Rataotuille (P130) topped with a savory sauce and grilled veggies.
The main dishes use spices and sauces to make flavorful meat-free versions of Filipino favorites. Take your pick from Tofu Sisig (P120), Paella (P170), Sinigang sa Bayabas (P120), Veg. Kare-Kare (P120), or Vegchon Kawali (P170). The Buffalo Wings (P140) is a savory take on cauliflower, while the Crispy and Crunchy Mushroom and Tofu (P130), comes coated in a sweet, tangy and nutty sauce reminiscent of Korean chicken.
For drinks, Likha Diwa offers refreshing fruit juices like Banana Malunggay Calamansi, Lemongrass Pandan and Pineapple Basil (P75 each) as well as soya drinks like Mango and Banana (P85 each). For sweet desserts, they have a delicious Vegan Chocolate Cake (P95), Banana Choco Crunch (P95) and Chocolate Oatmeal Bars (P55).
The fact that Likha Diwa has survived over two decades, when many restaurants have come and gone, is a testament to simply prepared, classic food that tastes good. This little resto proves that plant-based meals don’t need to cost much and can be just as tasty as what we’ve all become accustomed to.
Animal-lovers will be happy to note that Likha Diwa also does its part to support animal causes such as PETA’s spay and neuter services for dogs and cats. The café also serves as a gallery for local artists. Currently, there’s a display of feline portraits for sale advertising the services of Cat Painter (@jojocatpaintings on Instagram), who is open to commissioned work.
Likha Diwa sa Gulod. 1 Lt. J. Francisco St., Diliman, Quezon City. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.