The Esquire Guide to Where to Find the Best Salads in Manila
Health buffs, foodies and our parents have told you time and time again, salad is good for you. But what makes a salad good? Is it the vegetable-to-dressing ratio? Is it the presence of pasta, noodles, fruit, or any other surprise topping under the sun in the mix?
A great salad offers more than just health benefits—it has to be fresh (newly harvested greens are always welcome), have texture (nuts, protein, fruit, and other toppings), have satisfying flavors (dressing and ingredients together must make sense). We chose our favorite places for salad from all over the city, including salad bars, healthy restaurants with great salads on the menu, and delivery services that offer salads on the go.
1| Juju Eats
One of the OG salad bar concepts in the country, Juju Eats was born from the makers of the Juju Cleanse program in 2013. Husband and wife duo David and Katharina Rempe Azanza decided to expand their healthy juicing offerings into a healthy sit-down restaurant concept with a la carte and DIY salads on Pasong Tamo Extension. Today, Juju Eats’ popularity has led to more locations and an expanded menu with equally delicious pasta salads, paninis, and red rice bowls. For some of the best salads in Manila, people know to head straight to Juju.
- Ay Caramba!
- Crispy Catfish
- Big Boy
2| Go! Salads
Another salad bar pioneer is Go! Salads (owned by Cibbie Gonzales), which first opened on Katipunan in 2013. Fast forward six years later, and there’s a Go! Salads kiosk or space in most major cities. Options range from farm-fresh salads and wraps (the Gonzales family has its own farms that produce organically grown vegetables) to soups, fitness-friendly snacks to a variety of fruit and vegetable smoothies. Gonzales also created smoothies and salads for Esquire. After developing great salads, he also opened Shoobie, the Philippines' first soft-serve sorbet.
- Sweet Caroline
- Wild Wild West Salad
- Sergeant Steak
3| Salad Stop
This Singapore brand entered the Philippine market in 2015, and has been expanding ever since. Salad Stop's mantra is "Eat Wide Awake," which reminds customers to be more conscious of what they eat, and to eat well. Interiors are decorated with bright, informative signs about all-natural, preservative-free ingredients and how they contribute to one's health. Customers can opt for DIY salads (because the best salad is always the one you make) or choose from readily available salads or wraps from the menu.
- Oh Crab Lah
- Tuna San
- Big Bird
4| Berde Bowls
Berde prides itself in its "karinderya-style" offerings: Pinoy food bowls with a healthy spin. Diners can create their own salad and rice bowls with four components—base (salad, rice, or both), protein, vegetable sides, and toppings. They can also choose from the signature bowls, which have meat, vegetarian, and vegan options. To create its awesome salads, Berde partners with local farms and growers for seasonal ingredients, so expect to see something new and different on the menu each visit.
- The Bangka
- Mushroom Monggo Kare-kare
- The Manok-Out
Ayala Triangle Walkways, Makati City; 02-728-5046
5| Happy Greens
Happy Greens’ well-lit kiosk boasts of organic, locally produced house greens and a salad menu seemingly taken from around the world, as dishes are inspired by a variety of cultures—Thai, Korean, French, and Japanese, to name a few. Because they want to give Manila a variety of great salads, customers are presented with sugar-free wrap options for those who are watching their intake.
- The Kani Mentality
- Smokin Hot
Commune Hall, Evia Lifestyle Center, Las Piñas
SALADS ON THE SIDE
6| Medley Modern Mediterranean
The Greek diet, chockful of vegetables, whole grains, dairy, and fish, is often regarded as one of the healthiest cuisines in the world. Medley uses this as inspiration for its fresh and colorful dishes that feel both new and authentic to its origins. It offers salads on salads on salads—Medley incorporates tiny salads with its sandwiches and offers it as an additional option for sides. For example, the Baked Falafel bite is a vegetarian option that contains chickpea salad, corn salad, and beet salad in one bowl—that's three salads in one! Never say that a salad leaves you hungry again.
- Baked Falafel Bite
- Seared Tuna Sashimi
- Guilt-free Greek
B6 Fully Booked building, Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City
7| Green Bar
Created by born-and-bred vegan sisters Jaderani and Sarada Santos, Green Bar is a highly acclaimed hole-in-the-wall in Makati that offers a “comfort food” take on vegan dishes, showing its diners that cruelty-free need not be boring or bland. It's a great vegan eatery, so you can count on it having some of the best salads in Manila. There are four standard salad bowl offerings, but customers can also build a bowl from Green Bar’s base, veggie, plant-based protein, grain, and dressing options.
- Hollywood Bowl
- Texas BBQ Bowl
West of Ayala, Urban Avenue, Legaspi Village, Makati; 02-885-7537.
8| Salad Bowl
If you can't get enough greens in your diet, you might want to make a detour here because it's serious about serving some great salads. True to its name, Salad Bowl offers signature salad bowls plus an eat-all-you-can salad buffet with a wide variety of greens and homemade dressings at your fingertips. Diners can also choose to have an off-the-grill steak with their salad, or take a bite out of those Instagram-friendly Tomato Barrels, which are massive, hollowed out tomatoes that are stuffed with chicken, fish, or vegetables.
- Mixed Seafood Salad
- Barbeque Chicken Salad
- Peanut Curry Salmon
Molito Lifestyle Building, Madrigal Avenue corner Commerce Avenue, Alabang, Muntinlupa; 02-805-3690.
9| People’s Palace
One of the best Thai places in Manila undoubtedly serves one of the best salads in Manila, too. Thai food is notoriously healthy, with the cuisine’s penchant for fresh herbs and spices that have immune-boosting and disease-fighting power. Also, vegetables. Lots. People’s Palace, from Chef Colin Mackay of Blackbird, serves a wide selection of flavorful Thai dishes from popular street food Chicken and Pork Satay to the classic Pad Thai, and of course, fresh salads.
- Prawn, pomelo, chicken and coconut salad
- Crispy catfish with green mango salad
- Roast duck salad
Greenbelt 3, Makati City; 02-729-2888.
10| Corner Tree Café
Pretty much an institution in the local vegetarian scene, Corner Tree is known to make a mean salad. It's been beside that massive Narra tree (hence the name) on Jupiter Street for over a decade, and has finally opened up another location in nearby Power Plant Mall. Its staying power is due to the way it consistently serves delicious food each and every time, with positive word of mouth reaching many a famous client. Reviews often say that they forget Corner Tree is a vegetarian restaurant, and that they will recommend the food to anyone, regardless of their diet. It is quite simply good food (and good salads).
- Corner Tree Café’s Raw Organic Salad
- Japanese Mixed Seaweed Salad
- Caramelized Apple and Feta Salad
SALADS THAT DELIVER
11| Isabel's Dewy Morning Greens
The greens from Isabel’s food delivery service are harvested from owners Gerry and Isabel Bacarro’s farm in Alfonso, Cavite. Mom Isabel would create her own salad dressings to give to her children, which then became such a hit that the family made it a business. Interested customers can purchase a solo salad or subscribe to Isabel’s Meal Plan, or better yet, create their own plan. Isabel's has become incredibly popular among Manila salad lovers. They even offer platters for a salad party.
- Isabel’s Caesar Salad
- Salmon Pecan
- Kani Mango Salad
12| Green Giant Salad
Green Giant Salad or GG Salad has been offering salad-based meals since 2015. It has six types of meal plans: Basic for those who are starting out and want to increase their vegetable intake, PescaPollo, which will use fish and chicken as primary sources of protein, Pescatarian for seafood lovers, Complete, which has beef, turkey, and eggs, Low Carb for those who prescribe to a high-fat, high protein Keto diet, and Vegetarian. GGSalad also offers Flexi Plans or customized meal programs.
- Crusted Fish Chimichurri
- Chicken Jambalaya
13| Greek to Go’s Greek Salad
Okay, so Greek to Go recently announced that it’ll be opening a bistro in Anonas on March 28, but considering it's been operating far longer as a delivery service (est. 2014), we placed it here for now. It was the famously succinct food critic @masarapba that brought Greek to Go’s Greek Salad to mainstream consciousness, and rightfully so—it probably has the best Greek salad in Manila: fresh, savory, and authentic, with organic vegetables and crisp Greek flavors (its olive oil is reportedly homegrown by the owner’s family all the way in Greece). Greek to Go also offers Tzatziki, Kalamaki, and their homemade premium EVOO.