Moving to a new place is always exciting, action-packed, and sometimes a little scary. After all, you’re in brand new surroundings (probably), and without being familiar and comfortable with your regular confines. At first, even your daily routine is pretty damn exhilarating as you scope out your new favorite coffee shop, restaurant, gym, and more, usually starting closest to your apartment or house and moving out.
That’s certainly what I’m doing as I embark on a new chapter residing in Manila, the massive capital city in the Philippines. Of course, Manila is so big (and the traffic so hideous, more importantly) that getting a place in a good neighborhood with lots of food options, a little nightlife, and amenities nearby is crucial.
So upon my walk through the Bonifacio Global City area and the High Street outdoor plaza, I was thrilled to find Salad Stop.
From the outside of its glass façade, it looks almost like a Jamba Juice with its open format, green and yellow colorful chairs packed in, and a long service bar. But this restaurant specializes in…yup, you guessed it.
I tried it today and have some glowing things to say, but also a few criticisms.
First off, the whole persona of the place as a healthy alternative to enrich lives is well-done and much-needed in the health-deprived Philippines.
In fact, the slogan that they have plastered everywhere is “Eat Wide Awake,” which is a pretty cool mantra. They go on to explain their mission with a quote painted on the back wall, “We are not just a food chain. We are a movement that believes it is a basic human right to truly eat well.”
Another mural explains how they try to buy only the best organic produce and veggies, sourced locally, etc. etc.
I saw that the build-your-own menu includes lettuce of course, but then eight other toppings, which is a good deal. I just opted for the Cobb salad to keep it simple.
They screwed up and gave me ranch dressing (it comes with that) instead of the carrot ginger dressing I ordered, but it wasn’t a big enough deal for me to send it back.
In all, the salad was good, and no complaints and even the avocado was tasty. However, the ranch dressing was drowning it, and I saw that the lettuce was slightly browned and wilted – not exactly going with their high-end fresh theme, especially since they should be doing so much volume of lettuce that it’s crisp and new every day.
A trip to salad stop will also cost you a little green (pun intended), as it’s certainly not cheap, but still fair by Philippines standards. Their regular build-your-own salad menu or my Cobb salad will cost around $6.50 or so. It’s enough not to be considered a small portion, but probably not filling enough unless you add protein like grilled chicken or the like. They also sell small waters for 30 Pesos (65 cents or so), but it’s not even worth getting those since they have clean service water (free drinking water) readily available, which helps keep the total cost down.
I’ll be back for sure, as a good salad is hard to find, but I’ll also pick and choose what I order carefully.