Corner Tree Cafe

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 24 reviews )

150 Jupiter Street, Miladay Building, Makati City (at Saturn St), Metro Manila, Philippines,

Cozy atmosphere, hints of old world with a few modern touches. Plays old jazz, classical, and world music. Sample menu items such as tofu-walnut burger, dukka, organic wine, spinach & mushroom lasagna, North African veg stew. Open Mon-Sun 11:00am-10:00pm.

Category: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Ovo, International, Beer/Wine, Take-out, Filipino

Reviews (24)

First Review by bad.sneakers

Cozy little cafe! - Edit

Met up with a friend in Makati who is vegetarian, and this was the closest vegetarian/vegan-friendly place to us. I was charmed upon seeing the cafe across the street and was charmed even further when I walked inside the door.

We both had kare-kare; my foreigner friend enjoyed it. I was not particularly impressed but I wouldn't say that I didn't like it as I did end up cleaning my plate! ;)

I haven't been here enough times to give a high or bad rating yet. I would definitely go back here to try other dishes, and really look forward to it!

Pros: Lovely ambience, Good food quality, Lots of vegan options

Cons: Servings too small for the price

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Viel Vegan - Edit

Kleines vegetarisches Restaurant, mit vielen veganen Optionen.
Essen schmeckt gut, ist aber zu teuer und dafür zu kleine Portionen.
Personal, besonders die beleibte Kellnerin, sehr unfreundlich. Diese Erfahrung habe ich leider oft auf den Philippinen gemacht, wenn das Trinkgeld automatisch abgezogen wurde.
Da es nicht viele vegane Möglichkeiten in Manila gibt, war ich dort öfters essen.

Pros: Viele vegane Optionen, roter Reis, kostenloses Tri

Cons: Teuer, zu kleine Portionen, lange Wartezeit, sehr

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Still good, but... - Edit

When I discovered this place last summer I was delighted; sure it was expensive for Philippines standards, but it was original, very good, the setting cozy, and the owner friendly.
But coming back on these Christmas holidays I have been a bit disappointed; indeed, after the joy of discovery, these steep prices considering the small portions become old, the staff is not very welcoming, and all things considered, vegan meals aren't the majority.
(For a more underground but friendlier atmosphere and almost exclusively vegan menus, I prefer eating at the veg places at The Collective, a kilometer away.)
Some options are still very appreciable and for a decent price, like the smoothies or the vegan chocolate cake (aw, if only they had it!)

Pros: Meals quality, Setting

Cons: Staff could be nicer, Price for quantity

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Let down by the staff - Edit

After a fortnight traveling around the Philippines and struggling to find vegan food I was delighted to spend my last evening here at the raved about Corner Tree Cafe. I arrived very excited by the lovely decor and wide array of dishes on the menu and specials board. I started off with the vegetable dumplings. A big favourite of mine throughout my travels of Asia. Unfortunately although packed; there were large chunks of uncooked ginger, not the most pleasing to have to chew, inside the under cooked dough. The vinegar dipping sauce received mixed reviews. Although not bad it didn't compliment the flavour of the dumplings. An underwhelming and frankly stodgy start.
My main of "Kare-Karang Gulay" admittedly wasn't the best choice. Firstly it came whilst we still had our starter plates on the table which I had to hold up out of the way before the sour faced waitress took it away. Again this dish was very stodgy and somehow everything was the same texture, as if the vegetables had been over cooked and the whole dish sat around for too long. Not the "garden fresh and zesty" dish described. The organic red rice and vegetarian bagoong however were fine.
Not the finest food we'd ever had, we thought maybe we'd just chosen the wrong dishes. However when we tried to get the attention of a waitress to ask for separate checks she briskly went off to get the check before properly acknowledging us so we could explain what we wanted. When the single check did come and we asked for separate checks due to only having large bills and admittedly being bad at math she snatched the check from me and heaved a disgusted sigh. I genuinely felt from the look we received guilty, as if I'd missed the memo and was asking for something incredulous. She was incredibly rude in her expression and didn't once even hint at a smile, leaving us with a sour taste all over. An unfortunate experience for our last night, which could have been easily erected by basic good customer service (for which we were charged 12%). I do believe we got a bad waitress possibly having a bad day, the waiter who took away our dishes and seated us seemed lovely.

Pros: Wide array of dishes , nice ambience

Cons: Food wasn't great , Worst customer service

2 Responses

Chiqui Mabanta 23 Mar 2016 - First of all, sorry for the delayed response. I saw this review just recently and had a talk with the staff. The waitress has apologized and said it will never happen again. She said she was very tired but still not an excuse for bad service.

Sorry you were disappointed with the food. It really must have been a bad day because the dumplings are one of the most popular (and delicious) starters at the cafe. The Kare-Kare too, although maybe it is more a Filipino thing. I've asked the foreigners though, what they think of it and they say they really like it but thanks for reminding that maybe the vegetables were overcooked. I've reminded the kitchen to keep it crunchy. So sorry it wasn't a great experience for you. I've spoken to many people who've told me it was the best restaurant in their entire holidays and many just keep coming back which is why it is disappointing to hear that this happened.

Thank you for the feedback though -- it helps us keep striving to make things better. If you are back one day, let us treat you to a nice meal. Thanks again.

Chiqui (owner)  

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Chiqui Mabanta 23 Mar 2016 - Oh -- I should delete the word "maybe" (on overcooked vegetables)  

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Cosy Cafe - Edit

It has a great atmosphere and nice to get raw food options. The food is a bit pricey with small portions.

The asparagus panini was delicious but ridiculously tiny and not at all filling for the price. The walnut burger was ok, the cabbage and cauliflower meatballs were different and hearty flavoured but the best dish was veggie nut roast with mashed potatoes, gravy and veg.

The peanut and chocolate ice scream skoop leaved something to desired, mostly tasty like frozen peanut butter.

Overall it was lovely place to grab a meal with eco friendly bamboo straws and the idea is nice, but choose your dishes wisely as it's expensive and you might still be hungry after the small portions.

Pros: nice atmosphere, raw options, eco friendly/conscious

Cons: pricey for what you get, skimpy portions, service could of been friendlier

1 Response

Chiqui Mabanta 03 Feb 2016 - Hi there, thanks for your review. Yes, the asparagus panini could be bigger. We don't make the bread but we did fill it up with as much asparagus as possible (I hate when there aren't enough veggies). We price our food base on cost of ingredients and unfortunately gruyere is quite expensive here and so is the cashew pesto. If it was some cheap cheddar, it'd be a different story. If I use bigger bread (we like the bread supplier), the cost would go up again. We've kept that at a minumum markup. Anyway, I'll see if I can find bigger bread and see if we can keep it at the same cost.
We don't make the vegan ice cream either. Sometimes, it is creamy (when newly delivered) but that's actually my favourite flavour. But anyway... thanks again for the comments. Will work on the sandwich.

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Lives up to its reputation - Edit

We had heard good things about Corner Tree Café, and found them to be true. The food is excellent, the staff friendly and the atmosphere is nice as well.

The helpings are moderate but definitely sufficient and the prices are appropriate for a good vegetarian restaurant in Makati. Try the laing!

Pros: Tasty, Friendly, Relaxed

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Incredible food!! but shame about the service. - Edit

After hearing great things about this place in reviews as well as it getting a mention in the lonely planet guide, I couldn't wait to try the Corner tree cafe. 
As you walk inside the cafe it has a very different feel to any other vegetarian I'd been too in the Philippines. It had a European feel to it, which I liked, as it felt quite unique for Manila.
Where ever Id been so far in the Philippines whether it be a shop, restaurant, bar anywhere basically I'd been welcomed with a warm smile and received all in all, excellent service. But sadly the service here did not match this. As we walked in, we were not welcomed or seated we seated ourselves. We arrived around midday on the Saturday of the popes visit to Manila so the restaurant was quiet as most people were out on the streetand at that point my partner and I were the only ones in there. We had to get up to order our drinks then get up and go to the counter to order. I had a general feeling from the staff that they didn't really want to be there, and we by no means felt welcomed. 
However credit where credits due! The food was fantastic. The menu was very extensive it had everything from sandwiches, to stews to burgers and a good selection of Pinoy food too (traditional Filippino food made veggie) I had the walnut tofu burger which seems to have become something of signature dish for Corner Tree and it lives up to it's reputation. It was one of the best meals I had eaten during my time in the Philippines. It was filling and well cooked and the sweet potato fries were lovely too, oh and the vegan mayonnaise that was a nice surprise. So basically 10 out of 10 for food My partner had one of the Pinoy dishes the 'Kare Kareng Gulay' which was a garden vegetable dish with zesty thick organic peanut sauce. we both really enjoyed our food.
This restaurant was just sadly let down by service. To our great surprise a 10% service charge was added to our bill. I later realised this was mentioned in the small print in the menu. I like good service and have no problems paying for it, but in this case we very nearly didn't pay it, as we felt a bit let down. However on the basis of the food quality I would defiantly come and eat here again and just hope other things about the restaurant had improved.

Pros: Great vegan food in the heart of Manila, Walnut Tofu Burger , Very good choice

Cons: Bad service on the day I visited.

1 Response

Chiqui Mabanta 14 Dec 2015 - Hello Kesia!
First of all, sorry for this really delayed response. Didn't see this until now! And a huge apology for the disappointing service. I hate that! (bad service and feeling unwelcome) Will have a huge discussion with the staff, even if this happened a while back. Thank you for the feedback! Hoping they will realize the effect they have on customers. They do get a lot of positive feedback from others though and unfortunately, you were there on a bad day. I know there shouldn't be bad days. Will forward your message and discuss (and yes, I should check on Happy Cow more often!) Again, thank you for the constructive feedback. Glad you liked the place and food anyway!

Chiqui (the owner)

If you are still around, hoping you can come around for a meal :-)  

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Reviews were correct - great place to eat - Edit

Great food, cheaper than in the states but maybe high for Manila. Everything was wonderful.

Pros: Great atmosphere, Good Vegan food, Good Service

Cons: Maybe not for those on a tight budget.

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great atmosphere, food is ok - Edit

The atmosphere is delightful.
The servers are great.
The food is only ok.
The price is a bit high.

I've been to the Corner Tree more than 15 times over the past 5 years. The atmosphere keeps getting better, yet the food always stays the same. Its a great DATE place.

Pros: atmosphere, food quality

Cons: taste of food, price

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Very tasty food - Edit

I have visited this place now 5 times in 12 days with two of my meat eating friends. We have more or less ordered the entire menu between us.

I find all their food very tasty and could not fault it. The Spinach chowder soup . burger plate and pizza all excellent

The service is good even when busy but we have had a few small issues , we were overcharged one time and 2 times or food or drinks have been given to other tables.

The place its self is cute and very homely and music is ok.

Toilet is outside which is fine , also clean.

Coffee nice

Most of their juices come from a bottle so not great and none of us really liked any of them. They do in-house lemonade and Mango lassies which were goood.

Sweets / deserts again are all bought in and are just average but all vegan.

Average price for 3 is around 2000 - 2500 pestos except when you get over charged it can go to 3000. We did go back next day and they credited our account for next visit which they honoured.

Pros: Very Tasty, Good selection, Friendly Staff

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The best - Edit

Simply The best!

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Best Veg Restaurant In Makati - Edit

I'd even go as far as saying it is one of the better restaurants of any category in Makati. I don't hesitate in bringing my non-veg friends here, and they've all enjoyed it.

Pros: Taste, Selection

1 Response

Chiqui Mabanta 07 Feb 2014 - Hi Bgilly,

Thanks for that happy review! Glad you always enjoy your visits to the cafe.


Chiqui Mabanta (owner)  

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Ok Food. Nice Atmosphere - Edit

The food is ok here. I've been several times trying to capture what other reviewers have found so great--but to no avail. Vegan dishes lack a lot. The Tofu Walnut Burger--as other reviewers have pointed out--is very dry. Even if you get gravy on it, it's still dry. Other dishes are not big or exciting but you can certainly find something to eat with ease. Sunday brunch vegan pancakes are quite good and a good portion. Don't expect a lot for your money though for other dishes. A side of tofu scramble for 100 pesos will get you about 2 tablespoons of tofu! My partner and I once ordered vegan pizza that was on their specials menu--and it was a half of a pita with sauce and dry cashew cheese sparsely drizzled on--and it wasn't cheap. I think the cooks may rely heavily on milk, eggs, and cheese--so perhaps the excellent reviews reflect vegetarian rather than vegan food here.
They do carry a new vegan ice cream that is much better than their previous one! Chocolate cake is a toss up. Some people love it, I find it a bit dry. It's not made in house though, so no blame there.
My friends recommend the Kare Kare and the Arroz a la Cubana

Pros: All veg menu, good, new vegan ice cream, Vegan pancakes/Sunday brunch

Cons: not much for your money, vegan options lack a lot, service is lackluster

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Nice place, good food - Edit

A nice and cozy place in busy Jupiter street. Friendly staff and a variety of international dishes among which three adaptions of traditional Philippine dishes. I went there four times and the food was always good, although it did not particularly wow me (I guess I had extremely high expectations due to reviews I read elsewhere).

Especially I liked Kare-Kareng Gulay - a vegan version of a traditional Filipino stew made with fresh veggies and an organic peanut sauce, served with organic red rice and vegan "bagoong" (made of fermented beans instead of the traditional fermented shrimps). The vegan chocolate cake was very good. Only the vegan ice cream - something with "coconut kefir" I believe - was a bit of a disappointment, it was indeed VERY frozen and was served in a plastic bowl with cover and an unreadable sticker on top, and I did not feel it tasted good, to put it mildly.

Still, a great place, worth at least 4 stars!
Updated from previous review on Friday March 15, 2013

Pros: cozy place, good food, friendly staff

1 Response

Chiqui Mabanta 07 Feb 2014 - Hi Gudrun,

Thanks a lot for your feedback, both positive and negative! About the keffir ice cream, yes that is usually the problem. We don't make it but our local vegan ice cream makers find it difficult to reach a creamy texture because it doesn't contain dairy. They still haven't figured it out but will let them know again your feedback.

Thanks for taking the time to review and happy you were generally happy with our cafe :-)

Chiqui Mabanta (owner)  

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Nice surroundings but food just OK - Edit

My partner and I visited this place for lunch a couple of times in mid-to-late January 2012. It is in a nice little cottage with a pleasant interior and my according to my partner (who understands Tagalog and overheard some conversations) the clientele tends towards the upmarket. I ordered a vegan version of the tofu walnut burger and unfortunately found it dry, as if everything that might have made it moist was non-vegan and had been removed. The banana-peanut butter smoothie I had was delicious, although some might find it a bit heavy. We also had lumpias (spring rolls) and they were good too. One utter, almost shocking disappointment was the vegan ice cream. My partner ordered it and it came in a plastic tub. It was coffee-flavoured and frozen solid. After a few spoonfuls, he told me he couldn't eat any more because it was so bad. I took over and sure enough it actually tasted like vomit, complete with gravelly coffee granules for texture. There were plenty of options we didn't try and I would go back, but the general experience for us was average.

Pros: Able to identify vegan options, Cosy setting

Cons: Vegan versions lacklustre, Bad vegan ice cream

1 Response

Chiqui Mabanta 07 Feb 2014 - Hi Tiggy,
Thanks a lot for your feedback. I know this is a year late but haven't really checked this site. I get notices from Trip Advisor but not Happy Cow.

We have since improved our tofu walnut burger simply by adding vegan mayo. Reason I never did before was I'd get positive feedback from vegans all the time. I wondered if they didn't mind it was dry but I guess some vegans are just happy to find vegan food, so thanks for that. You now have a choice of vegan mayo or humus actually.

re Ice cream, we don't make it. This vegan girl does and I have sent her the feedback. That one gets mixed reviews too -- many people come for it, and some feel the same (why in a plastic cup, and rock hard).

Not sure if you are still in Manila, but thanks anyway for all the comments on the food. We continue to try improving any way we can.

Hoping your next visit will be better than average :-)

Chiqui Mabanta (owner)  

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Make sure you try the dukkah. - Edit

When some Filipino vegans I knew recommended Corner Tree Cafe, I was eager to taste their delicious looking cuisine I'd caught a glimpse of off Facebook.

I was greeted by smiles from the staff, and also noticed the owner herself was in the cafe with some friends. Undecided about what I wanted to have, I consulted the staff member who informed me that the tofu walnut burger would be the best choice as it was their best seller.

In the end I settled on dukkah, pumpkin soup and the tofu walnut burger with a side of organic salad. My favourite would have to be the dip, as the warm chunks of whole wheat bread were wonderfully crisp and went perfectly with the EVOO and dukkah itself. The pumpkin soup was okay but was not different to others that I have had before. The tofu burger was quite a large serving although again it was okay, but did not amaze me. Unfortunately the accompanying side salad was nothing special and made me regret not getting chips instead. I additionally ordered a slice of salted caramel cake to take away as its description made it hard to resist. The caramel was salty and gooey indeed, making a decadent dessert.

Overall although my first visit did not make me fall in love with the food, I still plan on trying other dishes because I am certain there will be something I will thoroughly enjoy.

Pros: A wide variety of choices, Good value

Cons: Lack of parking, Hard to spot signage

2 Responses

Chiqui Mabanta 06 Dec 2012 - Hi there. Sorry the TOfu Walnut Burger did not impress. It's funny because some people go there for that then we get a few like you. I guess it's difficult to get it right for everyone. Although it is one of our "topsellers". I personally wouldn't recommend it as a first-time dish precisely because it is not a 100% hit (maybe 80%). If you do come back, please try our Arroz ala Cubana, or the Spinach & Mushroom Lasagna, or the Tofu Teriyaki with shiitake mushrooms & asparagus over red rice. We also serve an excellent Veg Chili with Cornbread. Thanks for your helpful feedback anyway and sorry for the super late response!


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PhysicsNinja 21 Jan 2013 - Update:

Re-visited Corner Tree Cafe twice since my initial visit. On my first return I opted for the spinach pechay soup, the roasted chestnut soup (which was a special of the week), and arroz caldo. I thoroughly enjoyed the roasted chestnut soup and wish I could've had more. The arroz caldo was just as delicious, especially garnished with crunchy pieces of tofu on top. That was the first time ever in my life that I have had arroz caldo, and tasting CTC's version made me wonder why I have never had any before. So far, this is my favourite dish from the cafe.

The second time around I returned with family for a late lunch. Since no one else in my family is vegetarian they played it safe by ordering spinach lasagne and grilled cheese. Although at first my family, especially my youngest siblings were a bit skeptical,in the end they cleaned up their plates. I myself had the kare-kare, since every other restaurant I've been to use animal based stock. My favourite part about the dish was the vegan bagoong made of black beans; it beautifully complimented the kare-kare sauce.

Thank you for excellent customer service and for listening to all the reviews. I will make sure to try your suggestions, and hope you all the best! Also, congratulations on your award, it is well deserved.  

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Well worth a visit! (Make a reservation) - Edit

We were very glad that we took other reviewers' advice and made a reservation, as it was packed. The place is very cute inside, small and nicely decorated. There's A/C (yay!). The staff was very nice, and we chatted a little with the owner, too.

There are a lot of non-vegan dishes, but they're clearly labelled, and we felt that we had enough vegan choices. (I'd still like to see more vegan options on the menu, though.)

We had a burger (good), a stew (ok), the carrot soup (amazing), a banana peanut shake (excellent), and chocolate cake (you must order it!). Everything came to just under $24, which is maybe expensive by Philippine standards, but seemed like a good value. I'd happily go back.

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will definitely go again - Edit

The place can be packed, call ahead to reserve seating. This is one of the healthiest tasting meals I've had in Makati. I would be comfortable bringing friends and family, even if they are not vegetarian. We had the tofu burger, carrot soup, salad to share, lemonade, chocolate cake, orange sorbet. All were consistantly yummy. Service was great even though it was crowded. Cozy small space.

Pros: food, parking

Cons: parking

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