Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Agico Vegetarian Restaurant: a veggie lover's paradise!

I had this misconception about vegetarian food as a boring and bland cuisine. However, when I visited Agico Vegetarian Restaurant, I was amazed at their interesting vegetarian cuisine. According to the owner, the restaurant was conceptualized out of her desire to introduce others to the benefits of vegetarianism. As a practicing vegetarian for over 35 years, she has experimented with creating the best and finest vegetarian recipes from available local and imported ingredients. She also made sure that these recipes would not alienate meat lovers. As a compromise, she made local and international meat dishes without the meat. Instead, she used meat substitutes from mushrooms and other vegetables. The meals still use dairy and poultry unlike vegan dishes which don't make use of the former. Also, the meals are usually made from organic ingredients.

The restaurant's menu consisted of over 80 varieties of foods from world cuisines. Mostly these were from Filipino, American, Japanese, Chinese, and Italian favorites. The menu items range from Php 200-400 per dish, good for sharing.

To begin, I started with the buchi, This one was made from Lotus Seeds and flour dough. It wasn't so special, but it was pretty tasty and hot, though.

The gyoza was filled with Shiitake mushroom bits and other vegetables. The mushrooms served as the substitute to the meaty flavor usually expected from the Japanese dumpling. Once I dipped it into the gyoza sauce and tasted it, I enjoyed the special appeal of the dish.

The Tofu steak was composed of fried and breaded chunks of tofu topped with a mushroom and bell pepper garnish. I must say that the fried tofu was not too oily; plus the garnish gave the tofu a meaty and savory flavor. According to the owner, just one piece of the dish is equivalent to half a kilo of protein contained in meat.

The Takoyaki was a vegetarian sushi with special vegetarian meatloaf as the meat topping substitute. The dish was very tasty when dipped in the special Butanaki sauce. I must say that once again, the dish did not taste like a cheap vegetable substitute. It was a true top class meaty dish without the carcinogens of pork.

The Baked Lasagna was a huge chunk of vegetable lasagana akin to the one traditionally made in Italian restaurants. Each layer of the lasagna dough had a generous helping of "meat". It was drizzled with fresh tomato sauce and a sprinkling of mozzarella. I was easily able to finish half of it due to the excellent interplay of sweet and sour flavors. And also because of the cheese.

The Okonomiyaki, surprisingly, was very filling even it it was made out of pure vegetables. The recipe used lots of wakame, cabbage, and the special mayonnaise. It looked like the typical Japanese fried pancake. The dish had a savory vegetable taste. It wasn't too salty as well. I finished a whole slice with ease due to the light texture of the pancake.

The Drinks included the Goji Berry (Orange), the Lemongrass (Yellow), and the Apple Cucumber (green)

The Beef Tapa was their newest dish. The fried rice was garnished with olive leaves instead of the traditional garlic for a more alkaline rather than acidic flavor. The tapa really looked like real beef. Instead, we had a special kind of mushroom which served as a meat substitute. The taste and texture of the "meat" was truly close to the typical tapa dish. I enjoyed every bite of the Tapa because of its strong resemblance to beef and still without chemicals or toxic substances.

The Bacon Mushroom Burger by far was the tastiest. The "meat" bacon and patty did not contain any extenders or cheats such as gluten, which by the way, is harmful to one's health in excessive quantities. Every bite of this burger reminded me of a tasty one in a high end burger joint. This one , though, was without the calories and fats.

The three protein filled dishes.

Another shot of the dishes.

A chunk of the Bacon Mushroom Cheeseburger showed that it was filled with mushrooms and their special meat-like blend. I loved the meaty texture and the lack of oiliness from every bite. 

The Goji Berry Juice was a bitter drink, but is full of health benefits, such as those for good eyesight.

Agico Vegetarian Restaurant showed me that a filling dish with familiar meaty flavors can be made. Also these can be done using the freshest and tastiest vegetables that are also organic and filled with nutrients at the same time. Talk about being a health buff and being interesting to meat lovers such as me!

Agico is located at 83 Araullo Street, Addition Hills, Mandaluyong City. It is open from 10 am to 10 pm, Monday to Sunday.
Agico Vegetarian Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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