Friday, May 4, 2012

Tomato Kick: Part 1 of The Great Maginhawa Food Trip

If you live in the Quezon City area, you've probably heard of Maginhawa Street, that artist-culture-foodie haven located in UP Village, Quezon City. A nice quiet street by day, a crowded youth hub by night, this place boasts some of the most unique food finds this side of town!

Because Maginhawa's not-so-hidden treasures cannot be contained into one post, I'll be covering five of Maginhawa's best in this series which I dub The Great Maginhawa Food Trip. (Which, I know, is a ridiculous title, but there are just no other words fit to describe the sheer awesomeness of the Maginhawa experience.)

Just a quick teaser of the upcoming posts in the series ;)

This post is the first of a five-part series called The Great Maginhawa Food Trip.
Part 1: Tomato Kick
Part 2: Friuli Trattoria
Part 3: Cocina Juan

For this post, we'll be starting off with one of the most well-known spots in Maginhawa: Tomato Kick.

A popular watering hole for students of the University of the Philippines, Tomato Kick has a laidback casual vibe that makes it the perfect hang-out. When you see the sign, you'll probably have trouble finding the entrance as we did, but it's actually on the second floor.

The resto/bar consists of an open air dining space and a bit of indoor space next to the bar and kitchen. The whole store is back-to-basics: the place is bare except for chairs and tables, there's no fancy decor. It's actually rare to find a restaurant that's so confident in the quality of their food that they just forgo everything else.

And they have good reason to do so, too. The food is excellent. They serve a wide variety of dishes that, while may not fall under a specific country's cuisine, are all things that would go really well with a nice cocktail or some other form of alcoholic beverage, which they also have a pretty good selection of.

The first dish we tried is this Pesto Marinara Penne.

(Side note: I was initially confused by the name, because "Marinara" in Italian cuisine refers to a tomato-based sauce, but Tomato Kick isn't pretending to be an Italian restaurant by any means: it calls this dish "marinara" because of the seafood.)

Pesto Marinara Penne 

Despite the odd name, this pasta is incredible. You have an option on which type of pasta you wish to be bathed in this heavenly seafood sauce, by the way. I really hate it when restaurants call "green leafy mush" pesto because that's not pesto at all; Tomato Kick, however, does pesto extremely well. The herbs in the sauce are fragrant and flavorful, and the dish does not skimp at all on the fresh seafood, consisting of squid, shrimp, mussels and clams. 

Next up are Beef Fajitas, somewhat like a Mexican shawarma.

The beef strips were just right, slightly tough but enough to give the dish a unique texture. Salty, spicy and tangy all at once, the beef is stir-fried with sweet onions, fresh veggies, and lots of cheesy goodness and wrapped in a soft, thin tortilla. Added to that already fiery combination is a light sour cream sauce that just takes this dish to another level entirely.

And finally (at least for this store), we had this guilty pleasure -- Cheesy Bacon Potato Wedges.

Deep fried thick-cut salt-and-peppery potato wedges, topped with smoky bacon bits and smothered in creamy cheese sauce. Once this dish arrived at our table, all bets were off. We indulged ourselves in solemn silence, interrupting occasionally only to proclaim its deliciousness, until we reached the bottom of the orange-stained bowl. Is there really any need for me to further describe just how good this was?

In case I haven't made it clear enough, I loved Tomato Kick. Despite looking all unpretentious, it totally blew me away! The food is unbelievably good, and it's all at such low prices, I find myself wishing I lived near the vicinity so that I can just hop over anytime I want some good ol' comfort food.

Tomato Kick
55 Maginhawa St., UP Village, Quezon City
Branch: Katipunan
Opening hours: Mon-Sat: 11:00 am - 2:00 am


  1. Saw this a while ago (while going to work). Pasta as good as those in Banapple, maybe? :D

  2. I haven't actually tried the pasta in Banapple (what?! I know!) but the one in Tomato Kick is really good. :)

  3. Their Seafood marinara is the best pasta for me..try it also guys, you'll love it too...