Yani Café: Our Newest Vegan-Friendly Joint

Meeting friends over coffee or simply enjoying a cup of latte has been a problem recently as coffee shops at malls in the metro are almost always full by the time we get there. But, on a visit to a bank in downtown Pasig recently, we were surprised to discover a chic but roomy café nearby. We liked it so much we have adopted it since as a meeting place with friends.

Yani Cafe interior

The first thing we noticed upon entering Yani Café is its spacious and elegant interior. We’ve read somewhere that one of Yani Café’s advocacies is promoting a strong sense of community; the wide interior spaces certainly encourage that.

Yani Cafe counter

There are power sockets beneath the tables making the café an ideal place to work on your laptop or hold meetings. They even have a mini-library and a small collection of board games for customers to use.

cup of coffee and Alisa

But it’s the coffee and food here that’s tops on our minds and Yani doesn’t disappoint. The coffee is good and they can serve it using soya or almond milk which these whole-foods, plant-based eaters certainly appreciate. They also have a vegan drink called Alisa, a non-coffee drink featuring cocoa with a hint of coconut.

The dishes are primarily comfort food but we’ve had lunch on two occasions here since they serve pasta and gourmet sandwiches. Owner Richie Bernardo’s 20 year-experience as a chef in the U.S. is certainly reflected in the quality of the food at Yani. A delightful surprise is the affordability of both drinks and dishes without a sacrifice in quality.

nachos and Sallee's Salsa

Another welcome surprise (for us at least) is the availability of vegan options in the menu. For appetizers we usually feasted on nachos with delicious Sallee’s Salsa.

Pasta dishes include a delicate vegan spaghetti with eggplant, carrots, peas and crumbs.

Vegan pasta

Yani has a beef risotto with black truffle but we went with the vegan option (non-dairy) of vegetable risotto with black truffle.

vegetable risotto with black truffle

The above dishes were excellent but what we enjoyed the most was their rich and moist eggplant panini.

eggplant panini

Meat eaters need not worry as many of the menu items at Yani are meat-based such as their Bolognese pasta, beef panini, creamy chicken tarts and beef & cheese nachos. On our visits here, friends opted to try the vegan options and actually enjoyed them. When it came to dessert, however, we let them try Yani’s carrot cake (which has cream cheese) and mango pie. Both desserts, however, are light enough and not overly sweet.

carrot cake slice

On some occasions we went with Belle’s vegan cookies for dessert, washed down with coffee latte in almond milk.

Belle's vegan cookie with muffins

A section of Yani Café includes a mini-grocery of food items locally grown. Another of Yani’s advocacies is helping our homegrown producers and this is their way of promoting such.

With such an airy and attractive setting and dishes that suit our diet it seems Yani Café will remain a favorite of ours for a long time.

Yani Cafe is located at the second floor of Mariposa Arcade along A. Mabini street in Kapasigan, Pasig – the old downtown section of the city.

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