Feed your body and your soul
Imagine this: a restaurant dedicated to helping the poor, completely operated by French-speaking, internationally-trained nuns who come from all over the world, serving up truly authentic French cuisine. It might sound like something taken out of the pages of a storybook, but this fairy tale experience can be found right in Manila!
L’Eau Vive (pronounced “loo-veev“) isn’t a restaurant that you come across everyday. Conveniently located just by Mabini Bridge, L’Eau Vive’s true roots can be found in France, where their doors first opened back in 1960.
The L’Eau Vive’s story starts with a French priest named Father Marcel Roussel-Galle. Driven by the desire to be able to better reach out to people and spread the teachings of the Church, Father Marcel received divine inspiration that revealed to him that, while everybody might not go to Church, everybody definitely eats. So he set out to share the gospel teachings through the universal language of food.
L’Eau Vive can be translated into living water and the restaurant takes its name from the story of Jesus and the Samaritan Woman at the well. Teaching the Samaritan woman that to “receive the gift of God is to receive the living water“, the living water representing Jesus himself, L’Eau Vive has made it their mission for over 50 years to provide not just physical nourishment but spiritual fulfillment, as well.
Tucked away in their little corner of Manila just nearby Robinsons Otis, L’Eau Vive actually opened in the Philippines in 1981. For over 30 years, L’Eae Vive has dedicated itself to being a restaurant with a difference, with outreach projects for less fortunate communities all over the country.
With every dish that they served becoming a contribution to their mission to reach out to those in need, L’Eau Vive truly believes that “When you dine you help”.
Tournedos au poivre et au cognac
The amazing women that run the missionary-apostolate are Carmelite nuns who have truly dedicated their lives to their work and calling. Hailing from all over the world, nuns from France, South Africa, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines all unite to serve the less fortunate.
Fun Fact: The official language in all of the L'Eau Vive restaurants is French and all of the nuns are required to learn and speak it
The nuns receive their training in France or Rome, with most of them doing rotations in French kitchens to truly learn and experience authentic French cuisine.
These ladies take their work very seriously! They believe that their message of love and effort should also be reflected in their work and in the food they serve- so if the food they serve is burnt or bad, then their message will be burnt and lost in translation. They are driven by belief that if they work with love and cook with love, the customers will feel the love.
Pave de Saumon au curry et coque
The food is, of course, true French cuisine. From appetizers to entrees to dessert, the entire indulgent gamut of French cuisine is on the menu at L’Eau Vive. Having served the Filipino public for over 3 decades, L’Eau Vive has achieved a fine, precise balance of adjusting the dishes to satisfy Filipino tastebuds while still being true to their French origins.
The usual French favorites are served such as roast beef and mashed potatoes, fresh salads, and salmon steaks, but those feeling adventurous can try the more unfamiliar and unique French dishes such as the Soupe a loignon gratinee- a very rich and textured onion soup.
Soupe a loignon gratinee
Mousse de Foie de Volaille
Insider Tip: The Mousse de Foie de Volaille is a liver pate/ spread that is a best-seller and is a great dish to take home
Keeping true with their mission to serve the less fortunate, L’Eau Vive actually has a karinderia-type extension in front. With the tricycle drivers and workers in the area in mind, L’Eau Vive diverges from their usual French fare to serve Filipino dishes such as sinigang and kaldereta at a much more affordable price.
Upon entering the restaurant proper, visitors are immediately greeted by a statute of the Virgin of the Poor- a statue that is present in every L’Eau Vive location. Inspired by this interpretation of Mother Mary, L’Eau Vive believes that, in one way or another, whether financially or spiritually, everyone is poor which means that everyone is welcome in L’Eau Vive.
Inside, customers will find that the space has been built to accommodate big celebrations. From birthdays to baptisms to wedding receptions and even debuts, L’Eau Vive is a great place to spend an enchanting and maybe a little unorthodox evening with their spacious rooms and buffet options.
If you’re looking for a more intimate and private set-up, don’t shy away because L’Eau Vive still has you covered! The secluded and serene ambiance is perfect for a romantic and meaningful evening out.
Profiteroles au chocolat
L’Eau Vive serves up a truly unique dining experience, that we strongly recommend. From the opportunity to experience authentic French cuisine prepared by internationally trained nuns to the fact that every dish you dine on also helps someone else in need, a meal at L’Eau Vive is just too good to pass up!
1958 P Guazon St, near Robinsons Otis, Paco, Manila