Where is The Nearest Filipino Restaurant Near Me

filipino restaurant near me
filipino restaurant near me
House of Sisig Kamayan Dinner

I can not stop thinking about Filipino food since I started researching it last month. In fact I have caught myself twice this week googling – “nearest filipino restaurant near me”.

It’s a delicious melting pot of different cuisines. Vibrant flavors like tamarind, sweet vinegar and fish sauce swirl through each dish invigorating the taste buds.

I’m not trying to make a generalization here, but in my experience, all of the Filipino friends I have ever made have these things in common – they are all charismatic and funny as hell, the woman are drop dead gorgeous and the essence of the word hospitality is engrained in who they are.

It would make sense then that their cuisine be as equally beautiful and heartwarming as the Filipinos themselves.

A funny thing I’ve picked up on while dining in Filipino establishments.  Every spot I go to always wants me to try their lumpia. Out of all the soups, stews, perfectly grilled meats, noodle dishes and succulent roasted pork these guys wanted me to order, for lack of a better word, fried egg rolls?

I consulted my friends on this and they confirmed it. They often judged a Filipino restaurant on how good the lumpia were. And although this tasty snack is always made with virtually the same ingredients they taste curiously different from place to place.

My favorite Filipino food experiences in San Francisco have all been really different. I’ve tried food trucks, turo turos, kamayan dinners, silog joints and pop ups. Although all of them were special experiences these are the four that stood out for me.

Click on each link below to read their story:

Elena Una

The Salo Series

The Sarap Shop

AJ’s BBQ & Cafe

filipino restaurant near me
Sisig-silog at Tselogs

Other Filipino spots to definitely check out include:

Tselogs

House of Sisig

Pampalasa

Senior Sisig

No Worries – Filipino Vegan Cuisine

The Lumpia Company

FOB Kitchen

Patio Filipino

Mitchell’s Ice-cream – for authentic Filipino flavors like ume and halo halo

I am not exaggerating when I say that Filipinos truly put their heart and soul into their food and the dining experience. Your going to be blown away by how much you are treated like family.

So when you catch yourself googling that phrase “filipino restaurant near me” think of these spots.

And remember, when you go to a Filipino restaurant don’t forget to try the lumpia!

filipino restaurant near me
Another happy customer enjoying the lumpia at AJ’s BBQ & Cafe

Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and certified health coach whose writing centers around holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made food.

Elena Una

elena una
elena una
The crispy Lechon at Elena Una

Elena Una is surprisingly what started my journey down the Filipino highway of deliciousness. Ex chef for the President of the Philippines, Janice Lazaga takes this cuisine to the next level. She takes the bold flavors and homestyle cooking of her homeland and transforms them into the highest level of sophistication.

Elena Una
Chef Janice Lazaga

Dishes like the Oxtail Kansi – succulant braised oxtail swimming in a tangy lemongrass broth and Pacham – fried rice with crunchy lechon (slow roasted pork) with fried egg are addictive and comforting yet look like something out of a fine dining restaurant.

Elena Una
Oxtail kansi
Elena Una
Pacham with lechon and fried egg

Although her style is upscale Janice still has fun. Her playful presentation of buttery pandesal bread rolls served in a paper bag with coconut jam and butter evoked nostalgia in the Filipino friends I was dining with.

Elena Una
Pandesal

Her sisig is served traditionally in a cast iron pot with a wedge of lemon. She adds chopped white onion, tomato and jalapeno on top, which gives this rich dish a fresh crunchy element to it. The lumpia are nice and plump stuffed with not only pork but shrimp as well.

Elena Una
Sizzling Sisig

Desserts blew us away. Authentic flavors like ume (purple yam) and halo-halo (basically a hodge podge of ingredients like sweet beans, tropical fruit and evaporated milk) are used to make classic desserts like panna cotta and bread pudding. The bibingka skillet is a traditional Filipino coconut and rice cake baked and served in a cast iron pan and drizzled with caramel tableside. It will make you want to call home. Hurry up and make your reservation now, this pop up ends in April.

Elena Una
halo halo panna cotta and calamansi cheesecake
Elena Una
Berry bread pudding with coconut toffee sauce
Elena Una
Bibingka skillet

Elena Una

3347 Fillmore St. San Francisco, CA 94123

Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and certified health coach whose writing centers around holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made food.

The Salo Series

salo series
salo series
Yana Gilbuena presents 7 courses with JP and Kristen of The Sarap Shop at her pop up NOLI: Pag-ibig

The Salo Series hosted by my girl Yana Gilbuena, a Feastly Chef, brought Filipino cuisine to 50 states in 50 weeks. This self-proclaimed nomad travels the world putting on her pop ups and collaborating with other chefs she meets along the way. She picks up local help wherever she goes only arriving in each city with a vision. Yana credits her success to social media and says her followers contact her in advance volunteering to help out the next time her pop up lands in their city.

On the night I went to her pop up in San Francisco she was partnering with the owners of The Sarap Shop food truck. The pop up for the evening was called NOLI: Pag-ibig. This traditional kamayan dinner had untraditional twists like silverware and fancy plate presentations.

Yana met the Sarap shop guys at a Filipino food festival called  Savor Oakland last year. Together they served seven courses spread out before us on a bed of banana leaves. Yana bringing the flavors of Visayas and Sarap shop countering each course with their vegan comfort food version. Both Yana and the Sarap shop duo delivered creative riffs on classics showcasing bright, sweet and sour flavors and varied textures.

My favorite dish of Yana’s is a spin on poke. Diced salmon marinated in the flavors of Singang ,which included tamarind, soy sauce, fish sauce and thai chilies for heat. She adds a crunchy element to the dish by sprinkling chopped cornicks on top, a Filipino version of corn nuts. Sarap shop made a lovely vegan version of this with fresh diced tomato, watermelon and cucumber.

The next course was Binakol na pugo. Yana served crispy quail over an aromatic sweet and sour broth made of coconut water, coconut meat, ginger, lemongrass and moringa leaf – a medicinal plant grown in tropical climates used in Indian, Thai and Filipino cuisine. Sarap shop created what they called a “Chinese goose” – shiitake and oyster mushrooms enveloped in a bean curd wrapper floating in the same delicious broth.

For dessert Yana brewed up a hot chocolate she called Tsokolate-ey made with Thai chilies, coconut cream, semisweet chocolate, pure cacao and pinipig – pounded young rice, which was sprinkled on top for texture. While Sarap shop threw down 3 innovative takes on classic Filipino desserts – Deep fried suman – a glutinous steamed rice cake, spicy flan and a raspberry cornmeal cake topped with crumbled vegan bacon and diced mango.

All dishes were elegantly plated and accompanied by live Filipino music which consisted of  a woman on acoustic guitar and a man on the ukulele. Their beautiful voices and brought the food, music and rum cocktails into perfect harmony. If you closed your eyes you could almost hear the ocean.

Since I consider Yana an authority on Filipino cusine in America I asked for her opinion on this surge of Filipino cuisine in the bay area. She said, “Filipino cuisine is a lot like our culture, a beautiful mutt. We had so many strains of cultures come and contribute to our existing one right now from Malay, to India, to Saudi Arabia to Chinese, to Japanese, to Spanish and American. Our islands are as different and diverse, as are the people who inhabit it. That is our strength and it should be celebrated. We are highly adaptable wherever we are. Our cusine is still hard to define, especially in the American standpoint because a lot of people are alreay creating mutations and adaptations of it before it even has a chance to stand on its own. I think there should be a clear definition of Filipino food versus Filipino-American food versus Filipino-inspired.  Since it’s a “young” emerging cuisine here in the U.S., it’s best to educate people first of what it is, versus trying so hard to “Americanize” or “Frenchify” it. We don’t need western cuisines to “elevate” ours or western culinary leaders to “approve” and say, “oh, it’s great” when they have never even had “real Filipino food”. I love that Filipino cuisine is spreading all over the nation, not just the bay area. I’m really big on history and why food was made the way it was and I would love to implore other Filipino/ Filipino-American food leaders to not only serve the food, but also educate people about it.”

When I asked her what Filipino cuisine specifically meant to her, she replied simply, “family”.

Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and certified health coach whose writing centers around holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made food.

The Sarap Shop

The Sarap Shop
The Sarap Shop
The Sarap Shop

You can not help but fall in love with owners JP Reyes and Kristen Brillantes of The Sarap Shop. With his cooking chops and her passion for business they have created some of the most innovative and tasty “meals on wheels” in the bay area. If you have ever thought about opening your own food truck or you’re a sucker for love stories, I recommend checking out their article – How We Opened A Food Truck In 6 Days. It’s pretty amazing.

From the moment I read the menu with dishes like “I love my adobro” and “Why you laing” I was sold. The Sarap Shop uses their sense of humor and playfulness to make Filipino food approachable for everyone. Their menu has 50% vegan and 50% meat offerings and are all unapologetically Filipino-American. The portions are huge and all of their dishes have that classic American comfort food feel with a Filipino twist. Sarap, meaning something that is delicious and makes you feel good, defines their food.  Filipino food to JP means bringing people together. He describes his culture as “welcoming” and I agree with that 100%. His truck is family run and everyone pulls shifts as needed.

The Sarap Shop
Dynamite lumpia, I love my adobro and the vegan sisig sandwich

The vegan sisig sandwich, which JP claims started it all, consists of diced tofu cooked with vinegar and serrano chilies, stuffed in pita bread with French fries, cornices (Filipino corn nuts) and cabbage slaw, drizzled with tamarind-garlic aioli. I found it much easier to eat with a fork than to pick it up and eat it like a sandwich. It’s a hot mess (and I mean that in the best of ways) and it is ridiculously delicious.

The I love my Adobro over rice is a plate made up of crispy pork belly cooked in soy, vinegar and garlic, rice colored neon yellow with annatto seed, sweet corn and truck-made pickled bitter melon.

They have fun with their version of lumpia creating sort of a take on the jalapeño popper. Whole serrano chilies are scooped out, stuffed with ground pork and vegetables, wrapped in a lumpia wrapper and deep fried. They are served authentically with sweet chile sauce, which actually calms the heat of the spicy serranos down a bit. Warning, these are a bit addictive.

The Sarap Shop
Owner JP of The Sarap Shop

JP plans to eventually sell hot sauces and beverages called “coolers” with flavors like Jasime and pineapple in addition to their truck grub. I had to laugh one day when I was speaking with a good friend of mine who is married to a Filipino. She said she wishes she could eat Filipino food but she cant because she is a vegetarian. I smiled and said, “I know just the place for you”.

The Sarap Shop

@SOMA Street Food Park

Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and certified health coach whose writing centers around holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made food.