Bistro Luneta - Finally Filipino Food in San Mateo
We visited the new Bistro Luneta restaurant in San Mateo - excited about the prospect of a Filipino restaurant here in town. The space is small but spacious, with an open kitchen and high ceilings. The decor is very modern - not your Ongpin or Ling Nam style seating here.
The menu was different from what I usually see at a Filipino restaurant - no sisig, no kare kare, no bansilog, but a lot of different takes on somewhat traditional dishes.
We had heard the bistek (beef steak) was supposed to be good so we ordered that, plus the Pork Topper (crispy pata), Bangus Maki as an appetizer, garlic fried rice, and french fries. This is the first restaurant I've been to where I've been asked how I like my bistek cooked.
The Bangus maki arrived as an appetizer - sushi rolls with daing na bangus (marinated fried milfish) and itlog na maalat (salted egg), deep fried in a tempura batter. They were excellent - and unlike anything I had ever had. I would never have thought to put bangus in a sushi roll but there it was and we ate every last crumb.
The bistek arrived next served with fried onions on top and a helping of mashed potatoes - again, not the usual presentation of bistek - but it was excellent. Very juicy marinated with a perfect balance of lemon and soy - not too acidic.
The pork topper (crispy pata) was also very good - not greasy and the skin was so crispy and juicy. I'd definitely get it again.
For dessert we had the turon (fried banana roll) and ice cream - this was okay, nothing like the Kenkoy's turon I like to get when I'm in Pacifica.
The tab for the food, plus rice & 1 beer was $58. A little pricier than most Filipino places but I am definitely going back. Apparently they also have lunch specials but I didn't get to see the menu for that.
615 East 3rd Avenue
San Mateo, CA
FYI, if you're thinking of going tonight, don't - they're closed for a private party.
We tried the salpicao, chicken inasal and filipino salad.
All dishes were flavorful, and the atmosphere and presentation all added to the enjoyment of the meal.
The servings are not your typical "family style" portions, but the flavors more than make up for this.
Very innovative filipino restaurant - only thing was that the churros tasted more like the mexican version.
Will definitely come back to try the other dishes!
We were there over a week ago, and the crispy pata was good. Considerably smaller and not quite as delicious as Tribu's, but better than the crispy pata I had at Ihaw-Ihaw, which tasted of overused cooking oil.
Aside from the crispy pata, we had the Luneta salad, made of jicama, eggplant, okra, salted egg, and bagoong (shrimp paste), it was very tasty, but expensive for such a small serving. We also had the cardillo, a Filipino dish I've seen in a couple of cookbooks but never tasted in the Philippines, consisting of a fried fillet of black cod soaked in somthing very like an egg-drop soup with onion and tomato chunks. (Don't bother with this one; now I know why it is almost never served in the Philippines anymore.) For dessert, we had the turon, banana and jackfruit rolled in lumpia wrapper and deep fried. Pretty good. The churros, freshly fried and served with a dipping sauce of Filipino chocolate, were nicely done.
The total bill came to almost $60 for 2 people. (I think the fish was around $16.) Not good value for money, but perhaps it could be more reasonable if one ordered more carefully. I wonder if they have a less expensive weekday lunch menu.
Thank you, Naomib! I have heard from a couple of other people that the food is non-traditional but quite good. I've been meaning to try it, and with 3 favorable comments, will make that sooner rather than later.
Incidentally, how does the crispy pata compare with other versions you've tried?
This crispy pata was not greasy at all. The outer skin was well seasoned and nicely crisped, while the meat on the leg was juicy and tender. Their dipping sauce was good too - I think a combination of soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic. I've had the crispy pata at Kuya's and Ongpin and I liked this one much better.