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Looking for the best Philippino Restaurant in San Diego

Thanks in advance, I am looking for authentic and tasty.

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  1. Several nurses at work have recommended Tita's Kitchenette for cheap eat; Kirk reviewed it before. http://mmm-yoso.typepad.com/mmmyoso/2...
    I don't have any recommendation for nicer places, but I'm sure there are a few good options down in National City. Someone needs to go try out all the little places around there and report back... I wish I had the time to make the drive.

    1. Mira Mesa Blvd off I-15 has all the filipino restos. Chowking, JOllibee, Red Ribbon and several Asian grocery stores

      1. For some reason, that's "filipino" or "pinoy" for that matter. So there are Jollibee's in the US? Ang gustong pinoy comes from the sugar in the ground beef.

        1. Villa Manila in National City is a good bet. They are not the cheapest but the food is pretty good. I also find that Lutong Bahay also has some dishes that are well done. I've found the Bonita location to be slightly better than the National City one; both are pretty good though. Unfortunately I don't think there are any standout Filipino restaurants in the San Diego area.

          1. Does anyone have a recommendation for sit down Philipino food close to La Jolla? The only places I've been to are in Mira Mesa and they are all fast food cafeteria style places and too greasy for my tastes. I'm looking for a more upscale place if one exists.

            2 Replies
            1. re: mliew

              Villa Manila and Zarlitos in National City are the only non-cafeteria style restaurants I am aware of in the San Diego area; neither of which I would call "upscale" though Villa Manila is a bit better. I've heard there is a "fusion" type eatery called Ben's off Sweetwater but I've also heard that it's not that good if you're looking for authentic food. There once was a pretty good authentic restaurant off Sweetwater called Barrio Fiesta, but they've long since closed shop (which is a shame since they had good food and a nice atmosphere in which to dine in).

              1. There are a lot of Filipino people in greater San Diego, but not a lot of them have the disposable income to spend on swanky restaurants. There are a couple of modest places in National City, but most that I know of are take-out or what, if they were in Mexico, would be called loncherias (lunch counters). Someone already mentioned Jollibee (which is superior fast food and very popular).

                One reason for the dearth of restaurants may simply be that so many Filipinos are themselves great cooks. Every homemade Filipino dish I have ever had has been way better than the comparable item at a commercial eatery. I do like Jollibee's chicken, though.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Jim Strain

                  Truth to tell, and as a Filipino, mom's filipino home-cooking is the best and it will never compare/come close to any commercial eatery. Even if I've been living here forever, I rarely go to Filipino restos except for Jollibee fried chicken and Red Ribbon mango mousse. I've sampled some entrees in restaurants but at the end of the day, I crave for my mom's version.

                  1. re: Jim Strain

                    True that there are quite a few Filipino communities in the San Diego area but many families are well off (often upper middle-class with household incomes in the six figures since hard work is no stranger to the Filipino). They are a frugal bunch since most have immigrated from the Philippines, which is a third world country and old habits are hard to break. Most will refuse to pay a hefty price for something they can make at home which will often be of better quality, taste, and larger quantity. Also Filipino food hasn't really hit the mainstream, where other cultures enjoy it often and can help keep an upscale restaurant afloat. Once there is mainstream appeal then I'm sure you'll see the quantity of restaurants improve.

                  2. BTW, there is a new Goldilocks location in National City that I have yet to try. They have a dining area unlike their closet sized location in Mira Mesa. I enjoyed the food at the Daly City location a few years ago so I might be making a trip there soon. A couple of other cafeteria style places that I like are Maharlika and Karihan in National City.

                    1. The only real true place in San Diego to get real Filipino food is National City. Villa Manila (Formerly Max's) is quite expensive for what you get. Kare Kare is like 16 bucks, Zarlitos across the street is 6 or 7 bucks.

                      Both restaurants are sit down style. Zarlitos is pretty much a no frills restaurant. Cheap good food. You get a lot for the price.

                      In regards to main stream Filipino, if it does happen it will be awhile. It's not the healthiest choice of food out there. Filipinos know good food and to deviate from the norm could break a spot easily. Ben's in sweetwater has Adobo Pasta or something??? Filipino and fusion is just not right.

                      Another thing is, Filipino (immigrants) not the 1st generation are cheap as hell! Not only do they not tip well, but they think that just because they are Filipino and in a Filipino restaurant, they can be-little them and talk down to the workers!! They are always complaining!

                      Filipino Food is a rough market and I guess there are a lot of Filipino people that aren't very picky about their food hence all the turo turo style spots...

                      Your best bet for Filipino restaurants not turo turo (point to food) is once again in National City. Villa Manila or Zarlitos. I prefer Zarlitos because the food tastes more like homestyle than anything. Cheap good eats is what it's all about. Their SILOG plates, 5 bucks tax included!!! Chicharon Bulaklak is good. Crispy Pata nice and big and only like 14 or 15 bucks (like 20 at villa manila)?? They even have a website..check it out. www.zarlitos.com.

                      That is the NINJAS input. If you really want to know good places to eat, check out the NINJAS at:


                      These guys are good!