I have heard a lot about Filipino food, and wanted to try some Filipino food. But I can't seem to find any thread on Filipino restaurants.
Please recommend some Filipino restaurants. I am in the east bay, but will drive as far as San Mateo or San Jose if needed.
Thanks a lot!
Don't know how convenient Union city is to you, but I would throw in a recommendation for Gerry's Grill. I am Filipino, but we've taken many of our non-Filipino friends here and they enjoy it, and actually ask to go back. Some people complain about the noise level (it can get loud) and if you go during peak hours there might be a wait. I like that they have a full bar and the late hours are convenient. I like the Grilled Squid, Crispy Beef Ribs & Crispy Pata. Skip the Abodo Shreds (disappointing because these can be REALLY YUMMY if done right) and Bicol Express (not authentic, per Mom). I think they have a good variety and selection. Maybe not 100% authentic but it pleases most of the people we've brought there, including ourselves.
31005 Courthouse Drive, Union Landing Complex
From High Way 880, exit Whipple or Alvarado Niles.
(Gerry's Grill is in front of Walmart)
LUNCH Daily, 11:00am - 2:00pm
DINNER - Bar Opens 5:00pm Daily
Sun - Tue, 5:30pm - 10:00pm
Wed - Thu, 5:30pm - 10:30pm
Fri - Sat, 5:30pm - 11:30pm
If you are interested in Filipino food, you might stop by some bakeries.
Since I had a Filipino lunch, I thought Id try Maynila which is next to the San Pablo Supermarket in the International Plaza.
It was Valerio Family Bakery until a couple of weeks (I think) ago. I stopped by just after the name change and didnt think it looked any different. They have really cleaned up the place and the baked goods are sooo much better, though Valerio was good too.
The baked buns (pan de sal) are the best I have ever had ever. They give their cousins the Chinese baked pork buns real competition.
I took a bite of each while they were hot and saved the rest for dinner. They are even excellent cold. They looked different from Valerios buns. They had three types today Chicken, beef and, what sounded like, menudo but they were sold out of the menudo.
The bread for the chicken bun is totally different from the beef.
The chicken bun is thinner, dusted with something, slightly yeasty, sort of like a dinner roll. The filling is delicious shredded chicken with some sort of green. It has a spicy sweet taste with a lot of complexity in the spice. It leaves I gentle tingle on the tongue.
The beef was more of like a brioche married with Hawaiian sweet bread. There was more bread in this roll. It was lightly sprinkled with sesame seeds. The filling was beef with chopped hard cooked egg. Tasty, but not as complex as the chicken.
Next to the Hawaiian Bread was an excellent coffee cake like dessert (without the crumbs) that was sweet, buttery, moist and wonderful.
The cakes looked wonderful, those light jellyroll types of cakes in strawberry, mocha and quite a few other varieties.
They have also added hot foods. There is a list of what is available that day on the board. Since I just ate, I didnt pay too much attention. I thought they had soup because there were pot that look like they type you get hot soup from at the supermarket. However, they were holding some of the hot dishes and stews.
It looks like they kept the good things from Valerio like the excellent Hawaiian bread and the Spanish rolls.
Im sorry I didnt try the hot empanadas. Since the buns were in so much better than Valeros, Im looking forward to trying the empanadas.
Still uber-inexpensive. Two buns and coffee cake were $2.45. Now uber-delicious.
To the OP, the first thing to try is bibingka.
IMO, bibingka is one of the best Filipino desserts. It is a round buttery cake baked in a banana leaf and wonderful when it is just out of the oven and warm. There is a tangy cheese (similar to cottage cheese) and pieces of coconut baked in the batter with a sprinkling of sugar on top.
The bibingka at Maynila filled the shop with the most wonderful aroma.
Im not sure if there is still Some sort of Valerio connection. Some of the cellophane bags holding baked goods still had the Valerio name. Im not sure if they were just using up existing stock.
Im including a link to my post about Valerio because Maynila still makes many of the same products they are just so much better now.
1245 International Marketplace
San Pablo, Ca 94806
Off San Pablo Blvd in the Plaza near the San Pablo sign that spans the street.
Thanks for that report, Krys!
The pan de sal you said you had sounds something like the baked siopao my parents make. When my parents cook up siopao, they steam most of them (those really keep well in the freezer for future consumption), but some are baked as well. If anything, that sounds like something I'll need to pick up whenever I'm in that area.
They have the steamed siopao, but the buns didn't look anything like a baked version, although the Chinese baked pork buns don't look anything like the steamed version.
This bakery is really good. Everything I have had there has been tasty. The chicken items seem to be better than the beef. Also, they are totally new people. They ARE only using up the bags left in stock from Valerio.
I decided to buy those empanadas for dinner tonight. .
The ground beef empanada was good, but the chicken was exceptional with pieces of chicken, chopped egg, tiny diced carrots in a buttery, tender crust. It was like a portable chicken pot pie.
They had a baked pork bun today. The bun was similar to the baked chicken and the ground pork interior was spicy like curry. I think there were some raisins in it as well as potatoes. They do have menudo buns, but I think Filipino menudo is different from Mexican, using pigs liver?
Bought a nice turon, the outside with caramelized brown sugar and inside a nice piece of plantain and jackfruit. Maylous does a superior turon though, since it is made to order and fresh from the fryer.
For some reason they had Chinese sesame balls which had a thick rice flour dough and yellow bean paste. It was good if different from others I've tried. Not greasy, toasty sesame taste and pleasantly chewy.
That nice coffee cake type of dessert I liked so much yesterday was mamon with jackfruit (langka).
Some of the food they have includes bola-bola, (meat balls), palabok, bopis, dinuguan, beef kaldereta and embotido. I linked to Goldilocks bakery which describes these dishes for the clueless, like me.
The cakes come in mocha, vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, choco marble, ube, mango and pandan.
They also have some other breads and pastries I couldnt find much info on like bicho-bicho (long buns of fried dough, sprinkled with sugar), egg pie (nothing), Haba-habas (found nothing) and Bonete (just a lot of Filipino jokes I dont get). Guess Ill have to buy them and see what they are.
While on lunch break, I dropped by the San Pablo Supermarket to pick up a green papaya when I got a craving for bibingka. So I walked over to the Maynila Bakery but it is no longer there. Not sure how long they have been gone, but if it is any indication, the painted snowmen are still on the front window. The space has been gutted out and there is no hint of what is going in.
There are also signs of a new food establishment across the parking lot "Lee's Garden - opening soon". Didn't investigate what kind of food they will be serving.
There is a place called MANILA BAY SEAFOOD in a little strip mall next to Subway and a mexican place in San Pablo at 13501 San Pablo Ave. It's near the San Pablo Casino. They offer a small buffet of items that change daily, sweets, and you can choose 1-4 items. I think they offer a greater variety of dishes on the weekends. Nice people. I can't vouch for much of the food because I have disgraced my half-heritage by not eating meat (beef, chicken, pork) and only seafood & veggies. Just kidding, but really meat is most delicious part of filipino food. I had sinigang (fish in sour soup), some milkfish or bangus(my favorite), and rice. It was OK, but not great. My 2 meat-eating filipina companions didn't seem too wowed by anything. They were out of Dinuguan (blood stew) that day, which one really wanted. Give 'em a try.
MANILA BAY SEAFOOD
Thanks for the heads up. I had lunch there today.
For better or worse it is the second best Filipino steam table in the area. Not in the class of Marylous, but a little better than most of this type of food.
Definitely not a place Id introduce someone to Filipino food though with Marylous just up the road. Marylou is also more friendly to a non Filipino. They will explain the food if you show interest.
Manila Bay Seafood is pretty close to my house and Ive actually driven up to it and parked a half dozen times and just decided not to go in because it just looked icky from the outside.
Nice long steam table with at least 20 selections. Impressive selection today of fried fish from everything like tiny fish that looked like bait to large fish and, I think, those great fried fish skins I had once. The fresh cooked fished didnt look that appealing.
I got three items sausages, squid and something that looked like spinach (but wasnt) and ground pork.
The sausages forget them. Not much flavor. The spinach thing was pleasant, almost a creamed spinach type of taste. At first I didnt like the squid large, pink, and finger-sized. There were also tentacle pieces. I started with some of the smaller squid and thought maybe they left the intestines in, but when I got to the larger squid it turns out they were stuffed with fish.
I passed on the lumpia which didn't look that great.
Id go back since it is near my house. Thanks again for mentioning it.
Oh yeah, they had balut for sale on the counter. One of these days one of these days.
I had my wedding rehearsal here and also my family has hosted many parties here:
Manila Garden Restaurant
20500 Hesperian Boulevard
Hayward, CA 94541
Manila Garden is your regular run-of-the-mill family run Filipino restaurant. Nothing fancy by any means. You can order off the menu or they also have buffet style (usually less than 10 dishes, with the usual sinigang, adobo, pancit, etc.). Food is decent and pretty much tastes like homecooking.
15813 Channel St.
San Lorenzo, CA 94580
Don't let the name fool you. It's basically a Filipino family-run pizza place which also serves really good Filipino food. (I also enjoy their pizzas!) Their pancit bihon is VERY good! Order it w/ the two kinds of noodles. Crispy patas... YUM!
Manilla Garden is a favorite of a number of hounds and one of my regular rotation restaurant.
Their buffet is a great way to explore Filipino home cooking dishes. Some days are much better than others. I have days where the buffet food are not that great. Most days are great though. Their menu changes daily so you can call ahead and probably ask what dishes they have that day. On Friday they have the biggest buffet selections with seafood dishes.
I asked around here on the board a long while ago, and although I still haven't been able to try any of the places recommended, I still have my list:
House of Lumpia 380 Bush @ Kearny St (downstairs)
Tia Schey - 2262 Westborough
Maharlika Filipino Fast Food - 7367 Mission St
Manila Bay Cuisine 2 - at the Serramonte Ctr
Fil-Am (minimal seating, BBQ)- 66 School Street
Max's (great crispy pata) - 1155 El Camino Real
Patio Filipino - 1770 El Camino Real
Andrea's on Springs Road
The Seafood City complex on Redwood St. in the mall just west of Sonoma Blvd. has some Filipino options Llang-Ilang on Sonoma Blvd. between York and Maine
Marylou's in Hercules is the best Filipino restaurant I've tried to date. They are extremely friendly and helpful if you are not familiar with Filipino food.
I liked lunch better than breakfast. The pork kebobs ... well, marinated pork on a stick were my favorite. For dessert the halo halo was my first try of this dessert and it was just excellent. They make delicious baked goods in house, better than Sunshine Bakery down the street.
However, just go with what looks good and delicous to you. Marylou's is really into using the freshest ingrediants possible.
That whole street in Hercules - Sycamore is a little Filipino section. Sunshine is next best to Marylou's. There is also RSM ORIENTAL FOOD MART AND RESTAURANT, which is good, but I wouldn't make this a first time experience. Skip VIVIAN'S KUSINA.
Haven't tried the Valejo restaurants or Manila Garden Hayward. They sound great too. Good tip about that pizza place in San Lorenzo - Fresh Pizza. First mention of it that I remember.
Here is the East Bay Express Review of Marylou's.
If you do go to Vallejo, I'd say Andrea's is the best bet for sampling a lot of different items.
There is one advantage to the Seafood City complex, however - if you want to sample some some Filipino sweets, they're right there via Valerio's or the Red Ribbon Bakery. There also is a Max's there if you want to try the crispy pata.
Marylou's sounds like your best bet if you don't want to cross any of the bridges, tho'.