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where is best Filipino food in manhattan

foodwhisperer Jan 3, 2008 08:49 PM

where is the best authentic Filipino food in manhattan

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  1. krystle920 RE: foodwhisperer Jan 4, 2008 04:45 AM

    bayan cafe

    1. c
      currymouth RE: foodwhisperer Jan 4, 2008 04:47 AM

      There are several good philipino places on 2'nd avenue in the 20's. the names escape me at the moment. I will post them after some phone calls. but please try Cendrillion on 45 Mercer st. in Soho. 212 343 9012.Amy and Romy has taken phillipino food to the next level. Please have the Mango tart.

      10 Replies
      1. re: currymouth
        JungMann RE: currymouth Jan 4, 2008 05:44 AM

        There is only one Filipino restaurant in that neighborhood: Grill 21. It's a delicious and inviting affair that attracts a lot of non-Filipino clientele as well (of course being toted along by homesick Pinoys). If I had to rate the Manhattan restaurants, it'd be:

        1) Cendrillon
        2) Pistahan (when Chef Ray is there. Otherwise it drops down to 4)
        3) Grill 21 / Bayan Café (tie)
        5) Elvie's Turo-Turo

        1. re: JungMann
          Pan RE: JungMann Jan 21, 2008 12:16 AM

          When is Chef Ray at Pistahan (or, rather, when ISN'T he)?

          1. re: Pan
            JungMann RE: Pan Jan 22, 2008 08:23 PM

            I'd give them a call to see if Ray is in the day you want to go. I'm not certain if he keeps a general schedule.

            1. re: JungMann
              Pan RE: JungMann Jan 23, 2008 07:43 AM

              Good idea. Thanks.

              1. re: Pan
                Lau RE: Pan Feb 22, 2008 10:30 PM

                what should u order at pistahan? i went there and i thought it was alright, but nothing to rave about. I'm by no means a filipino food expert so i may have just been ordering the wrong dishes (i had the chicken adobo)

                1. re: Lau
                  JungMann RE: Lau Mar 5, 2008 07:23 AM

                  If you're a gutsy diner, go for the Kare-Kare (oxtails and tripe stewed in peanut sauce) or Dinuguan with bagnet (blood stew with crispy pork). Both are fantastic renditions of Filipino classics. Otherwise the grilled tilapia in banana leaf gets lots of raves, lechon kawali is good (though lumpiang shanghai in the platter leave a little to be desired) and ube ice cream is the perfect closer.

                  As I've warned before, the food really does depend on who's in the kitchen. When Ray is around, the food is better than anything I've had in Queens. When he's not, it's nothing special.

                  1. re: JungMann
                    Lau RE: JungMann Mar 5, 2008 07:51 AM

                    ok thx for the recs, any idea what days he's in or how to figure out whether he's in? the guy that was there last time was pretty english challenged and i know zero tagalog

                    1. re: Lau
                      JungMann RE: Lau Mar 5, 2008 07:58 AM

                      That's strange. Educational instruction in the Philippines is in English, so I've never encountered a Filipino with language problems. Try calling the restaurant when you're thinking about going or asking if Ray has a schedule. The waitresses are American-born so they definitely speak English.

                      1. re: JungMann
                        Lau RE: JungMann Mar 5, 2008 08:16 AM

                        ok thx...yeah i thought it was strange, i mean he could sorta speak english, but if u got more than basic with him he gave me that blank look and didn't really know what i was talking about

          2. re: JungMann
            Pan RE: JungMann Feb 23, 2008 09:28 PM

            Thanks for the recommendation of Pistahan. I spontaneously went there with a friend tonight for dinner. We had the special baked tilapia with crispy squid (like pork rinds and fried in lard) and the chicken adobo. The adobo was delicious and the fish was good fish well baked and reminded me greatly of baked fish I had had in rural Malaysia (specifically, the East Coast of the Peninsula, where I used to live), though that would have been minus anything cooked in lard. I liked the food very much and will definitely be back.

        2. ZerlinaVania RE: foodwhisperer Jan 4, 2008 05:56 AM

          My vote is for Bayan Cafe in Midtown if you want traditional food. Their kare kare reminds me of my mom's. I've never been to Cendrillon, but I've heard really good things about it.

          3 Replies
          1. re: ZerlinaVania
            JungMann RE: ZerlinaVania Jan 4, 2008 06:04 AM

            Bayan Cafe has good kare-kare that I have recommended before, but I prefer mine with tripe and a little more veg, the way it comes at Pistahan. Dragonfly made an excellent version before they closed.

            You should definitely visit Cendrillon at some point. It is a cleaned up version of Filipino food, getting rid of the processed detritus of post-WWII cookery and Amy is a wonderful woman and a font of knowledge when it comes to talking food.

            1. re: ZerlinaVania
              foodwhisperer RE: ZerlinaVania Jan 19, 2008 09:28 AM

              I went to Bayan with my Filipina friend, who is an excellent cook. Her review was it was definitely authentic , with a very friendly staff . The pig ear was excellent( i dont recall name of dish), the ponsit was just OK it had no spice to it. The Duneguan (sp) was excellent, very authentic and made well. The kare kare tasted good, the meat was perfect, but she found the sauce much thicker than back in Phillipines. She told the chef it was too thick, he said next time he'lluseless peanut butter. The vegetables in coconut milk, i found to be delicious, she said back home it's usually spicier. Many Visayan clientele, my friend is from Manilla area. I thought it was really good especially those pig ears. I thought the denauguan was better at Pistahon. I think i would like Cendrillon based on all of your reviews, but i think my friend would have problem if she thinks it is going to resemble back home.

              1. re: foodwhisperer
                kelea RE: foodwhisperer Feb 22, 2008 12:29 PM

                I don't have much to benchmark against but I really do love the food at Banyan!

            2. Brian S RE: foodwhisperer Jan 4, 2008 09:39 AM

              So how do the places you guys have listed above compare to places in Queens like Renee's and Engeline's?

              On Renee's: www.chowhound.com/topics/247324

              1 Reply
              1. re: Brian S
                JungMann RE: Brian S Jan 7, 2008 05:54 AM

                I finally tried Renee's based on your commentary. I loved my lunch of kalderetang kambing. Lumpia sariwa was just okay. Their focus is very much on home-cooking, though that doesn't necessarily mean good cooking. And the room is a bit undermaintained. Because execution is lacking in some aspects and decor leaves a lot wanting, I'd say that Renee's ranks just below a place like Grill 21. If you want a place that does un-fancy home-cooking well, I'd still send you to Pistahan.

              2. c
                crinkle11 RE: foodwhisperer Jan 4, 2008 01:12 PM

                Agree with others about Cendrillon--the chicken adobo is fabulous.

                1. e
                  Elvis Goldberg RE: foodwhisperer Jan 4, 2008 04:10 PM

                  Grill 21 and Elvie's are my vote for the best Filipino restaurants in Manhattan.

                  The food at Bayan are not anywhere near the quality of the afrementioned ones and are too fast-food in style and taste for me.


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Elvis Goldberg
                    nashville2ny RE: Elvis Goldberg Jan 19, 2008 09:39 AM

                    For what it's worth, we went to Grill 21 and did not enjoy it. It's a cute little restaurant, and the service was fine, but I hated some of the food. We ended up throwing away the leftovers of binagoongan (pork and eggplant in shrimp paste), which is very rare for us. The bistek was good, lumpiang sariwa was OK and dessert (lychee cream?) was very tasty. It was too mixed an experience for us to be likely to go back.

                    1. re: nashville2ny
                      UES Mayor RE: nashville2ny Jan 19, 2008 12:23 PM

                      Try it again! I have had only great food there and I certainly know what's good and what's not-after all I am DA MAYOR

                  2. f
                    foodwhisperer RE: foodwhisperer Feb 22, 2008 09:29 AM

                    I've been to Cendrillon twice since i posted the original. The food is consistently good. Authentic or not, i the ribs are great , the fish was great, the buko pie was great ,, the lumpia was very authentic and good. and the atmosphere is excellent. Pistahon was more authentic but Cendrillon is a better dining experience.

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: foodwhisperer
                      currymouth RE: foodwhisperer Feb 22, 2008 05:20 PM

                      I am glad you liked it, Romy was going to close the resturant and move to NOLA just before the hurricane, even signed the lease for the spot. The Filipino foodies, and aren't they all, rallied around the place and the I believe the food got even better.

                      1. re: currymouth
                        foodwhisperer RE: currymouth Feb 23, 2008 05:55 AM

                        Yes the food is great at Cendrillon, i'm glad he didnt move. I think most people in NYC hear Filipino food and are afraid to try it ,,, but I think anyone going to Cendrillon will like the food

                        1. re: foodwhisperer
                          currymouth RE: foodwhisperer Feb 23, 2008 06:33 AM

                          They also have a book out, called "Memories of a Philippine Kitchen". It's not so much of a cook book , but instead, is a a travel log, with stories and the history of the origins of philippino cusine. you might enjoy it.

                          1. re: currymouth
                            foodwhisperer RE: currymouth Feb 23, 2008 09:46 AM

                            wow,,,awesome Thanks Currymouth

                      2. re: foodwhisperer
                        jrmstr33 RE: foodwhisperer Mar 4, 2008 08:34 PM

                        Cendrillion is a joke! Just had dinner there with a couple friends who've never tried Filipino Food.. Thought it would be a safe introduction for them. I ordered ukoy, lumpiang shanghai, bisteak ($27!!!), lechon kawali, bbq ribs (bad idea) and my favorite - kare-kare. Ukoy was not too bad, lumpiang shanghai was far from authentic as were the rest of the fare. I would NOT recommend this place to anyone, nor will I be back. It was as if they tried too hard.. Why not make a nice Filipino restaurant without the 'frills' of having it be 'fusion'? I'm moving to NYC from the Bay Area and hope to find some 'real' Filipino food like at home... Oh and btw.. All dishes are over $20!? Are you kidding me? The portions are nothing to rave about either..

                        Just my .02

                        1. re: jrmstr33
                          openonymous RE: jrmstr33 Mar 5, 2008 03:21 AM

                          I kinda agree with jrmstr33, filipino food should be expensive, $27 for a "bisteak" is so much, considering that you can get away with the cheapest steak cut of meat for this dish, just pound it away to tenderize it. It is really the taste or the seasoning that makes it the bistek of the philippines. I want to sound funny and say that the best Filipino food in manhattan can be found across the river from the Holland Tunnel, in jersey city, or in 69th st in Queens. How about EAYC for like $8.95 for like15 dishes?
                          Fusion!! I think they use the word to jack up the prices, every dish is fusion anyway, somebody along the way must have put their own style in the food they picked from their travels. Like Marco Polo, putting his own spin on noodles and we have pasta, or the arabs bringing their unleavened breads in Southeast asia and it becomes popiah or lumpia or even empanadas! or curry puffs. how about dumplings becoming raviolis?
                          aren't those all Fusion foods?

                          1. re: openonymous
                            openonymous RE: openonymous Mar 5, 2008 03:23 AM

                            My "MISTEAK", Filipino foods should "NOT" be expensive!!!! Is hwat I tried to write, but... the finger is faster than the mind sometimes.

                          2. re: jrmstr33
                            JungMann RE: jrmstr33 Mar 5, 2008 07:13 AM

                            Filipino diners are a surly lot since we are a nation of foodies with an opinion about the foods we hold dear. And should that food deviate from tradition, the chef has hell to pay! I talked to Amy about their "fusion" take on Filipino food and she told me that their recipes are mostly traditional for Romy. Only a few recipes have been tweaked with modern updates as far as lightening dishes and using a little more chili. So while I might not go to Cendrillon for comforting Tagalog or Ilocano dishes, I know there are a few things I do enjoy while other Filipinos might think the whole lot is authentic. And I know that for the Americans I've taken there, it's a very non-threatening intro to Filipino cuisine. Prices are, unfortunately, commensurate with rents in SoHo. As always, you've got to pay for location in Manhattan.

                            1. re: JungMann
                              doctorj RE: JungMann Mar 5, 2008 08:20 AM

                              I agree with you, JungMann. I've seen Amy Besa talk about Filipino food over at the Asia Society, and she knows her stuff. It's just that husband Romy is probably doing his riffs on classic dishes -- and what's wrong with that, right? It's just like Danny Meyer doing his renditions of classic American dishes. I must admit that my first foray into Cendrillon left me with every other Filipino's usual sentiments -- "what is this stuff?! It's tasty, but I want real adobo, kare kare, etc." Then it dawned on me that maybe that WASN'T the point.. and of course it all made sense after all. Again, you're right in pointing out it's a non-threatening intro to Filipino cuisine. I hear that if you want the real stuff, you can call ahead and ask for it -- and if you're nice they may just cook it for you.

                            2. re: jrmstr33
                              ZerlinaVania RE: jrmstr33 May 11, 2008 10:38 AM

                              I'm coming into this kind of late, but we moved here from SF a couple of years ago... If you are looking for food in Manhattan as good as what you'd find in Daly City, you're gonna have a long search ahead of you. As far as Cendrillon is concerned, no their food is not authentic, and I could see how you would be disappointed if you walked in expecting your mom's cooking. However, I found the presentation beautiful. The lumpiang sariwa (fresh lumpia) was excellent when I went recently.

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