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Jan 3, 2008 08:49 PM

where is best Filipino food in manhattan

where is the best authentic Filipino food in manhattan

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    1. 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

        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

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

          1. re: Pan

            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: Pan

                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

                  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

                    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

                      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

                        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

            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. 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

            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

              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

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

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

              On Renee's:

              1 Reply
              1. re: Brian S

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