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Filipino Food @ Max's Restaurant in Glendale

Tomorrow I will be going for my first Filipino meal ever. My friend has promised that Max's in Glendale is amongst the best. While I am more than ready to turn my entire chowhound experience over to him, I am still open to suggestions as what to order. Chowhounds, teach me Filipino food 101 please...

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  1. I wouldn't say that Max's Restaurant is one of the best, but it is good enough for a first timer like you. If you're pretty new with filipino food just order the basic. Max's specialize in fried chicken so make sure you order one. Pancit bihon (filipino chowmein), Sisig (pork in sizzling plate), Sinigang (sour soup), lumpiang shanghai (filipino eggrolls) and make sure you order Adobo. Try the Buko pandan for dessert and Sago gulaman as your drink. With this list you'll have the most authentic no american alteration filipino food. Good Luck! Let me know how it turns out!!!☺

    1. Following from christine, you might try (if they have them): fresh lumpia (spring rolls but not fried), dinaguan (blood and intenstine dish), sisig, sinigang ng kanduli (sour fish soup), and pancit bihon. I'd skipo the fried chicken.

      1. Since my SO is Filipina, I have been taken to Max's Glendale (and Stockton) on several occassions. If it weren't key to keeping our relationship solid, I would never again choose to set foot into either again. From the smell of the lobby, to the less-than-spotless restrooms (not to mention food that only a true blue Filipino could love), Max's is only for the hardcore "food explorer" or the ex-pat looking for a taste of home.

        I have certainly had decent Flip food: Pancit, dinuguan, crispy pata, and Kare Kare, etc. I could barely swallow the food at Max's. I would recommend you take your friends up the street for kebabs at Rafi's, instead of staging your introduction to Filipino food there.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Dave and Stuff

          Filipinos who know what's up would not set foot into Max's. Not even for the karaoke.

          Max's is actually a large nationwide sit-down restaurant chain in the Philippines; it's kind of like a Denny's or Coco's.

          Walk down Broadway a couple blocks and go to a Filipino restaurant called Salo-Salo. The food is much better there, as the long line outside will attest.

          1. re: Normal Garciaparra

            There must be something wrong with my in-laws, then, because they swear that it's "just like home".

        2. Max's Rest (of Manila) which is the restaurant right next to the Glendale Galleria is a pretty decent Filipino restaurant - the first time I ate there I had a breakfast meal consisting of filipino pork sausages (longanisa), garlic fried rice and a sunny side egg on top of it - it was DELICIOUS - I think that is a great breakfast meal to start off your day with. If you are there for an early meal that would be the way to go - otherwise things like fried chicken and their pancits (noodles) are pretty decent.

          1. PLEASE don't make Max's your first foray into Filipino cuisine. You might not like it if you did. Try Salo-Salo (a couple blocks away) or Asian Noodles (in Chinatown) instead.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Normal Garciaparra

              Glad you're all saying this. I wouldn't eat at Max's in the Philippines.

              1. re: Normal Garciaparra

                Do either of these places cook with coconut oil? I would assume the answer is no because of the import costs, though it is possible to reuse refined coconut oil for some time, much like lard. That suffocating aroma is something I distinctly remember from my time on the islands.

              2. It's a Filipino staple but, I thought it was awful. Filipino food isn't my favorite anyway. The only thing I enjoyed was the filipino taro ice cream! YUM Bright purple and great taro flavor.

                1. Max is subpar when it comes to Filipino food. It's soooooo bland.

                  Bario Fiesta on Eagle Rock Blvd in Eagle Rock is where it's at. And the menu is more extensive in regards to what a real Pinoy would eat at home.
                  Must haves:
                  Lechon Kawali with the amazing liver sauce
                  Nilagang Bulalo-bone marrow soup
                  Sinagang Hipon- getting with Shrimp seems to make it more tangy/sour in my opinion
                  Crispy Pata- more pork the better!
                  Garlic Fried Rice
                  Daiing Bangus
                  and Leche Flan!


                  1. Of the Filipino restaurants I've tried in the Los Angeles area, I'd opine that Max's is the worst of the bunch I've tried. Some of the others I've tried are Salo-Salo (both in Glendale & Artesia), Barrio Fiesta (formerly in Glendale, Lakewood and the current one in Eagle Rock) and Gerry's Grill (in Artesia). The Fried Chicken at Max's was dry, the Crispy Pata (pork hocks) tasted funky and the sausage, rice and eggs breakfast consisted of an ice cold sunny-side-up egg. For now, Gerry's Grill is the best, with the caveat that I've been there only once.

                    Another quirk to note about Filipino restaurants is that they assume you will eat "family style". If you don't, it might help to let the servers know so they coordinate the delivery of your meal. Also, it seems that the food is brought out to the table in phases. Often times, my friend would be done eating and I'm still waiting for my dish!. However, this seems to be very common in Asian restaurants.

                    On the other hand, Max's always has a crowd and the customers seem to be regulars. Also, my sister loves it. To each his own, I guess.

                    1. I've visited manilla three times, and noticed on those occasions that Lapu Lapu fish (named after the king of some historical fame) was pretty popular. But I never hear about pinoy fish preparations. Can you find such out here in Southern Cali?

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: broncosaurus

                        Usually you'll find fish preparations for sinigang (one of two prevalent fish preps -- the other being fried whole or steaks), but tilapia has successfully made it onto mainstream menus, so it's not like the fish aren't around.

                        You might find baked fish preps at various turo-turo joints, especially something with a big bold flavor like a sweet and sour fish.

                        Another thing to point out is that traditionally, you'll find fried fish at all times of day from breakfast to dinner. Very rare is the American palate that wants fried fish, rice and vinegar first thing in the morning (I love it -- especially with garlic fried rice).

                        If you ask a lot of Filipinos, they simply don't go to restaurants; the self-fulfilling-prophecy of "it's better at home" causes restaurants to have to cut costs to meet reduced demand, thus reducing quality.

                        Paradoxically, probably the best way to get Filipino food is to get invited to a banquet or wedding.

                        1. re: SauceSupreme

                          Thanks for the explanation. I personally wouldn't mind fried fish in the morning at all. The restaurant in Manilla I was referring to seemed to have quite a selection of fish aside from Lapu Lapu and was as far as I could tell popular (it was near the Robinson's dept. store to the east of Ermita). The food in the case was all freshly killed so I'm not sure exactly how they prepared them. Sweet and Sour sounds great and if there's a good place for this stuff locally in LA then I'd be tempted to try them out.

                        2. re: broncosaurus

                          Lapu Lapu and his guys killed Magellen on Mactan Island. There is no lapu lapu in the south of Cali, Colombia.

                        3. Don't forget to save space for dessert wonders such as halo halo and buko pandan.

                          1. Max's is borderline inedible. Went there for my Mom's birthday last year (She's born and raised in Manila and I lived there until I was ten) and everything was cold, greasy and loaded with gristle. One of the worst meals, Filipino or otherwise, that we've had in years.

                            1. Good luck and prepare to be full. Our cuisine is very filling.
                              Max's is known for their fried chicken and karaoke. As others have noted, there are better filipino restaurants to try, if you do not enjoy this experience. My usual standbys at filipino restaurants are kare kare (oxtail in peanut sauce), chicken or pork adobo, pork bbq stick, pancit palabok (noodle dish) and lumpia shanghai (eggrolls).
                              Let us know how it goes!