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Bistro de Manila AYCE $7.99 buffet – The best Filipino food in Oakland … chicharon on Friday

rworange May 1, 2009 10:35 AM

It is not only the best Filipino food, it is also the worst since it is the only Filipino food in Oakland.

The steam table food is fine. There was nothing that will blow you away, but it was respectable.

There is an option for take-out. They weigh the takeout container and the price depends on what is selected. All meat, all veggie and combo take-out has different prices.

The daily menus are taped to the wall. Since there is so much talk about chicharrones lately, I thought I’d mention it is served on Friday. Don’t know what prep though.

From reading yelp, it seems the best day to go is Friday. Sometimes they have ‘make your own’ halo halo.

Every day they have ginitaan for dessert plus a dessert of the day. Maybe someone who is Filipino can help me out. What exactly is the ginituan here? Was it the hot tapioca porridge with mung beans or the cold fruit cocktail mixed in a thin custard-like sauce?

The menu on Tuesday is

Pancit canton
Kare kare
Pork adobo
Chicken bbq
Green beans, chayote, pinakbet
Paksiw na tlapia
Lumpia Shanghai
Pork Sinigang
Another soup (didn’t try it)
White rice

They have a lot of condiment bottles on the side such as sriracha, soy sauce, white soy sauce (or was that vinegar in a soy sauce bottle), etc

They also has a bowl of sweet and sour sauce for the lumpia and a bowl of fish paste to mix in the kare kare. I thought the kare kare was good.

I also liked the sinigang which was a nicely sour soup and had large tender pieces of bone-on pork with lots of veggies such as sliced root veggies, greens and what I mistook as okra … I think it was a jalapeno because when I bit into it … yow!

There were a few dishes in addition to those posted. There was some sort of squash-like veggie with ground pork. There were two chicken dishes. I’m guessing the chicken bbq was the chicken in teriyaki sauce. Didn’t seem very bbq to me though. There were also large pieces of bone-on chopped up stewed chicken.

I really wonder if those were tlapia steaks or pompano. Until I read the menu I was thinking they were herring. The white flesh was good, but the speckled skin had a muddy taste.

This is a large room that somehow reminded me ambiance-wise of B&M in SF.

There is a karaoke stage and they were playing videos of people singing karaoke. At one time they had karaoke nights, but now they are only open for lunch and the karaoke is only available for private events.

Not much in the way of beverages other than bottled beer, canned sodas and pitchers of iced tap water. Pay before you sit down and grab a plate.

It is not amazing food but I thought it was decent and better than some of the other Filipino steam table food I’ve tried. IMO it was a good value for the price.

I’ll put the other menus posted for the other days of the week in the first reply.

Bistro de Manila
365 19th St, Oakland, CA 94612

  1. k
    keyroute Jul 10, 2009 12:58 PM

    Looks like Bistro de Manila is history. Passed by today hoping for lunch and it turns out work is being done inside and a piece of paper taped on the window says "Vietnamese Restaurant Coming Soon."

    1. w
      westcoaststyle May 1, 2009 11:14 AM

      Thanks for the report!

      I'm guessing their ginataan includes taro/purple yam/sweet potato along with some jackfruit, tapioca/sago pearls, and plantains. It's cooked in coconut milk and glutinous rice is used for the consistency. It can be served either warm or cold.

      2 Replies
      1. re: westcoaststyle
        rworange May 1, 2009 11:37 AM

        That's why I was confused about what they considered ginataan. I had the version you mentioned, served warm, at both a Rodeo Filipino restaurant and a church pot luck. It looked very much like the dish in this wiki

        This is a tasty dish and I'm finally glad to have a name to attach to it. Is it pronounced like it looks?

        However, if it is the canned fruit cocktail in sauce ... tasty as that was ... it is a lousy version of ginataan.

        I did find a reference on the web that mentions mung beans which looked like the hot 'porridge'. at the restaurant

        1. re: rworange
          DezzerSF May 1, 2009 12:48 PM

          It's pronounced ginuh-tuh'un

      2. rworange May 1, 2009 10:35 AM


        Pancit bihon
        Pork menudo
        Lechon kawali
        Chicken adobo
        Ginisang mungo, chayote, pinakbet
        Fried tlapia
        Pork Sinigang
        Dessert of the day

        TUESDAY (listed in OP)


        Pancit malabon
        Pork afritada
        Pork bbq
        Chicken adobo
        Ginisang mungo, sitwa, kalabasa
        Fried tlapia
        Chicken tinola
        Dessert of the day


        Pancit bilton/canton
        Beef kadereta
        Chicken adobo
        Pork bbq
        Green beans, chayote, pinakbet
        sarciado na tlapia or pompano
        Pork Sinigang
        Dessert of the day


        Pancit malabon
        Kare kare
        Lechon kiwali
        Chicken adobo
        Crispy chicken
        Beef with broccoli, pinakbet
        Fried tlapia
        Pork Sinigang
        Dessert of the day

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