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Looking for a New Filipino Restaurant

crocodileguy Jan 8, 2014 11:04 PM

Loved Salakot Sizzle & Grill in Historic Filipinotown, but they closed awhile back. Anything in LA that's similar in food quality and flavors? Specifically NOT looking for a takeout place with food sitting in steam tables all day like Nanay Gloria.


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  1. Xericx RE: crocodileguy Jan 8, 2014 11:16 PM

    I recently had a great family dinner at fiesta si barrio in Eagle Rock. Really enjoyed their different fried rices (bagoong) as well as the usual suspects (Kare Kare, adobo, kaldereta, lechon manok, etc)

    Pretty extensive menu, better than the other choices around.

    Never been to the spot you mentioned so i don't have a point of comparison.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Xericx
      mucho gordo RE: Xericx Jan 9, 2014 12:03 PM

      I've eaten at Nanay Gloria's Kitchen and the food plentiful, quite good and reasonably priced for what it is; primarily take-out with food sitting in steam tables. For about 5 bucks you get 2 entrees of your choice over a pile of rice. Their chicken/pork skewers are great if you're lucky enough to get one before they sell out.

      1. re: Xericx
        crocodileguy RE: Xericx Jan 9, 2014 02:31 PM

        Thanks! I looked at pictures on yelp, and it looks pretty similar to Salakot, so I'll have to try it sometime!

        Anything in particular you recommend? Also, do you know if they're willing to make things more/less spicy? Their sisig looks good, but not enough peppers!!

        1. re: crocodileguy
          Xericx RE: crocodileguy Jan 9, 2014 05:30 PM

          Their sisig is not like in the phillipines. It had decent flavor but something about the texture was a bit off. They even mentioned on the menu it was their own version of the dish.

          They had good kare kare, especially good with the bagoong rice. Garlic fried rice is always good as well. I'm not a fan of crispy pata but my relatives all enjoyed it. Most of their fried dishes were good (fried pusit/squid).

      2. f
        FoodObsessive RE: crocodileguy Jan 9, 2014 05:30 PM

        It has been a few months since I went there, but I had an excellent meal at LA Rose. Excellent Filipino food, including lechon on weekends, and a pleasant atmosphere. More expensive than steam table places, but so much better.

        2 Replies
        1. re: FoodObsessive
          crocodileguy RE: FoodObsessive Jan 9, 2014 07:47 PM

          What did you have? Anything you didn't care for as much?

          1. re: crocodileguy
            FoodObsessive RE: crocodileguy Jan 12, 2014 08:36 PM

            It was a group meal with the Culinary Historians, so many dishes - lumpia, beef mechado, chicken inasal, chicken adobo, ginataang na gulay, something else I can't remember with vegetables in coconut milk and ginger. I liked it all.

        2. c
          chrishei RE: crocodileguy Jan 9, 2014 06:14 PM

          Magic Wok
          Max's of Manila?

          13 Replies
          1. re: chrishei
            crocodileguy RE: chrishei Jan 9, 2014 07:46 PM

            Have you eaten at either of these? What do you recommend? I'll try to check them out, but I always appreciate hearing any personal experiences you might have.


            1. re: crocodileguy
              Jase RE: crocodileguy Jan 9, 2014 08:23 PM

              Crispy Pata at Magic Wok is what they're known for.

              1. re: Jase
                chrishei RE: Jase Jan 9, 2014 08:35 PM

                Also: binagoongan baboy, sisig.

                Never been to Max's, but their fried chicken is supposed to be very good. Not sure about the more traditional Filipino dishes though.

                1. re: chrishei
                  Porthos RE: chrishei Jan 10, 2014 12:38 AM

                  Second crispy pata (awesome) and sigsig at Magic Wok. Good eats.

                  1. re: Porthos
                    Jase RE: Porthos Jan 11, 2014 02:05 PM

                    Oh yeah, the sisig is really good too. My wife likes their version of dinuguan too.

              2. re: crocodileguy
                Xericx RE: crocodileguy Jan 9, 2014 11:31 PM

                I can't stand Max's for some reason. They are known for their fried chicken, which I don't think is all that good to begin with. Not a fan of their branches in Manila either.

                Also, not being a fan of Crispy Pata, I didn't really like Magic Wok either. I found their dishes like freshly prepared versions of the steam table type places and the atmosphere as well.

                You may want to check out Gerry's Grill in Cerritos. I had a good meal there, its been several years. Also a fan of Pondahan in West Covina near that big mall out there.

                LA rose cafe is pretty good, I've only been there for breakfast/brunch. Its a bit more geared toward american tastes though. Great service and atmosphere.

              3. re: chrishei
                FoodObsessive RE: chrishei Jan 12, 2014 08:37 PM

                I found Max's very bland - not bad, but a very gringo version of Filipino food.

                1. re: FoodObsessive
                  JeMange RE: FoodObsessive Jan 18, 2014 04:18 PM

                  I find Max's to be repellent. Have not really had good - or even edible - Filipino food in LA.

                2. re: chrishei
                  TonyC RE: chrishei Jan 13, 2014 10:58 AM

                  Max's of Manila is basically TGI of Philippines.

                  I've never been to Salakot, but a comparable joint would be the Salo Salo(s). Too bad the Glendale branch already closed.

                  But whatever, ips is right.

                  1. re: TonyC
                    john gonzales RE: TonyC Jan 19, 2014 03:34 PM

                    I really like the Cerritos Salo Salo.

                    1. re: john gonzales
                      Xericx RE: john gonzales Jan 20, 2014 05:53 PM

                      I went there about 6 months ago, the place really went downhill. Quality control, just about as bad as the Glendale location before they shuttered down.

                      1. re: Xericx
                        john gonzales RE: Xericx Jan 20, 2014 08:27 PM

                        Wow, that's a bummer. I didn't go very often but I always thought it was pretty good.

                        1. re: Xericx
                          TonyC RE: Xericx Jan 21, 2014 09:01 AM

                          Interesting take, but since I never found the food much better than edible, it's kinda impossible for it to get any crappier.

                          What's the more desirable alternative these days besides Max's/Gerry's?

                  2. ipsedixit RE: crocodileguy Jan 9, 2014 06:50 PM


                    I personally think Filipino food is generally (with a few minor exceptions) just kind of disgusting.

                    But if I had to eat Filipino food, I suppose Oinkster would be closest thing I would subject myself to.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: ipsedixit
                      Ipso Facto RE: ipsedixit Jan 9, 2014 07:14 PM

                      Move to strike as non-responsive! (and totally unhelpful to OP.)

                      Kayle Hits, at Cahuenga West and Barham, is a new branch of a San Diego "street food" eatery. Yelp reviews are so polarized as to prove that such things are HIGHLY subjective.

                      1. re: Ipso Facto
                        crocodileguy RE: Ipso Facto Jan 9, 2014 07:45 PM

                        I heard about this one, and also noted the polarized reviews. Any personal experiences, Chowhounders?

                        1. re: Ipso Facto
                          ns1 RE: Ipso Facto Jan 10, 2014 11:56 AM

                          Drove by it and wondered "hm interesting". Looked at yelp then said "hm pass".

                        2. re: ipsedixit
                          john gonzales RE: ipsedixit Jan 9, 2014 11:15 PM

                          Do you mean Los Angeles restaurant Filipino food, or the cuisine itself?

                          1. re: john gonzales
                            ipsedixit RE: john gonzales Jan 10, 2014 08:36 AM

                            Fair question.

                            Just LA restaurants.

                            1. re: ipsedixit
                              Bradbury RE: ipsedixit Jan 10, 2014 10:36 AM

                              Ever since Mangga Grill shut down, there's been a sorry lack of really good, non-steam-table Filipino restaurants for a metro area with so many Filipinos. I had high hopes for Pondahan and Manila Bay, but the former is weirdly bland and the latter wildly inconsistent.

                              But if you like Filipino-gastropub fusion a la some of the Oinkster dishes, try Chapter One's adobo chicken wings, sisig fries, etc. Bonus points for the area's best chef's nickname (Jason "Chicken Wang" Montelibano)

                              1. re: Bradbury
                                ipsedixit RE: Bradbury Jan 10, 2014 10:47 AM

                                Thanks for the heads up on Chapter One. That sisig fries reads like it would make Cosentino green with envy.

                          2. re: ipsedixit
                            JMan604 RE: ipsedixit Jan 10, 2014 05:43 PM

                            To each his own. Everyone has different palate. I personally love stinky tofu and intestine but my wife who's filipina thinks it's nasty as hell.

                          3. Servorg RE: crocodileguy Jan 10, 2014 10:41 AM

                            Try Little Ongpin in East Hollywood and see what you think.

                            Little Ongpin
                            5050 W Sunset Blvd
                            Los Angeles, CA 90027
                            (323) 644-1738

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Servorg
                              TonyC RE: Servorg Jan 10, 2014 11:54 AM

                              all Little Ongpin are turo-turo. OP stated: "NOT looking for a takeout place with food sitting in steam tables all day"

                              1. re: TonyC
                                Servorg RE: TonyC Jan 10, 2014 12:02 PM

                                Food seems to turn over quickly, obviating "food sitting in steam tables all day" worries...

                                1. re: Servorg
                                  crocodileguy RE: Servorg Jan 10, 2014 11:45 PM

                                  Sorry, not interested in food from steam tables, but thanks anyway.

                            2. j
                              JMan604 RE: crocodileguy Jan 10, 2014 05:40 PM

                              My friend owns Salakot, sad that it had to close.

                              My go to Filipino restaurant that's as decent is Gerry's Grill in Artesia. It's a "franchise" restaurant from the Philippines but their sisig is as close as what I eat in the Philippines.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: JMan604
                                crocodileguy RE: JMan604 Jan 10, 2014 11:52 PM

                                I hope your friend is doing well despite the closure. Whoever was doing the cooking there had some serious talent, and if possible, I'd be very interested to know if he/she went to work anywhere else.

                                I'd never liked Filipino food until I tried that place...hence my resistance to trying any more steam table places. Please thank your friend for making Filipino food accessible to me--that spicy pork sisig was life-changing.

                                1. re: crocodileguy
                                  Michelly RE: crocodileguy Jan 16, 2014 08:28 AM

                                  I am still waiting for someone to open a higher-end (ie: non-steam table) Filipino restaurant.
                                  There are LOTS of Filipinos, so the market is there!
                                  I speculate that those who say they aren't fond of Filipino food....have never had REALLY GOOD Filipino food. Decades ago, I thought Mexican food was all burritos and tacos stuffed with cheap meat and covered with that red sauce and sprinkle of cheese. Now I know where to go to get a carne asada taco containing high-quality, discernible, TASTY

                                  1. re: Michelly
                                    JMan604 RE: Michelly Jan 18, 2014 04:19 PM

                                    Unfortunately, for filipinos, they're used to "turo-turo" style of their own cuisine. Majority of filipinos can never see their food as high-end but there are some restaurants in the Philippines offering high end filipino food. ie. quality + beautiful plating. It will take a while before someone opens one like that.

                                    Just as a comparison, Many many years ago, I wouldn't imagine places like Mr. Chow or Hakkasan will serve expensive ordinary dishes. To me, high-end Chinese cuisine is all about seafood such as abalone, sea cucumber, and shark's fin. So eating expensive adobo, pinakbet, and laing is blurred to me. lol

                                  2. re: crocodileguy
                                    JMan604 RE: crocodileguy Jan 18, 2014 04:11 PM

                                    You should really try Gerry's Grill then. like I mentioned, that's as close as you'll get in terms of authenticity to Filipino sisig that's served here. Anytime a sisig has peppers, I'm gone. With that, I'm not too crazy with Salakot's sisig nor ones that drown the sisig in vinegar, not true sisig at all.

                                    I've even travelled to where sisig was invented. Aling Lucing's in Pampanga. A true hole in the wall place that only a 3rd world country can conceive.

                                    They have a law firm as well so they're doing fine. I will let him know of this post.

                                2. JeMange RE: crocodileguy Jan 18, 2014 04:43 PM

                                  Years ago, there was a relatively high end Filipino restaurant in Soho, NYC called Cendrillon which was run by a Pinoy chef who trained in France, I believe. This place was like a unicorn in my experience - extremely rare to find a Filipino restaurant here in the states where the chef prepares dishes to order and executes them with real pro techniques while using only the best raw materials.

                                  Yes, the place was more of a fusion of traditional Filipino dishes served with a slight french flair but it was also quite delicious. The best adobo, kare-kare and pinakbet I've ever had, at least here in the USA.

                                  As most have pointed out the turo-turo approach prevails here and no one likes looking at cauldrons of congealed fat.

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