Best Filipino Food In San Francisco

May 31, 2011 10:53 AM

Crispy binagoongan (pork) over eggplant at Patio Restaurant. (credit: Joanne Boston)

Only recently has Filipino Food found its way to the mainstream food map. What may be new to most of the country is familiar to those in the Bay Area, especially in the Peninsula, south of San Francisco. From food carts to impressive sit-down establishments, there are many great places to eat this great food from the Philippines. Meals at Filipino restaurants are served family-style, encouraging diners to interact and enjoy the food together. – Joanne Boston
adobohobo Best Filipino Food In San Francisco

Adobo chicken from Adobo Hobo. (credit: Joanne Boston)

Adobo Hobo

No permanent address or phone number

Adobo Hobo, namely Jason and Ed, started selling chicken adobo on the streets a little over a year ago. They saw the popularity of the crème brulee cart, and decided to feed the masses to make a little extra cash. This aromatic dish made from simmering chicken in soy sauce and vinegar left their fans wanting more. A year later, their tacos were giving Travel Channel’s Andrew Zimmern a “food woody.” With chicken adobo and tacos as their specialty, they have also added adobaos (adobo buns) and ube-bebe cupcakes to their repertoire. Follow them on Twitter for their latest whereabouts.

attic1 Best Filipino Food In San Francisco

The website for Attic. (credit:

Attic Restaurant

234 South B Street
San Mateo, CA 94401
(650) 342-4506

Many hearts broke when Poleng Lounge, a hip Filipino-Asian restaurant and lounge in SF’s NOPA district, closed its doors in 2009. Fortunately for those who missed Chef Tim’s cooking, he opened this restaurant a year later just a few miles south in San Mateo. Here you will find his famous Adobo Wing Lollipops – chicken wings fried and tossed in a adobo glaze, as well as the Inihaw Kinilaw – a Filipino ceviche of butterfish, coconut milk, chilies, and pork belly.

hapasf Best Filipino Food In San Francisco

Kilawin (fish "cooked" in vinegar) from Hapa SF. (credit:

Hapa SF

No permanent address or phone number

Former Citizen Cake chef William Pilz is a pioneer being the first to operate a Filipino food truck. Don’t let the “roach coach” setting fool you. In that compact space, he dishes up the renowned chicken adobo over jasmine rice and lumpia. Can’t catch him in time at the truck? Chef Pilz hosts “Pulutan Pop Up” dinners at La Victoria in the City’s Mission District – a multi-coursed sit-down dinner featuring sinigang – a tamarind based soup and longanisa – garlicky Filipino sausages. He is always thinking up new ways to resurrect traditional Filipino recipes, so each meal can be different from the previous one.

theintramuros Best Filipino Food In San Francisco

A banquet platter from Intramuros.

Intramuros Restaurant

101 Brentwood Drive
S San Francisco, CA 94080-5718
(650) 877-7736

Intramuros, meaning “within walls” in Latin, pays homage to a district in the Philippines of the same name. This area of Manila flourished during the Spanish colonial era. Take a look at the restaurant’s menu and you will see the Spanish influence from the paella to the flan to the bibingka souffle – a European preparation with distinct Filipino flavors of salted egg and coconut. The gorgeous dining room with its capiz shell chandelier whisks you away from the hustle and bustle of South San Francisco.

lumpiacart Best Filipino Food In San Francisco

The goods from Lumpia Cart. (credit: Joanne Boston)

 Lumpia Cart

No permanent address
No phone number

Lumpia Cart is one of the old school food carts, marketing themselves on Twitter and even letting the public name their mascot Lenny. Lumpiang shanghai is a staple in any Filipino party. Abe and Jon are the guys frying these addicting pork-filled rolls, similar to a Chinese spring roll, but smaller. On special days, the guys also serve up “turon,” a banana lumpia that is topped with chocolate and tropical-flavored ice cream!

patio Best Filipino Food In San Francisco

Crispy binagoongan (pork) over eggplant at Patio Restaurant. (credit: Joanne Boston)

Patio Filipino

1770 El Camino Real
San Bruno, CA 94066-5220
(650) 872-9888

Patio Filipino is one of the best places in San Bruno to have traditional Filipino food. The space is so welcoming that it feels that you’re at someone’s home. Favorites include the “kare kare” – a peanut butter-based stew consisting of oxtail, tripe, eggplant, and bok choy. Don’t forget the “Crispy Binagoongan” – crispy fried pork tossed in salted shrimp fry, stuffed in an eggplant and topped with a mango-tomato salad. The flavors are robust and unapologetic, a perfect place to try Filipino food for the first time.

tribu Best Filipino Food In San Francisco

Pork sisig from Tribu. (credit: Joanne Boston)

Tribu Grill

235 El Camino Real
San Bruno, CA 94066-4838
(650) 872-8851

Not familiar with Filipino food? No problem, this restaurant welcomes everyone with their graphic menus and friendly staff. Take a crash course in “sisig” – a medley of grilled pork, chilies, and onions on a sizzling platter. Adventurous? Try the traditional pork sisig (made from pork face meat). Not too adventurous? Order the California sisig (chopped pork steak). For dessert, enjoy the frozen “Brazo de Mercedes” – a meringue and lemon curd treat that is both sweet and refreshing.

joanne Best Filipino Food In San Francisco

Joanne Boston (credit: Joanne Boston)

Joanne Boston is a food blogger from San Francisco who is always on the lookout for great food. She loves hosting twEAT-ups with fellow foodies and enjoys learning about the restaurant scene in any city she visits. Catch her on her blog and on Twitter @joanneisafoodie.

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