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Chicken skewers in the display case at Fil-Am Cuisine in Daly City
Chicken skewers on display at Fil-Am Cuisine
Elaine Wu

10 Great Filipino Restaurants in and Around Daly City

Adobo, silogs, and halo-halo reign supreme in this stretch of the Peninsula known as Little Manila

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Chicken skewers on display at Fil-Am Cuisine
| Elaine Wu

With the largest concentration of Filipinos in the United States, Daly City is known, informally, as a “Little Manila.” It’s a no-brainer, then, that the city — along with nearby Colma, South San Francisco, and San Bruno — would be home to some of the Bay Area’s finest Filipino fare. These restaurants and bakeries aren’t confined to a single “Chinatown”-like neighborhood; instead, they’re spread across strip malls, in anonymous-looking residential areas, and even on the outskirts of town. Some of the restaurants have been slinging adobo and halo-halo for decades, catering to the Filipino immigrants who settled in the area starting in the late ‘60s, after California’s fair housing law was passed and a major construction boom took place. Others connect with a new generation of Filipino Americans through contemporary versions of classic dishes. These 10 spots are a great place to start, especially for the uninitiated.

Restaurants in this map are listed geographically from North to South, not ranked.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Via Mare of America

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6423 Mission St
Daly City, CA 94014
(650) 755-2500

When friends are visiting from out of town and you want to take them to a nicer sit-down Filipino dinner, this is your joint. All of the classics are on the menu, including impressive versions of kare kare (stewed oxtails with a peanut-based sauce), pata (crispy pork leg), and caldereta (a tomato-based stew). The place gets hopping on weekends, so make a reservation or get there early.

2. Fil-Am Cuisine

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66 School St
Daly City, CA 94014
(650) 992-6191
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At first glance, the menu might lead customers to think, “That’s it? All they serve is skewers.” But then you take that first bite, and you realize that’s all they need to serve. The cooks mean business here, constantly churning out piles of beautifully charred, juicy, soy-sauce-marinated pork and dark-meat chicken over a flaming grill. The smoky scent hits you before you even walk in. There’s also a second shop located in downtown South San Francisco.

Pork skewers wrapped in foil from Fil-Am Cuisine Elaine Wu

3. Tselogs

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11b San Pedro Rd
Daly City, CA 94014
(415) 769-5200
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Order any of this dinner spot’s silogs — the fried egg and garlic rice plates typically eaten for breakfast — and you’ll know why the restaurant smells so intensely of garlic and soy sauce. One of the best dishes is the sisigsilog, which features moist, garlicky shredded chicken with a delightfully sour kick. Be sure to get an order of the tiny, habit-forming lumpia Shanghai, too. Can’t make it down to Daly City? The local mini-chain also has two shops in San Francisco.

A carton of lumpia Shanghai at Tselogs Elaine Wu

4. Manila Express Gourmet Fast Foods

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425 Gellert Blvd
Daly City, CA 94015
(650) 878-8155

Three things to know about Manila Express: First, it’s hidden deep inside a strip mall; and second, its operating hours are a little quirky (4 to 9 p.m. on weekdays and noon to 7:30 p.m. on weekends) and may require some prior planning. Most importantly, the thing to get is the vinegary braised chicken dish that many consider the national dish of the Philippines: chicken adobo. When done well, it has an intoxicating smell and an even better flavor. These guys do it well.

5. Auntie Em's Fine Foods & Pastries

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1127 El Camino Real
South San Francisco, CA 94080
(650) 588-6068
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Locals know to come here for cakes for any celebration or family get-together. But in addition to the perfect birthday cake, Auntie Em’s also serves up a great selection of traditional Filipino pastries like cheese rolls, bibingka (glutinous rice cake with coconut milk), cassava cake, and buko pie (coconut custard). If you have to grab just one thing, go with their famous ensaymada, preferably the dulce de leche or ube version, which are perfectly soft, buttery, and lightly sweet.

Ube ensaymada at Auntie Em’s Elaine Wu

6. Chibog

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2055 Gellert Blvd #5
Daly City, CA 94015
(650) 878-3591
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This casual local favorite serves some good Filipino comfort food like lechon kawali (fried pork belly), bangus (milkfish), sisig (a sizzling meat dish), and pancit (stir-fried rice noodles). The menu is full of classic dishes done reliably well, including a great version of short rib sinigang, a savory and sour soup flavored with tamarind — a wonderful dish to share on a cold day.

Short rib sinigang — a opaque broth studded with vegetables and pieces of bone-in short rib — at Chibog Elaine Wu

7. House of Silvanas

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2055 Gellert Blvd
Daly City, CA 94015
(650) 878-8700
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Silvanas look like a cross between a French macaron and an ice cream sandwich, which isn’t far from the truth. At House of Silvanas, the frozen desserts consist of two cashew-meringue wafers coated with colorful cookie crumbs and a layer of buttercream in between. Show-stopping flavors include the mango, strawberry, ube, and buko pandan.

Ube, strawberry, buko pandan, and mango silvanas from House of Silvanas Elaine Wu

8. Starbread Bakery

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2211 Gellert Blvd
South San Francisco, CA 94080
(650) 878-9524
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Starbread’s wildly popular señorita bread looks like nothing special, almost like a generic crescent roll. But Pillsbury has nothing on these soft, buttery, sweet rolls, which are freshly baked and served hot all day long — literally 24 hours a day on Saturdays at the local chain’s South San Francisco location, which shares a storefront with Ling Nam, a Filipino diner/noodle shop. A box of 20 costs only $8, which is a good thing because it’s not humanly possible to eat just one.

A box of señorita bread from Starbread Bakery Luke Tsai

9. Magnolia Ice Cream & Treats

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3573 Callan Blvd
South San Francisco, CA 94080
(650) 763-1226
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Magnolia is a Filipino ice cream brand that has been around for generations, known for their tubs of ice cream that can be found at Filipino supermarkets. But the company’s South San Francisco ice cream shop specializes in what is arguably the Philippines’ most popular dessert: halo-halo, a cold treat made of crushed ice, evaporated milk, ice cream, and a variety of tropical toppings. Locals love this place for its smooth and creamy version of the dessert and its selection of authentic Filipino ice cream flavors like ube, avocado, guava, buko pandan, mango, lychee, and more. Milkshakes and Hawaiian shaved ice are also on offer.

10. Binka Bites

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304 Alida Way
South San Francisco, CA 94080
(650) 787-9010
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If you’re looking for traditional bibingka — the flat, pancake-like coconut-and-rice-flour snack — that’s not what they sell here. Binka Bites’ version is even better, using the same ingredients to make a cupcake-shaped pastry with a texture similar to a mochi donut. Get anything made with ube, the vibrant purple yam that Filipinos love. The ube flan bibingka, for instance, comes topped with cream cheese frosting and a cube of flan. It’s a contemporary take on the traditional dessert — and it’s absolutely delicious. 

Ube flan binka bites Elaine Wu

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1. Via Mare of America

6423 Mission St, Daly City, CA 94014

When friends are visiting from out of town and you want to take them to a nicer sit-down Filipino dinner, this is your joint. All of the classics are on the menu, including impressive versions of kare kare (stewed oxtails with a peanut-based sauce), pata (crispy pork leg), and caldereta (a tomato-based stew). The place gets hopping on weekends, so make a reservation or get there early.

6423 Mission St
Daly City, CA 94014

2. Fil-Am Cuisine

66 School St, Daly City, CA 94014
Pork skewers wrapped in foil from Fil-Am Cuisine Elaine Wu

At first glance, the menu might lead customers to think, “That’s it? All they serve is skewers.” But then you take that first bite, and you realize that’s all they need to serve. The cooks mean business here, constantly churning out piles of beautifully charred, juicy, soy-sauce-marinated pork and dark-meat chicken over a flaming grill. The smoky scent hits you before you even walk in. There’s also a second shop located in downtown South San Francisco.

66 School St
Daly City, CA 94014

3. Tselogs

11b San Pedro Rd, Daly City, CA 94014
A carton of lumpia Shanghai at Tselogs Elaine Wu

Order any of this dinner spot’s silogs — the fried egg and garlic rice plates typically eaten for breakfast — and you’ll know why the restaurant smells so intensely of garlic and soy sauce. One of the best dishes is the sisigsilog, which features moist, garlicky shredded chicken with a delightfully sour kick. Be sure to get an order of the tiny, habit-forming lumpia Shanghai, too. Can’t make it down to Daly City? The local mini-chain also has two shops in San Francisco.

11b San Pedro Rd
Daly City, CA 94014

4. Manila Express Gourmet Fast Foods

425 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015

Three things to know about Manila Express: First, it’s hidden deep inside a strip mall; and second, its operating hours are a little quirky (4 to 9 p.m. on weekdays and noon to 7:30 p.m. on weekends) and may require some prior planning. Most importantly, the thing to get is the vinegary braised chicken dish that many consider the national dish of the Philippines: chicken adobo. When done well, it has an intoxicating smell and an even better flavor. These guys do it well.

425 Gellert Blvd
Daly City, CA 94015

5. Auntie Em's Fine Foods & Pastries

1127 El Camino Real, South San Francisco, CA 94080
Ube ensaymada at Auntie Em’s Elaine Wu

Locals know to come here for cakes for any celebration or family get-together. But in addition to the perfect birthday cake, Auntie Em’s also serves up a great selection of traditional Filipino pastries like cheese rolls, bibingka (glutinous rice cake with coconut milk), cassava cake, and buko pie (coconut custard). If you have to grab just one thing, go with their famous ensaymada, preferably the dulce de leche or ube version, which are perfectly soft, buttery, and lightly sweet.

1127 El Camino Real
South San Francisco, CA 94080

6. Chibog

2055 Gellert Blvd #5, Daly City, CA 94015
Short rib sinigang — a opaque broth studded with vegetables and pieces of bone-in short rib — at Chibog Elaine Wu

This casual local favorite serves some good Filipino comfort food like lechon kawali (fried pork belly), bangus (milkfish), sisig (a sizzling meat dish), and pancit (stir-fried rice noodles). The menu is full of classic dishes done reliably well, including a great version of short rib sinigang, a savory and sour soup flavored with tamarind — a wonderful dish to share on a cold day.

2055 Gellert Blvd #5
Daly City, CA 94015

7. House of Silvanas

2055 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015
Ube, strawberry, buko pandan, and mango silvanas from House of Silvanas Elaine Wu

Silvanas look like a cross between a French macaron and an ice cream sandwich, which isn’t far from the truth. At House of Silvanas, the frozen desserts consist of two cashew-meringue wafers coated with colorful cookie crumbs and a layer of buttercream in between. Show-stopping flavors include the mango, strawberry, ube, and buko pandan.

2055 Gellert Blvd
Daly City, CA 94015

8. Starbread Bakery

2211 Gellert Blvd, South San Francisco, CA 94080
A box of señorita bread from Starbread Bakery Luke Tsai

Starbread’s wildly popular señorita bread looks like nothing special, almost like a generic crescent roll. But Pillsbury has nothing on these soft, buttery, sweet rolls, which are freshly baked and served hot all day long — literally 24 hours a day on Saturdays at the local chain’s South San Francisco location, which shares a storefront with Ling Nam, a Filipino diner/noodle shop. A box of 20 costs only $8, which is a good thing because it’s not humanly possible to eat just one.

2211 Gellert Blvd
South San Francisco, CA 94080

9. Magnolia Ice Cream & Treats

3573 Callan Blvd, South San Francisco, CA 94080

Magnolia is a Filipino ice cream brand that has been around for generations, known for their tubs of ice cream that can be found at Filipino supermarkets. But the company’s South San Francisco ice cream shop specializes in what is arguably the Philippines’ most popular dessert: halo-halo, a cold treat made of crushed ice, evaporated milk, ice cream, and a variety of tropical toppings. Locals love this place for its smooth and creamy version of the dessert and its selection of authentic Filipino ice cream flavors like ube, avocado, guava, buko pandan, mango, lychee, and more. Milkshakes and Hawaiian shaved ice are also on offer.

3573 Callan Blvd
South San Francisco, CA 94080

10. Binka Bites

304 Alida Way, South San Francisco, CA 94080
Ube flan binka bites Elaine Wu

If you’re looking for traditional bibingka — the flat, pancake-like coconut-and-rice-flour snack — that’s not what they sell here. Binka Bites’ version is even better, using the same ingredients to make a cupcake-shaped pastry with a texture similar to a mochi donut. Get anything made with ube, the vibrant purple yam that Filipinos love. The ube flan bibingka, for instance, comes topped with cream cheese frosting and a cube of flan. It’s a contemporary take on the traditional dessert — and it’s absolutely delicious. 

304 Alida Way
South San Francisco, CA 94080

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