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Patricia Chang

13 Exceptional Filipino Restaurants in San Francisco and the East Bay

Where to find the best sizzling sisig, crispy lechon, and silog dishes

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The Bay Area has long been a center of Filipino culture and cuisine and today’s Filipino food scene in San Francisco and the East Bay is an exciting mix of old and new: you’ll find everything from classic “turo turo” steam table spots to new-school, fine-dining options pushing the boundaries. Some of these restaurants have brought Filipino flavors to trendy neighborhoods in Oakland and San Francisco; others have been feeding long-established Filipino communities in cities like Hayward and San Leandro for years. (Of course, we’d be remiss not to mention the Daly City area, which has the highest concentration of Filipinos in the country. Here’s a separate map dedicated to the deliciousness you’ll find there.

These 13 Filipino restaurants in San Francisco and the East Bay are a good starting point for showing the breadth and depth of the area’s Filipino restaurant scene.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Starbread

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13501 San Pablo Ave # E
San Pablo, CA 94806
(510) 233-2300
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This small, family-owned Bay Area chain is famous for its señorita bread, oblong rolls slathered with butter, sugar, and breadcrumbs. Always the crowd favorite at any big Filipino family gatherings, Starbread’s señorita bread is served hot with a molten, almost custard-like buttery center — and in generous quantities. The pricing starts at $6 for 15 pieces.

A box of señorita bread from Starbread Bakery Luke Tsai

2. FOB Kitchen

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5179 Telegraph Ave
Oakland, CA 94609
(510) 817-4169
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The restaurant’s vividly colorful, tropically inspired dining room is welcoming customers back indoors, where FOB chef Janice Dulce is still slinging some of Oakland’s best Filipino food. During the pandemic, the former pop-up leaned even more heavily into comfort foods (lumpia, pancit, pork adobo, and more) and offering its popular silog brunch plates all day — and all week — long. There are also multiple options for family-sized takeout meals.

3. The Lumpia Company

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372 24th St
Oakland, CA 94612

This popular pop-up (co-owned by legendary East Bay rapper E-40) has taken up residence at two locations: in Oakland, at the Kitchener Oakland takeout window, and at a trailer parked in the back patio of SoMa’s newly rebranded restaurant and pop-up space, Merkado. At either spot, customers can expect to find a variety of lumpia with nontraditional fillings like bacon cheeseburger and even beef quesabirria, as well as nontraditional-traditional fillings like Bicol express and chicken tinola.

Melissa DeMata

4. Abacá

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2700 Jones St
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 486-0788
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Chef Francis Ang of Pinoy Heritage is at the helm of Abacá, an upscale Filipino restaurant residing inside the Kimpton Alton Hotel in Fisherman’s Wharf, and he’s throwing his extensive cooking experience (Gary Danko; Fifth Floor, now Dirty Habit; Pinoy Heritage) behind the creative Filipino dishes served here. The result is “approachable” Filipino-American cuisine, highlighting California ingredients and produce, with a dose of Filipino flavors. Plates like the crispy octopus feature a patis-calamansi dressed slaw, for instance, and vegetable skewers have a pinakbet sauce with bagoong (traditionally a shrimp paste), but veganized. There’s also a fitting cocktail menu, packing in more Filipino ingredients, as well as a pastry and breakfast menu, served alongside coffee.

Melissa de Mata

5. Lucky Three Seven

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2868 Fruitvale Ave
Oakland, CA 94602
(510) 789-6343
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Hip-hop is always on blast at Lucky Three Seven, a small takeout-oriented joint in East Oakland with a few stools outside. While there are always daily specials in the steam table (including what might be the best oxtail kare-kare in town), customers can’t go wrong with the made-to-order — or, in this case, the fried-to-order — options. The XL lumpia are light, crisp, and at least four times the size of the lumpia at most restaurants. And the G-fire wings taste of soy sauce and vinegar — reminiscent of chicken adobo, but in an even better, crunchier format.

Janelle Bitker

6. Kusina Ni Tess

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237 Ellis St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 351-1169
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If you’re looking for traditional, homey Filipino food lovingly dropped from a steam table in San Francisco proper, Kusina Ni Tess is your best bet. Breakfast silogs (meat, egg, and garlic rice) are served all day, and the service is some of the friendliest in town. In pre-COVID times, you could even sample the daily specials — a rotating mix of classics like chicken adobo, laing (taro leaves in coconut milk), and picadillo (ground pork stewed with potatoes and tomatoes) — before committing. There are few places in downtown San Francisco where you can get this much food for less than $10.

7. Señor Sisig

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990 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(855) 747-4455
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Best known for its fleet of wildly popular food trucks, Señor Sisig is a true pioneer in the Filipino-American food scene: It’s more responsible than anyone for making sisig — a dish traditionally made using the chopped-up meat from a pig’s face — a part of countless San Franciscans’ everyday lexicon. Just like the trucks, Señor Sisig’s restaurant storefront in the Mission specializes in Filipino-Mexican fusion street food — most famously, its pork-, chicken-, or tofu-stuffed burritos. There are also a few items you can only get at the restaurant, including the Taco Bell-style sisig “crunchwrap,” which features a griddled tortilla wrapped around a tostada. Also worth noting: the San Francisco and Oakland locations have vegan versions of most dishes.

sisig crunchwrap with cheese dip on an aluminum tray Patricia Chang

8. Pampanguena Cuisine

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4441 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94112
(415) 586-8899
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Pampanguena Cuisine offers a long menu of Filipino classics, but most people order one of the family-style kamayan feasts, served on banana leaves and intended to be eaten with your hands. The kamayan meal is now available for takeout, too — served in a big, banana leaf-lined box. Depending on how many people you want to feed, it might include a whole grilled tilapia, barbecued chicken, lumpia, shrimp fritters, salted eggs, steamed vegetables, and a mountain of rice, plus mandatory dipping sauces.

Janelle Bitker

9. Super Star Restaurant

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4919 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94112
(415) 585-4360

A no-frills Filipino-Chinese spot in the Excelsior, Super Star is known, in part, for its mind-bendingly low prices — often less than $6 for a huge garlic rice plate with a fried egg and your protein of choice. Popular options include both the Filipino- and Hong Kong-style fried pork chops, the jumbo fried chicken leg, and an entire lineup of classic silogs (breakfast combo plates). 

10. Parekoy Lutong Pinoy

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14807 E 14th St
San Leandro, CA 94578
(510) 614-8112
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Ultra crispy, sizzling pork sisig is the star at Parekoy Lutong Pinoy, a no-frills San Leandro restaurant where everything is portioned for a party likely far greater than your own. The pork dishes tend to shine the brightest here, but Parekoy might be the best all-around option for made-to-order, homestyle Filipino eats in the East Bay.

Janelle Bitker

11. Pistahan

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13876 Doolittle Dr
San Leandro, CA 94577
(510) 346-0000

Rebranded from its old moniker, Everybody’s Cafe, this San Leandro strip mall spot is still run by the same friendly folks and serves the same menu of Filipino classics. The restaurant’s popular home-style buffet table is back, with certain items fried to order. Any of the rich, tender slow-cooked meat dishes are a good bet — the brothy, brightly vinegary beef singang, for instance, or the shrimp paste-spiked beef kare-kare. Pistahan is also one of the few East Bay spots where you can reliably get a halo-halo with the works (the ube ice cream, the leche flan, the entire panoply of beans and jellies) made to order at any time of day.

Beef sinigang and beef kare-kare Luke Tsai

12. Toto's Grill

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21933 Foothill Blvd
Hayward, CA 94541
(510) 674-9338
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A one-of-a-kind spot in the East Bay, Toto’s Grill is the place to go for that nostalgic, street food-style of Filipino barbecue that comes out smoky, sticky-sweet, and unapologetically charred. The standard pork and chicken skewers are excellent here, especially when dipped in the house vinegar sauces. But the restaurant’s calling card is its wide variety of offal cuts: chicken heads, feet, and tails; tender pig ears; and all different kinds of intestines — the chicken intestines (or isaw) tend to sell out so quickly that they keep them hidden behind the counter. During pre-pandemic times, Toto’s also had a communal, cook-it-yourself charcoal grill setup, that reopened for indoor dining. And if you want to try balut? This is your spot.

Luke Tsai

13. Isla Restaurant

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5720 Mowry School Rd
Newark, CA 94560
(510) 445-1602
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Isla Restaurant offers an impressive range of Filipino food, made in the Kapampangan style of cooking, including a variety of sinigang soups — a sour broth traditionally made from tamarind, and served with seafood or meat — pancit noodle dishes, and adobo dishes (just to name a few). If you’re looking to feed a large family, the restaurant also has combo meals to choose from, with generous portions for hungry customers.

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1. Starbread

13501 San Pablo Ave # E, San Pablo, CA 94806
A box of señorita bread from Starbread Bakery Luke Tsai

This small, family-owned Bay Area chain is famous for its señorita bread, oblong rolls slathered with butter, sugar, and breadcrumbs. Always the crowd favorite at any big Filipino family gatherings, Starbread’s señorita bread is served hot with a molten, almost custard-like buttery center — and in generous quantities. The pricing starts at $6 for 15 pieces.

13501 San Pablo Ave # E
San Pablo, CA 94806

2. FOB Kitchen

5179 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

The restaurant’s vividly colorful, tropically inspired dining room is welcoming customers back indoors, where FOB chef Janice Dulce is still slinging some of Oakland’s best Filipino food. During the pandemic, the former pop-up leaned even more heavily into comfort foods (lumpia, pancit, pork adobo, and more) and offering its popular silog brunch plates all day — and all week — long. There are also multiple options for family-sized takeout meals.

5179 Telegraph Ave
Oakland, CA 94609

3. The Lumpia Company

372 24th St, Oakland, CA 94612
Melissa DeMata

This popular pop-up (co-owned by legendary East Bay rapper E-40) has taken up residence at two locations: in Oakland, at the Kitchener Oakland takeout window, and at a trailer parked in the back patio of SoMa’s newly rebranded restaurant and pop-up space, Merkado. At either spot, customers can expect to find a variety of lumpia with nontraditional fillings like bacon cheeseburger and even beef quesabirria, as well as nontraditional-traditional fillings like Bicol express and chicken tinola.

372 24th St
Oakland, CA 94612

4. Abacá

2700 Jones St, San Francisco, CA 94133
Melissa de Mata

Chef Francis Ang of Pinoy Heritage is at the helm of Abacá, an upscale Filipino restaurant residing inside the Kimpton Alton Hotel in Fisherman’s Wharf, and he’s throwing his extensive cooking experience (Gary Danko; Fifth Floor, now Dirty Habit; Pinoy Heritage) behind the creative Filipino dishes served here. The result is “approachable” Filipino-American cuisine, highlighting California ingredients and produce, with a dose of Filipino flavors. Plates like the crispy octopus feature a patis-calamansi dressed slaw, for instance, and vegetable skewers have a pinakbet sauce with bagoong (traditionally a shrimp paste), but veganized. There’s also a fitting cocktail menu, packing in more Filipino ingredients, as well as a pastry and breakfast menu, served alongside coffee.

2700 Jones St
San Francisco, CA 94133

5. Lucky Three Seven

2868 Fruitvale Ave, Oakland, CA 94602
Janelle Bitker

Hip-hop is always on blast at Lucky Three Seven, a small takeout-oriented joint in East Oakland with a few stools outside. While there are always daily specials in the steam table (including what might be the best oxtail kare-kare in town), customers can’t go wrong with the made-to-order — or, in this case, the fried-to-order — options. The XL lumpia are light, crisp, and at least four times the size of the lumpia at most restaurants. And the G-fire wings taste of soy sauce and vinegar — reminiscent of chicken adobo, but in an even better, crunchier format.

2868 Fruitvale Ave
Oakland, CA 94602

6. Kusina Ni Tess

237 Ellis St, San Francisco, CA 94102

If you’re looking for traditional, homey Filipino food lovingly dropped from a steam table in San Francisco proper, Kusina Ni Tess is your best bet. Breakfast silogs (meat, egg, and garlic rice) are served all day, and the service is some of the friendliest in town. In pre-COVID times, you could even sample the daily specials — a rotating mix of classics like chicken adobo, laing (taro leaves in coconut milk), and picadillo (ground pork stewed with potatoes and tomatoes) — before committing. There are few places in downtown San Francisco where you can get this much food for less than $10.

237 Ellis St
San Francisco, CA 94102

7. Señor Sisig

990 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110
sisig crunchwrap with cheese dip on an aluminum tray Patricia Chang

Best known for its fleet of wildly popular food trucks, Señor Sisig is a true pioneer in the Filipino-American food scene: It’s more responsible than anyone for making sisig — a dish traditionally made using the chopped-up meat from a pig’s face — a part of countless San Franciscans’ everyday lexicon. Just like the trucks, Señor Sisig’s restaurant storefront in the Mission specializes in Filipino-Mexican fusion street food — most famously, its pork-, chicken-, or tofu-stuffed burritos. There are also a few items you can only get at the restaurant, including the Taco Bell-style sisig “crunchwrap,” which features a griddled tortilla wrapped around a tostada. Also worth noting: the San Francisco and Oakland locations have vegan versions of most dishes.

990 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110

8. Pampanguena Cuisine

4441 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94112
Janelle Bitker

Pampanguena Cuisine offers a long menu of Filipino classics, but most people order one of the family-style kamayan feasts, served on banana leaves and intended to be eaten with your hands. The kamayan meal is now available for takeout, too — served in a big, banana leaf-lined box. Depending on how many people you want to feed, it might include a whole grilled tilapia, barbecued chicken, lumpia, shrimp fritters, salted eggs, steamed vegetables, and a mountain of rice, plus mandatory dipping sauces.

4441 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94112

9. Super Star Restaurant

4919 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94112

A no-frills Filipino-Chinese spot in the Excelsior, Super Star is known, in part, for its mind-bendingly low prices — often less than $6 for a huge garlic rice plate with a fried egg and your protein of choice. Popular options include both the Filipino- and Hong Kong-style fried pork chops, the jumbo fried chicken leg, and an entire lineup of classic silogs (breakfast combo plates). 

4919 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94112

10. Parekoy Lutong Pinoy

14807 E 14th St, San Leandro, CA 94578
Janelle Bitker

Ultra crispy, sizzling pork sisig is the star at Parekoy Lutong Pinoy, a no-frills San Leandro restaurant where everything is portioned for a party likely far greater than your own. The pork dishes tend to shine the brightest here, but Parekoy might be the best all-around option for made-to-order, homestyle Filipino eats in the East Bay.

14807 E 14th St
San Leandro, CA 94578

11. Pistahan

13876 Doolittle Dr, San Leandro, CA 94577
Beef sinigang and beef kare-kare Luke Tsai

Rebranded from its old moniker, Everybody’s Cafe, this San Leandro strip mall spot is still run by the same friendly folks and serves the same menu of Filipino classics. The restaurant’s popular home-style buffet table is back, with certain items fried to order. Any of the rich, tender slow-cooked meat dishes are a good bet — the brothy, brightly vinegary beef singang, for instance, or the shrimp paste-spiked beef kare-kare. Pistahan is also one of the few East Bay spots where you can reliably get a halo-halo with the works (the ube ice cream, the leche flan, the entire panoply of beans and jellies) made to order at any time of day.

13876 Doolittle Dr
San Leandro, CA 94577

12. Toto's Grill

21933 Foothill Blvd, Hayward, CA 94541
Luke Tsai

A one-of-a-kind spot in the East Bay, Toto’s Grill is the place to go for that nostalgic, street food-style of Filipino barbecue that comes out smoky, sticky-sweet, and unapologetically charred. The standard pork and chicken skewers are excellent here, especially when dipped in the house vinegar sauces. But the restaurant’s calling card is its wide variety of offal cuts: chicken heads, feet, and tails; tender pig ears; and all different kinds of intestines — the chicken intestines (or isaw) tend to sell out so quickly that they keep them hidden behind the counter. During pre-pandemic times, Toto’s also had a communal, cook-it-yourself charcoal grill setup, that reopened for indoor dining. And if you want to try balut? This is your spot.

21933 Foothill Blvd
Hayward, CA 94541

13. Isla Restaurant

5720 Mowry School Rd, Newark, CA 94560

Isla Restaurant offers an impressive range of Filipino food, made in the Kapampangan style of cooking, including a variety of sinigang soups — a sour broth traditionally made from tamarind, and served with seafood or meat — pancit noodle dishes, and adobo dishes (just to name a few). If you’re looking to feed a large family, the restaurant also has combo meals to choose from, with generous portions for hungry customers.

5720 Mowry School Rd
Newark, CA 94560

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