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Bistek at FOB Kitchen
Patricia Chang

12 Exceptional Filipino Restaurants in SF and the East Bay

Where to find the best sizzling sisig, fatty lechon, and late-night silog

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Bistek at FOB Kitchen
| Patricia Chang

In the past few years, Filipino food has gotten a lot of attention in the Bay Area thanks to a fresh fleet of Filipino-American chefs whose new pop-ups, restaurants, and food trucks express unique points of view on a cuisine that, prior to this, never quite managed to enter the mainstream in the United States. But the truth is, the Bay Area has long been a center of Filipino culture and cuisine.

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 pop-ups pushing the boundaries of laing and sisig. Some of these restaurants have brought Filipino flavors to trendy neighborhoods in Oakland and SF; 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 the Daly City area, which has the highest concentration of Filipinos in the entire country. Here’s a whole separate map dedicated to the deliciousness you’ll find there.

These 12 Filipino restaurants in SF and the East Bay are a good starting point toward showing the breadth and depth of the area’s Filipino restaurant scene.

A number of Bay Area restaurants have resumed dine-in service both outdoors and, in some cases, indoors. The level of service offered is indicated on each map point. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. 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 $5 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). 

2. 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 meals 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. Outdoor dine-in service available in the restaurant’s small sidewalk seating area on weekends only, weather permitting.

Janelle Bitker

3. 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) sisig-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.

sisig crunchwrap with cheese dip on an aluminum tray Patricia Chang

4. Kusina Ni Tess

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237 Ellis St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 351-1169
Visit Website

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 SF where you can get this much food for less than $10.

5. Pinoy Heritage @ Pacific Cocktail Haven

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580 Sutter St
San Francisco, CA 94108

For traditionalists who may feel skeptical about the very idea of Filipino fine dining, this long-running pop-up is a revelation: Chef Francis Ang’s seasonal tasting menus and kamayan feasts — both now available for takeout — are elegant and technique-driven without feeling overly fussy; the flavors really pop, showing the range of Filipino regional cuisine. Meanwhile, Pinoy Heritage’s take on Filipino street food, served as to-go offerings out of the Pacific Cocktail Haven kitchen, goes down great with a cocktail or a cold beer, whether you order the citrus soy-marinated beef skewers or the fiendishly delicious sisig fried rice.

A spread of dishes laid out on banana leaves, including pork sisig, crispy sticky rice, and slices of fresh melon Pinoy Heritage

6. 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. The San Pablo location is tiny, so, in order to maintain social distancing, right now only two customers are allowed inside at once.

A box of señorita bread from Starbread Bakery Luke Tsai

7. 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 — the latter is the one to visit if you’re looking for outdoor dining. At either spot, customers can expect to find a variety of lumpia with nontraditional fillings like bacon cheeseburger and even beef quesabirria. Rounding out the fusion offerings are empanadas bursting with tomato-tinged chicken afritada and spaghetti carbonara with pork sisig.

Melissa DeMata

8. 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 might be closed for the moment, but FOB chef Janice Dulce is still slinging some of Oakland’s tastiest Filipino food — all traditional dishes, just plated (or packed up) with a little bit more elegance. During the pandemic, the former pop-up is leaning even more heavily into comfort foods (your lumpia, pancit, and pork adobo) and offering its popular silog brunch plates all day — and all week — long. There are also multiple options for family-sized takeout meals.

9. Lucky Three Seven

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2868 Fruitvale Ave
Oakland, CA 94602
(510) 789-6343
Visit Website

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

10. Pistahan

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

Recently 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 tasty Filipino classics. The restaurant’s popular home-style buffet table isn’t active at the moment, but the to-go offerings come in large portions and exceedingly reasonable prices — say, a dozen piping-hot, shatteringly crunchy lumpia Shanghai for around $8. 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

11. Parekoy Lutong Pinoy

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14807 E 14th St
San Leandro, CA 94578
(510) 614-8112
Visit Website

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. It’s currently open for takeout only.

Janelle Bitker

12. Toto's Grill

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21933 Foothill Blvd
Hayward, CA 94541
(510) 674-9338
Visit Website

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, they keep them hidden behind the counter. During pre-pandemic times, Toto’s had a communal, cook-it-yourself charcoal grill setup, but for now, customers can pick what they want from the display case and get it reheated on the grill before they head home — or, even better, have a little barbecue party on the hood of their car in the parking lot. Want to try balut? This is your spot.

Luke Tsai

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1. 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 $5 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

2. 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 meals 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. Outdoor dine-in service available in the restaurant’s small sidewalk seating area on weekends only, weather permitting.

4441 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94112

3. 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) sisig-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.

990 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110

4. 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 SF where you can get this much food for less than $10.

237 Ellis St
San Francisco, CA 94102

5. Pinoy Heritage @ Pacific Cocktail Haven

580 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94108
A spread of dishes laid out on banana leaves, including pork sisig, crispy sticky rice, and slices of fresh melon Pinoy Heritage

For traditionalists who may feel skeptical about the very idea of Filipino fine dining, this long-running pop-up is a revelation: Chef Francis Ang’s seasonal tasting menus and kamayan feasts — both now available for takeout — are elegant and technique-driven without feeling overly fussy; the flavors really pop, showing the range of Filipino regional cuisine. Meanwhile, Pinoy Heritage’s take on Filipino street food, served as to-go offerings out of the Pacific Cocktail Haven kitchen, goes down great with a cocktail or a cold beer, whether you order the citrus soy-marinated beef skewers or the fiendishly delicious sisig fried rice.

580 Sutter St
San Francisco, CA 94108

6. 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. The San Pablo location is tiny, so, in order to maintain social distancing, right now only two customers are allowed inside at once.

13501 San Pablo Ave # E
San Pablo, CA 94806

7. 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 — the latter is the one to visit if you’re looking for outdoor dining. At either spot, customers can expect to find a variety of lumpia with nontraditional fillings like bacon cheeseburger and even beef quesabirria. Rounding out the fusion offerings are empanadas bursting with tomato-tinged chicken afritada and spaghetti carbonara with pork sisig.

372 24th St
Oakland, CA 94612

8. FOB Kitchen

5179 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

The restaurant’s vividly colorful, tropically inspired dining room might be closed for the moment, but FOB chef Janice Dulce is still slinging some of Oakland’s tastiest Filipino food — all traditional dishes, just plated (or packed up) with a little bit more elegance. During the pandemic, the former pop-up is leaning even more heavily into comfort foods (your lumpia, pancit, and pork adobo) 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

9. 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

10. Pistahan

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

Recently 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 tasty Filipino classics. The restaurant’s popular home-style buffet table isn’t active at the moment, but the to-go offerings come in large portions and exceedingly reasonable prices — say, a dozen piping-hot, shatteringly crunchy lumpia Shanghai for around $8. 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

11. 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. It’s currently open for takeout only.

14807 E 14th St
San Leandro, CA 94578

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, they keep them hidden behind the counter. During pre-pandemic times, Toto’s had a communal, cook-it-yourself charcoal grill setup, but for now, customers can pick what they want from the display case and get it reheated on the grill before they head home — or, even better, have a little barbecue party on the hood of their car in the parking lot. Want to try balut? This is your spot.

21933 Foothill Blvd
Hayward, CA 94541

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