Another good pairing was the beef caldareta ($15) and the bangus belly with ensalada ($14). In the caldareta, short ribs were braised down with tomatoes, garlic, and peppers until their flavors merged and coalesced, a cola-colored stew enriched with liver paté. Contrast that with the bright flash and crunch of the fried bangus (milkfish), lightly battered and served with a salsa of tomato, unripe mango, onion, and salted duck egg. Bangus may be a popular fish in the Philippines, but it's normally a treacherous one; Patio Filipino uses bangus belly in most of its fish dishes, avoiding the fine network of bones that some eaters treat like a puzzle to be pleasantly worried over and others (ahem, me) as a game of Russian roulette.

Ginataang, a coconut-milk stew with pumpkins and long beans.
Kimberly Sandie
Ginataang, a coconut-milk stew with pumpkins and long beans.

Location Info

Map

Patio Filipino

1770 El Camino Real
San Bruno, CA 94066-5220

Category: Restaurant > Filipino

Region: San Bruno

Details

1770 El Camino Real (at Santa Lucia), San Bruno, 650-872-9888, www.patiofilipino.com. 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5-9:30 p.m. Tue.-Thu.; 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Fri.-Sun. Reservations recommended for large parties. Noise level: moderate.

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The Bay Area has one of the largest Filipino-American communities in the United States — bigger than our Korean, Thai, Burmese, or Pakistani communities — so why hasn't Filipino cuisine exploded at the same pace as these other cuisines? There are certainly enough Filipino-American chefs with good résumés making their way into the restaurant scene, and enough diners who are curious and excited about what they may do. If the omens are indeed correct, I suspect that the city will attract the experimenters, the second-generation cooks with French culinary training and eclectic San Franciscan tastes, while more traditional restaurants like Patio Filipino will stay in the suburbs. Ilao says he has just persuaded the owners to open up Patio Filipino for franchising. Somebody want to open a Mission branch?

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