rice cake confessional

adventures in eating

patio filipino, san bruno, ca

with one comment


“That’s what the Philippines tastes like.”

I actually said that at lunch today with Steph, Jay, and Julia. Jay requested good filipino food. Notice the stress on the word good. With the shocking number of Filipino people in the Bay Area it’s weird how hard it is to find really great Filipino food. You know, the kind that you want to bring your non-Filipino friends to. I had been eyeing (via Yelp) Patio Filipino for awhile but wanted to get a small group to try it out before bringing over pickier eaters. As you can probably tell, it did not disappoint. Unlike most other Filipino restaurants, Patio Filipino is a REAL restaurant not a cafeteria style joint. There will be no pointing at long-ago cooked dishes sitting in steam heaters.

I got the job of ordering and hooked us up with kare-kare, beef sinigang, and crispy pata. The kare-kare arrived first. Oxtail, eggplant, Chinese long beans, and bok choy in a peanut based stew. While it’s similar to other peanut inspired dishes of the region, kare-kare’s claim to fame is that it’s best eaten with bagoong- salty shrimp paste. At Patio Filipino they fry the bagoong with tomatoes which is a nice touch. The oxtail was nice and tender and the vegetables were well cooked but not mushy. Achiote gives it that bright orange color.


The sinigang made it to the table next. Beef (on the bone), daikon, tomato, okra, kang kong, and onions in a sour tamarind based soup. One thing to remember about Philippine cuisine is that we eat things over rice – as a supplement. You’re not going to drink up soup by itself. The soup was nice and sour although I generally like mine kind of spicy with a pepper thrown in.


Even if I was by myself I would have ordered the crispy pata. It’s soooooo good and such a pain to cook on your own as it generally requires multiple, arduous steps to complete. It’s the leg of the pig – skin and all – boiled, then dried either in the oven or by leaving out, and then deep fried. The end result is moist pork, a layer of fat, and then a crispy, crunchy rind. It’s probably the worst thing ever for you but it’s worth every caloric-laden bite.


We made sure to leave some room for dessert. After being moted by no turon, we settled on the halo-halo for Steph and Jay and the mango dessert for me and Julia. The ‘that’s what the Philippines tastes like’ comment was after I tried the halo-halo. Roughly translated, halo-halo means mix-mix and is the Philippine version of a shaved ice dessert. At Patio it’s served in a young coconut with a mound of ube ice cream on top. Inside is a mixture of condensed milk, sweet beans, and coconut jelly (no ice). Something about the flavor is so uniquely Filipino that I can’t even describe it right. Credit to Jay for snapping this shot.


The mango dessert was a little sweet for me. It was a moist chiffon cake topped with mango ice cream and a mango puree. The puree and ice cream were a little overripe tasting but the chiffon cake was tasty. I also like the nutty tasting meringue-y triangle on top.


We had calamansi juice with our meal (first picture at the top) which was nice but not calamansi-y enough for me. The whole lunch set us back about $80. Definitely not cheap eats but worth the money to get very good Filipino eats. 5***** out of 5.

Patio Filipino: 1770 El Camino Real, San Bruno, CA 94066

Written by joann

September 29, 2007 at 3:59 pm

One Response

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  1. I’ve said enough. I’m not going back. Nice people, but food too inconsistent.


    November 12, 2008 at 3:03 am

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