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Chef Phillip Esteban Is Bringing Filipino Food to Normal Heights

White Rice is expanding from Liberty Public Market

A bowl of Filipino tofu on rice.
Tofu sisig.
White Rice

Fast-casual Filipino spot White Rice is expanding from Liberty Public Market into a stand-alone space in Normal Heights. Called White Rice Bodega, the 600-square-foot restaurant will be housed in a renovated 1930s-era building that anchors the Orchid, a new micro-unit development on Adams Avenue, and will have its own outdoor dining patio.

Launched last summer in Liberty Station, White Rice was born out of the pandemic efforts of chef Phillip Esteban, Eater’s 2021 chef of the year. who pivoted his company’s catering business into a successful meal delivery service that also had a charitable component.

Based on silog, a go-to Filipino dish of garlic rice and egg paired with various meats or other proteins, White Rice’s menu features rice bowls topped with everything from grilled chicken skewers to crispy pork belly. New dishes will eventually be offered at the Normal Heights location, but it’ll debut with favorite items like Filipino spaghetti and a vegan version of classic sisig made with tofu and mushrooms.

A rendering of a small restaurant and patio.
White Rice Bodega
Courtesy rendering

Esteban, who is still planning to open a fine dining Filipino restaurant in San Diego, tells Eater that the Adams Avenue space should open by the end of March. The counter-service restaurant will serve Filipino beer as well as local brews and natural wine and will also sell grab-and-go provisions such as whipped ube butter, bottled ube milk tea, and calamansi ice tea.

White Rice Bodega

3586 Adams Avenue, , CA 92116 (619) 289-9240 Visit Website