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Where to Eat Filipino Food in San Diego

Fill up on pancit, lumpia, adobo and more

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Filipino food is more than just lumpia and pancit — two popular dishes commonly served at gatherings and parties. The cuisine is an amalgam of the island nation’s rich history. It includes Chinese and Muslim influences and extends to time as a Spanish colony and U.S. occupation before it became an independent nation. And San Diego County is rife with eateries specializing in Filipino food due to the huge pinoy population, the second largest in the U.S. Here’s a primer on where to go for pancit and lumpia as well as adobo (the national dish of the Philippines) and more. While these places won’t be as nearly good as your friend’s or neighbor’s Filipino home cooking, some places come pretty close.

Some restaurants have outdoor seating, while others continue to offer takeout and/or delivery only; check each eatery’s hours and mode of operation before you visit. This should not be taken as endorsement for on-site dining, as there are still safety concerns: for updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the County of San Diego website. 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.

Note: map points are not ranked

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. CARiN de RiA

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124 W I St
Encinitas, CA 92024
(760) 557-4873
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If a cute cafe serving Filipino food is your style, this Encinitas eatery checks all the boxes. The food is made-to-order and includes some dishes you’ll find served in private homes in the grilled, braises and stews portion of the menu. Grilled milkfish, beef stew (caldereta) and vegetable coconut stew (ginataan) are a few entrees to explore.

CARiN de RiA/Facebook

2. Andell's Bakery and Kitchen

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9926 Carmel Mountain Rd # F
San Diego, CA 92129
(858) 538-8308
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Filipino bakeries like Valerio’s abound in San Diego but at Andell’s, they take pandesal, a sweet roll, and transform it into a sandwich. Fillings include spam, eggs, cheese, fried bananas, peanut butter, chicken adobo, sardines with olives and corned beef. Also try cheese ensaymada, a Filipino-style brioche bun topped with cheese, butter and sugar.

Andell’s Bakery and Kitchen/Facebook

3. R & B Filipino Cuisine

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11257 Camino Ruiz
San Diego, CA 92126
(858) 695-8455

This turo-turo (point-point) spot covers all the bases with its selection of beloved Filipino dishes. Some good ones include dilis (fried anchovies), sinigang and kare-kare. But R & B excels in their lechon kawai (fried pork belly). It’s served with a potent vinegar dipping sauce to cut through the fat.

R & B Filipino Cuisine/Facebook

4. Mama Cinia's Rice & Noodles

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9178 Mira Mesa Blvd
San Diego, CA 92126
(858) 860-5125
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Head to this Mira Mesa spot for fast Filipino takeaway that’s also easy on the wallet. Mama Cinia’s offers a little bit of everything: chicken adobo, bistek (beef steak), three types of pancit, and more.

Mama Cinia’s Rice & Noodle/Facebook

5. Max's Restaurant, Cuisine of the Philippines, San Diego

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8285 Mira Mesa Blvd
San Diego, CA 92126
(858) 397-2180
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Fried chicken headlines the menu at this Filipino chain but it’s unlike the fried bird you may be familiar with. Max’s fried chicken is not breaded. Instead you get flavorful crispy skin hiding succulent meat underneath. Don’t skip out the banana ketchup dipping sauce, either. Recommended sides include garlic fried rice plus sinigang, a hearty tamarind soup served with your choice of pork or shrimp.

6. Oi Asian Fusion

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1985 National Ave #1133
San Diego, CA 92113
(619) 228-9857
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This mini-chain with locations in Barrio Logan and Carmel Valley tout fusion bowls but the menu is loaded with familiar Filipino dishes like adobo. The adobo bowl features braised pork belly with adobo sauce and soft boiled egg atop of rice. Or opt for the chicken longanisa bowl featuring sweet-garlicky Filipino sausage with garlic fried rice.

Oi Asian Fusion/Facebook

7. Snoice/Kababayan Bakery

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8423 Paradise Valley Rd # B
Spring Valley, CA 91977
(619) 267-1493
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It’s 2-for-1 at this Paradise Valley eatery. Head into Kababayan Bakery for combination plates packed with chicken or pork adobo, pancit and lumpia. Dessert awaits at Snoice where they serve boba drinks and ice cream but save room for the halo-halo. Roughly translating to “mix-mix,” the dessert includes ube ice cream, sweet potatoes, purple yam, coconut jelly, jackfruit, palm fruit, red bean, flan and evaporated milk over shaved ice.

Snoice/Facebook

8. Ching's Famous Hopia

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1722 E 8th St
National City, CA 91950
(619) 477-9626

If you’re familiar with Chinese mooncakes, then hopia isn’t a big stretch. This National City bakery bakes theirs in-house and sells varieties filled with ube, buko pandan, mongo (mung bean), pineapple, baboy (winter melon) and langka (jackfruit). If they have it, don’t bypass the ube crinkle cookies or garlic peanuts.

Darlene Alilain-Horn

9. Tita's Kitchenette

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2720 E Plaza Blvd E
National City, CA 91950
(619) 434-3879
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Newbies to the cuisine acknowledge Tita’s Kitchenette is the place to visit for ready-made Filipino fare. Steam tables are filled with the usual suspects like lumpia and adobo, but those willing to expand their tastes should try dinuguan, affectionally called chocolate meat by many Filipinos. There’s no chocolate in the dish— instead, pork pieces are stewed in pig blood, garlic and spices.

10. Filipino Desserts Plus

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2220 E Plaza Blvd Q
National City, CA 91950
(619) 479-6748
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One step inside this cozy bakery and you’ll be welcomed with colorful sweets that include coconut milk and glutinous rice. Buy small variety packs with a selection of kalamay, kutsina, pitsi-pitsi, puto and maja blanca. And don’t miss out on bibingka, an addictive sticky rice cake topped with brown sugar and coconut milk, or turon, basically banana lumpia with a caramel coating.

Filipino Desserts Plus/Facebook

11. Zarlitos Family Restaurant

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505 E 8th St
National City, CA 91950
(619) 399-5222
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It’s a mix of Filipino, Mexican and Hawaiian served here. Filipino food shines with their all-day breakfast or silog. Served with garlic rice and fried eggs, it also includes your choice of menudo, Spam, longinasa (sweet pork sausage) and marinated milkfish as a few options.

12. Villa Manila

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500 E 8th St
National City, CA 91950
(619) 477-8512
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Just by the name alone, you can guess this is one of the many spots to grab Filipino cuisine in National City. The menu includes delicacies from three regions. For example, there’s kare-kare (peanut stew with bok choy, eggplant, oxtail, tripe and beef shank) from Luzon, ubod (crepe-style lumpia stuffed with coconut heart, carrots, celery, crab and pork) from Visayas, and kinilaw (seafood marinated in vinegar) from Mindanao. Villa Manila’s real claim to fame is their kamayan-style dining, a Filipino tradition where food is laid out on banana leaves and guests eat with their hands.

Darlene Alilain-Horn

13. Toto's Grill

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1615 Sweetwater Rd
National City, CA 91950
(619) 474-9811

This National City spot caters to Filipino street food meaning almost everything is skewered. A few dollars can fetch hot dogs, pork, chicken, beef, quail eggs, sesame balls and more. The food extends into Filipino comfort food like lugaw or arroz caldo, a chicken rice porridge seasoned with garlic, ginger and fish sauce, available only on Fridays and Saturdays.

14. Gerry's Grill

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3050 Plaza Bonita Rd
National City, CA 91950
(619) 464-3779
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With more than 100 locations worldwide, the branch of this Philippines-based eatery at Westfield Plaza Bonita is one of a small handful in the U.S. Known for its large, shareable platters of food, the menu offers an array of grilled items like inihaw na pusit as well as as classic dishes including sisig and crispy pata.

15. Mexipino Craft

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1660 Broadway #14
Chula Vista, CA 91911
(619) 422-2044
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When the Philippines and Mexico where both part of Spain’s empire, the cuisines and cultures intermingled. You can taste the modern day fusion at this Chula Vista eatery. One highlight is the breakfast sandwich with choice of meat, avocado and eggs on conchita bread. The menu also includes traditional Filipino breakfast plates along with huevos rancheros and chilaquiles.

Mexipino Craft/Facebook

1. CARiN de RiA

124 W I St, Encinitas, CA 92024
CARiN de RiA/Facebook

If a cute cafe serving Filipino food is your style, this Encinitas eatery checks all the boxes. The food is made-to-order and includes some dishes you’ll find served in private homes in the grilled, braises and stews portion of the menu. Grilled milkfish, beef stew (caldereta) and vegetable coconut stew (ginataan) are a few entrees to explore.

124 W I St
Encinitas, CA 92024

2. Andell's Bakery and Kitchen

9926 Carmel Mountain Rd # F, San Diego, CA 92129
Andell’s Bakery and Kitchen/Facebook

Filipino bakeries like Valerio’s abound in San Diego but at Andell’s, they take pandesal, a sweet roll, and transform it into a sandwich. Fillings include spam, eggs, cheese, fried bananas, peanut butter, chicken adobo, sardines with olives and corned beef. Also try cheese ensaymada, a Filipino-style brioche bun topped with cheese, butter and sugar.

9926 Carmel Mountain Rd # F
San Diego, CA 92129

3. R & B Filipino Cuisine

11257 Camino Ruiz, San Diego, CA 92126
R & B Filipino Cuisine/Facebook

This turo-turo (point-point) spot covers all the bases with its selection of beloved Filipino dishes. Some good ones include dilis (fried anchovies), sinigang and kare-kare. But R & B excels in their lechon kawai (fried pork belly). It’s served with a potent vinegar dipping sauce to cut through the fat.

11257 Camino Ruiz
San Diego, CA 92126

4. Mama Cinia's Rice & Noodles

9178 Mira Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92126
Mama Cinia’s Rice & Noodle/Facebook

Head to this Mira Mesa spot for fast Filipino takeaway that’s also easy on the wallet. Mama Cinia’s offers a little bit of everything: chicken adobo, bistek (beef steak), three types of pancit, and more.

9178 Mira Mesa Blvd
San Diego, CA 92126

5. Max's Restaurant, Cuisine of the Philippines, San Diego

8285 Mira Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92126

Fried chicken headlines the menu at this Filipino chain but it’s unlike the fried bird you may be familiar with. Max’s fried chicken is not breaded. Instead you get flavorful crispy skin hiding succulent meat underneath. Don’t skip out the banana ketchup dipping sauce, either. Recommended sides include garlic fried rice plus sinigang, a hearty tamarind soup served with your choice of pork or shrimp.

8285 Mira Mesa Blvd
San Diego, CA 92126

6. Oi Asian Fusion

1985 National Ave #1133, San Diego, CA 92113
Oi Asian Fusion/Facebook

This mini-chain with locations in Barrio Logan and Carmel Valley tout fusion bowls but the menu is loaded with familiar Filipino dishes like adobo. The adobo bowl features braised pork belly with adobo sauce and soft boiled egg atop of rice. Or opt for the chicken longanisa bowl featuring sweet-garlicky Filipino sausage with garlic fried rice.

1985 National Ave #1133
San Diego, CA 92113

7. Snoice/Kababayan Bakery

8423 Paradise Valley Rd # B, Spring Valley, CA 91977
Snoice/Facebook

It’s 2-for-1 at this Paradise Valley eatery. Head into Kababayan Bakery for combination plates packed with chicken or pork adobo, pancit and lumpia. Dessert awaits at Snoice where they serve boba drinks and ice cream but save room for the halo-halo. Roughly translating to “mix-mix,” the dessert includes ube ice cream, sweet potatoes, purple yam, coconut jelly, jackfruit, palm fruit, red bean, flan and evaporated milk over shaved ice.

8423 Paradise Valley Rd # B
Spring Valley, CA 91977

8. Ching's Famous Hopia

1722 E 8th St, National City, CA 91950
Darlene Alilain-Horn

If you’re familiar with Chinese mooncakes, then hopia isn’t a big stretch. This National City bakery bakes theirs in-house and sells varieties filled with ube, buko pandan, mongo (mung bean), pineapple, baboy (winter melon) and langka (jackfruit). If they have it, don’t bypass the ube crinkle cookies or garlic peanuts.

1722 E 8th St
National City, CA 91950

9. Tita's Kitchenette

2720 E Plaza Blvd E, National City, CA 91950

Newbies to the cuisine acknowledge Tita’s Kitchenette is the place to visit for ready-made Filipino fare. Steam tables are filled with the usual suspects like lumpia and adobo, but those willing to expand their tastes should try dinuguan, affectionally called chocolate meat by many Filipinos. There’s no chocolate in the dish— instead, pork pieces are stewed in pig blood, garlic and spices.

2720 E Plaza Blvd E
National City, CA 91950

10. Filipino Desserts Plus

2220 E Plaza Blvd Q, National City, CA 91950
Filipino Desserts Plus/Facebook

One step inside this cozy bakery and you’ll be welcomed with colorful sweets that include coconut milk and glutinous rice. Buy small variety packs with a selection of kalamay, kutsina, pitsi-pitsi, puto and maja blanca. And don’t miss out on bibingka, an addictive sticky rice cake topped with brown sugar and coconut milk, or turon, basically banana lumpia with a caramel coating.

2220 E Plaza Blvd Q
National City, CA 91950

11. Zarlitos Family Restaurant

505 E 8th St, National City, CA 91950

It’s a mix of Filipino, Mexican and Hawaiian served here. Filipino food shines with their all-day breakfast or silog. Served with garlic rice and fried eggs, it also includes your choice of menudo, Spam, longinasa (sweet pork sausage) and marinated milkfish as a few options.

505 E 8th St
National City, CA 91950

12. Villa Manila

500 E 8th St, National City, CA 91950
Darlene Alilain-Horn

Just by the name alone, you can guess this is one of the many spots to grab Filipino cuisine in National City. The menu includes delicacies from three regions. For example, there’s kare-kare (peanut stew with bok choy, eggplant, oxtail, tripe and beef shank) from Luzon, ubod (crepe-style lumpia stuffed with coconut heart, carrots, celery, crab and pork) from Visayas, and kinilaw (seafood marinated in vinegar) from Mindanao. Villa Manila’s real claim to fame is their kamayan-style dining, a Filipino tradition where food is laid out on banana leaves and guests eat with their hands.

500 E 8th St
National City, CA 91950

13. Toto's Grill

1615 Sweetwater Rd, National City, CA 91950

This National City spot caters to Filipino street food meaning almost everything is skewered. A few dollars can fetch hot dogs, pork, chicken, beef, quail eggs, sesame balls and more. The food extends into Filipino comfort food like lugaw or arroz caldo, a chicken rice porridge seasoned with garlic, ginger and fish sauce, available only on Fridays and Saturdays.

1615 Sweetwater Rd
National City, CA 91950

14. Gerry's Grill

3050 Plaza Bonita Rd, National City, CA 91950

With more than 100 locations worldwide, the branch of this Philippines-based eatery at Westfield Plaza Bonita is one of a small handful in the U.S. Known for its large, shareable platters of food, the menu offers an array of grilled items like inihaw na pusit as well as as classic dishes including sisig and crispy pata.

3050 Plaza Bonita Rd
National City, CA 91950

15. Mexipino Craft

1660 Broadway #14, Chula Vista, CA 91911
Mexipino Craft/Facebook

When the Philippines and Mexico where both part of Spain’s empire, the cuisines and cultures intermingled. You can taste the modern day fusion at this Chula Vista eatery. One highlight is the breakfast sandwich with choice of meat, avocado and eggs on conchita bread. The menu also includes traditional Filipino breakfast plates along with huevos rancheros and chilaquiles.

1660 Broadway #14
Chula Vista, CA 91911

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