The Attic (San Mateo)

An article in he Chronicle about new Filipino food has interested me in the Attic. Any experiences there? The chef, Tim Luym, has lots of solid recommendations for dishes on the Peninsula listed on Chef’s Feed.

I tried it. I liked it. Pleasant atmosphere. I don’t know much about Filipino food, though.

I don’t remember it much, but I do think I wrote my notes in CH. It’s a little far flung for regular eating, and it wasn’t so great that I had to rush back. I look forward to more reports.

I for one would love to learn more about the Filipino food and the dining scene. As nice as Chowhound was as a resource, it never had much representation from people with deep knowledge about the cuisine. Just like what Kauffman mentioned, perhaps its because the cuisine is not trendy.

I found a bit odd that the article didn’t mention the cluster of Filipino restaurants south of SF or on the south side of the city. That seems to be where the action is…? Those on the map seems to be in the trendier neighborhoods. Where’s the chef’s feed?

My impression is that Filipino food has been ghetto-ized in the “cheap eats” category and this limits the range of dishes, ingredient quality, and healthy options. Kauffman delicately touches on this issue in his feature . Another issue is that some of the dishes are family sized, and that limits the likelihood it will be covered by food media or stumbled upon by non-Filipinos.

I have a shallow understanding of Filipino food, and didn’t eat it much when I lived near Excelsior, but some picks:

Aside from a place Kauffman mentions that has a Kamayan plate (giant platter for a group), there’s a good place in Excelsior, Pampanguena Cuisine

House of Silvanas in Daly City sells Silvanas, a Filipino version of macaroons, a type of meringue cookies made with cashews that’s really good. Hilda’s in Excelsior is a popular bakery, and it’s common for people to buying giant platters for parties there.

Oh, and Chef’s Feed is an app / website in which chefs recommend dishes at other restaurants. There’s lots of good tips on there, not necessarily unknown stuff to this community’s or readers of listicles, and nepotism isn’t too bad. The major drawback is that the entries are undated, so you’ll have things like Bakesale Betty’s which went downhill long ago.

There used to be Filipino restaurants near the Cow Palace. I remember going to one years ago after Gravy’s Soul Food closed.

More recently (less than 10 years), I attended the family memorial celebration of a Filipino friend at an handsome restaurant along the Embarcadero past Red’s. It was really good but closed on the one day that I tried to return.

There seem to be little Filipino places in Pinole (on San Pablo?) and Hercules in the shopping center anchored by a McDonald’s and a Safeway?.

The restaurant on the Embarcadero you are referring to was probably Carmen’s, on Pier 40, which has been around since 1957 but has moved a few times. I used to eat there when I worked at the APO Mail Facility at 390 Main St. circa 1965. In those days it was located at Pier 28 and was basically an adobo joint, serving huge portions to longshoremen but I imagine it’s been gentrified since.

Manilatown, along Kearny St. north of California St. (as well as Pacific Avenue) had as many as 27 Filipino restaurants in its heyday according to one source. There were at least 10 remaining that I can recall when I first came to SF in 1962. I can’t claim to be a PI food expert, though. Most also served American food, and I didn’t really know from adobo, pancit and lumpia.

Yes it was Carmen’s. Many of my friend’s Filipino family members were in attendance. Perhaps they knew the owner/chef, but I remember the food being bright and flavorful. There were several Filipino dishes but all I remember was the adobo. It was good enough that I tried to go back once, but they were closed. I can’t remember enjoying Filipino food more other than the homemade adobo that a co-worker used to make. Funny, but I ate dinner many times with my friend and we never had Filipino.

They seem to have changed their name to SB40 (Wasn’t SB40 ten years ago?) and get mixed reviews on the Y site.

I like the Attic, but it is more fusion than anything else. The have Filipino, Korean and Vietnamese dishes on the menu – mist of which are done very well. The adobo chicken lollipops, the sisig and the miso Brussels sprouts are my particular favorites.
The bar below (under attic) has a great happy hour with dollar oysters until 8/9 every day as well as some fusion-y bar snacks – sisig nachos etc.

Btw, has anyone tried Elena Luna, the new popup that is run by a former sous of the Presidential Palace in Manila who just moved to the Bay?