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A suckling pig, stuffed with adobo rice, on a table surrounded by more Filipino dishes, front: kinilaw; to the right: bistek
A lechon suckling pig, stuffed with adobo rice, at Budgie Montoya’s Sarap.
Thomas Alexander

The Best Filipino Restaurants in London

Where to find crisp lechon, tender bistek, smoky, charred inasal, and much more

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A lechon suckling pig, stuffed with adobo rice, at Budgie Montoya’s Sarap.
| Thomas Alexander

“Filipino cuisine” spans the kitchens of 7,641 islands and an international diaspora, so it’s necessarily an amalgamation of cultures. It most prominently draws from Spanish, Chinese and a plethora of Western influences, thanks to historic colonisation and trade routes in the region. Under Spanish colonisation, sour, salty and spicy flavour profiles from fermentation and preservation shaped the country’s culinary culture. During the same period, Chinese trades introduced soy sauce, sauté techniques, and noodle dishes.

Before Western colonisers introduced refrigerators and ice, many Filipino dishes were born out of the need to introduce a method of preservation. Food was air-dried, salted, or smoked, including breakfast staples like tapa, a dried and cured beef; the salty cure on tocino, and smoky longanisa sausages, all of which remain cornerstones of the cuisine. The Filipino palate is characterised by acidity, balanced with sweetness and fermented umami: vinegar, fermented fish pastes and sauces like bagoong and patis, garlic, calamansi, soy sauce and rice (an accompaniment that often differentiates a full meal from a snack.)

As history has shaped the cuisine, so it has its representation in London. Ten years ago, Josephine’s was one of the few Filipino restaurants in London, which has sadly closed down. But it set out a stall for today, when there are kitchens all over the capital, built by chefs and restaurateurs championing Filipino cuisine as a way to reconnect to their heritage, mould their culture with that of London, or cater to their own nostalgic palates.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Bintang

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Tucked away in Camden, Bintang has been in the neighbourhood for over 35 years. Its pandesal sliders — a starter that feels like a main —  are made from short rib patties, smashed on the grill with toyomansi, a condiment of soy sauce and calamansi, and sandwiched in pandesal buns with onions from the grill. Bintang also offers four variations of silog — a union of garlic fried rice and egg — with the choice of bistek, baby aubergine, beef and lamb sausage, or fried milkfish.

Romulo Café & Restaurant

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Built to be a place where Filipinos could introduce their cuisine to London, Romulo’s was brought into London from Manila. London co-founder Rowena Romulo is behind the expansion, which remains a strictly family-run restaurant despite numerous approaches from franchisers. Walls are decked with spirited colours headlined by its signature lime green, reminiscent of a heritage house. Its menu is lined with home-cooked Filipino favourites with subtle twists, like truffled pork belly adobo: Dingley Dell pork slow-cooked in a mixture of soy, garlic and cane vinegar, and scented with black truffle.

Tagalog for “delicious,” chef Budgie Montoya’s Sarap centres its short menu on refracting Filipino tradition through a modern London lens. Lechon — a staple in any Filipino party — is reimagined into crispy pork trotter, stuffed with lemongrass and truffled adobo pork rice, while larger groups can literally go the whole hog and order a pig. It further shows off its contemporary interpretation of Filipino cuisine in a bistek tartare, which mimics the taste of classic bistek tagalog – thinly sliced beef marinated in soy sauce and calamansi juice – but changes the texture. Consider a calamansi daiquiri, which is a refreshing blend of Don Papa Rum, calamansi juice, and agave syrup, to drink.

Kasa and Kin

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The latest evolution of Romulo’s, Kasa and Kin brings a dynamic take on Southeast Asian cuisine to Soho. Its imbento (Tagalog for invention) box available during lunch leaves room for customisation, with a build-your-own selection of spring roll, warm broth, salad meal and hot topping. For dinner, comfort food comes in the pairing of the barbecue pork belly sticks and garlic fried rice, while an ube tsunami cheesecake aptly turns into crashing waves white chocolate and purple yam. Diners can look forward to further invention, as owners Chris Joseph and Rowena Romulo hint at the arrival of a chori burger doused in mascarpone truffle cheese.

Panadera

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The bakery takes Filipino-style breakfast, which is on the richer, more savoury side, and remoulds it to the contours of London cafe and brunch culture. The highlight is the corned beef hash sando, wrapped in béchamel sauce and turned into a Filipino-style croquette. It also transforms taho – a classic snack made from silken tofu, brown sugar syrup, and sago pearls – into a hot and sweet beverage only served on Fridays to Sundays. Diners in search of pastries can turn to its buttery and flaky ube tart, made from its sibling brand Mamasons Dirty Ice Cream’s signature purple yam flavour.

Rapsa @ 100 Hoxton

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Hailing from a coastal town in Occidental Mindoro, Chef Francis Puyat specialises in kinilaw — a native method of cooking using liquid fire from vinegar or citrus often used on fish. Puyat applies this technique to poke bowls, served with rice, avocado, daikon and sriracha mayo. Off-menu, RAPSA — a switch of syllables of the word sarap — also accepts secret requests for sisig, a must-try dish made of fried parts of pig’s head and belly. Come dessert, look for homemade buko ice cream, a coconut base infused with flavours like ube or the classic Filipino dessert, leche flan.

Ramo Ramen - Soho

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Situated in the heart of Soho, this follow-up to Omar Shah’s Kentish Town hit applies the complexities of Japanese cooking techniques to flavours of the Philippines. Ramo’s award-winning oxtail kare kare ramen takes inspiration from the classic Filipino dish using peanut beef broth and pulled oxtail, while the wagyu bistek donburi — exclusive to its Soho site — featuring wagyu tri tip seared in its fat and served with egg yolk and spring onion over rice, is essential to any visit.

Filishack

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Owned by Cacho brothers Jonathan and Justice, Filishack has mastered the art of chicken inasal. The dish, much like their approach to running a food joint, is simple and uncomplicated. The chicken is marinated in lemongrass, ginger, vinegar and calamansi before being charred: smoky and aromatic from the grill, it’s then laid out in a rice box or enveloped in a burrito. Also consider the adobo burrito, its filling braised in soy, pepper, vinegar, garlic, bayleaf, and a dash of coconut milk.

Mama's Kubo

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An ode to sisters, mothers and grandmothers, Mama’s Kubo takes inspiration from traditional recipes passed down to chef Rommel Bustarde and director Claudine Bleza. The extensive menu offers a taste of home for nostalgic appetites, serving dinner table staples like kare kare — stewed beef brisket, aubergine and pak choi in peanut sauce. It also has a wide array of pancit, Filipino noodle dishes, but it’s the palabok, in which they are stir-fried with prawns, squid and smoked mackerel, shows off a distinct salty flavour unique to the Philippines.

Turo Turo @ Manor of Walworth

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Situated on the second floor of a pub in Walworth Road, Turo Turo caters to bar hoppers wanting a bite to pair with their beers. Its vegetarian charred aubergine dish and ginger and bagoong wings drenched in fermented shrimp glaze are tangy preludes to the main event: a four-hour braised pork tocino rice bowl, all from the mind of Rex de Guzman, who recently won acclaim on Jamie Oliver’s Great Cookbook Challenge. Dessert comes in the form of turon, a crisp fried plantain and jackfruit spring roll sprinkled with brown sugar syrup.

Kuya Fernando

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Doubling as a restaurant and grocery store, Kuya Fernando brings outstanding Filipino staples to Southall and Ealing. Laid out as starters and mains, its dishes are in fact perfect for all meals: arroz caldo, ginger-infused rice served with Filipino fried chicken and a boiled egg, would make a wonderful breakfast. Other stand-out dishes include pork sinigang with its tamarind-sour broth, or beef pares, egg noodles topped with ginger-infused stewed beef in a rich broth. Finish with halo halo, the classic shaved ice dessert containing various sweet flavours like ube, leche flan, sweetened plantain, coconut strips and jackfruit drenched in evaporated milk, or just stop in for a buko and pandan shake.

Luto by Mary San Pablo

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Chef Mary San Pablo sees Luto — a Filipino-inspired supper club —  as a personal mission of rediscovering her heritage and culture. While San Pablo has taken a break from hosting supper clubs to work as a freelance chef, she’s hoping to bring Luto to a more permanent site later in the year. Her quarterly menu is set to remain faithful to umami Filipino flavours, but with untraditional additions of certain ingredients, like her popular risotto-like brown crab arroz caldo — made of coconut-drenched rice, brown crab fish stock, shellfish, ginger and spring onions.

Cirilo Filipino Kainan

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Situated between a busy intersection in east London, Cirilo is cooking classic Filipino dishes from Tuesday to Sunday. Lumpia are handmade, filled with crab and prawn and best dipped with sweet chilli and soy sauce but the highlight is any of its three variations of sisig: pork, chicken or beef — all equal parts tangy and spicy, served on a sizzling plate.

Kamayan Sa

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Kamayan refers to the native Filipino way of eating with bare hands, and Kamayan Earl’s Court translates this into a boodle fight in which savoury dishes like crunchy fried pork knuckles, deep fried pork belly and stewed chicken are bunched together with soft rice and laid out on banana leaves. Designed to be an eating combat of sorts, boodle fights suggest a minimum group of 4 for fair play.

The Adobros @ Dovedales Bakery

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For two Saturdays in April, The Adobros — founded by Mark Corbyn — returns with supper clubs for up to 30 people. Its namesake specialty pork belly adobo will be the highlight of the dinners, prefaced by other dishes that capture the flavours of the island of Mindanao like spicy and aromatic chicken piaparan and deeply umami laing, its seasonal greens cooked down into coconut milk with bagoong.

Bintang

Tucked away in Camden, Bintang has been in the neighbourhood for over 35 years. Its pandesal sliders — a starter that feels like a main —  are made from short rib patties, smashed on the grill with toyomansi, a condiment of soy sauce and calamansi, and sandwiched in pandesal buns with onions from the grill. Bintang also offers four variations of silog — a union of garlic fried rice and egg — with the choice of bistek, baby aubergine, beef and lamb sausage, or fried milkfish.

Romulo Café & Restaurant

Built to be a place where Filipinos could introduce their cuisine to London, Romulo’s was brought into London from Manila. London co-founder Rowena Romulo is behind the expansion, which remains a strictly family-run restaurant despite numerous approaches from franchisers. Walls are decked with spirited colours headlined by its signature lime green, reminiscent of a heritage house. Its menu is lined with home-cooked Filipino favourites with subtle twists, like truffled pork belly adobo: Dingley Dell pork slow-cooked in a mixture of soy, garlic and cane vinegar, and scented with black truffle.

Sarap

Tagalog for “delicious,” chef Budgie Montoya’s Sarap centres its short menu on refracting Filipino tradition through a modern London lens. Lechon — a staple in any Filipino party — is reimagined into crispy pork trotter, stuffed with lemongrass and truffled adobo pork rice, while larger groups can literally go the whole hog and order a pig. It further shows off its contemporary interpretation of Filipino cuisine in a bistek tartare, which mimics the taste of classic bistek tagalog – thinly sliced beef marinated in soy sauce and calamansi juice – but changes the texture. Consider a calamansi daiquiri, which is a refreshing blend of Don Papa Rum, calamansi juice, and agave syrup, to drink.

Kasa and Kin

The latest evolution of Romulo’s, Kasa and Kin brings a dynamic take on Southeast Asian cuisine to Soho. Its imbento (Tagalog for invention) box available during lunch leaves room for customisation, with a build-your-own selection of spring roll, warm broth, salad meal and hot topping. For dinner, comfort food comes in the pairing of the barbecue pork belly sticks and garlic fried rice, while an ube tsunami cheesecake aptly turns into crashing waves white chocolate and purple yam. Diners can look forward to further invention, as owners Chris Joseph and Rowena Romulo hint at the arrival of a chori burger doused in mascarpone truffle cheese.

Panadera

The bakery takes Filipino-style breakfast, which is on the richer, more savoury side, and remoulds it to the contours of London cafe and brunch culture. The highlight is the corned beef hash sando, wrapped in béchamel sauce and turned into a Filipino-style croquette. It also transforms taho – a classic snack made from silken tofu, brown sugar syrup, and sago pearls – into a hot and sweet beverage only served on Fridays to Sundays. Diners in search of pastries can turn to its buttery and flaky ube tart, made from its sibling brand Mamasons Dirty Ice Cream’s signature purple yam flavour.

Rapsa @ 100 Hoxton

Hailing from a coastal town in Occidental Mindoro, Chef Francis Puyat specialises in kinilaw — a native method of cooking using liquid fire from vinegar or citrus often used on fish. Puyat applies this technique to poke bowls, served with rice, avocado, daikon and sriracha mayo. Off-menu, RAPSA — a switch of syllables of the word sarap — also accepts secret requests for sisig, a must-try dish made of fried parts of pig’s head and belly. Come dessert, look for homemade buko ice cream, a coconut base infused with flavours like ube or the classic Filipino dessert, leche flan.

Ramo Ramen - Soho

Situated in the heart of Soho, this follow-up to Omar Shah’s Kentish Town hit applies the complexities of Japanese cooking techniques to flavours of the Philippines. Ramo’s award-winning oxtail kare kare ramen takes inspiration from the classic Filipino dish using peanut beef broth and pulled oxtail, while the wagyu bistek donburi — exclusive to its Soho site — featuring wagyu tri tip seared in its fat and served with egg yolk and spring onion over rice, is essential to any visit.

Filishack

Owned by Cacho brothers Jonathan and Justice, Filishack has mastered the art of chicken inasal. The dish, much like their approach to running a food joint, is simple and uncomplicated. The chicken is marinated in lemongrass, ginger, vinegar and calamansi before being charred: smoky and aromatic from the grill, it’s then laid out in a rice box or enveloped in a burrito. Also consider the adobo burrito, its filling braised in soy, pepper, vinegar, garlic, bayleaf, and a dash of coconut milk.

Mama's Kubo

An ode to sisters, mothers and grandmothers, Mama’s Kubo takes inspiration from traditional recipes passed down to chef Rommel Bustarde and director Claudine Bleza. The extensive menu offers a taste of home for nostalgic appetites, serving dinner table staples like kare kare — stewed beef brisket, aubergine and pak choi in peanut sauce. It also has a wide array of pancit, Filipino noodle dishes, but it’s the palabok, in which they are stir-fried with prawns, squid and smoked mackerel, shows off a distinct salty flavour unique to the Philippines.

Turo Turo @ Manor of Walworth

Situated on the second floor of a pub in Walworth Road, Turo Turo caters to bar hoppers wanting a bite to pair with their beers. Its vegetarian charred aubergine dish and ginger and bagoong wings drenched in fermented shrimp glaze are tangy preludes to the main event: a four-hour braised pork tocino rice bowl, all from the mind of Rex de Guzman, who recently won acclaim on Jamie Oliver’s Great Cookbook Challenge. Dessert comes in the form of turon, a crisp fried plantain and jackfruit spring roll sprinkled with brown sugar syrup.

Kuya Fernando

Doubling as a restaurant and grocery store, Kuya Fernando brings outstanding Filipino staples to Southall and Ealing. Laid out as starters and mains, its dishes are in fact perfect for all meals: arroz caldo, ginger-infused rice served with Filipino fried chicken and a boiled egg, would make a wonderful breakfast. Other stand-out dishes include pork sinigang with its tamarind-sour broth, or beef pares, egg noodles topped with ginger-infused stewed beef in a rich broth. Finish with halo halo, the classic shaved ice dessert containing various sweet flavours like ube, leche flan, sweetened plantain, coconut strips and jackfruit drenched in evaporated milk, or just stop in for a buko and pandan shake.

Luto by Mary San Pablo

Chef Mary San Pablo sees Luto — a Filipino-inspired supper club —  as a personal mission of rediscovering her heritage and culture. While San Pablo has taken a break from hosting supper clubs to work as a freelance chef, she’s hoping to bring Luto to a more permanent site later in the year. Her quarterly menu is set to remain faithful to umami Filipino flavours, but with untraditional additions of certain ingredients, like her popular risotto-like brown crab arroz caldo — made of coconut-drenched rice, brown crab fish stock, shellfish, ginger and spring onions.

Cirilo Filipino Kainan

Situated between a busy intersection in east London, Cirilo is cooking classic Filipino dishes from Tuesday to Sunday. Lumpia are handmade, filled with crab and prawn and best dipped with sweet chilli and soy sauce but the highlight is any of its three variations of sisig: pork, chicken or beef — all equal parts tangy and spicy, served on a sizzling plate.

Kamayan Sa

Kamayan refers to the native Filipino way of eating with bare hands, and Kamayan Earl’s Court translates this into a boodle fight in which savoury dishes like crunchy fried pork knuckles, deep fried pork belly and stewed chicken are bunched together with soft rice and laid out on banana leaves. Designed to be an eating combat of sorts, boodle fights suggest a minimum group of 4 for fair play.

The Adobros @ Dovedales Bakery

For two Saturdays in April, The Adobros — founded by Mark Corbyn — returns with supper clubs for up to 30 people. Its namesake specialty pork belly adobo will be the highlight of the dinners, prefaced by other dishes that capture the flavours of the island of Mindanao like spicy and aromatic chicken piaparan and deeply umami laing, its seasonal greens cooked down into coconut milk with bagoong.

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