10 Essential Filipino Restaurants You Need to Know in Daly City

From garlic rice to barbecue sticks and hot dog spaghetti.

October is Filipino American History Month, and the Bay Area has one of the largest populations of Filipino Americans in the states—right in Daly City. DC (out here, DC means Daly City, not our nation’s capital) doesn’t usually get much glory, living in the shadow (er, fog belt) just south of San Francisco. But it’s one of the most densely populated cities in the U.S., with a third of its 104,000 residents being of Filipino descent. So it should come as no surprise that DC has some of the best Filipino eateries in the Bay. Here are just a few to get you started. Let’s eat. Or, kain na!


Daly City
Not all Filipino restaurants have crispy pata, but Chibog does. The huge, deep-fried pork leg belies the ethos of Chibog—that its dishes capture hearty home cooking. With the option of ordering popular Filipino meats such as tocino (caramelized pork) or longanisa (sweet, garlicky Filipino sausage) as either generous a la carte plates or in breakfast silogs (combos with garlic fried rice, eggs, and tomatoes), Chibog gives options for both solo diners and families. The roomy interior can easily accommodate groups feasting together. Don’t forget the sisig: a sizzling platter of pork head and cheek (or other meats) mixed with onions, jalapeños, and topped with a squeeze of citrus and an optional egg.
How to order: Walk in or order pickup online.

OK, it’s not in DC proper, but Colma is a tiny town right next to it, known for its cemeteries. This 24-hour cafe operates inside Lucky Chances casino, and yes, the food is good and huge. While not the cheapest Filipino-Chinese-American diner food around, Cafe Colma holds a special place in people’s hearts and stomachs. From late-night bar goers needing a greasy, carby fix of silogs to the elderly early birds lingering at the counter with newspapers, coffee, and pancake stacks, everyone feels at home at Cafe Colma.
How to order: Walk-ins only.

Daly City
Meat. Skewers. Fil-Am has some of the best barbecue (on sticks!) in the Bay, and both the chicken and pork versions are outstanding. The two-skewer plate with rice at $7.49 sounds small, but makes for a robust meal since each meat stick is massive. The comfort-laden food in hot trays behind the counter gives you that kid-in-a-candy-store feeling, making you want one of everything. From vinegary chicken adobo to beef kaldereta in a spicy tomato stew with olives and peppers, feel free to make your own combo with any one or two items over rice. And be sure to tack on an order of crunchy lumpia Shanghai or turon, a saba banana dessert wrapped in thin dough and deep fried to a golden crisp.
How to order: Walk-ins welcome or call 650-992-6191 to make reservations or order for pickup.

Jollibee USA

Various locations
Yes, this chain restaurant deserves to be (Bee?) on this list. Hear us out. The Filipino fast-food franchise made its U.S. debut right in DC during the late 1990s. The Chickenjoy is a signature item, boasting plump, flaky-crunchy chicken. It comes with an addictive gravy that you must have over rice. Jollibee is also a gateway to other well-known Filipino dishes, like palabok—vermicelli topped with boiled egg, shrimp sauce, baby shrimp, and ground pork—and the sweet Filipino spaghetti with sliced hot dogs and cheese. The deep-fried peach-mango pie is almost a must, with a bubbly crust encasing a hot, gooey tropical fruity mixture.
How to order: Walk in or order online for pickup and delivery.


Various locations
There are three locations of Tselog’s in the Bay, and the one in Daly City feels like a family-friendly restaurant during the day and has a sports bar vibe by night with red and blue neon lighting. The popular silogs are available all day. Try the bangsilog (with bangus, a baby milkfish) or the cornbisilog (corned beef—yes, portmanteaus abound in Tagalog), or choose a combination of any of the proteins on the menu. Other specials include sisig fries, the ginger-forward chicken rice porridge of arroz caldo, and a creamy buko pie made with young coconut.
How to order: Walk-ins only.

Daly City
This Filipino-Chinese joint has been known for its ridiculously affordable and filling Filipino breakfasts for the past 15 years (its SF equivalent is the popular Superstar in the Excelsior). For as little as $4.95, get fish sticks or chicken nuggets with garlic fried rice (sinangag), fried egg, and canned pineapple chunks. A splurge of $6.90 will get you a whole fried tilapia silog. A popular breakfast plate option unique to Gateway is the Hong Kong-style pork chop, which is bone-in and breaded and fried with a heavy salt-and-pepper profile.
How to order: Walk-ins only.


Various locations
We’ll sneak in a couple of bakeries on this list. With several locations around the Bay, the Daly City Starbread reopened in a new location in April of this year, to much excitement. It’s common to see lines out the door for the piping hot, melt-in-your-mouth señorita bread straight from the oven, and many argue that the DC location has the best. It comes in mini log rolls with a simple mixture of butter and sugar inside fluffy, steaming hot white bread that make it way too easy to devour. You may think you don’t need that box of 50 pieces. But you’ll wish you had ordered it after realizing you inhaled your first ten without even thinking.
How to order: Walk in or call your preferred location to place an order.

Daly City
Known for its soft, buttery pan de sal rolls since 1977, The Bread Basket has had generations of customers returning throughout the years due to nostalgia and the warm customer service. Some make the trek from across the Bay, or even out of state. Aside from more traditional items like the milk bread pan de leche and bibingka (coconut-rice cake), there are also whimsical offerings such as giant homemade Oreo-like cookies and ube croissants. Keep an eye out for new bakery items that roll out every season.
How to order: Walk-ins only.

Daly City
Given the fact that Daly City has no centralized business district, the city is covered in strip malls, most of them unassuming. And that’s often where some of the best food is. Manila Express is a perfect example. Try not to miss the tiny signage next to the barbershop, and you’ll be rewarded with affordable goodness. Smoky, charred barbecued chicken and pork skewers are on offer along with barbecued beef short ribs, with rice and any combination of pancit, lumpia, and adobo available to accompany them. Other signatures include inihaw na baboy (grilled pork belly) and garlicky beef tapa. Wash it down with a Filipino Dalandan orange soda.
How to order: Walk-ins welcome or order takeout or delivery via Yelp.

Chef Reina Inc

OK, this is the last time we’ll cheat on this list. While Brisbane lies a 5.5 mile, 11 minute drive west of Daly City, owner Chef Reina Montenegro gets Daly City cred for having had a location of her vegan Filipino (you read that right) restaurant mini-chain, Nick’s, in Daly City. Having had to shut down her restaurants due to the pandemic, Montenegro opened a takeout window in Brisbane under her own name in the spring. Not only does she make her own seitan for vegan corned beef and chicken adobo, but Chef Reina Is also only one of a handful of U.S. restaurants to carry OmniPork, a plant-based meat substitute from Hong Kong. Her Omnipork luncheon meat spamsilog is a fan favorite, as well as the “spam” musubi.
How to order: Walk up to the window or order pickup and delivery online.

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Margot Seeto is a Bay Area freelance writer and a contributor for Thrillist.