Skip to content

The Best Filipino Restaurants In Chicago – Chicago

With so many influences from different international cultures and traditions, Filipino food is a vibrant mosaic of flavors. Lumpia, pancit, and kare kare are reminiscent of dishes found in Asian countries close to the Philippines like China, Vietnam, and Malaysia. Longanisa and leche flan are byproducts of Spain’s nearly 400-year-long colonial rule. And the appearance of Spam, hot dogs, and fried chicken are a result of America’s presence in the Philippines before its independence in 1946. Diverse and delicious, Filipino food is wonderful for every meal, and luckily Chicago has a lot of great restaurants where you can find it. From homestyle dishes, to iconic fast food items, to full-blown tasting menus, here are the 13 best Filipino spots in the city.

THE SPOTS

Kasama in Ukranian Village is not only one of the best Filipino spots in Chicago, it’s one of the best restaurants in the city, period. Casual cafe by day, fine-dining restaurant at night, no matter when you’re here you can always expect warm service and a fresh spin on Filipino food. Come in the morning and you can grab a juicy longanisa breakfast sandwich or incredible pastries to go. Make a reservation at night for their $215 13-course dinner, with dishes like umami-packed mushroom adobo with a mussel emulsion and Kasama’s showstopper: halo-halo. Sweet, nutty, tart—each bite whisks you away to a dessert dreamworld where obligations like deadlines, taking your dog for a walk, and hosting your in-laws don’t exist.


photocredit: Jack Li

Just like how some people want to return as a tree or a sloth after their first go to life on Earth, Subo is a scaled-down reincarnation of Three R’s Filipino Cafe and Grocery, which closed in 2018 after 36 years in business. Unlike the large cafeteria-style setup of its former space, this counter-service spot in Albany Park has just a handful of tables and a massive menu. You can find breakfast bowls with fragrant garlic rice, egg, and longanisa, classics like chicken adobo, and “chocolate meat”, aka dinuguan. This comforting, vinegary pork blood stew is not actually made from some kid’s Halloween haul, but gets its nickname from its rich dark color. The best part about Subo is that you can sample anything before committing. They’re more than happy to let you try as many dishes as you want, just make sure Larry David isn’t there to accuse you of being a “sample abuser.”

collection

The Infatuation Celebrates AAPI Heritage Month

Keep Reading


photocredit: Jack Li

This casual Albany Park spot has been around since 1997, but recently moved into a new location. It started out as a “turo-turo” or “point-point” restaurant, referring to when pre-cooked dishes are laid out cafeteria-style and you select what you wanted by pointing. Now, Ruby’s has expanded to sit-down and feels more like a sports bar, complete with servers, TV-lined walls, and bar seating at the back. But the food is the same: flavorful, and with hefty servings. Some of our favorites are the kare kare with fall-off-the-bone oxtail in a creamy peanut butter stew with a side of bagoong (fermented fish paste), as well as their garlicky dinuguan which has a pleasant kick from some chilis. But a must-order is crispy pata—a balanced combination of buttery pork meat and crackly skin. Biting into it creates a satisfying crunch loud enough to alert people down the block that they’re missing out on one of the best fried pork legs in Chicago.


Appropriately named, eating at Uncle Mike’s Place in Ukranian Village feels like having a meal at a relative’s house, if that person made some of the best Filipino breakfast platters in the city. They come with a cup of soothing lugaw, garlic rice, eggs, dipping vinegar, and your choice of protein, like fatty longanisa, spam, and pork bacon. But their giant bangus is the standout: a fried milkfish that’s perfectly salty, slightly tart, and crispy—it’ll make you wish your neighborhood IHOP served fish for breakfast, too. To round off your meal, you also get a small side of champorado, a chocolate rice porridge. Though you don’t have to rush to get there right when they open at 6am, this place does fill up quickly, so plan accordingly if you’re trying to eat with a group. You’ll leave wishing Uncle Mike was actually your uncle.


collection

The Infatuation Celebrates AAPI Heritage Month

Keep Reading

The Infatuation Celebrates AAPI Heritage Month collection image

photocredit: kim kovacik

$$$$

Similar to Uncle Mike’s, Boonie Foods in Revival Food Hall focuses on silog, or dishes served with garlic rice and eggs. And though this former Logan Square pop-up also has breakfast items like longanisa and short rib tapa, it’s the lunch and dinner dishes that keep us coming back. The ginataan hipon comes with plump shrimp and a spicy coconut milk sauce, and each piece of their bagnet has perfectly crispy skin and juicy pork meat. Then there’s the sisig, which is labeled “The Best Thing You’ll Ever Eat.” A bold statement, but served. This collage of pork cuts that’s equal parts sweet, salty, and a little sour will make you want to brave the Loop’s chaotic mix of tourists and office workers.


Kubo is a cozy Lakeview restaurant that has the atmosphere of a neighborhood dive. And while coming here for drinks at the bar or on their outdoor patio may be the initial draw, you’ve not truly experienced Kubo until you’ve had their food. From starters like saucy adobo short ribs to larger dishes like pancit canton and their tart tamarind beef soup, kansi, the menu is full of hits. But if you come for a birthday, or a celebration like your parents finally getting you to move out of the house, check out their “boodle” feast. For $59 per person (and only available for parties of four or more) this gigantic meal that’s served on a never-ending bed of rice on top of banana leaves comes with over a dozen dishes—adobo, longanisa, lechon, and lumpia to name a few. It’s like the Avengers of Filipino food. Plus you get to eat this kamayan-style, which means you can ditch the fork and spoon and just dig in with your hands.


photocredit: Jack Li

Perfect for large groups, Bacolod Chicken House in North Park is a spacious restaurant that’s another excellent spot for a kamayan experience. But if you’ve just painted “Starry Night” nail art on each finger and don’t want to risk messing it up with a bare-handed feast, you can still come for this BYOB spot’s a la carte menu. Their specialty is chicken inasal, the dish that the Filipino city of Bacolod is known for. And it’s a must-try—perfectly charred chicken skin and tender meat flavored by a calamansi marinade. They also have delicious shanghai lumpia, and some of the best lechon kawali we’ve ever had. Wash that fatty meat and salty skin down with a six-pack of Filipino beer like a light San Miguel, or the more robust Red Horse.


Cebu in Wicker Park is a relaxed, sit-down restaurant serving Filipino staples with a unique twist. Like their chicken adobo, which adds a hint of creaminess with coconut milk, or their sisig, which tops the whole thing off with a tangy calamansi curd and swaps out thin chilis for pickled jalapenos. Definitely also order their halo-halo. Since halo-halo means “mix mix”, make sure to do your best Kitchenaid impression and stir the ube ice cream, sugar palm, coconut strings, jackfruit, and shaved frozen milk altogether for the perfect bite. While their narrow dining room and bar works for small groups or date night, we like coming here when it’s nice out. Their back patio feels like you’re hanging out in your friend’s backyard, and it’s the best place to share halo-halo or drinks on a warm (and hopefully not sticky) summer night.


photocredit: Kristen Mendiola

Head to this food stall in the West Loop’s French Market for some of the best lumpia in Chicago. Thee egg rolls are impressively balanced, with a light and crispy wrapper and a savory filling of moist ground pork, garlic, onions, cabbage, and carrots. When dipped in their housemade sweet and sour sauce, it’s the ideal midday snack that will make you disown the bag of almonds you originally planned on eating. Though their menu is pretty short, some of their larger dishes, like chicken adobo and steak with tender pieces of beef cooked in a lemony soy sauce gravy, are also great. Plus, you can grab some ube donuts if you left room for dessert.


Wrigleyville’s Flip Sigi has silly, suggestive names for their menu items, like a “FUC Me” or “Plan B-rito.” But this counter-service fusion spot serves fantastic tacos and burgers packed with Filipino influences. Their adobo tacos pair perfectly with a refreshing vinegar dipping sauce, and the Plan B-rito packed with longanisa, spam, and hashbrowns has a great mix of textures and sweet and salty flavors. A trip to Flip Sigi is worth having to give your kids “The Talk” afterward.


photocredit: Jack Li

Grill City in Albany Park is a food stall that’s part of Seafood City, a popular Filipino grocery store chain with locations across the country. It falls under the “turo turo” category of restaurants, with dozens of pre-made dishes ready to be put on styrofoam platters and eaten. But don’t let their spread of bangus, kare kare, and pancit distract you. You are here for the BBQ pork skewers. They’re tender, fatty, charred to perfection, and covered in a tangy banana ketchup BBQ sauce. Grab one for a snack, a few for a meal, or an entire tray for your friends (or just yourself).

photocredit: Jack Li

Right around the block from Seafood City is Max’s, a popular sit-down chain restaurant with over 200 locations in the Philippines. They have a decent selection of Filipino classics, but their nickname, “The House That Fried Chicken Built”, tells you the main reason people come here. In fact, as the only midwestern location of Max’s, hardcore fans from surrounding states say the chicken is “Nine-Hour-Long-Drive-Worth-It.” Using the same brining recipe since 1945, the fried chicken has a salt-and-pepper flavor, plus, despite not using any batter, incredibly crunchy skin. It’s the closest your teeth will ever come to that satisfying feeling of stepping on crisp autumn leaves right before the weather turns to wintery sh*t.


No Filipino food list is complete without Jollibee, the Philippines’ most iconic fast-food chain. And Chicago has two locations, one in the Loop, and one in Albany Park that’s attached to the aforementioned Seafood City. The signature dishes here are Yumburgers (a cheeseburger with special dressing), buckets of Chickenjoy fried chicken, savory pancit palabok, and their Jolly Spaghetti: pasta covered in a surprisingly sweet tomato sauce with ground beef and hot dogs. Pasta snobs might spontaneously combust just by looking at it, but it’s a classic. Though Jollibee is definitely not the best restaurant on this list, the food and its perpetually happy bee mascot are quintessential parts of the Filipino experience. Plus, their peach-mango hand pie will make McDonald’s apple pie devotees immediately question their allegiance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.