Filipino restaurants make it to New York Times' 2021 Restaurant List

Published October 15, 2021, 11:41 AM

by John Legaspi

Seattle’s Archipelago and Chicago’s Kasama are hailed as among the best dining spots in America

As the US food scene is firing up its kitchen after 19 months of takeouts and deliveries, the New York Times releases its 2021 Restaurant List to help American’s find the “most vibrant and delicious restaurants.”

The newspaper’s Food reporters, critics, and editors came up with a list mixing classic food spots and upcoming restaurants that “reflect the rich mosaic of American dining.” And the current roster of where to dine includes Filipino restaurants Archipelago and Kasama.

Kasama’s pulutan offering and Archipelago’s Pacific Northwest Express with sour dough pan de sal

Established in 2016 in Seattle, Archipelago is led by chef Aaron Verzosa and artist and designer-restaurateur Amber Manuguid, both Filipino-Americans. The restaurant uses ingredients from Filipino-American farmers in Wapato, Carnation, and Bremerton to create Pacific Northwest cuisine that highlights Filipino-American flavors. Among the Filipino dishes they’re serving is the breakfast staple pan de sal, which is described as having a “sweet, buttery perfume.” On the menu as well are a chowder soup inspired by Bicol Express and crispy pork lechon.

Aaron Verzosa and Amber Manuguid

“You could easily get lost in the deliciousness of the modern Filipino food, but Aaron Verzosa and Amber Manuguid do more than send out excellent food,” restaurant critic Tejal Rao says. “They tell complicated, expansive stories about the Pacific Northwest and the many ways that Filipino immigrants have shaped it, using words, pictures, and even some unexpected dance moves behind the pass.”

A bakery and modern Filipino restaurant, Kasama in Chicago brings Filipino food to the table with contemporary twists. Led by couple and chefs Genie Kwon and Timothy Flores, the restaurant is loved for its “delicate, inventive treats,” which include an array of Filipino breakfast meals, many iterations of the classic adobo, and ham-and-cheese croissant.

Timothy Flores and Genie Kwon (Photo by Kristen Mendiola)

“Having a meal at this neighborhood cafe is to experience the seamless blending of the talents of husband-and-wife team Genie Kwon and Timothy Flores. Ms. Kwon,” food reporter Priya Krishna says. “Mr. Flores’s Filipino food, which includes staples like lumpia and adobo, is unpretentious and soul-warming. Try his excellent take on a Chicago-style Italian combo sandwich, made with longaniza.”

Check out the full list here.