Filipino cuisine continues to shine in the global stage, thanks to chefs and restaurateurs who proudly showcase their Pinoy roots through food wherever they may be in the world. Just recently, San Francisco-based Filipino restaurant Abacá made it to this year’s New York Times’ list of 50 favorite restaurants in America.
Barely a year old, the fine dining restaurant was praised by the international publication for making “every dinner feel like a party, complete with pancit and lumpia, habit-forming barbecue sticks of beef tongue and homemade longanisa, and a series of platitos that change in step with Northern California’s seasonal seafood and produce.”
Apparently, many are also discovering and taking interest in Abacá’s secret menu, consisting of “some of the Ang family's favorite snacks, including balut and duck hearts.”
Abacá is owned by California-born, Manila-bred Chef Francis Ang and his wife Dian, who named the restaurant after the leaf fiber, considered the world’s strongest natural fiber native to the Philippines. The couple says they thought of the name after seeing export quality abaca items during their trip to Bicol.
“We knew then that we wanted to decorate our future restaurant with their creations. When we reached out last year to get some decor, it clicked,” says Chef Francis. The couple says the fiber also represents their “strong and resilient” team.
On its Instagram account, the restaurant expressed its appreciation for the Times recognition, as well as thanked its staff “who work day-in and day-out to bring the best of Filipino hospitality to the forefront.” The restaurant also dedicated this new honor to their “kababayan, local and abroad.”
The message continued thus: “We have so much love and pride for our cuisine and this recognition is not simply a nod to our food’s deliciousness and complexity but a testament of where we come from and where we can go from here.”
This is not the first time the contemporary Filipino-Californian restaurant earned recognition from an American publication. It was previously lauded by US Esquire as one of 2021’s Best New Restaurants, and Eater named it as one of its 13 exceptional Filipino restaurants in San Francisco and the East Bay.
Photos from @restaurantabaca on Instagram