(Chicago) – Thank God that there are a lot of things Filipino in Chicago. Not as many as in California or New York but Pinoy stuffs are totally accessible here. There are Pinoy stores, groups, restaurants and resource centers. There is even a monument of Rizal in one of the parks along the lake close to where I live.
However, finding a good Pinoy restaurant that pays close attention to plate presentation is a little difficult. Most of the restaurants here are buffet or turo-turo style. Ok, I get it. I know that Filipino food is about the comfort and home-cooked feel. But we eat with our eyes first. Who would think that a huge tray of pork adobo submerged under an inch thick of oil is appetizing? Actually, that adobo might be delicious but its presentation says otherwise. It’s sad. Our food is misrepresented.
Then I discovered Isla Pilipina restaurant through a friend. They offer the popular dishes in our cuisine but they differ from the other restaurants in the way they serve the food— not in a buffet style but they plate each dish neatly and with garnishes that balance the color on the plate. It’s pleasing to the eye and the flavors are spot on. I’m not surprised seeing groups of people dining in Isla that have no single Pinoy with them. Their dishes don’t scare these foreigners. I’m happy their food doesn’t scare me too.
I love this place. I’ve been here many times and I don’t mind coming back for more. Isla gave me a good insight on what’s missing with Filipino food- we know it’s delicious but we have to present it very well, to package it beautifully. And I don’t think it’s difficult to do.
- Lumpiang Shanghai - Thin and yet I can still taste the pork stuffing.
- Beef Caldereta
- Pancit Palabok
- Seafood Bicol Express – love this!
2501 W Lawrence Ave Chicago, IL 60625 (773) 271-2988