Filipino restaurants

Pinoy ‘Fried’: Filipino restos Kasama, Archipelago land on New York Times’ top 50 list

Steph Arnaldo
Pinoy ‘Fried’: Filipino restos Kasama, Archipelago land on New York Times’ top 50 list

Archipelago, Kasama's Instagram pages

The two modern Filipino restaurants are among 50 of the 'most vibrant and delicious restaurants' in the US this year

Filipino restaurants Kasama and Archipelago are in the New York Times’ Top 50 US Restaurants list for 2021!

The curated list, which was released on Tuesday, October 12, includes Chicago’s Kasama, a Filipino neighborhood cafe at the East Ukrainian Village founded by husband-and-wife team Timothy Flores and Genie Kwon, whose culinary talents “seamlessly blend” into Kasama’s extensive menu.

Flores is in charge of Kasama’s modern Filipino fare, serving up “unpretentious and soul-warming” comfort food staples such as adobo, tocilog, and lumpia shanghai, as well as fusion dishes like a Chicago-style Italian hotdog sandwich made with homemade longganisa and shaved pork adobo.

Resident pastry chef Kwon creates “delicate, inventive treats” such as the black truffle croissant and ham-and-cheese croissant, served with raclette and shavings of serrano ham. Kwon has previously worked at Eleven Madison Park and Flour Bakery.

The other modern Filipino restaurant on the list is Seattle’s Archipelago, known to serve “Pacific Northwest cuisine through progressive Filipino-American flavors.” It was founded by Filipino-American chef Aaron Verzosa and artist-restaurateur Amber Manuguid in 2016 along Rainier Avenue.

“Archipelago is an exploration of a region’s identity – a personal journey to reveal a wealth of resonance in our diverse community,” which is reflected in Archipelago’s progressive tasting menu, usually comprised of 9-12 curated courses and changes every season.

Diners are taken through a culinary journey of the Pacific Northwest identity, “to discover the flavors of our Filipino ancestry.” Each fusion dish comes with a complicated, expansive story – from the precolonial roots of our cuisine, how Filipino immigrants have shaped it, to the historical context of Filipino Americans today.

“A puff of pandesal pulls apart effortlessly, filling the air with a sweet, buttery perfume. Burning pine needles, and the rich, muscly scent of shrimp paste waft over from the open kitchen. Cooks walk around with a tray of sliced rib-eye steak, offering seconds. You could easily get lost in the deliciousness of the modern Filipino food,” NYT’s description of Archipelago reads.

The Top 50 Restaurants list highlights the places the NYT team is “excited about right now,” according to the website. For this year, NYT’s Food desk asked critics, editors, and reporters around the US to find “the 50 most vibrant and delicious restaurants” that reflect the “rich mosaic of American dining.”

“Some are classics, still great after decades. Others are in their prime, restaurants at their practiced peaks. And still others are newcomers, intrepidly making their way through the roughest stretch the restaurant business is likely to endure. All of them beckon us back to the table,” the publication wrote. –

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Steph Arnaldo

If she’s not writing about food, she’s probably thinking about it. From advertising copywriter to freelance feature writer, Steph Arnaldo finally turned her part-time passion into a full-time career. She’s written about food, lifestyle, and wellness for Rappler since 2018.