If there’s something even better than Filipino breakfast, it’s all-day Filipino breakfast, which is one of the features of Filo Café, a family-run restaurant that opened in the Randolph Hills shopping center in Rockville in October. All six breakfast plates come with sinangag (garlic fried rice), itlog (a crisp-edged sunny-side-up egg) and a protein, among them pork chops, tapa (like beef jerky), longanisa (sweet Filipino sausage), corned beef and fried milkfish.
Filo’s menu also includes noodle dishes; lumpia (spring rolls); combo plates of Filipino specialties such as pork or chicken adobo (sauteed and braised with soy sauce and vinegar), lechon Kawali (crispy-skin roasted pork belly with brown gravy); sweet and sour pompano; dinuguan (pork shoulder braised with pork blood and vinegar) and Filipino desserts. There are several boba drinks, too. All of the savory plates are around $14. Lumpia are $6.99 to $12.99. Boba is $5.49.
Three generations run the restaurant: Allaine Hontiveros, 22; her parents, Jaimie and Allan Hontiveros, 44 and 53; and Jaimie’s parents, Romeo and Lydia Ermitano, 75 and 68. Lydia does most of the cooking, having learned the craft from her father when growing up in the Philippines. The Ermitanos immigrated to the U.S. in 2005, settling in Prince George’s County to help a family member run a Filipino market and restaurant there. In 2015, Romeo and Lydia moved to Virginia Beach, where Lydia’s two brothers live, and opened a restaurant, selling it in 2021 to return to Maryland to be close to the Hontiveroses. They all share a house in Burtonsville.
The 1,600-square-foot restaurant, which seats 35 inside and eight outside, is bright and cheerful. Allaine is likely to take your order. Don’t pass up noodle dishes, such as pancit bihon (rice noodles sauteed with cabbage, carrots, celery, chicken, soy sauce, garlic and onions) and mami (pork broth with noodles, vegetables and hard-boiled egg slices). Fried lumpia filled with beef, pork or chicken are irresistible. Save room for dessert ($2.99 to $9.25), be it halo-halo (bananas, jackfruit and sweetened beans over purple yam or mango ice cream) or suman sa lihiya (glutinous rice cake with caramelized coconut cream).
A fun note: Filo Café diners can pay a meal forward by purchasing one for a random future diner. A ticket for the meal is posted on a cork board next to the cashier for anyone to redeem at will. “It’s an act of kindness, or to build community,” says Allaine, whose family’s menu entreats, “Salamat Po!” (“Come again soon!)” We plan to.
Filo Café, 4836 Boiling Brook Pkwy., Rockville, 410-639-5405, linktr.ee/filocafe
Restaurant Comings & Goings
The salad chain Chopt is opening a location in Cabin John Village in the first half of 2023, as is the Connecticut-based pizza chain Colony Grill.
Fast-casual seafood restaurant Slapfish closed in Montrose Crossing shopping center in November. In its place, Gaithersburg natives Rahul Vinod and Sahil Rahman will open the first Montgomery County location of their D.C.-based fast-casual Indian restaurant RASA in early spring.
Nava Thai Restaurant in Wheaton closed in September.
In October, Bambu Café, which specialized in Vietnamese beverages, closed in North Bethesda. Miller Ale House closed in Rockville after a 10-year run.
K-Town Bistro in Kensington closed in November. In its place, Tacos Don Perez, which operates a food truck in Silver Spring’s Glenmont shopping center, will open its first brick-and-mortar restaurant.
The owners of Chef Tony’s Restaurant, the seafood-and-Mediterranean mainstay in Bethesda, purchased Amalfi Ristorante in Rockville with plans to blend brands as they reopen the establishment.