Elena Una located at the Marina District in San Francisco is a pop up restaurant that opened last October. The restaurant highlights Filipino flavors served in exquisite platters. What is a Filipino cuisine? It is the fusion or I’d say the melting pot of different cultures and flavors. That alone sums up the objective of Elena Una—according to Chef Janice,” the Filipino taste is still there”. Elena Una caters to the true Filipino appetite. The enhanced conventional dishes, as well as the ethnicity of Filipino cuisine, is served at its best.
Our server graciously explained the main ingredients of the dishes and answered thoroughly some of the questions we had regarding the menu.
We started with the skewered fish ball, shrimp and scallops served with tasty dipping sauce.
Pandesal (dinner rolls/crusty rolls) served with coconut jam and butter. Freshly baked bread served warm.
Filipino Salpicao is a traditional dish from our Spanish heritage. There are salpicao dishes from other countries such as Brazil and Portugal. Mind you, Portuguese salpicao is a traditional smoked sausage, and Brazilian salpicao is a traditional salad blended with shredded chicken and a based dressing of mayonnaise-lime juice. Filipino salpicao can also be of different mixture or kick on our palate. Elena Una’s Chef Janice gave the best kick. The tenderness of the beef will melt in your mouth. The beef submerged into the savory sauce -oh so ‘Lami’ ‘Masarap’ ! (yum/so good) That incorporates the uniqueness of her salpicao dish. Although it is not far from the typical Filipino salpicao. Served with 2 eggs on the side and a choice of white or brown rice.
Black Paella: the Filipino version of Paella. Served in a hot skillet and the crispiness of rice edging the skillet. The seafood aromas epitomize the quality of the ingredients and the authenticity of Filipino essence.
Calamansi (Filipino Lemon) Mimosa
Bibingka: traditional Filipino coconut and rice cake, coconut flakes, parmesan cheese, salted egg crème anglaise. A MUST TRY!
My take: we will be back for seconds…we were informed by Chef Janice that they always offer new dishes on the menu. Some people may critique the place as pricey, but Hey! You will get what you paid for. Maraming Salamat Chef Janice for bringing the authenticity of Filipino cuisine in the city.
Emerging Chef Janice Lazaga (former Chef for the Filipino President )
Photos by: Sheila Despi