Best love letter to the Philippines: Maharlika Filipino Moderno

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  • Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

    Eggs Imelda at Maharlika Filipino Moderno


  • Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

    Sizzling sisig at Maharlika Filipino Moderno

  • Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

    Tocino at Maharlika Filipino Moderno

  • Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

    Maharlika Filipino Moderno

  • Time Out, Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

    Maharlika Filipino Moderno

Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

Eggs Imelda at Maharlika Filipino Moderno



All too often, the life span of a pop-up restaurant follows the arc of a hot summer song, catching fire then predictably burning out. But there are those special few anthems—personal and powerful—that stay with us. Consider Maharlika, then, the food-world equivalent of “Empire State of Mind”: an honest and reverent tribute to the shared homeland of young Filipino owners Nicole Ponseca, Enzo Lim and Noel Cruz (joined by Dominican-American chef–co-owner Miguel Trinidad). Within a year, the brunch-only pop-up had blossomed into a bona fide restaurant: a bric-a-brac-filled space that proved a fitting stage to explore the cuisine of the Philippines and its gastronomic patchwork of Asian, Hispanic and American influences. A sense of honor is delivered along with the iconic Pinoy dishes here, as your host sets down a crackling skillet of crispy pig ear, snout and belly with a swell of pride, or enumerates the arsenal of sauces available to add acid and spice to your hunk of adobo-bathed chicken or pork. This intimacy is what’s been missing from the chilly New York restaurant scene—a kind of warmth and heart too big to be contained in the fleeting setting of a pop-up. 111 First Ave between 6th and 7th Sts (646-392-7880, maharlikanyc.com)

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