Kirbie's Cravings

Manila Sunset Grille

A branch of the Manila Sunset chain recently opened in Mira Mesa. DH and I have never been to any locations, but they are quite popular, so we thought we’d try the newest location.

The decor included some interesting drawings. You place your order at the front and then grab a table. It’s a little different from the popular turo-turo (point point) places where food is already prepared and sitting in the hot steam tables, but it’s still a fast food type atmosphere.

Pancit Malabon

The pancit noodles were broken into small pieces making this quite hard to eat. Everything was cut more like a salad, even the hard boiled egg was finely diced. I found the plate to be too salty and didn’t really enjoy it.

Lumpia (Shanghai style)

The lumpia here were quite a bit smaller than what we’re used to. They also used a thicker wrapper, further reducing the amount of filling in each one. I wasn’t a fan of the wrapper they used or the size of the lumpia.

Lechon Kawali

After two misses, we finally had a winner. The pork belly was crispy and the meat wasn’t dry or too salty. The pork belly had been deep fried to the point where even the fat layer had a nice chew to it.  A lot of lechon we buy ends up being dry and overcooked, probably partially a result of it sitting on the steam tables. This made to order one was much better.

Puta Bumbong

Unfortunately, dessert was another miss. The purple sticky rice had absolutely no flavor to itl. I expected maybe some mild sweetness. Instead, the only sweetness is provided by the coconut flakes (which weren’t very sweet and some were sour) and the butter sugar drizzle which was more butter than sugar.

I wasn’t too impressed with our initial visit so I’m surprised at how successful this chain has been. DH commented that even though we didn’t like the food, it is “decent” for Filipino food. I had originally been planning to come back to try some of their grilled items, but I don’t think we’ll be coming back any time soon.

You can viewdownload the full menu here.

Manila Sunset Grille
9837 Mira Mesa Blvd
San Diego, CA 92131

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6 comments on “Manila Sunset Grille”

  1. Hi Kirbie!

    Yesterday, I noticed that Manila Sunset opened up when I was at Ariana Kabob House across the street (REALLY good Afghan food, have you tried it?). I didn’t realize the MS location was so new. My family frequents the location in National City.

    I always enjoyed their chicken BBQ, arroz caldo (porridge), and bibingka (cake baked in banana leaf with chunks of cream cheese). If you ever decide to try it out again, I’d recommend those items.

    I’m Filipina and it seems that reliably delicious Filipino food in San Diego is usually only found in the homes of our mothers and grandmas!

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks for those tips. And yes I agree. My favorite filipino dishes have come from DH’s dad’s cooking or his aunts’ cooking.

  2. From what I can see, the drawings depict a Christmas time scene. There are star shaped lanterns with tassels (the “parol”) and it also looks like a full marching band and people parading a “Santo Nino” (figurine of the Christ child). The buildings are Spanish colonial.

    Too bad the food wasn’t that great. Decent isn’t as good as homemade! That lechon kawali looks really delicious though – omg, those layers of fat!

    • I like how the layers of fat were a bit chewy instead of just mushy and soft. I was wondering what the drawings were depicting. It was all along the wall, I wasn’t able to capture it all with one shot.

  3. Too bad about most of the dishes, but that pork belly does look delicious!