Restaurant: Casa Pinoy
Last visited: August 21, 2012
Location: Richmond, BC (Richmond)
Address: 101 – 11911 Bridgeport Road
Transit: WB Bridgeport Rd FS No. 5 Rd
Price Range: $10-20 (average bill closer to $10)
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: FMF Must Try!
Food: 3 (based on what I tried)
- Filipino operated/owned
- Family operated/owned
- Filipino cuisine
- Greek & American options
- Family friendly
- Kid friendly options
- Budget friendly/Cheap eats
- Catering available
- Free parking
- Open daily 10am-8pm
**Recommendations: Chicken Inasal
Filipino food. Or wait… was it? It’s called “Casa Pinoy” which is certainly Filipino, but what’s this “sandwiches, calamari, BBQ, fish n’ chips” stuff I see on their sign?! It was either going to be Westernized Filipino food or Filipino-style American-Greek food. I’m not really keen on either, but I was given the recommendation to come check it out. I’ve also driven by it a few times and although it’s not a full house, the space is pretty big and there are Filipino locals dining inside. A sign of legitimacy? Perhaps, but there was only one way to find out.
They closed at 8pm which is pretty early for a Filipino restaurant which serves dinner too. I was the last table and I was in at around 7:50pm and they still insisted and welcomed me to stay. It was spacious and assumingly clean, and the set up looked like a restaurant focused on catering – which they do.
It’s a Filipino family owned and operated restaurant and the owners were really friendly. It almost makes it so much harder to write these things when they are, but when they asked for honest feedback, I said everything I would write on here. They were really receptive and for that reason alone I would come back and support the business.
The menu was pretty big and about half of it was Greek, Italian and American food. I was a bit nervous. It was one of those “we do it all” places. I didn’t come here for burgers, lasagne and calamari, but it all made sense when I remembered the previous restaurant was Isaac & Agatha. It was a Greek restaurant and catering business before it turned into Casa Pinoy so I have a feeling they kept some menu items to satisfy the loyal clientele.
It’s located in an industrial area of Richmond, BC which includes furniture warehouses, auto repair shops and small businesses, so I’m sure they have to cater to a lunch time crowd with more standard and basic offerings. The burgers are made in house though and for all I know it could be actually very good, but I wasn’t as interested in the Western food as much as I was in the Filipino food.
And that’s more like it! I can’t say I’m too familiar with Filipino food although I have been to the Philippines and been to Filipino parties and banquets. That doesn’t really mean anything though. I didn’t grow up with it and I’m still exploring and learning more about the cuisine. The first time I blogged about it was at Kumare – see my Fililipino Cuisine 101 post, but I have tried a few other Filipino restaurants and foods in Metro Vancouver. Regardless I’m still on training wheels and I prefer going to Filipino restaurants with Filipino friends who can guide me.
For the most part Filipino cuisine is influenced by many Asian and Latin cultures. It’s normally rather simple, quite rich and heavy, pork focused, and served family style. Vinegar is used in many of the stews because traditionally it would allow the dish to keep for longer. The pork dishes will usually use the whole hog including the head and cheaper cuts are also valued and nothing goes to waste. Since cheaper cuts are tougher many of their dishes are braised or come in stews. There is also a significant amount of barbeque and deep frying and although there are healthy options, I wouldn’t call it particularly a healthy cuisine. It is good though.
I ordered some classic Filipino dishes which were a bit hit and miss. It was all made in house and the prices were very affordable, although Filipino food should always be pretty cheap. It’s really not a fancy cuisine and the ingredients are inexpensive for the most part. Although I never expect excellent produce at small ethnic restaurants, this was a bit below what I would consider standard. The food is traditional, but the ingredients and flavours might not be as “authentic”.
It’s not my favourite Filipino restaurant based on what I tried, but it was decent, quick, casual and very affordable. There were some execution issues and it was food that you just know they make better at home. Even though I was the last table the food and service was in no way rushed, but it was just very average although people seem to love it. Generally, it seems like this is considered one of the better Filipino restaurants in Metro Vancouver, but there isn’t a lot of options for it either. I haven’t tried enough to say, but I did like Kumare better based on what I tried. However the owners at Casa Pinoy were lovely people and I would come back purely based on that, but I’d just be a bit selective with my order.
On the table:
- Rice noodle dish with flavourful shrimp sauce. Garnished with crispy pork crackling, sliced egg, drizzled with kalamansi (Filipino lemon) and fresh green onions $8.99
- This was a recommended favourite.
- It’s pretty much Filipino style seafood spaghetti and it’s a very popular Filipino dish.
- I think I expected more seafood, but for $8.99 maybe I shouldn’t have.
- It came with 3 shrimps and then some diced up salmon that was overcooked. The seafood was frozen, but I expected that.
- Traditionally it would be smoked dried fish rather than salmon, but I’m assuming this is the same salmon used for their salmon burger.
- It was sprinkled with crushed pork cracklings which were like croutons and then a hard boiled egg which was slightly overcooked.
- The noodles were slippery, soft and semi chewy rice noodles and the shrimp sauce I found very mild and I could taste a bit of butter in it too.
- It tasted like a savoury garlic and onion butter sauce with shrimp bouillon melted into it. It didn’t have a very shrimpy flavour though.
- It was served with some fresh kalamansi juice on the side which made it more legit. Most places would just serve it with lemon.
- Kalamansi is like the love child of lemon and orange and it’s very sour, but more flavourful than lemons.
- The lemon cut the richness and brightened up the dish giving it a refreshing and tangy element.
- If you like Pad Thai there is a chance you will like this. It’s different, but it shares similarities even though this one has no peanuts, tamarind or spice.
- Filipino creamy stewed pork. Served with white rice $6.99
- I’m a fan of Dinuguan and it’s one of the most popular and traditional Filipino foods to Filipino people.
- The description is very vague as to likely not scare the majority of people off. Dinuguan is a pork blood stew.
- I’m not keen on Taiwanese or Cantonese versions of solidified pork blood, but I like it when it’s melted down like this.
- I’ve had Dinuguan a few times, but this wasn’t my favourite because the meat was slightly dry and the sauce was almost extra sour.
- The stew is made with vinegar so it is intentionally sour, but this was just more so than most.
- It was a tangy, rich, creamy gravy made from melted down pork’s blood and it had a gritty texture to it.
- It was almost like the texture of black bean sauce and it’s a bit starchy.
- It didn’t taste like pork’s blood and there was not even that iron like aftertaste.
- The pork pieces are supposed to be pig’s head, but this was all shoulder and/or pork butt.
- The pork was braised in the stew for a while and it was very tender, but just on the drier side. The sauce helped.
- It’s a bit acquired and you have to like sour food and meaty flavours to appreciate this.
- I also recommend trying the one at Kumare – see here.
- Stewed beef sauteed in a smooth and creamy peanut butter mixed with veggies and tripe. Served with white rice. $7.99
- The sauce was nice and creamy and had good colour and texture, but unfortunately it was very bland.
- The vegetables weren’t cooked into the stew, but just neatly placed on top. This is considered neat for Filipino cuisine.
- The classic veggies for Kare Kare are the long string beans, eggplant and baby bok choy, which was all in this version.
- The eggplants were just steamed and tender, but bland.
- The green beans weren’t great quality and the bok choy was boiled or steamed, but none of the veggies were seasoned.
- The saving grace was the beef… and the shrimp paste on the side. It really needed the shrimp paste.
- I love shrimp paste and if you want to know what “umami” is – that is umami! Savoury. Fish sauce and MSG is also umami.
- Traditionally the beef in this dish should be oxtail and tripe, but they used brisket and tripe instead.
- The brisket was very fatty though and while fat gives things flavour and is good, I don’t like my brisket as fatty as this one was.
- Naturally the beef in this is fatty (as oxtail would be as well), but this was just a lot of fat.
- The beef was incredibly tender though and almost falling apart in the dish from being braised for so long.
- The tripe is naturally a bit chewy and gelatinous which I’ve never been too keen on, but for what it was, it wasn’t bad.
- It was a thick, rich, creamy and smooth stew with a peanutty flavour, but there are no peanuts pieces or crumbs in it. There usually is not either.
- The flavour was flat and it didn’t extend beyond peanutty. I did like the Kare Kare at Kumare better – see here.
- Traditionally it should be made with toasted rice and even some banana hearts, but those were not used in this one.
- Grilled chicken leg marinated in coco vinegar, garlic and pepper. Served with rice pilaf $8.99
- This was the winning dish.
- It came recommended and it sounded so ordinary to me, but they really nailed it.
- It reminded me of Malaysian cuisine – see Nasi Bojari, but it is very popular in the Philippines.
- The chicken was incredibly juicy and moist. Being dark meat it would be, but it was still cooked very well.
- The marinade consists of garlic, lemongrass, kalamansi juice, coconut vinegar and other spices.
- The grilled chicken was very aromatic, savoury, but not too salty and not spicy.
- I could taste shrimp paste in the marinade and it was definitely the secret ingredient.
- I would have liked more char grilled flavour, but it was still flavourful without the intense smokiness.
- The skin was semi crispy and I would have preferred crispier.
- Dipping the chicken into the vinegar just gave it a whole new dimension of flavour.
- It was savoury, tangy, salty and a bit sweet and the sour vinegar dipping sauce just made the flavours pop.
- The vinegar was almost like adding a squeeze of lemon, but with added savoury flavour.
- The rice pilaf was made with smashed carrots, onions and bell peppers and it had a natural sweetness to it.
- The rice was well cooked and not dry or spicy even though there was a chili pepper garnish on it.
- There was also a side of veggies simply sautéed in butter and seasoned with salt and pepper on the side.
- This was a quick and reliable dish and it would make a convenient and very satisfying no-fuss lunch or dinner.
- If you’re nervous about trying Filipino food, just think of this as Nando’s. They’re different of course, but comparable in what they are.
- About $2.50
- When I saw it in the chilled dessert display case I thought it was Polvoron and wondered why it was being refrigerated.
- It wasn’t Polvoron, but the simplified or “cookie” version of Sans Rival (a layered Filipino cake).
- Silvana is a chilled pastry, or a frozen cashew meringue cookie and they made them in house at Casa Pinoy.
- It was a very rich and creamy frozen buttercream sandwiched between cashew meringue wafers.
- The outer meringue layers were crisp like a macaron and they’re not flaky, but a bit chewy.
- The longer they sit in the fridge the chewier the meringue gets and this is intentional, I actually like it a bit chewy.
- The buttercream was obviously buttery and it was butter and not margarine.
- It wasn’t too sweet, but it is very rich and you want to taste the buttercream in this.
- I think the whole cookie was rolled in toasted flour and very finely ground cashew or wafer (?) crumbs so it had a slightly powdery exterior.
- It was my first time trying a Silvana although I’ve had Sans Rival before – see my post for “the best” Sans Rival in Metro Vancouver.
- I have no other Silvanas to compare to, but I enjoyed this and would order it again although I wouldn’t crave it.
- My Filipino friend @wisemonkeyblog also recommended House of Silvanas in Daly City, CA for these.