-Grubbing in Chicago
Filipino Food in North Center
The Filipino food scene in Chicago is very reflective of the scene on a national level. It's as popular as ever. The north side of the city has been home to a significant Filipino population for decades and Filipino restaurants have been a part of the area for just as long but for the most part these places were mostly known within the local Filipino community. Well a part of that community is all grown up and opening up their own restaurants. Boonie's is the latest in a long line of Filipino-American owned spots to open shop in Chicago. It started as a food stall at Revival Food Hall and recently moved to their own space on Western south of Montrose. It's ran by a veteran chef who grew up nearby.
Boonie's is BYOB for now but from the looks of the inside there could be a bar coming. It's not a huge space but they can pack a nice crowd inside and pack it they do so you're going to want reservations. It's a kicked back, relaxing spot with a small but mighty menu. The Pancit Canton is made with stir fried noodles from Sun Noodles and comes with mushrooms and sweet cabbage plus the option to add bagnet (crispy pork belly) and that's a good idea as it comes out perfectly cooked.
The ‘Sizzling Sisig’ is one of those dishes I’m still thinking about weeks after having it. It’s crispy pork hash with secret sauce and egg served on a sizzling hot plate and it’s a fatty, spicy, citrus bomb of flavors. Add a side of garlic rice and you got a complete meal. One of the best things I've ate of late.
The sinigang is a fish dish matching steelhead trout with sampaloc and burnt tomato broth. I wasn't really sure what to expect but judging by the first two dishes I figured this would be good and it was, almost as good as the sisig in fact. They did not skimp on the perfectly cooked fish which comes with a side of rice perfect for soaking up a delicately delicious broth of tamarind and tomato.
They offer two desserts and our waitress recommended they be ordered together and that was an excellent call as the warm turon (macerated plantain spring roll) paired perfectly with a scoop of "Milky Milky Ice Cream" which the menu describes as "brown sugar & kasama rum scoop". It's early but if you asked me to name Chicago's best new restaurant to date (2023) - Boonie's is my pick.
Boonie's Filipino Restaurant
4337 N Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60618