Contemporary Filipino-California Restaurant Abacá Opens at San Francisco’s Kimpton Alton HotelAuthor:Michelle Konstantinovsky
When Francis Ang announced the opening of his first brick-and-mortar restaurant late last summer, fans of the renowned chef were clamoring for a spot at the highly anticipated debut destination. Inspired by the success of his Pinoy Heritage pop-up, Ang launched Abacá, a contemporary Filipino-California restaurant located in San Francisco’s Kimpton Alton Hotel, located in the city’s iconic Fisherman’s Wharf district. But diners will forget they’re anywhere other than the Philippines once they step inside Ang’s restaurant, which serves up distinctive dishes composed of seasonal, locally grown ingredients that embody the heart of Filipino hospitality and culture with a California twist.
Abacá’s warmth can also be felt in the design and ambiance, with seating spread throughout the hotel’s warm, bright ground floor, peppered with skylights and lush green foliage complementing the expansive indoor-outdoor seating.
The inspiration for Abacá came to Ang when he and his wife, Dian, were visiting her family in Borongan, Eastern Samar, Philippines, in 2013. A devastating typhoon stranded the couple on the island and they were forced to be resourceful, utilizing the limited resources and food available to them to feed the community. Once they returned to San Francisco, the Angs launched a fundraiser featuring a Filipino feast, the first time Francis had ever cooked the cuisine of his roots. The overwhelmingly positive reception sparked a passion and the Angs embarked on a six-monthlong trip to the Philippine islands to understand the breadth and depth of the local fare. In 2014, the Pinoy Heritage pop-up launched.
Ang’s unique take on native cuisine features a menu of dishes fit for sharing or as individual coursed meals. Dishes range from grilled skewers inspired by Filipino street carts like Sweet Peppers with ToyoMansi and Bonito and Chicken Pyanggang with Burnt Coconut and Aromatic Turmeric Sauce, to Pork Belly Tocino Steamed Buns with Black Garlic and Pineapple Kimchi, and Lola’s Pork Lumpia with Apple Ketchup. Homemade noodle dishes and composed plates featuring everything from Squid Relleno with Chorizo to Sisig Fried Rice with Chicharon, Poached Egg, and Pickled Onion are also popular favorites.
Desserts range from Carioca “Rice Donuts” with Strawberry, Passionfruit and Hazelnut Crumble to Chocolate Mousse Bombe with Malted Milk and Caramelized Pinipig. And the breakfast Panaderia case includes must-try treats like Ang’s savory and sweet takes on Ensaymadas. Abacá’s cocktail menu is headed up by “American Bartender of the Year,” Kevin Diedrich, of Pacific Cocktail Haven and Kona’s Street Market, and features highlights like the Local Word (Hendrick’s Gin, Green Chartreuse, Absinthe, Pineapple, Calamansi, and Bitters).
Abaca is located inside the Kimpton Alton Hotel at 2700 Jones Street, San Francisco, CA. Call 415-486-0788 or visit restaurantabaca.com for more information.