Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Friday, November 5, 2010

No Worries: Vegan Filipino Restaurant in Oakland Still Evolving

Posted By on Fri, Nov 5, 2010 at 11:32 AM

click to enlarge A lunch plate at No Worries featuring afritada made with soy "chicken." - JUN BELEN
  • Jun Belen
  • A lunch plate at No Worries featuring afritada made with soy "chicken."

It was already past the lunch rush when we arrived at No Worries, the new Filipino restaurant in Oakland's Uptown District. There was a group of six ahead of us waiting for a table and a few others waiting for take-out rice plates. The space was bustling with both Filipino and non-Filipino diners, a sign of the good ― if not great ― meal to come.

No Worries is Jay-Ar Pugao's month-old Filipino vegan restaurant (described as "vegetarian" on the sign out front, though in fact vegan), the first of its kind in the Bay Area. We first met Pugao back in spring at a Filipino food symposium hosted by the Asian Culinary Forum, where he introduced his plans to open a Filipino vegetarian restaurant. He said he hoped to take Filipino food into the mainstream by offering vegan and vegetarian versions of traditionally meat-laden dishes. Imagine adobo without the chicken and kare-kare without the oxtail!

click to enlarge The month-old restaurant is in Oakland's Uptown District. - JUN BELEN
  • Jun Belen
  • The month-old restaurant is in Oakland's Uptown District.

At No Worries, Pugao successfully recreates Filipino favorites like adobo and lumpia using meat substitutes such as soy protein, tofu, and seitan. A lunch plate for $7.95 gives you a generous choice of four entrees and includes a serving of either white or brown rice. Two-item and three-item plates are also available. For dinner, the menu expands to include other classic dishes like sinigang, tinola, and kare-kare. Dinner entrees are $8.95 each.

We loved Pugao's version of afritada, which is traditionally chicken slowly stewed in a rich, tomato-based sauce. Pugao's afritada with soy "chicken," potatoes, red bell peppers, green peas, and garbanzo beans was not only vibrant in color, but vibrant in flavor as well, as richly comforting as a perfectly homecooked meal. We also enjoyed his mung bean stew with squash, green beans, and tofu. We were so entranced with the flavors that we didn't miss the strips of pork and chicharron that typically come with the stew.

Pugao is in the process of fine-tuning the menu. He says he plans to offer more vegetable dishes in the future to complement his current soy-based offerings. We're confident he's headed in the right direction, creatively making Filipino food more accessible.

No Worries: 1442 Franklin (at 15th St.), Oakland, 510-444-4466. Lunch: Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Dinner: Mon.-Sat. 5-9 p.m.

Read more from Jun Belen at Jun-Blog. Follow us on Twitter at @sfoodie.

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

About The Author

Jun Belen


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"