There is a handful of Filipino restaurants in Rome. I reviewed one of them in March, Sarap Restaurant, and now, I would like to talk about Pinoy Fast Food, where I had lunch today.
Pinoy Fast Food is located in via Geata, an otherwise nondescript street about ten minutes’ walk from Termini, Rome’s main train station. A big blue vertical banner with the restaurant’s name is displayed outside the restaurant, along with tempting photos of the food that’s on offer. As with Sarap Restaurant, you need to climb down a few steps to get to the Pinoy food which gives the restaurant an underground feel. Like a hideout, in fact, for weirdos like me who would rather eat Filipino food in Italy rather than pasta or pizza.
As suggested by the restaurant’s name, there is a selection of three or four dishes already cooked, buffet style, and so you could be eating within five minutes of entering the restaurants. The selection changes every day. Today, two of the choices were kaldareta and sinigang and I chose the latter. One dish with rice cost €6, though if you’re torn between two dishes you can request to have half portions of each instead of a full portion of just one.
Instead of the pre-cooked dishes, you can order from a list of popular Filipino dishes instead. The list includes a variety of noodles, including the perennial favourite pansit palabok, fried chicken, crispy pata and spring rolls. All are reasonably priced, from €5 per dish.
I have eaten in Pinoy Fast Food more times than I can remember during my seven years in Rome. Most of the time, I would go there with friends both Filipinos and non-Filipinos. I have also taken visiting friends and relatives from abroad. I have not heard any complaints from any of them which is a good sign. As I have already mentioned, the selection of dishes changes every day and so potentially quality can vary and there’s always the possibility of not liking any of the day’s dishes. Increasing the choices to six would be a great boost though I don’t know how practical this is given that already space is rather tight. Today I was happy with the choices, however, as with most of the other times I dined in Pinoy Fast Food.The sinigang that I had today was certainly hearty, with just the right level of sourness and that tangy “oomph!” that makes sinigang one of my favourite Filipino dishes. On previous visits, I have also tried cooked-to-order dishes such as fried chicken and crispy pata which were both very good. The portions are always generous though I have noticed that they have taken down the “unlimited rice” notice. I’m rather glad about this as it prevents me from over-eating!
Pinoy Fast Food provides a nice casual eating environment. The Filipino Channel is shown on two TV screens and so you could almost pretend to be back in the Philippines while eating. The staff are friendly, though today I had to wait for about ten minutes for my change when I paid. It wasn’t the first time that happened. It seems that the restaurant almost expects you to always have the right money when paying for they often struggle to find change. This is a needless inconvenience for the customer that is so easy to rectify. I don’t understand why it keeps happening.
Pinoy Fast Food is a good choice if you’re after a quick but tasty Filipino meal in a friendly and relaxed environment. However, if you require a more formal meal, or dining for that special occasion, the Asian Delight Restaurant in via Francesco Caracciolo near Cipro Station would probably be a better choice. I hope to review this restaurant soon.
Pinoy Fast Food is open from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm. The full address is via Gaeta 21, 00185 Rome.