Restaurant of the Week: Green Banana Leaf

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Green Banana Leaf, 13089 Peyton Drive (at Beverly Glen), Chino Hills

One of the valley’s few Filipino restaurants, Green Banana Leaf is located in a sprawling shopping center with a Costco, Sport Chalet and vacant Best Buy. Several Asian eateries are in an L-shaped wing by Peyton Drive, including Guppy House and The Boiling Point, with The Crabby Crab coming soon.

I met a friend at GBL for lunch. It’s an inviting spot, with a row of private-seeming booths, a red and black color scheme and hanging fixtures. Snazzy.

We ordered off the lunch menu: pork BBQ skewer and chicken BBQ ($6.50 each, below and bottom). First came cups of mushroom soup in a clear broth. The plates had lumpa, which is akin to a small egg roll, and rice with dried garlic; I had noodles and my friend had a salad. The entrees themselves were mouth-watering. We liked the rice and lumpia. The noodles were nothing special, but neither was the salad, although it had romaine rather than iceberg.

These lunch plates were very filling as well as delicious, and for the price, even better. “It was like comfort food: wholesome, good food,” my friend remarked. We also tried traditional beverages ($2.50 each): sago at gulaman, a slushy cola with boba, and guyabano, which my friend said would be “perfect with rum and an umbrella.”

I don’t know how this stacks up with other Filipino restaurants, having only had that cuisine a time or two before, but this was one of the better meals I’ve had recently.

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  • Joanne Dallas

    Looks good. I don’t know what constitutes Filipino food exactly. You are motivating me to get back down to Chino. I’ve followed your recommendations before (except for that whole plate of goat) and been happy

    • davidallen909

      Hey, don’t knock goat ’til you’ve tried it.

    • Andy Sze

      Goat is a great meat. Its only slightly gamey and very lean. I like it more than land and venison by far. When you eat it in Mexican birria or Chinese style braised in green onions and bean curd sheets its delicious. I was in Belize in Dec and I had a version made with black recardo spices and black beans and it soooooooo good.

      I saw goat stew the other night and was so tempted to order but unfortunately not hungry enough for a large meal.

      Only 2 more hours until lunch!

      • Joanne Dallas

        I obviously need to get out more. Thanks for some information. Diamond Bar and West Covina sound like places to expand my outlook. (Will try goat again.)

  • Andy Sze

    David I’ve been here three times. They bill themselves as modern Filipino cuisine but that is a marketing ploy as it is not different in style from any other Filipino restaurant I’ve been to. Food wise its OK. I’ve had better elsewhere. One marked difference I’ve had in my visits is that once I went with a Filipino friend and she was able to order up a meal where the dishes pared well worth each other.

    I tend to like the earthy pungency of Filipino cuisine. I lime dishes such as binagoogon (fermented dried shrimp) tomato and garlic on rice. Sisig which is a dishes cripsy cooked innards is another one of my faces. I tend to also like stir fried okra, long beans, squash and shrimp its name eludes me. Perhaps my all time favorite is paksiw lechon which is pork belly fried and then briased in black pepper corns and onion. Grilled milk fish is another Filipino great dish

    For more Filipino food I recommend the hot deli at Green Hill in Diamond Bar and Pondahan in West Covina. Those are my faves. I’ve also had good experience at Max’s of Manila in Glendale depending on what you order. Goldilocks in Cerritos is popular but it’s been a good 6-8 years since I’ve been there.

    • davidallen909

      Andy, thanks for the insights and additional recommendations!

    • Kathy Shadden

      I’ve only had Filipino cuisine about 30 years ago in a little place in Bellflower. I remember the chicken adobo and also a dish called “pancit” (?), which resembles what’s on the 1st plate of food pictured. I loved both of those dishes.

      • davidallen909

        Yes, those noodles on the first plate are known as pancit.