Neighborhood: East Village, Manhattan
Address: 111 1st Ave.
Filipino food—itself a fascinating example of indigenous fusion with Asian, Hispanic, and American influences—has been sorely underrepresented in this town. So you have to admire Maharlika's plucky attempt to introduce New Yorkers to the nation's diverse cuisine. Over the past year, Maharlika blossomed from a brunch-only pop-up to a brick and mortar East Village eatery with an additional outpost inside Williamsburg's Kinfolk Studios. The young partners behind the place are endearing ambassadors for the food, guiding the uninitiated through outre fare like sizzling sisig, a mix of chopped pork belly with lesser loved pig parts like snout, ear, and cheek.—JR