Filipino Restaurant Series: Josephine’s

Filipino food mosaic

Filipino cuisine is the ultimate in comfort food. I may be a little biased, having been born in Manila and then raised by a mother who is an amazing cook…but I have many non-Filipino friends that can attest to the yumminess of Filipino home cooking (my husband included). You just have to be very open to pork in all its glorious forms.

The problem with my love of Filipino food is that I don’t know how to cook all the dishes that I enjoy. Living downtown and preferring not to drive also compounds the sourcing of unusual ingredients like kangkong and sampalok. Cue Josephine’s Restaurant, which for years and years has been my #1 place to patronize when my Pinoy cravings needed to be assuaged.

filipino champagne lunch

Photo by Curtis Carlson Photography. Lunch before my wedding “catered” by Josephine’s.

Lately, I’ve been harbouring traitorous feelings about Josephine’s. It is owned by family friends and former chef Mang Rene, of the original Broadway restaurant gem that was Mang Rene’s, was well loved by our family. With these ties, it is with extreme disappointment that I report the dreadful decline in the quality of the dishes that Josephine’s has been putting out.

The saddest change is in their menudo. Their menudo used to be so tantalizing that my husband and I never felt the need to make it at home. We’d simply order it to go from Josephine’s and enjoy the aroma of stewed tomatoes and pork throughout the car ride home. One could even venture to say that it was better than my mother’s (shhh). These days, the menudo is bland, watery, not as vibrant in colour. Key ingredients have changed. There used to be lots of raisin, tomato, potato, and sausage (okay, hot dog…). Now it’s more or less a monotonous sea of pork.

Bad menudo: the catalyst for change. I’m leaving the warm, once-delicious embrace of Josephine’s to flirt shamelessly with the other Filipino restaurants in the city. I’ll be sure to keep you all informed of my quest to find an authentic Filipino eatery to commit to. If I find one that’s really a keeper, we may go ring shopping and begin choosing baby names.

What do you think of Josephine’s?

If you have been to Josephine’s lately and care to disagree, please please comment! I want to know what is still good. Is the palabok still worthy? Has anything else suffered the same fate as my dear menudo? Give me the scoop!

Josephine’s Filipino Restaurant
2650 Main St | Vancouver
(604) 876-8785

Josephine's on Urbanspoon

Filipino Restaurant Series to date:

    3 thoughts

    1. I have to agree with you that the food at Josephine’s has suffered since Mang Rene’s retirement years ago. Have been going there for years hoping to catch them on one of their good days. Last time I was there, I had to call the health board to report seeing some rather sketchy food handling practices- practices which I’m sure have contributed to various food borne illnesses. Will not be returning.
      Over the holidays, I paid $75 for a tray full of mung bean noodles and really not much else. Fatty pork, barely there vegetables when I’d specifically asked for extra vegetables. Felt totally ripped off and embarassed to serve this to guests so simply threw it out. I was so aggravated that I didn’t even bother to take the time and energy to ‘doctor it up’ for pleasant consumption.
      Most restaurants, if not all, take the shortcuts of MSG laden powders in order to cut food costs. There are no delicious Filipino restaurants in the city. Unfortunately. Just go to your Mom’s next time you’re craving good Filipino food.

    2. JS: Glad you like the photos. My lens is often an extension of my mouth =)

      Wish I could say that it was just one time that left me unimpressed. This post is actually an accumulation of 6 months of consistent disappointment with the takeout we ordered. I had lunch with someone indirectly tied to the restaurant today and aired my concerns. He confirmed that there has been a change in chefs and said that he’ll pass on my feedback.

      You like Rekados, huh? Been there twice and neither instance was noteworthy. What do you like there?

    3. First, your food photography is awesome. Just wanted to get that out of the way.

      Second, we’ve never tried Josephine’s restaurant but have been planning to for the longest time. But, if they are on the way down. . .it’s sad. Hopefully, that was just a bad day. We’ll have to get ourselves to Josephine’s one of these days: we just have to extricate ourselves from Rekados.

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