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Just Like Mom’s and A Sarsiadong Tilapia Recipe

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Every so often we yearn for that Filipino fix. We long for the flavors we grew up with. Every Filipino understands that yearning. The farther away we are from home, the more we miss it. There is nothing like the familiarity of those aromas that send our senses spinning : patis (fish sauce) in a garlic-onions saute, toyo (soy sauce) mixed with freshly squeezed calamansi (the Filipino lime), or the fiery siling labuyo (bird’s eye chilies) in vinegar dipping sauce.

So one day, while walking in the Gramercy area of the Big Apple, we stumbled upon this quaint, corner bakery. Lo and behold, to our delight it was a Filipino bakery. Even better, we discovered they had a Filipino buffet at very affordable New York city prices. We walked in and had lunch, merienda (afternoon snack) and dinner, in that order, all on the same day. That’s how comfortable the owners made us feel, we didn’t want to leave!

“There are Filipinos outside and they’re taking photos of the store and themselves,” the owners exclaimed to each other. Charming, pretty Filipina owner, Marissa T. Beck smiled at us through the glass door. “Hello, come inside!” she invited. Without hesitation we gladly walked in from the cold. A warm welcoming atmosphere awaited us. We were at Pan de Sal Pattiserie and Resto Bar in mid-Manhattan for the first time and we felt like we had just walked into a dear aunt’s home. It was sheer comfort all over. The food, the comfortable seating, the superb service made us stay and linger for long time. What set them apart from other restaurants I’ve been to? It was just like eating at mom’s !









We came back a second time a few weeks after and had a sumptuous lunch at their sister restaurant Grill 21. The food was just what we needed to appease our Filipino food cravings.


As a bonus, Grill 21 owners Marissa and Henry Beck obliged us with an easy to do recipe for the Sarsiadong Tilapia we savagely attacked with a platter of rice. For the complete story and how to get to  Pan de Sal Pattiserie & Resto Bar and Grill 21 Restaurant plus the recipe for this amazing Tilapia dish, head on to my article “Like Eating at Mom’s” on PositivelyFilipino.com. I’m positive you’ll enjoy the piece and everything else in this edition because it’s all about being Filipino and how proud we are of it.


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  1. I know how it is when you discover your country’s food abroad, always so exciting right Elisabeth? =D Your Tilapia recipe sounds very flavorful and I would love to try a bite (or more most probably!)

    1. Thanks, Helene! Glad you understand the feeling of finding your ‘home flavors’ anywhere in the world. The Tilapia recipe in the link to PositivelyFilipino.com was generously shared by the owners of Grill 21 Restaurant. You should try it 🙂

    1. Thanks, Jeanette! It was indeed a great find to stumble upon “Pan de Sal Pattiserie” and “Grill 21” in Gramercy, NYC. Be sure to check them out when you’re in the city. It’s an accessible location and has great food 🙂

  2. Ohhh this reminds me. I wanted to ask. I am always curious why Filipino restaurant is hard to find, even in a big city? I’d love to eat Filipino food, but we can barely run into one. In fact, we have a city with more Filipino residents and there are a few, but that’s pretty much it. I think Filipino knows how to cook well at home! 😉

    1. Thanks, Nami. We are very proud of our Filipino roots, heritage and cuisine. I know there are a lot in your area. Let me find out from my friends in the west coast for any good recommendations and I’ll let you know. If you’re ever in the NYC area, there are a good number of Filipino restaurants I can also suggest. Let me know when you’re in these parts 🙂

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