Lunch’er Report: Is Bayan Cafe Still Good?

Tuesday lunch from Cafe Bayan
Photo courtesy of lazysundae

I haven’t been back to the Bayan Cafe, the just out of bounds Filipino place on 45th btw. 2+3rd, since I wrote about it a few years ago.  The most recent comment, from Lunch’er Nancy, was negative (apparently the prices have gone up) but according to this update posted to the Midtown Lunch flickr pool by lazysundae, things are just as good as I remembered them:

For 7.95 you get all this food. Kinda worth it if you eat half and save the rest. Unfortunately it was so good I ate all of it and had a stomachache for the rest of the afternoon. The mess at the top left is mixed veggies – bitter melon (ampalaya), butternut squash, green beans, eggplant, tomatoes in a sauce made with pork and bagoong (salty shrimp paste). At the bottom left is a chicken dish made with bananas (saging) that tasted like sweet adobo. Chicken esposito or something – I asked the guy twice what it was and I still can’t remember!

Bayan Cafe… Filipino Food Worth Breaking the Rules For


  • their pork w/beef blood is good. i thought i misheard the guy behind the counter when he told me what it was. but after several, “wait, beef BLOOD?” inquiries, i still ordered it & promptly scarfed it down.

  • not sure if pinoys get a better deal, but bayan is so not worth it. totes overpriced, small portions and stale ingredients. the meats are always sketchy and inferior in quality.

  • lazy sundae – gurl ru anorexic? i got take out there based on your review, and lets just say the only thing i can save over two meals is the rice. the side portions are tiny. $8 is a ripoff. you can get a bento nearby for $6.50. much tastier, much cleaner and cheaper.

  • Looks like I may have to change the title of this post to “Is Bayan Cafe Still Good?”

    I smell a re-review

  • The quality of food at Bayan Cafe is very high. Food is flavorful and rather authentic, even the stuff you get off the steam table. The lunch special, however, gives rather small portions of the good stuff next to the mountain of rice they serve you. It’s not a ripoff, but if you are a huge eater, you’re probably not going to be satisfied. Which is why you should order a side of the crispy pig face a la carte.

  • I eat there about once a month and have not noticed a drop in quality. They may be serving a little less meat per order, but i have noticed this just about everywhere. Even raitas and salsas seem to be watered down these days (at least at the delivery and take out places i frequent).

  • been there twice 5 months apart. once for brunch once for lunch.

    it’s good for what it is. i agree that the portion sizes are a couple of scoops shy of perfect. there are *slightly* better options price-to-portion-wise in downtown manh and queens (grill 21, elvie’s point point, ihawan) but again, midtown.

    i think this place should just sell tocilog 7 days a week. nom

  • as a pinoy, i can say that bayan is not good. go to jersey city for the real deal. and $7.95 is a total ripoff. the quality is really poor, so i am embarassed and feel ashamed for my people. crispy pig face? sounds disgusting and an inferior version of sisik.

  • if you have a filipino food fix in midtown manhattan, bayan is your place. sure the quality and selection isn’t as good as ihawan or perlas in woodside, or some places in jersey city but that’s where a big filipino community resides. i work a couple blocks away from bayan, visit every other week and have never been disappointed so i dont understand the previous negative posts. i also see plenty of pinoys /pinays everytime i come here, so how bad can it really be.

  • After walking well out of my lunch bunch comfort zone, I arrived at Bayan Café and they didn’t have ANY of the lunch items pictured on Midtown Lunch:

    • NO Pork with Shrimp paste
    • NO Chicken Adobo
    • NO Pork Adobo

    Why wouldn’t a Filipino place have either Chicken or Pork Adobo every day? I’m not saying don’t try this place, just call ahead to make sure they have something interesting/appealing on the menu that day.

    Luckily, my backup plan was Curry Chicken from Jerk Pan (wonderful).

  • Bayan Cafe closed its doors over the weekend. Thanks Carol for the great Filipino dishes, looking forward to your next exciting venture! If anyone knows of another Filipino food place in midtown, shoot me a message. Otherwise, I’m headed to Ihawan and the other places in Woodside. Cheers!

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