After years of representing the Philippines at the Columbus Asian Festival, the Firmalan family finally opened a brick-and-mortar location, just the second Filipino restaurant in Central Ohio (Bonifacio is the other). With two small dining rooms and a busy carryout service, Kuya Ian's Bistro serves straight-up Pinoy fare—no burgers, no Chipotle-style bowls—in a simple setting. Kuya Ian's skips the fusion dishes and flashy décor, instead putting authentic Filipino food front and center. The menu features tried-and-true favorites like chicken adobo and pancit, but it also showcases lesser-known dishes like dinuguan (pork cooked in blood), milkfish and sinigang, a delightfully tangy stew featuring pork and tamarind. The best time to visit is during brunch on Sundays, when the restaurant serves a turo-turo buffet. Literally meaning “point-point,” this all-you-can-eat buffet allows diners to sample a variety of Filipino dishes. Simply point at what you'd like to try and they'll serve up dishes and a pile of rice, along with a friendly explanation of what they are. It's a non-intimidating way to be a little adventurous with the cuisine. The best part: You can always go back for more.
Order Up: Chicken adobo
The best version in town, this classic and approachable Filipino dish is sweet and tangy.