Kasama Is a Rising Star in America's Restaurant Scene 

Chicago gastropub Kasama is the latest establishment by the Filipino diaspora to gain critical acclaim.
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Everyone in the Philippines knows just how diverse, delicious, and innovative Filipino cuisine can be, but it still raises our spirits when the rest of the world realizes that too. Chicago gastropub Kasama is the latest establishment by the Filipino diaspora to gain critical acclaim. 

Following in the footsteps of Bad Saint, Jeepney, and Maharlika, Kasama is winning over food critics with its modern take on Filipino breakfast food and pastries. Located in the East Ukrainian Village neighborhood of Chicago, Kasama is best known for its classic Filipino dishes, pastries inspired by ingredients native to the Philippines, and its Filipino tasting menu, which is the only one in the state. Kasama opened in mid-2020 at the peak of the pandemic, but the restaurant was able to survive thanks to the loyal customers who were hooked on Kasama’s menu.

Headed by husband-and-wife team Genie Kwon and Tim Flores, this Filipino-American restaurant has already been featured in the Michelin Guide of 2021 and The New York Times’ The Restaurant List of 2021. They were also crowned one of the best new restaurants of 2021 by both Eater and Esquire, with our counterparts in Esquire US praising the chefs’ fine dining backgrounds. 

But the awards won’t stop there—Kasama was just nominated for the Pastry Program of the Year Award by Jean Banquet Awards, and it was also named a finalist in the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award for Best New Restaurant. Only a handful of Filipino-American chefs and restaurants have ever been recognized by the James Beard Foundation, making Kasama’s nomination a huge milestone for Filipino cuisine in America. 

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Manila might be too far for them to deliver, but Kasama is definitely a must-visit location for all the OFWs, Fil-Ams, and immigrants in the Chicago area. Here are some dishes and treats on our wishlist: 

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Browse Kasama’s menu here.

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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