Max's Restaurant

It took a bunch of friends from New York to drag me all the way to Jersey City in New Jersey to have dinner at Max's Restaurant - the East Coast's very first franchise of this popular restaurant chain in the Philippines. It opened only three months ago and from all indications, this Pinoy food mecca is going in the right direction. First of all, its location is right smack in the heart of Little Manila in Jersey City's thriving Five Corners district. On the very same block are at least two big Pinoy businesses, the Phil-Am Food and the Red Ribbon Bakeshop - which make this restaurant a great addition for Pinoys hankering for some familiar dishes.

It was a busy Friday evening we got there but since we had reservations, we were immediately directed to our tables. There are two floors, the main dining room being up on the second floor which sits 110 guests. Our group - more than a dozen! - had no problem digging up what's on the menu. It was simply a matter of choosing the "set menu" which for one price included several of our favorites. They have three variations of their set menu, priced anywhere from $135-$155. We had the soup of the day, Miki Bihon, Kare-Kare, Bistek, Lumpiang Shanghai, Pancit Sotanghon, Lechon Kawali, Max's Fried Chicken (of course!), steamed rice, soda and dessert. Some extra stuff ended up on our table, like San Miguel beer and Sago't Gulaman.

Much as there were plenty to eat, the fried chicken, Lechon Kawali , Kare-Kare and Miki Bihon  really won me over while the rest were just so-so. Service was quick, coming from a crew of young Fil-Ams who were also very eager in singing "Happy Birthday" to celebrants that night. The decor of the entire place is pleasantly muted, accented with Filipino-themed paintings hanging on the two dining rooms. Overall, the dining experience was worth it and I won't certainly complain having to cross the Hudson River next time just to eat here again.


  1. Your last sentence intrigued me. My sister, who lives in Manhattan's Inwood neighborhood, complains that her friends who also live in Manhattan think that Brooklyn is too far. Your last sentence on the other hand makes it sound like crossing the river to Jersey City is such a trek. Thus, it makes me wonder what it is living in NYC that makes such interesting perceived distances, even when there's public transportation that is rather reliable compared to other metropolises in the country.

  2. Linguist-in-Waiting,
    I believe it's got to do more with the stress of living in a big city. Just taking the subway alone on a daily basis makes traveling between boroughs already a tedious task. When someone tells me to go - and I mean drive - to NJ for dinner/party, it's like "why can't we just do it in NY?". On top of that, the toll fees to cross the bridge/tunnels back to NY from NJ is a hefty $8 already.

  3. Anonymous9:51:00 PM

    dinayo nyo talaga ang max's sa nj!
    wow. i cannot blame you, i'm missing this chicken house; ang sarap naman ng lahat ng nasa photos!
    drooling now!

  4. Pinoy na pinoy pa din pati ang presentation dyan. Kung available ito dyan, try the sizzling tofu. It's the best, pero mas the best pa din talaga ang Chicken nila.

    Nakakagutom. :)

  5. it's good to know that they opened it there. i hope they will like it the same way we've embraced that sarap to the bones chicken. and of course san miguel beer.

  6. I wouldn't mind traveling this far as well especially if I'm craving for Pinoy food, I travelled for two hours once to eat at a Pinoy eatery here in Sydney :)

  7. Do they serve sizzling tofu there? Yun yung pinakagustuhan ko (among their new offerings) during my visit 2 months ago.

  8. docgelo,
    I'm hoping they'll open a franchise soon in Queens para mas malapit.

    the chicken was what really I was after since I haven't eaten it in a long time - still very good!

    dong ho,
    yup, we're all glad that established Pinoy brands are getting into the Northeast coast of the US.

    lakwatsera de primera,
    I'd probably be doing that as well if there's no other Pinoy restaurant closer to where I live.

    They don't serve it unfortunately. Now that you & Rizalenio mentioned it, I'll be definitely trying it once I visit the Philippines - hopefully soon!

  9. so is the taste similar as the Max's here in Pinas? oh well, eatin pinoy food in a foreign country is priceless!

  10. I'm glad we have a couple of them within a reasonable driving distance from our place. We had a third one closer but it closed shop. Don't know why. Probably too many other Pinoy restos in the vicinity.

  11. Chyng,
    I'd say 90% yes, lalo na yung signature chicken dish nila. So I'm happy.

    Perhaps there were "too many" that it saturated the market? It's "rare" here in the Northeast kaya dinadayo pa ng iba.

  12. Talaga naman, dadayuhin ang pagkain ng lupang sinilangan! Kung ako, will do the same.


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