The pineapple pork adobo is a Filipino favorite at Barkada in Edmonds. (Sara Bruestle/ The Herald)

The pineapple pork adobo is a Filipino favorite at Barkada in Edmonds. (Sara Bruestle/ The Herald)

Barkada lets you travel to the islands without leaving Edmonds

The fast-casual restaurant in The Bowl serves Filipino, Hawaiian and Japanese dishes.

Barkada brings a taste of the islands to Edmonds.

Which islands? Several of them.

The fast-casual restaurant serves a mix of Filipino-, Hawaiian, Japanese- and Pacific-Northwest-inspired dishes. (We’ve got some islands here, too, you know.)

“Barkada,” by the way, is Filipino slang for “friends.”

I’ve literally been meaning to try out Barkada for a year. I invited The Daily Herald’s copy chief, Mark Carlson, to join me on the trek to Edmonds. We showed up at 4 p.m. — right at opening time — for my lunch and Mark’s dinner. Needless to say, I was hungry.

Owner-chef Brian Madayag, 33, who is of Filipino heritage, opened the restaurant on Fifth Avenue in 2017. Edmonds is his hometown. He grew up fishing off the Edmonds pier and graduated from Meadowdale High School.

His mother’s passion for cooking became his own.

“I grew up watching Food Network TV with her,” he said. “I’d always be the one helping her out in the kitchen. It’s a happy place for me.”

After earning a degree from the Seattle Culinary Academy at Seattle Central College, he landed a job as a line cook for Dahlia Lounge in Seattle, which serves Asian-infused Pacific Northwest cuisine. Over the years, he transferred from one Tom Douglas restaurant to another, all the while working his way up to executive chef of Cantina Leña, a Mexican eatery, also in Seattle. Then Madayag decided it was time to step out of his comfort zone and open his own restaurant.

“The opportunity in Edmonds stumbled my way, and I said, ‘You know what? I’m going to take it,’ ” Madayag said. “And here we are.”

Though the kitchen at Barkada is small, Madayag serves up a large variety of dishes. He changes the menu weekly. Before you go, check out the menu on the website.

“We keep our staples here, like the sushi rolls and the poke bowl, but we also have rotating items that will be forever changing,” he said. “When you dine with us, it’s like you’re fishing from the islands of the Pacific Rim.”

We chose to sit outside. The sidewalk dining made us feel like a part of Edmonds.

We started with the miso soup, a Japanese soup made with dashi stock, tofu and scallion. A bowl is $3, but it’s $1 off during happy hour. The soup set the tone for an enjoyable meal.

“It’s really good,” Mark said. “It’s a hot soup, but it’s not odd at all for me to eat this on a summer day. It feels summery.”

Next we tried two of the bestsellers on the menu: the calamansi kinilaw and the pineapple pork adobo. Both are Filipino dishes.

If you like poke and ceviche, you’ll love the calamansi kinilaw ($12). It’s yellowfin tuna ceviche, Filipino citrus, extra-virgin fish sauce, jicama (aka Mexican turnip), onion and cilantro on top of rice and pickled papaya. It was delicious. I liked how all the different flavors played off each other.

The pineapple pork adobo ($12) was even better than the kinilaw. It made up for the fact that I didn’t order a pulled pork sandwich at the Mariners game Monday. Barbecued pork belly was served with crunchy garlic, fresh pineapple and pickled papaya on rice.

Mark and I also ordered a sushi standby — sashimi. On this week’s menu was the hamachi (Pacific yellowtail), $11, which has a mild flavor and buttery texture.

The restaurant also has a tiki bar with a long list of island-inspired cocktails. I’ll have to come back on my own time to try those. Madayag recommended the Moscow mule and Barkada colada slushies.

Our only complaint? If you dine there, it feels like you’re having a picnic. Madayag’s menu is so well done that we though it deserved better than paper plates and plastic utensils.

Sara Bruestle: 425-339-3046; sbruestle@heraldnet.com; @sarabruestle.

If you go

What: Barkada Edmonds

Where: 622 Fifth Ave., Edmonds

When: 4 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 4 to 11 p.m. Friday and 3 to 11 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday.

More: 425-670-2222 or www.barkadaedmonds.com

Talk to us

More in Life

Brian Geppert holds a birdhouse made of skis at his home in Lynnwood, Washington on Saturday, March 11, 2023. Geppert started a recycling program for the greater Seattle area, which has saved hundreds of skis from their demise. He turns the skis into functional art for the home, such as coat racks, bottle openers, bookends, shelves, candle sconces, toilet plungers, beer flights, and more. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Boeing engineer turns old ski gear into household essentials

If Lynnwood’s Brian Geppert isn’t on the slopes, then he’s turning skis into coat racks and bottle openers.

Give your home some extra love with a deep clean this spring. (Jennifer Bardsley)
Roll up your sleeves and tackle these 15 spring cleaning steps

A lot of work? Sure. But it beats paying $800 for a cleaning service to do all this stuff.

What to do when a co-worker makes you miserable

It’s counterintuitive, but you need to get to know that person better. You don’t need to be friends — just understand them better.

Positano, the jewel of Italy's Amalfi Coast, hugs the rugged shoreline.
Rick Steves’ Europe: Glitzy Positano: Not just a pretty facade

It’s one of the most romantic and chic stops on Italy’s Amalfi Coast, a place of beaches, sunshine and picturesque towns.

Lyft charged her $150 for mud stains in a car. But she didn’t do it!

Debbie Kim is shocked to find a $150 charge from Lyft on her credit card. What did she do — and is there a way to undo it?

Hurtado works in a tattoo style called “fine line.” (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Tattoo artist draws a fine line

Ernesto ‘Nesto’ Hurtado of Wicked Boy Tattoo in Lynnwood specializes in a minimalist style that draws praise and criticism.

Caption: Three years after the pandemic began, simple items like masks, disinfecting wipes and toilet paper stir up deep memories.
Psychological impact of pandemic lingers three years later

When the words “two-item limit” in supermarkets still strike fear, it’s hard to toss pandemic relics like cloth masks.

Is every day Groundhog Day — and the same old bad habits?

How can we embrace change without waking up every morning to the same day?

Christian pilgrims and tourists are drawn to the dramatically situated Mont St-Michel, a soaring island abbey in Normandy that is completely surrounded by the sea at high tide.
Rick Steves on Mont St-Michel, Normandy’s magnificent island abbey

Solitude drew monks to this rock outpost long, long ago. Today, it’s crowded with tourists.

80,000 Bonvoy points go missing. Can she get them back?

Celeste Rubanick loses 80,000 Marriott Bonvoy points when she books a hotel in Scotland. Why won’t the company restore the points?

Some of the brightest spots in my garden right now are my clumps of mixed crocuses. (Getty Images)
Lessons spring from what does and does not winter over

Taking stock of how your garden fared through the cold, wet months will help you plant for the future.

Antique mocha ware, made in England to export to the United States and Canada in the 18th and 19th centuries, caught collectors’ attention in the mid-20th century. Like many mocha pieces, this colorful mug is decorated with several patterns.
The name for decorated pottery like this can be deceiving

Mocha pottery is made from clay and features colorful patterns painted over a white glaze.