Elena Una opened its doors as a Filipino-American pop-up in the Marina District on October 27. A week later, I was walking by with laptop in tow and poked my head inside to take a look. Happy hour had started at 4pm and I was invited to take a seat. I said that I would be able to stay if I could use the wifi and get some work done. No problem, and I had a table next to the window and the place to myself.
To keep a clear head for the tasks still ahead, no alcohol for me. Instead, a squeezed to order OJ, $6. Pan de sel is baked in house throughout the day to be served fresh and warm with some butter and wonderful minatamis na bao (coconut jam). Unlike the malay version, minatamis na bao has no eggs in it, making it lighter and more pure in taste.
An order of regular lumpia was $5 (instead of $7) during happy hour. Greaseless and delicately bubbled rice wrappers make these stand apart. However, I found the pork and shrimp filling rather bland, and these did need the sweet chilli dipping sauce.
Oysters sisig, $5 (instead of $10) was my first encounter with sisig made with anything other than pork. Eight juicy oysters battered and fried were seasoned with lime juice and aioli, then scattered with a dice of sweet red pepper, onion, and fresh Serrano chile slices.
When I was there a month ago, Elena Una was open for brunch every day but Monday. But looking at the website now, it has cut back brunch service to Saturdays and Sundays. Too bad, as I would have made this a regular workplace.
Elena Una's run at this venue ends in April. By then the partners hope to have another space lined up if this venture is a success.
With a cozy set up and wine bar, Elena Una would be a good venue for buy-outs for a holiday party. The manager told me she had received many inquiries and can seat up to 55 people.
3347 Fillmore St
San Francisco, CA 94123