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Kaliwa’s Portions Are Too Small, Say Still-Hungry Customers

“Left hungry! Ended up walking over to the pub for a meal and drinks”

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The entrance to Southeast Asian restaurant Kaliwa.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

The Wharf’s highly anticipated Asian restaurant Kaliwa debuted on Wednesday, March 28, giving the growing Southwest waterfront a multi-faceted menu featuring Filipino, Thai, and Korean cuisines.

The new restaurant (751 Wharf Street SW), from Eat Good Food Group’s Meshelle and Cathal Armstrong and chef de cuisine Paolo Dungca, includes a custom wood-burning oven and loads of spicy, pickled vegetable-laced offerings.

The Filipino dishes ($13 to $24) range from adobo chicken and citrus-soaked hamachi to braised lamb shoulder and fried pork belly. The Korean dishes ($10 to $20) include assorted banchan, vegetarian bibimbap, spicy seafood stews, and fried chicken sandwiches. The Thai side ($8 to $22) features curried blue crab, whole fried fish, grilled rib-eye, and stir-fried green beans, among others.

Read on to hear what the public is saying:

The Adobo News: Yelper Erica K. says, “Do not expect to get your mom’s version of Chicken Adobo, instead you will get a refined, thought-provoking version that is equally delicious yet different (Adobong Manok).” Fellow Yelper Eric L. calls the adobo chicken “delicious” and “different than some I’ve had before. The savory adobo sauce is a bit more vinegary but chock full of depth and character.” [Yelp]

The Disappointed News: Yelper Katie A. says she stuck to the Filipino food, and came away unsatisfied; the major stumbles were the Kalderetang Cordero getting “cold quickly”; Pancit Canton “TOO SALTY!” and Lechon Kawali “arrived about 30 minutes after the rest of our meal, [was] underwhelming, and mang tomas sauce was very watery ... pricey for the quality and quantity.” Google reviewer Natasha Clark “waited almost 30 minutes for a drink, waited an hour for food, the wait staff was slow and a mess,” adding “the portions are TINY.” [Yelp, Google]

The Cool Decor News: Yelper Leslie J. was “a big fan of the interior design and decor they chose. As the night passed, the restaurant filled up which made for great vibes.” Google reviewer Anya Plana-Hutt says, “Kaliwa definitely has the eye candy. It has a beautifully decorated interior where the fixtures were sourced from the Asian countries represented in the cuisine.” [Yelp, Google]

The Greatest Hits News: For Yelper Angela B., the whole fried fish was “by far was our favorite dish. The flavors were perfect and the fish was delicious.” Instagram user @florsum is “still dreaming about the Inasal na Manok from last night.” And Facebook user Poala Millan says her favorites were the “fried pork belly, Filipino street barbecue and pandan cake. Would recommend different levels of spiciness.” [Yelp, Instagram, Facebook]

The Price Point News: Google reviewer Ann Nguyen calls it “ridiculously over priced for what you get. Imagine entrèe prices for a quarter of an appetizer... Ordered the tiny $24 plate of lechon, it was not crispy... It didn’t come with rice or anything. Left hungry! Ended up walking over to the pub for a meal and drinks.” Yelper A S. calls the barbecue pork “a bit pricey for the amount you get but also quite tasty.” Yelper Ken F. says, “We expected larger portion sizes for the price that we were paying so we were disappointed in the size of the servings.” [Google, Yelp]

The Service News: Yelper Chris C. says, “Overall, service was excellent given that I dined during the pre-opening. My waitress visited my table 5 times to ask if everything was okay and one of the dining room managers visited me twice to see how things were going. Service ended with a hot towel.” Yelper A S. noted “nice service staff who [are] also very attentive. Their ability to keep a glass of water full was remarkable.” The only nice thing Facebooker Jen E Vic had to say about the restaurant was “the wait staff was great.” [Facebook, Yelp]


751 Wharf Street Southwest, , DC 20024 (202) 516-4739 Visit Website