The adage “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” applies for more than just romantic affairs. Food is one of the best ways to kindle any sort of relationship, or to get to know the very soul of a people and the place they live in. This is exactly why no visit to Cebu can ever be complete without a food trip. Whether you are there for one of the province’s many festivals such as the Sinulog, or for a more mundane reason, here are 7 restaurants (in no particular order) you must visit to get to know what makes this Queen City so great.
- Abaca Restaurant (Punta Engano Road, Abaca Resort, Lapu Lapu City)
Excellent food need not be equated to exotic dishes that cannot be pronounced, or to downright unhealthy options. The cuisine at the Abaca Restaurant is both varied as well as healthy, with familiar options such as Italian and Mediterranean cuisines, as well as vegetarian and vegan options. The place is also a feast for the eyes, as it’s located on the scenic Punta Engano Road, with both garden and sea views. This retreat is also ideal for special occasions and company functions.
2. Café Marco (Cebu Veterans Drive, Nivel Hills, Cebu City)
This crowd favorite also offers a smorgasbord of foods from all over, but its Japanese selection is a real stand-out. It is also a place to gather for a quiet brunch or business meeting, thanks to its sleek yet welcoming ambiance. Don’t miss their Sunday Brunch Buffet, which showcases some of Café Marco’s best selections.
3. House of Lechon (Acacia Street, Kamputhaw, Cebu City)
Any visitor worth his or her salt will have at least heard of the famous Cebu lechon. Your cravings for this festive dish are easily answered by this classic restaurant, located quite accessibly in the city proper. Apart from its take on the exalted Cebu Lechon, other must-eats include Pritchon (fried lechon), kinilaw, and the baked scallops!
4. Top of Cebu Restaurant (Cebu Transcentral Highway, Busay, Cebu City)
If dining with a view is your thing, you cannot go wrong with the Top of Cebu. This casual dining establishment located in the heights of Busay offers a breathtaking panorama of Cebu City, which is best appreciated in the evenings. This place serves Filipino favorites such as adobo and kare-kare, and also offers a full bar for those long chats under the stars.
5. Balai (Banilad, Mandaue City)
Heading to Mandaue? Then fill up at this chic garden restaurant. Balai serves a homestyle all-day breakfast selection, as well as other café favorites such as pastas and pastries. Another unique aspect is the al fresco dining area. Its relaxed atmosphere is a great break from the hustle and bustle of the Cebu metropolis.
6. Golden Cowrie (Cebu City)
Another favorite of many locals is the Golden Cowrie chain of restaurants, with several branches all throughout Cebu City. Golden Cowrie is a great place for family dinners thanks to its wide selection of Filipino favorites. It’s an excellent restaurant to feast in without breaking the budget. Dishes not to pass up include the dinuguan and the chorizo de Cebu.
7. The Pyramid (Cebu IT Park, Cebu City)
Fancy occasions, or simply those days with a French feel can be enjoyed to the fullest in this new restaurant in Cebu’s up and coming IT Park. Its sleek and modern design, inspired by the Louvre Museum, is a great prelude to its elegant food selections. Try out the craft beers and macarons, and do not miss the extensive wine collection hailing from different parts of the world.
These are a few of the many favored and favorite selections of both locals and tourists to the heart of the Philippine archipelago. With the boom of many industries and developments in Cebu, you can expect that in the coming years, more entrepreneurs and gourmets will be making their contributions to the province’s culinary scene. Although the cuisines may grow increasingly cosmopolitan and varied, at heart they will still remain uniquely Cebuano, undoubtedly Filipino, with a niche in the hearts of the province’s people.