Sitting at the crossroads of Asia, the Philippines has drawn many cultural influences from neighboring countries. Cebu is a sun-soaked heaven with a rich culinary offering, serving everything from Austrian fare to typical Filipino cuisine. Here are ten of our favourite estaurants in the Philippine paradise, Cebu.
Lechon is a traditional Filipino dish of spit roast suckling pig with very crispy skin, usually marinated in a variety of different herbs and spices. There are many lechon restaurants throughout Cebu and the Philippines as a whole, but Rico’s Lechon Restaurant is a real bastion for this dish and serves it with leeks and garlic as tradition dictates. Rico’s Lechon also introduced spicy lechon to their range of pork products thus bringing something new to the classic dish, with this unique twist on a much loved favorite. For an authentic taste of the Philippines this is the dish to try and Rico’s is the place to go.
A family-run business that serves up the best in Filipino cuisine, Café Laguna has become a well established institution in Cebu City. Dishes from all over the Philippines representing different regions and cooking styles are present, while a gentle ambience permeates the Filipino-style décor. Dishes like the seafood chowder entitled bouillabaisse soup and Puto Bumbong also offer up a taste of Cebu Island. It’s all about the flavour here, and the buttered chicken alone is a draw for both tourists and locals.
Maya is a laid-back, casual restaurant and tequila lounge that brings the foods and flavors of Central America to South East Asia. A sophisticated venue with sharp, sleek, chic design and the largest selection of pure agave tequila in the country, Maya Mexican Restaurant combines Mexican street food and the sensibilities of local cuisine to create amazing taste sensations. Open until late into the night this restaurant is a draw for anyone in the city.
A Filipino restaurant rooted in the traditional fare of the country, Golden Cowrie takes inspiration from all regions of the country and puts them together to serve the best dishes the Philippines has to offer. With fresh ingredients used and a wide array of dishes for both vegetarian and carnivorous palates, traditional flavors come from all directions from the green mango salad or the imbao soup (Filipino clam soup) right through to the ube-flavoured ice cream. Of course there are other staples available for those with more conservative tastes. Presented all in the bustling ambience of the metropolitan Cebu City, Golden Cowrie typifies the modern Philippines.
An American style cantina that serves up the homespun comforts of the United States, Casa Verde offers up all American classics such as ribs, pork steaks, tenderloin and beef burgers. Combining a certain level of Americana with the more traditional elements of Filipino décor makes for a quirky, yet relaxed dining atmosphere. With other dishes ranging from sandwiches to seafood there is a wealth of western dishes to choose from for the casual diner or for those just looking for a quick bite to eat.
Predominantly focusing on delivery this tiny little restaurant has a few stools to squeeze yourself onto if you can find them. An entirely vegetarian affair, Healthy U extolls the virtues of a vegetarian lifestyle and has a great range of vegan meals to choose from, as well as food products to purchase so that customers might replicate these simple yet delicious dishes. Freshly made every day, this is a must-stop restaurant for the vegetarian or vegan foodie looking for specialist cuisine.
Bringing the best of the Mediterranean to Cebu island, Anzani presents fine dining in style with a cuisine largely focused on Italian dishes. It has a catalogue of fine wines that complement each meal and an olive garden at the rear of the restaurant to bring the full Mediterranean vibrancy to the dining experience. Sitting atop the Nivel Hills there are magnificent panoramic views of Cebu. The menu includes local Filipino produce as well as ingredients from continental Europe, North Africa and other faraway places to create fusion dining at its best.
Bringing the traditional Spanish dining experience to Cebu is what Ipar’s intends to do with its tapas restaurant serving up all sorts of dishes from regions all over Spain. Timeless classics of the cuisine jostle for place on the menu as tortillas and paellas take center stage. An intimate restaurant that was the brainchild of chef and owner Ipar O. Miranda, the whole place oozes an air of Spanish nostalgia with the walls decked out with pictures of matadors and flamenco dancers in full swing. Authentic Spanish tastes are portioned out generously as is the quirky nature of the restaurant.
European hospitality in the heart of Cebu Island is the mission at the Vienna Kaffehaus, which engenders the coffee culture of Austria and then supplants it into the middle of South East Asia. There are Austrian specialties galore inside with chicken grilled Austrian-style, krainer and goulash all taking their place on the menu along with 11 brewed varieties of coffee. There is also a reading corner where customers might enjoy their beverage whilst catching up on the day’s news. Alternatively, the full three-course meal is served in the restaurant area, where guests can sample the best of what Europe has to offer.
The Philippines’ proximity to China has meant that Chinese cuisine has always been readily available in the Philippines, but the Ching Palace offers one of the finest, authentic experiences of Chinese food on Cebu. Surrounded by aquariums and colorful birds, customers can select their own seafood dish before it is cooked to guarantee its quality and freshness whilst being seated in the opulent surroundings. With specialties such as the seafood soup, which brings together all manner of ingredients including jellyfish, and stir-fried shrimp chop suey, the Ching Palace is a great find for fans of oriental cuisine.