Not only is Cebu brimming with bars, live music and other entertainment opportunities, its major cities also boast of a growing selection of sophisticated establishments that serve a vast array of gastronomical delights. There are also many restaurants in Cebu serving Asian Fusion, European, and other Western food.
As for local food, Cebuanos have every right to be proud of their cuisine. Whether it is meat or seafood, Cebu restaurants have a great variety to offer. With Cebu’s amazing supply of fresh produce, especially seafood, restaurants here have a head start and a huge price advantage.
While we don’t claim to be experts, we have traveled extensively around the world and had tried a lot of cuisine to be able to tell what tastes good and what doesn’t! In this page, we’ve listed suggestions for our guests to check out during their stay in Cebu. The choices range from a fifty-peso meal to top-notch establishments with tabs in excess of Php 3,000 per head. The average main course in a high-quality restaurant costs around Php 120 to Php 400, still a great value in any person’s language!
Excellent Italian Restaurant right here at SDR Apartments
If you don’t feel like cooking in your SDR Apartment kitchen, there is an award-winning authentic Italian restaurant downstairs!
LA BELLA PIZZA & BISTRO
La Bella was awarded the prestigious Sunstar newspaper “Best Pizza award” in Cebu. Given the strong competition, no mean feat. La Bella is a great place to dine either al-fresco or under the covered patio or in the air-conditioned bistro area. Open from breakfast to late at night. Tony “no bologne” the manager and his super friendly team will have you feeling right at home. Feature dishes include: their arugula salad, al dente home-made pastas and of course their award-winning thin-crust pizzas. My personal favourites is their “La Bella Napoli” Which boasts their secret tomato base, fresh mozzarella, Italian Parma ham, fresh arugula, and generous shavings of parmesan cheese or the classic “Margarita”. The later is simple, fresh and the original way pizza’s were made – and enjoyed – in Italy. Bellissimo! Their breakfast menu is simple but high quality and their imported coffee’s leave Starbucks lost at sea.
La Bella’s a great place to chill out and have a relaxing drink or dine. Sit at the bar under the refreshing ‘mister’, meet other guests, residents and locals. Watch the world go by as you ponder another great day in the tropics. The best part of La Bella is that is represents great value for money. Enjoy ice cold beers for around a dollar US and their cuisine is very reasonable given that most of the ingredients are imported.
There are a lot of other dining choices and cafes (think: Starbucks and Cafe de France) within 5 – minute walking distance. Our favorites are:
CAFE DE FRANCE
Five minutes walk from SDR is Cafe de France. This restaurant has been in Mactan for a long time and has established itself as a great place to hang out and get good quality cafe style food. Many of our guests eat there regularly and are truly amazed at the incredible value and standout meals. The restaurant, which specializes in French (surprises surprise), has a huge menu. They stock fresh baguettes, cinnamon rolls and lots of other yummy pastries.
This famous Japanese eatery also opened a new establishment that is a 5-minute stroll away from SDR Apartments. Dining in Nonki is a treat as anyone who has been there can attest. Nonki’s creativity and sumptuous seafood will have you singing praises in no time. The bill at about Php 200 to Php 400 per head will not leave your wallet in bad shape either!
Upscale Dining in Cebu
Anzani (Nivel Hills, Lahug, Cebu City)
This Mediterranean-inspired restaurant offers some of the finest dining in Cebu. You will not have a complaint about the quality and creativity of what you get for your buck. Anzani pretty much has no rival here in Cebu. The setting is also beautiful, overlooking the valley and Cebu’s skyline. Anzani is a 30-minute drive from SDR.
Anzani might be new to Cebu’s dining scene, but its owners are not. Chef Marco Anzani has 25 years of industry experience in 30 cities scattered in 18 countries. His lovely wife Kate earned a bachelor’s degree in restaurant management from Le Cordon Bleu. Chef Marco was noted by the New York Times as one of the pioneers of “New Mediterranean Cuisine.” What does all this mean? You are going to impress your date with a superb meal, decadent surroundings, and a great view. All these add up to a memorable experience. Not only will you adore the atmosphere but you will also enjoy aged US prime beef, incredible food combinations, and white truffles when in season—quite unique considering we are in Cebu.
A stunning four-course meal personally prepared by Chef Marco will set you back Php 2,000 to Php 4,000 per person, which is expensive in Cebu. But hey, you get what you pay for, and this same meal would cost a small fortune in most foreign countries!
Abaca (Mactan Island)
A “must-go” restaurant in our list is Abaca, a 15-minute drive from SDR. While the name (which originates from a local plant) doesn’t conjure any grand visions, the food and the location will.
Abaca is located a few hundred meters past the Hilton Hotel in Punta Engano in Mactan Island. A boutique establishment, you will be enchanted by your first impressions. After a leisurely walk down a path meandering through lush tropical landscape, you encounter the oasis of the evening—the main dining cabana.
Located by the beach, one can enjoy sipping a flute of champagne as you absorb the intimate setting and the outstanding hybrid Balinese-Thai interiors. The cuisine, concocted by Chef and co-owner Jason Hyatt, takes on interesting names such as “Nightmare Broccoli,” and most menu items have PR story behind them. Rest assured, no nightmares to be had by the quality and presentation of the broccoli dish or any of the others we sampled on the menu.
A feature of the restaurant is their much-touted wood-fired oven, which is constructed by the chef/owner of the famed Giuseppe’s Sicilian restaurant. Needless to say, if you want a real pizza with that unique taste one can only achieve with the wood-fired oven, then look no further than Abaca. We are in love with Abaca’s lamb pizza. Our only caution here is the prices—think Php 1,000 to Php 3,000 per head and you’re on the right track.
Olio (Crossroads, Banilad)
Another trendy outlet that consistently serves delicious cuisine is Olio. We recommend the scallop with caviar or the aubergine with mozzarella and anchovies. Olio Bar and Restaurant is conveniently located at Crossroads in Banilad, Cebu City.
Grilled Food Done with a Difference
You should definitely experience some of the sinugba (grilled food) while you’re in Cebu. Whether you’re craving for some grilled pork, chicken, fish or other seafood, Cebu restaurants have these and more. The cooler evenings of tropical Cebu fit like a glove with this type of eating experience. Famous Cebu grills are Tsibogs (pronounced Chee-bogs), and AA’s Barbecue. These local restaurants have mouth-watering BBQ marinated in all sorts of local herbs and sauces. Washed down with ice-cold beer, Cebu grill restaurants will keep you coming back for more.
Another famous Cebuano food is the lechon baboy. What’s lechon? Think tasty crispy skin and tender marinated pork. If you haven’t tried this delectable signature grill dish, then you’ve never truly been to Cebu. People in other islands, even all the way from the capital city of Manila, rave about Cebu lechon. Many of the famous Cebu lichen originate from the town of Carcar. However, two of the countries most famous Lechon, is Zubuchon which TV Chef Anthony Bourdain’s “Number 1 Roast Pig in the world” and “Ricos”. The best news: both of these are located within a few minutes walk from SDR.
Tell Us Your Favorites
To get lots of tips on Cebu restaurants, visit our Cebu Lifestyles Cebu Lifestyles forum where you can also share your own experiences. You can also check out Cebu restaurant reviews.
For your Cebu travel, stay at SDR Apartments for accommodation at par with 5-star Cebu Hotels sans the costs. Contact SDR today!