There are a lot of dining places to eat in Cebu it’s almost a guarantee you will never run out of options. This is one problem that is nice to have when you are visiting Cebu for the first time or back in the city after being away for quite a while. You can feast your insatiable palate to every local and foreign cuisine, and satisfy your cravings for sweets just about anywhere.
We will share with you here some dining places in this vibrant city, most we keep coming back to, but we won’t be ranking them as each one holds their own unique tastes, thus, making them our favourites.
Cebu, the Queen City of the South, is geographically located in central Philippines where you get a balance of a progressive city, much like the country’s capital Manila, but still have the countryside vibe of southern Philippines. Cebu’s landscape has changed immensely over the years with high-rise buildings, sprawling malls, and expansive hotels sprouting like mushrooms everywhere in the metro.
The Boom in the Food Industry
Likewise, the food industry has grown alongside. From the local staples in our childhood years of lechon, barbecue (Matias), Chinese restaurants (Harbour City and Grand Majestic), and fast-food chains (MacJoy); food hopping in Cebu now offers you a plethora of tastes from all over the world. The city has become a mecca for foodies who want to sample various cuisines like Thai, Korean, Indian, Vietnamese, Italian, French, and even Greek among many others without breaking the bank by having to actually travel to these countries.
Where We Eat Filipino Food
We’ll start off with our very own Filipino cuisine. We have quite a few choices in this category but Lantaw Native Restaurant, Golden Cowrie, and Chikaan sa Cebu are our usual picks to eat in Cebu. At most times, we would order the same dishes from these restaurants every time we dine – from pork sinigang to crispy pata, pancit canton, sizzling bangus, and my all-time fave baked scallops. Another personal favourite, The Cordova Express, is unique to Lantaw though.
Cafe Laguna, albeit on the pricier side, also gives a bang for your buck. Their dinuguan at puto is the perfect combination for a nice “merienda” with family or friends. The crispy kangkong, hubby’s favourite, is a unique twist to this unassuming but very healthy green leaf.
A gem tucked away in a residential area in Mabolo, Abaseria, ups the ante a further notch by offering our favourite comfort food in a homey and laid-back atmosphere. Abaseria is also a quaint shop selling a host of goodies like native handicrafts and delicacies sourced from different parts of the Philippines.
Where We Eat Asian Food
We Can’t Get Over Asian-Style Barbecue
Japanese restaurants are hard to miss in Cebu and we are simply ecstatic for the many options we have. We first fell in love with Yakiniku Wakamatsu some years back.
Then, we were introduced to Sumibi Yakiniku Tajimaya. It is best known for its all-you-can-eat meats for grilling but they also have several other food options in their menu. They have tori karaage which is good to have for the kids and the Camembert cheese fry is a great starter while waiting for your grilled meat to cook. You may also add ninniku yaki to complement to the meat.
The growing number of Korean tourists who flock to Cebu to study in English schools has brought a fad that everyone, mostly millennials, embraced with evangelical enthusiasm. Korean food and restaurants also took advantage of this popularity.
Asian Food is Not Just Barbecue
My first okonomiyaki experience was at Sachi Authentic Japanese Ramen. The rich flavours permeating through the vegetables simply wowed my tastebuds. The takoyaki is the bomb with its intense umami taste.
Now, if you love curry, then you won’t be disappointed as Indian cuisine to eat in Cebu are everywhere, too. You can choose to eat their food their style – by hands.
Where We Eat European Food
Restaurants offering French cuisine have taken Cebu to Parisian joie de vivre. The French boulangerie and instagram-worthy wine cellar at La Vie Parisienne will simply sweep you off of your feet.
Macaron Tango was fairly new when we dined there and French macarons were all the hype back then. I was glad that my first taste of this exquisite treat was a sweet one. They also serve delicious and filling quiches.
French Baker is our go-to place when we’re in SM shopping mall and we want convenient dining without compromising on taste. They have a variety of great dishes to choose from as well as warm soups, fresh salads, sandwiches and breads.
If you’re in the mood for a cosy place to eat in Cebu, Bella’s Bites’ holds a reputation for healthy Italian cuisine and it is definitely well-deserved. I recommend the cheese, chicken and broccoli pasta bake with crunchy cheese breadcrumb topping. It is heart-warming with each mouthful.
You can also enjoy fast and savoury Italian food in Sbarro and the best thing is that it is conveniently located in Cebu’s main shopping malls SM and Ayala. Sbarro’s baked ziti and Chicago white deep dish always keeps us coming back for more.
I can’t seem to recall how or when my fascination with Greek food started. I reckon it probably had to do with being a cheese-lover and feta cheese happens to be one of my favourites. Cyma is our go-to Greek restaurant.
The Greeks have what they call Mezedes which is a plate of exquisite little treats to start their meals. Cyma’s vegetarian mezedes of watermelon and feta cheese with pine nuts, basil, and EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) at first seemed a weird combination for me but when I tasted it I realised how all the flavours complemented each other. I loved it so much I would recreate it at home sometimes.
Where We Eat American Food
Bigby’s cheesy-gooey blossoming spinach dip served with melba toast is such a joy to eat I can gobble it all up in one sitting. For the mains I love the Crepe Smorgasbord filled with ham, chicken and mushrooms in a creamy white sauce. The grilled chicken carbonara with its creamy garlicky cheese sauce and grilled chicken is a must-try. You can down your meals with hot calamansi or the thirst-quenching raspberry lemonade. Fudgie sensation completes the whole dining experience with its warm brownie treat topped with vanilla ice cream.
Casa Verde is known best for its jaw-dropping Brian’s pork ribs but do try the bacon and cheese potato skins and the sumptuous Tricia a la pobre. The gloriously decadent Death By Chocolate will cap off a wonderful meal.
Cafe Georg is another sure spot on where to eat in Cebu and is an institution in the city’s dining establishment. As they are usually packed with people it’s best to make a reservation prior to going there. The sausage and chicken jambalaya with cajun-spiced rice is worth a try. For desserts, the blueberry cheesecake and chocolate almond tart are simply divine.
Where to Eat in Cebu: A Mix of Cuisines
Eat Out in Mactan
My hometown Lapu-Lapu City, known by many tourists as Mactan Island, has also kept up with the boom in the food trend. If you want to know where to eat in Cebu authentic Malaysian and Thai dishes, you should try the Oriental Spice Gourmet. OSG offers Asian dishes that very nicely balances textures and flavours.
Not to Miss…
My Greek Taverna
Jafar’s Shawarma Station
Must try: The Stroganov
Location: The Greenery, Kasambagan, Cebu
Must Try: All organic food – try their healthy chicken!
Location: Streetscape, Banilad
Must Try: Mongolian style all-you-can-fill bowl. They have a wide selection of sauces to challenge your taste buds.
Location: Parkmall, Ayala and SM Malls
My Greek Taverna
Must Try: Chicken rice kebab
Location: Food Choices, Ayala Center Cebu
Jafar’s Shawarma Station
Must Try: Chicken or minced beef Shawarma
Location: Rustan’s Supermarket, Ayala Center Cebu