Cosmopolitan Cebu offers a feast for foodies whatever your preferred tastes. The island has long been known for its eclectic dining scene and you can just about eat your way around the globe here. This isn’t to say you cannot find tasty local Cebuan food almost everywhere, whether in gargantuan shopping malls, street corners or luxurious beach resorts.
Whether you crave an elegant five star dining experience or a simple streetside hole in the wall, delicious local bites are in abundance especially in the busy urban areas. Specialties include lechón (whole roasted pig) and pancit stir fried noodles and Spanish and Malay influences can be found in many regional dishes.
Cebu has a sizeable Chinese community and a proportionally high number of Oriental restaurants dotted throughout Cebu city and the Mactan tourist areas. Expect a fabulous array of fresh seafood on offer especially in the more popular tourist districts. For a true smorgasbord of choice, head to the Ayala Centre in Cebu City for cheap local eats, coffee shops and American style grills, or the Lahug and Osmeña areas for top notch European fare and Asian fusion.
Away from the major beach resort restaurants n Cebu, prices are good value, especially at the many ‘all you can eat’ buffets that do a roaring trade at lunch and early evening. In touristy Mactan, dinner and dance shows are the big thing with traditional folk dances, fire eaters and exuberant showmanship.
Recommended Cebu restaurants
Wang Shan Lo
A lively Chinese restaurant that does a roaring trade with budget conscious diners. A simply furnished open plan dining room features large wooden tables encouraging a convivial atmosphere. Excellent Peking duck, steamboats and spicy Schezuan at very keen prices. A good option for families on a budget. website: www.crownregencyhotels.com).
Cebu has seemingly hundreds of small pizza joints and this is one of the best. Shakey’s keeps it simple, specialising in nothing but authentic thin crust pizzas with a wide choice of toppings from authentic Mediterranean to hot and spicy Asian delicacies.
Design your own and shoot some pool while you wait. Good range of beers and cocktails and has a lively, informal atmosphere perfect for groups. Just a short hop from a host of late night bars. website: www.shakeyspizza.ph).
Located at the picturesque Plantation Bay Resort in Mactan, this elegant seafront restaurant gets top marks for perfect ocean views and exquisite Pacific Rim fusion cuisine. The interior dining room is fully air conditioned, offering sumptuous seafood buffets, Japanese sushi, Korean BBQ and artfully presented Filipino dishes. It is renowned for serving up the finest tempura dishes in Cebu and deservedly famous for its Polynesian Spareribs in plum sauce. A fine place to impress a romantic date. (website:www.plantationbay.com).
A short drive from the beaches of Mactan Island, this lively place attracts tourists by the busload with animated music and dance shows each night.
As the name suggests it has a very tropical decor and serves up Filipino buffets and a la carte French and Italian fare. Spectacular floor shows include snake and fire dances. (website: www.thejunglerestaurant.weebly.com).
A large 250-seater restaurant overlooking the ocean, Saffron serves up exquisite modern Asian cuisine with first class service to match. An eclectic menu features Polynesian, Filipino, Korean and Japanese, all presented artfully. A classy jazz soundtrack and the sounds of the ocean provide a romantic backdrop and make it worth a one time splurge. (website:www.crimsonhotel.com)