2009 Mactan Island and Cebu, Philippines Restaurant Reviews by ALEDM



Exchange Rate: US$1 = P48.8



1. Our Favorites


1.1 Kaishu Seafood Japanese Restaurant, 168 Punta Engaño, Lapu-Lapu City, Mactan Island, Cebu, Philippines, Tel. (032) 495-2888, e-mail: info@kaishu.com.ph, web: www.kaishu.com.ph (Open 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 10 pm.) It’s a nice room and the service is excellent. We had the place to ourselves at the hour we went. We had 2 bento boxes at about P540 each. We ordered tea and the total bill was about P1200. We were given a 5% discount for the restaurant’s 7th anniversary and there was an added 10% service charge.

1.2 The Breakfast Buffet at the Vanilla Beach Café, Hilton Cebu Resort & Spa, Punta Engaño, Mactan Island, Cebu Philippines, Tel. (6332) 492-7777, e-mail:
reservations.cebu@hilton.com and web: www.hilton.com. The price of the buffet was included in our room price. It was truly spectacular. It had a traditional hotel breakfast buffet (with made-to-order eggs), supplemented by a Japanese breakfast area, a Chinese breakfast area, a Philippine breakfast area (with delicious garlic rice), a Korean breakfast area, a nod to Spain with a different frittata each day, a fresh fruit area and lots of other goodies. It was breakfast and lunch and then some. One day we tried sikwate, a native hot chocolate that was delicious—not too sweet and intensely chocolaty. The rock melon, papaya, Cebuano mango and the watermelon were all very delicious and sweet. But we don't understand why they don't take all of the skin off of the mango. It makes it so difficult to do the rest of the peeling at the table.

A word of caution. We had dinner at this restaurant one night. The famous dish: adobe chicken tasted like a whole salt shaker had been used. The other dish we ordered was a tamarind-tasting soup that was quite delicious.

2. Good Restaurants

2.1 Golden Courie Native Restaurant, Mactan Marina Mall, Mepz Road, IBO, Lapu Lapu City, Tel. 233-4243, P382.10 (without tip). This restaurant was recommended to us and it was a reasonably priced motorcycle tricycle ride away. We had a difficult time deciding what to order and we didn’t choose well. We ordered Tuna Belly P169 and sent it back twice. It was served too soon (with the soup, first) and then it was dry when it came back. We learned that it had been frozen so it probably never would have been juicy. We also ordered Imbao soup [some tiny clams in clam broth with some vegetables—pretty lame] and Adobong Talong [caramelized eggplant] P69. The eggplant was very good. Based on a recommendation of the ladies sitting near us we ordered Puso salad P49 [served hot ,it was a vegetable of some kind (that was kind of stringy) served in a coconut sauce with tomatoes and green onion] that was very good. For dessert we ordered the Filipino national dessert, Halo Halo, which is shaved ice with purple ice cream and marachino red and green cherries. It’s not a dish we would ever have again. The room is nice , the service was quite good and we just think that we needed more help in ordering to have made it a better meal.

Lonely Planet Philippines 2009 says: “There is no better place to challenge ambivalence towards Filipino cuisine. Chefs conjure up exquisite regional delicacies from all over the country, with an emphasis on Cebuano specialties such as manok haling haling (spicy chicken soup).

2.2 Dok do, Marina Mall, Ibo, Lapu-Lapu City, Tel. (032) 494-0311. We felt like having a Korean meal (after the disappointing one we had at Korean Seafood Sabu Sabu—see below). The room was okay and there was another table having dinner there so we stayed. The menu was difficult for us but we saw a picture of Dolsod Bibimbab, so we had one each. They served lots of little plates of spicy vegetables, including kimchi, turnips and a fried patty-like thing. Our dinner cost P250 x 2 = P500 + tip. It was good enough.

3. We Wouldn’t Recommend

3.1 Manna Su Tu Kil Food House (next to Mactan shrine in area called STK) , Lapu Lapu City, Cebu Tel. (6332) 340-6448 Mobile of Lydia Lim: 63910-5599063, e-mail: lydia.lim@yahoo.com.ph P1380. This is a touristic area and the open air restaurants prey on the unsuspecting. We ordered 12 oysters on the half shell and they were good. We ordered 2 huge prawns and told them we wanted them sautéed in garlic butter. When they came they were in a tomato sauce (which Audre does not like) so we sent them back. When prawns came back they had not been sautéed in garlic butter but they were acceptable. Unfortunately they were dry and not sweet. We also ordered mixed vegetables which were okay and 2 mango juices which were also okay.

3.2 Korean Seafood Sabu Sabu (across from Shangri La Hotel), Mactan Island, Tel. 340-0003. This restaurant is across the street from the entrance to the Shangri-La. There was no one in it when we arrived and our motorcycle tricycle driver recommended that we should go to the Korean restaurant across the street, next to the entrance of the Shangri-La. We should have taken his advice. This place was awful. The food had almost no taste, the service was surly and the typical little Korean dishes they served were disappointing. The only good thing was that we only spent P650.

4. Lechon

We searched for a good restaurant to try the famous Cebu lechon, a baby pig that is roasted to perfection—very, very crisp skin and tender juicy meat inside (with lots of fat in between). We tasted some at a takeaway outlet for Ben’s and it was delicious so we went to the one restaurant location it has (across from SM City Mall, Cebu and next to Sungold, tel. 420-4320). There was no one there and they had no more lechon left (and very little else on display). We had also been told about another famous place nearby called CnT. They did have some lechon left but the place was very uninviting and there was no one else sitting there (most lechon is taken out and eaten at home). So we didn’t stay and we haven’t tried it yet (even though Anthony Bourdain said it was “the best”. We were also told about Lechon de leche, a baby lechon served at Lighthouse Restaurant that is famous so maybe we’ll go there. We went to the branch at the Gaisano County Mail near Banilad Center and asked if they had lechon de leche. They did but it was lunch and we didn’t stay. It turned out we didn’t feel like taking the long ride taxi ride back (even though it only cost US$4). So we haven’t tried it yet.