DINING AND DRINKING IN CEBU. Café Georg (G/F MLD Bldg., Banilad, +6332/ 234 0887, 234 2943, www.cafegeorg.com), or its satellite store Oh Georg! (Level 1 Ayala Center, +6332/ 233 4735) serves pastas (from P175), pork chops with garlic herb butter (P190), continental food, Asian/Mexican dishes, and delicious desserts.
• Formo (Banilad Town Centre, +6332/ 420 7070, 236 7700, FORMO.firstname.lastname@example.org) is a resto-lounge popular with Cebu’s young professionals. Recommended are its pork steak with creamy mushroom sauce (P195), Vietnamese spring rolls (P150), potato crisps (P99), a bowl-full of thinly sliced, spicy or original flavored homemade potato chips, and mojitos that come in five flavors – lychee, orange, mango, apple and the original lime (P45/glass from 6pm-10pm).
• Vudu (Crossroads Mall at Gov. Cuenco St., Banilad, www.vudu.com.ph) is the place to come for after-dinner drinks and dancing. The place starts filling up at around 9pm and winds down as late as 3am or till the sun comes up. It’s the only place open for a New Year’s party, so expect it to be crowded on the night. Vudu-eoke night on Tuesdays is popular with the locals when there is no dress code and no door fee, and almost everyone gets up the nerve to belt out a song, especially after having a swig of Vudu’s deadly drink AMF (P490/pitcher). Torralba says she’s seen many fashion events at Vudu, great New Year's parties, and even Vuduoke (inspired by Manila Mag:Net High Street's famous Rockeoke). “I'm looking forward to another reunion gig of my college band, Hard Candy, at Vudu again,” she says.
• When in Mactan, you might want to try the swanky Abaca (Punta Engano Road, Mactan, +6332/ 495 8456, 342 8905, email@example.com, www.abacaresort.com), the luxury restaurant and boutique resort owned and managed by Jason Hyatt (who worked with celebrity-chef Wolfgang Puck). Jason is especially proud of his food, particularly his heritage tomatoes grown onsite. These “sexy” tomatoes roughly cut into a salad are so succulent you will understand why it’s a fruit and not a veggie. The paper-thin pizzas are wood-fired, and the mashed potatoes with skins on are melt-in-your mouth buttery and creamy. The place is perfect for honeymooners and couples – and full on almost any given night, so book ahead. Average bill here is P1,600-P2,000/head for a full course meal.
• Acqua in Shangri-La, Mactan is known for its Italian chef Gian Luca. Do ask for his mean platter of appetizers with bites of salmon, truffles, figs, mushroom, pistachio and sun dried tomatoes. Complement with chef Gian’s squid ink pasta, perfectly-cooked steaks and finish with a to-die-for tiramisu. Average bill is P1,800-P2,000/head for a full course meal.
• Sutokil (sugba, tula, kilaw) eateries at the Mactan Shrine is a favorite place for locals. The first – and most celebrated – of these cook-‘em-while-they’re-fresh places is the 28-year-old No Problem Restaurant (owned by Rose Inihao, +6332/ 495 8101, 495 7894). The shrimps (P375/kilo), lapu-lapu or grouper fish (P480/kilo) and scallops (P320/kilo) can be cooked any way you like for a fee (From P150-P200). Celebrities and politicians love No Problem resto; just ask the likes of Senator Kiko Pangilinan.
• Whether you’re in Mactan or Lahug, there will surely be a Golden Cowrie restaurant near you (Salinas Drive in Lahug, +6332/ 231 4670; SM City, +6332/ 231 8530; Marina Mall, Mactan, +6332/ 238 1206; and Hukad sa Golden Cowrie at The Terraces, Ayala Cebu, +6332/ 417 1301). This well-loved family resto, with their signature banana leaf covered plates and bottomless rice (P30), is a haven of Pinoy favorites like crispy pata or crisp-fried pork thigh (298), Pinoy style baby back ribs (P289), a pakbet or vegetables in a tomato concasse to write home about (P69), and their baby prawns sinigang or prawns in sour soup (P155).
• To go all these places, you either hail a cab or hire a car. A reliable car service is Cebu Trip Rent-A-Car (362 Ben Zubiri St., Labangon, +6332/ 262 0062, www.cebutrip.com). The P2,500 for 10 hours around Cebu with a driver that knows his city is money well spent.
Culled from the Seair InFlight Magazine article, "5 Days in Cebu", April 2010 Issue • Words by Andrea Pasion, art direction by Jocas A. See, photography by Oggie Ramos • Many thanks to our insider, designer Kate Torralba for her insights on her hometown of Cebu
Next: Part 4: Cebu as furniture havenTo read Part 1: Why go to Cebu?, click here.
To read Part 2: Historical Cebu, click here.