2014 Mid-Year Report: The 10 Best Restaurants In Cebu


While we’ve mostly featured places in Manila in our previous mid-year reports, this time we’re featuring some foodie finds from our friends down south in sunny Cebu!

In this list, we feature the best restaurants in Cebu, Philippines, based on YOUR reviews on the looloo!

As you’ll see from the ratings, the race was pretty neck and neck, all the way to the top spot!

10. Rico’s LechonAverage Rating: 4.48

It’s no surprise that Rico’s Lechon made it to the list, given the place’s popularity and huge following in Cebu. Vying for the title of “best lechon in Cebu” with places like CNT or Zubuchon is no joke, and at least for this list, Rico’s is a top-contender. The restaurant caught its break when no less than former President “Erap Estrada” chose them as the best lechon in Cebu, having them serve their signature pork at his birthday dinner in Malacañang. ‘Til this day, he still eats there when he visits, apparently!

9. Golden CowrieAverage Rating: 4.5

The restaurant chain isn’t necessarily a stand-out for just one particular dish, but it seems to have won over a lot of reviewers given its accessibility and affordability across several branches. Heck, they’ve even got a branch in Boracay! Offering traditional Filipino fare like crispy pata, kare-kare, and baked scallops, the restaurant chain proves that their formula of simple + affordable can stand toe-to-toe with those of other “big name” food joints out there.

8. ZubuchonAverage Rating: 4.5

No other Filipino restaurant is as associated to world-famous chef Anthony Bourdain than this Cebuano lechon chain that serves what he called the “best pig… ever.” Some have called the place the “Jollibee of Lechon,” and it’s pretty clear why. Pay a visit to Cebu and it’s highly likely that you see at least one of their branches. To a lot of locals, it may not be the best lechon out there, but for the value and convenience you get, it’s still big a win for most diners.

7. The Tinder BoxAverage Rating: 4.5

If sampling cheese and sipping wine is more your thing vs. getting down and dirty with some lechon, this deli and restaurant ought to fit the bill. It’s probably not the first place you’ll go to during say, Sinulog, but if you’re in the mood for cool and classy over loud and wild (and have got cash to burn), it seems this place would be a good pick.

6. Bucket ShrimpsAverage Rating: 4.5

Digging into a bucket or bagful of shrimps seems to be pretty popular nowadays. Not to be confused with Manila’s Shrimp Bucket (…or Shrimp Shack, or Rocket Shrimp), this no-frills kamayan restaurant is uniquely Cebuano. Forget the forks, spoons, and knives, the place will hook you up with your own bib and gloves! That way, you can get to the nitty-gritty fun of peeling and chowing down on these sauce-covered crustaceans.

5. TavolataAverage Rating: 4.58

From the famous Abaca Group of restaurants is this high-end Italian bistro at the Design Center of Cebu. The venue is fitting given its sleek and stylish interior, accentuated by the warm glow from the suspended light bulbs throughout the place. Offerings are a bit on the pricey side, but you get what you pay for: the imported vegetables, meats, and cheeses make for stunning Italian dishes that evoke the flavors of southern Europe.

4. Big Tom’s Charbroiled BurgerAverage Rating: 4.61

Cebu may be known for its pork, but Big Tom’s takes the road less-traveled by aiming to satisfy Cebuano’s beef cravings. Using never-frozen 100% sirloin beef for their burger patties, this 50-seater burger joint is for locals and tourists who may want to see Cebu as a place known for much more than just lechon.

3. Maya Mexican RestaurantAverage Rating: 4.62

Maya Mexican Restaurant, Cebu, Philippines

Photo from Maya on Facebook

Reviewers not only hail Maya as the best Mexican restaurant in Cebu, but some say it could be the best in the country. Also from the Abaca Group, “wish we had this back home!” is a common sentiment among some reviewers who come to visit Cebu, and for good reason. At night, their nachos, burritos, and enchiladas are the perfect companions when enjoying their cocktail selection and tequila shots with the place’s dark, almost gothic-Mexican style interiors.

2. Pizzeria MichelangeloAverage Rating: 4.67

Named after the Italian painter, sculptor, architect, poet, *insert awesome occupations here*, Pizzeria Michelangelo shies away from gimmicks and trendy ingredients and sticks to the principles of truly authentic Italian cuisine — clean and simple flavors born of fresh ingredients and traditional cooking techniques. Their pizza crust is a highlight in itself, according to reviewers. Perfectly thin and crisp, as one customer put it, it’s so much more than just a vessel for the toppings it holds.

1. Casa VerdeAverage Rating: 4.67

Surprisingly, a lechon place isn’t the place reviewers chose as the top-rated restaurant in Cebu! Casa Verde is such an established name in the Cebu foodie scene that their recent expansion into Manila has met equal, if not more, success than back home. They’re probably best known for the gargantuan servings of Brian’s Ribs (though have you seen their Mighty Ton burger??), but almost every other item on the menu is worth trying as well. The best part though, is that attempting such a huge feat doesn’t necessarily mean burning an equally large hole in your wallet!

Best Restaurants in Cebu Runners Up:

Here are a few more places that didn’t quite make the top 10, but are worth checking out anyway. Check out their reviews on looloo!

There are also a couple of others not mentioned here that you’ll find in another post, “An Expat’s 5 Favorite Restaurants in Cebu City.

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About Author

EJ dela Vega

You'll find EJ rummaging through refrigerators for unlabeled leftovers, earning him the nickname, "The Finisher." He's got a knack for magic tricks too, his best one being the ability to make food on his plate (or anyone else's for that matter) disappear in the blink of an eye. Too damn cheap to be picky, he once ate several slices of pizza doused in Robitussin... just because he can.