First off, a disclaimer: no, this DIY food trip does not list lechon — I feel that Cebu lechon recommendations would have have overflowing content to be a separate article, and just as my Cebuano friends have shared, there's a lechonero in every neighborhood and for locals, the best one is the pig roasted in their backyard and the one they grew up enjoying.
Consider this list as a restaurant starter pack for whenever you find yourselves hungry in Cebu City: a roundup of local brands offering various cuisines and establishents eager to feed you from morning until late night. Whether you have a free-flowing weekend to explore the Queen City of the South, or merely 24 hours (or even less), here are six food and drink hotspots in Cebu worth including in your eat-inerary!
1. Start your morning right with brunch at Birdseed Breakfast Club + Cafe.
If you're a fan of all-day breakfast fare, then Birdseed is your go-to for fluffiest pancakes and giant grilled cheese sandwiches that you can pair with a good cup of coffee. Get their Triple-stack Homemade Buttermilk Pancakes, which come in three flavors. Their Ultimate Grilled Cheese (P290) is good for sharing, and the sandwich get cheese action inside and out — they smother the outsides with cheese as well, giving the sandwich a cheese crust!
2. Enjoy an authentic Italian festa at La Nostra Pizzeria Napoletana.
Mandaue is home to a famous Italian restaurant that is the very first one to be a certified Napolitan pizzeria in the Philippines! La Nostra is an AVPN-certified pizzeria, so dig into their selection of true neapolitan pizza baked on their wood-fired brick oven. They have 20 different kinds of pizza to choose from, and also offer a dessert pizza (order this if you love Nutella!). Love spicy? Their homemade chili sauce is going to thrill your tastebuds.
3. Have coffee, conversations, and croissants at Abaca Baking Company.
Abaca Baking Company, or ABC, is a local bakery known for its made-from-scratch kitchen philosophy. You can also get your breakfast fare over here, but visit earlier in the day for their highly coveted croissants — they run out of these golden pastries pastries fast for a very good reason. There's bound to be an Abaca branch near you, so don't forget to bring some of these deliciously baked carbs back home!
4. Treat yourself with dinner and cocktails at The Pig & Palm.
Three years ago, Cebu opened up its city to a new restaurant helmed by a British chef and his Filipina wife, a Cebuana. Chef Jason Atherton, whose restaurant company holds Michelin stars in different parts of the world, offers modern European cuisine at The Pig & Palm, partnered with a beverage program that features fun and fresh cocktails paired with innovative bar chow. Make this your date night destination, or when you feel like treating yourself to an excellent meal! The restaurant also offers a brunch menu on weekends.
5. Experience Cebu's own local craft beer at Turning Wheels Craft Brewery.
Cebuano craft beer paired with good comfort food is another great way to cap off your evening in the city, and you can have a go at it with Turning Wheels Craft Brewery's taproom! Turning Wheels is Cebu's first craft beer brewery, and the taproom is located in this backyard-like spot, featuring converted container vans, wooden benches and furniture — an indoor and outdoor ambiance that lets you kick back and experience their different brews and appreciate their many flavor profiles. You'll most likely stay here longer, because to go with your pints is food from Sal's Kusina (order their cheeseburger!) and an assortment of board games and cards, even a supersized Jenga to keep you entertained.
6. Feel the pulse of the city with late night noms in Sugbo Mercado, the biggest food market in Cebu.
A great way to savor all sorts of food and drink Cebu has to offer is to visit their longest running food bazaar that is home to many Cebuano food entrepreneurs and is the regular tambayan of thousands of local folk. I know I mentioned earlier that this eat-list doesn't include lechon, but if you were to crave for roast pig, Sugbo Mercado conveniently rounds up lechon food stalls hailing from different cities, so you get to taste Talisay lechon and Mactan lechon in one go (have it with their puso, or wrapped 'hanging rice'). Must tries here are their Japanese and Korean fare, frozen desserts like fresh fruit smoothies and creamy gelato, and the famous pad thai hailed as Cebu's best!
Sugbo Mercado in Cebu IT Park operates from Tuesday to Sunday, 5pm to 1am