The Best Restaurants in Cebu: Dining in the New Normal
2020 has been a fun year for all of us. Right?
I mean who would have expected for the whole world to just stop. Well at least now we can tick ” I experienced a pandemic during my lifetime” off our life list. And hoping not to experience another one like ever again. For all eternity!
With the ongoing pandemic a lot has changed. We adapted to the so called New Norm. Wearing of face masks and face shields is now a requirement. Social distancing and minimum health protocols are now words even little kids are familiar of.
Businesses were affected and many of which unfortunately closed. It was an abrupt change that none of us expected.
Food Scene in cebu
Perhaps one of the most affected industries with this current pandemic was the food and beverage industry of the Philippines. It was as if Manny Pacquiao hit the food industry with his famous south paw punch and almost paralyzed the whole industry.
Well aren’t we glad we Filipinos are ingenious and creative folks! Although it shocked the whole world it was only a matter of time before we adapted.
Specifically in the food industry, Restaurants and food services at the onset of COVID 19 transitioned from depending heavily on dine in customers to focusing their businesses to take outs and deliveries.
Every family has a Cook in their household
Perhaps one of the good things that came out of the pandemic was the emergence of homecooked food delivery service.
Every Filipino has that mom, dad, aunt, uncle who is considered the best cook in the family. And most of us took advantage of that! As we enter Q4 of 2020 it is but safe to say that almost all of us have cooked / baked/ fried food and had it sold in the online marketplace.
2020 Best Restaurants in Cebu Criteria
Thus for our list of the Best Restaurants in Cebu for 2020 we are expanding the list to not only Cebu Restaurants but also family owned – small scale food business.
Yes, your tito’s spaghetti might be one of the best “restaurants” for 2020 so keep on reading folks!
We are also incorporating in our criteria for the Best Restaurants in Cebu the ingenuity of those on who made on the list. How these restaurants made extra stride to guarantee that their products and their physical stores meet more than just the minimum health requirement set forth by the Philippine government.
And finally. Y’all need to taste terrific! These restaurants on the list have either maintained or elevated their cooking to make for one sumptuous dine in and take out experience!
We will be splitting the Best Restaurants in Cebu for 2020 in to 2 categories:
- Best Commercial Restaurants Category
- Best Small Scale Food Business Category
For this post we will feature the Best Restaurants in Cebu under commercial restaurants category. Do expect another blog post to showcase the small yet talented food entrepreneurs of Cebu.
And as Erik and the rest of the Hungry Traveller Club team continues to try out and visit restaurants in Cebu expect for this list to expand!
Best Restaurants in Cebu: Commercial Restaurant Category
Anton's Cebuano-Chinese Restaurant
The Hungry Traveller Endorsed Club Rating: 4.5 Stars
Address: #7 M Velez Street Capitol Site Cebu City
Contact: (032) 260 9350/ [email protected]
Operating Hours: 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Specialty: Cebuano and Chinese Cuisine (like duh!)
Delivery: Yes through food delivery services
Date Visited: October 1, 2020
I knew about this relatively new restaurant found at the heart of Cebu City one year ago when I stayed at Amethyst Boutique Hotel.
Anton’s is the flagship restaurant of the said hotel. Before the pandemic, this restaurant was one of my favorite venues to catch up with friends. Aside from their great food and approachable staff. The restaurant is also spacious and tables are meant to cater to groups/ barkadas who just wish to enjoy a good conversation without audible reach with other diners.
Just like most of the establishments included on the Best Restaurants in Cebu list. Anton’s Cebuano Chinese restaurant focused primarily on takeouts during the first few months of the pandemic. It was only up until a month or two ago that they now opened their doors to the dining public.
New Normal Way of Dining at Anton’s Cebuano Chinese Restaurant
I initially had hesitations dining out. I still am very cautious and a bit paranoid whenever I decide to go out and dine at restaurants.
However, when I visited Anton’s Cebuano Chinese restaurant, my apprehensions were diminished. Their restaurant was already spacious pre COVID days. Now with the new normal, the distance between tables and dining guests is extremely ideal to fit with the current times.
Just Like Old Times
With the significant and mandatory changes made at the restaurant to fit minimum health standard requirements. What did not change was the warmth of their restaurant staff and of course their consistently delicious and freshly made dishes.
During my visit to their restaurant last September 27 I ordered three of their new dishes which were very satisfying. Their Yang Chow fried rice, Sinugbang Baboy (Grilled Pork) and their Brocolli -Garlic.
I mean I am not a broccoli kind of guy (I mean who is, right?) and I only require myself to eat greens to keep me in shape. Thus when they recommended that I try their Brocolli with Garlic I was like yeah not going to happen.
But being a gracious diner I eventually agreed to order the dish and to my SURPRISE I liked it! That was probably the best tasting broccoli I’ve ever had in my entire life.
So Kudos to Anton’s for making me like broccoli!
La Gondola – Waterfront Hotel Cebu
The Hungry Traveller Endorsed Club Rating: 4.5 stars
Address: Salinas Drive Lahug Cebu City
Contact No: 032 232 6888
Operating Hours: 11:00 AM- 3:00 PM and 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Specialty: European Cuisine
Date Visited: September 27, 2020
Perhaps this post may have led you to believe that Anton’s Cebuano Chinese restaurant was my first dine-in experience during the pandemic. It however is not true.
The honor goes to La Gondola at Waterfront Cebu. I know you guys may think. Oh no no no! This place is too expensive for me to visit. But on the contrary, Waterfront has now adapted to change and made their signature meals at their restaurants readily available and a reasonable price.
We were able to avail of an all you can eat grilled meat buffet for only 750 PHP.
La Gondola is a masterclass restaurant for observing health and safety protocols. And this was precisely the reason why I chose the Waterfront Hotel Cebu’s La Gondola to be one of the best restaurants in Cebu. And my first dining experience in the new normal.
Dining at La Gondola
The restaurant screams elegance and it is but normal to be intimidated at first but their courteous waiters are there to assure you that they are here to satisfy your food cravings with a touch of class.
Since it was an all you can MEat (see what I did there) buffet. I ordered everything on the menu. From their beef kebabs, grilled pork, and grilled seafood.
While waiting for the meat to be cooked I had their salad and soup as appetizers and to cleanse the palette after the meaty meal I had their chocolate cake and some assorted fruits. This was also part of the package
Check out the Waterfront Hotel Cebu’s social media pages to know more about their latest promos not just in La Gondola but also with their other Specialty Restaurants.
Tongs Seafood Buffet
The Hungry Traveller Endorsed Club Rating: 4 stars
Address: F. Cabahug Street Mabolo Cebu City
Contact: (032) 328 6078 (it was out of service when I made my reservation)
Alternative Reservation: through their Facebook page: Tongs Seafood Buffet
Operating Hours: 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM and 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Specialty: Filipino Cuisine
Date Visited: October 11, 2020
Delivery: Not sure (didn’t bother to ask – sorry!)
Since we are on the topic of buffets. Might as well talk about one of the established buffet restaurants in Cebu City. Tongs Seafood Buffet. Now I have only been to Tongs once before my recent visit last October 11 and this was more than 10 years ago.
Thus I was surprised that the restaurant still existed after all these years. The place has significantly changed when I visited this month. I could still remember that Tong’s was more of a Bahay Kubo themed restaurant. Well, technically it still is your affordable eat all you can seafood restaurant. That caters to the greater population which I believe is their recipe for the restaurant’s longevity.
Dining at Tongs Seafood Buffet: New Normal of Buffet Dining
Perhaps the motto for Tong’s is Do Not Complicate the People’s Dining Experience. Their buffet is your basic Filipino dishes from Fried chicken, Humba, and being that it is, after all, a seafood buffet restaurant they have an abundance of fried fish, buttered shrimp, and grilled scallops and oysters.
Unlike the Pre COVID 19 buffet experience where you get to pick your food. Tong’s now has a dedicated person who provides you with a paper plate and handles the food serving. Just have to tell the waitress what dish you would like to be placed on your plate. And oh the whole stretched of the buffet table is now covered with the sea through hard plastic. And to minimize staff interaction you are now required to throw your trash or paper plates at the designated trash bins.
Great job Tongs for properly organizing health protocol standards in a buffet setting. Despite the pandemic you stuck with your guns! And for that you definitely deserve to be named as one of the best restaurants in Cebu.
The Hungry Traveller Endorsed Club Rating: 4 stars
Address: The Terraces Ayala Center Cebu
Contact: 09778438994 / [email protected]
Operating Hours: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Delivery: through Food Delivery Companies
Specialty: Thai- Vietnamese Cuisine
Date Visited: October 11, 2020
One of the most popular restaurants on our list of the Best Restaurants in Cebu 2020 is Lemon Grass. No doubt about the quality of their food it is good and is affordably priced for a restaurant that specializes in Thai and Vietnamese Cuisine.
Just like Tong’s Seafood buffet, it has also been some time since I last ate in Lemon Grass. It is after all located inside Ayala Center Cebu with a lot of restaurant options to choose from.
Now upon entering the restaurant and just like the rest of the restaurants on the list you are required to fill in the health declaration form and have your body temperature checked.
As soon as you’re cleared to go inside the restaurant you will be escorted to your designated table.
Now I did share a while back that I will always have the hesitation to dine in and would always be on my toes -which honestly spoils the whole point of the dining experience but oh well blame it on COVID!
Anyway, it was very reassuring that before being ushered into your seats your table gets to be sanitized right in front of you. Sprayed with disinfectant and wiped dry. But wait there’s more! Your plate and cutlery are now tightly covered in plastic wrap.
This was one of the reasons why I previously was not a fan of this restaurant. Whenever I pass by I always saw the plates and cutlery already arranged on the table even without dining guests. I find that repulsive- but that is just me (and I tell you this Hungry Traveller has a lot of quirks).
So when I tell you it’s good or clean- trust me it is!
Standing O for Lemon Grass for optimizing cleanliness at the restaurant!
Want to recommend a restaurant for Erik and The Hungry Traveller Club to review and possibly provide a stamp of approval? Let us know in the comments section or feel free to message us by clicking the button below.