Updated: Feb 25
We travel for different reasons- pleasure, work, festivals, relaxation, family time, and so on. But one thing is common in every travel, we EAT! We even travel just for a "food trip" to try local cuisine and delicacies. And if you have reached this stage, I guess you have been to places.
A popular destination for locals and travellers around the world is Cebu City, where the food scene is a variety- from pungko-pungko to a Michelin-star chef dishes. Living in this city for over half a decade made me create my go-to list. These are my recommendations and not an official list. I still encourage you to try others out of this list as our likings definitely differ. Bookmark this page as a reference on your next Cebu quick trip or food trip travel in this city.
Here are my food recommendations and places to eat in Cebu City. I came up with a list based on three criteria:
Only in Cebu
Value for money
Top of mind for the category
Sugba and Tinowa
Parr't Ebelle Tinola
Location: J. De Veyra St., Cebu City (near SM City Mabolo)
Price: a serving of grilled fish and tinowa costs around Php500
Been wanting a hot soup and freshly caught grilled fish for lunch? Part A Belle is the place to be. Pick your Sugba or grilled fish before entering, and it will be served. Then order Tinowa or Tinolang Isda by the counter.
Full already? Before you leave, there is Chicharon stall beside. Buy and bring home Carcar's known pork chicharon for your family and colleagues.
Gate 5 Pochero
Location: 5 La Guardia St., Lahug, Cebu City (near IT Park)
Price: Pochero- Php100
This is the Bulalo of Cebu. It is impressive because it is tasty even if there are no green ingredients. The perfect condiment is a mix of vinegar and soy sauce. Watch out for your extra rice!
Butterfly Chicken and Ngohiong
Location: 2021 Don Jose Avila St., Cebu City (near Cebu Doc)
Price: A meal of chicken breast, ngohoing, 3 puso, and a softdrink is around Php150
Oily and dry, but you have to try. Order any chicken part, ngohiong, and puso. Puso or the hanging rice, makes your dining experience so authentic. Go ask for fried crumbs; it's free! So how do you enjoy your food? First, dip a portion of puso in the sauce (either sweet or spicy), then into the crumbs. Eat and Thank me later.
There are other Tagala branches in Cebu City, but I still recommend the fried chicken at the original branch near Cebu Doc.
Location: 268 B. Don Mariano Cui, Brgy. Capitol Site, Cebu City (near Capitol)
Price: a meal of chicken breast, pork barbeque, chorizo, and rice is around Php200
There are many grill places in the city, but the taste consistency of Yakski makes it to the list. Perhaps you will be intrigued by their sweet and spicy sauce, but now they have added Tuba vinegar as a condiment. It suits!
Location: 8 Jumabon St., San Antonio Village, Apas, Cebu City (near Countrymall)
Price: a basket of chicken wings starts at Php180
The rise of this food business makes it hard to choose the best wings flavor, so I simplified it for you. The must flavor is the Cajun Glazed and Smokey Chipotle wings of this garage business. They don't offer unli-wings, but you may order as much as you want, though. You may find it weird but pair it with their Pancit Bihon- it's good!
Location: Don Jose Avila St., Cebu City (near Capitol)
Price: hot latte is Php110
Who would leave a city without trying the local coffee shops? Yay!
To compare coffee from different shops, I always order Hot Café Latte, and so far, Cardinal's has the perfect mix -for me. Their coffee is best paired with cheesecake brownie and Boston Creme cake.
Location: A. S. Fortuna, Mandaue City (near J. Center)
Price: 9-inch cake starts at Php1300
Speaking of cakes, Chef's Table's nine inches cakes are just delightful. Though their cakes are sometimes made to order, grab Avocado Mango Cake or Mookie Cake if you have spotted one.
Location: 2nd Street, San Antonio Village, Apas, Cebu City (near Campo)
Price: croissants starts at Php110
Flaky! so far, their croissants are my standard- let's wait until I get to eat one in Paris. But 5G's strawberry croissant is to die for.
No-rice diet? No worries. Try these to-go meals before heading to the airport.
Location: The Gallery, Pope John Paul II Avenue, Golam Dr, Cebu City
Price: Value meal starts at Php 200. Includes fries and soda
If you want to skip the rice and opt for burgers, try Burger Joint. Their patties are beefy and juicy— combo it with their milkshake.
Location: Banilad Town Center, Gov. M. Cuenco Ave., Cebu City
Price: Beef shawarma is Php105
They use wraps instead of pita, and their sauce is rich. Their shawarma is rolled not like a traditional cylindrical shape, so the meat, onions, and greens are well distributed in every bite. If vegetarian, they serve chickpeas too.
Location: Gen. Lim St., Villa Aurora, Kasambagan (near Sarrosa Hotel)
Price: Truffle Pizza is Php448
This hang-out place is within a quiet neighborhood that makes it best for secluded get together. Their thin-crust truffle pizza is one of the best sellers, and you'll want to get beer because of its laid-back Friday vibe.
You have come this far and probably still looking for a specific dish. Right? Of course, Lechon should be on the list.
Location: Jose L. Briones St., North Reclamation Area, Cebu City (near SM)
Price: 1kl is Php850
Their lechon is still the recommended, and the taste of Cebu. I have tried too many lechon around the city and CnT is still the anchor of Cebu lechon. Though if you want something less commercialized, try:
Location: Wilson St., Apas, Cebu City (near JY)
Price: value meal starts Php130; 1kl is Php900
Try their spicy lechon to get that hot kick while enjoying the crispy lechon skin.
*Again, these are just my recommendations and not the official best of Cebu. I have tried other brands of each category here, but these are my standouts. Let me know if you have some recommendations too :)
Let's continue to support the food business, especially those striving during the pandemic.