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Posted by Mark del Valle on 03/20/2010
Being born and raised in Cebu, it is a perk to find a restaurant named after his hometown. I checked it out recently, and I was impressed by the location (The heart of Chestnut, one of the top bar areas at downtown Philly), the ambiance (though the lighting was a bit dark, it was made out as a trendy intimate lounge). And nonetheless, taste was great. I am not speaking this as a typical Filipino, but rather, someone who has tried "contemporary Filipino" cuisine across the world (Author travels for a living). Having a rather trendy, upscale Filipino themed resto-lounge in the heart of Philly's bar scene adds a special variety and competition to the vast selection around. To filipino "critics": have you had one non-filipino guest that you had to simmer down the taste of a certain dish to make it not too sour or not make it taboo to them? This is the answer to those people who wants to try Filipino cuisine without worrying that they may be overwhelmed with the taste. The food selection is eclectic (The author had 3 dishes during his last visit, suggests lechon kawali and chicken adobo as must pick entrees), it is neatly prepared, and what's best, is you can down beer from the Philippines (or mixed drinks with the Filipino "touch" to it if you are not a beer drinker). This place is definitely a must-visit if you are new, or visiting, or even a regular in Philadelphia. As for me, I am definitely coming back to Cebu when I am in town.
Posted by tt1423 on 10/26/2008
I really enjoyed their menu. I found everything I ordered to be delicious. My server was well spoken and knew a lot about the menu. Always a plus!! The food came out in a timely fashion. I was amazed at the ambiance. Definitely would recommend this to everyone!!
Posted by CraigR on 04/24/2008
Everything was spectacular. I had my wedding rehearsal dinner for thirty people there. Randy and Mike the managers made the planning easy. The food was great. The tapas were some of the best I ever had and the dipping menu was a pleasant surprise. I ordered the steak and it was accompanied with three different savory sauces. One was spicy, one had a vinegar taste to it and the other was a gravy type. Every one loved the food. Before we sat down we were delighted to sit at the bar and order a few of their custom drinks. The Mojito was to die for and the bartender’s were funny and entertaining. Especially that guy Greg. I recommend you go if you are tired of the normal dining experience and want to try something new in Philadelphia.
Posted by ?? on 02/26/2008
Was very excited when I saw a Filipino Restaurant in the city....finally made reservations and was very disappointed with the food, service and value. The food was bland, service was so-so (not much knowledge about the food) and way too pricey. It was too dark. It was empty for a Friday night.
Posted by A True Cebuana on 02/26/2008
I'm a true Cebuana, born and raised in Cebu, Philippines. I'm relocated here in Philly coz my husband is an american. We were so excited to try this hoping we could get a taste of home. But I was disappointed to see the menu. I could even hardly see any Filipinos in the restaurant. Ambience was poor and not at all "Cebu" like. I don't see any shell craft or wood or Magellan's cross. I hope they will serve "Malunggay or Utan bisaya" if they carry the name Cebu it should speak for itself. There should be door greeters you know, saying "Mabuhay or Salamat" . Plus, it's pricey! You know true Cebuanos are thrift...but if the price is right but worth it we'll go for it. Unlike here, you'll just get disappointed.
Posted by Anonymous on 07/22/2007
Finding an trendy Filipino retaurant was exciting- Was expecting upscale service and Cebu delicacies and Visayan dishes. The servers need to be trained to be more informative about the menu- and be more hospitable. When I asked for water I was asked whether I wanted bottled or regular- and I already ordered drinks. Never heard that before. The coke was syrupy - too commercial- We ordered kare- The meat was tender but the egglant was tough. The lechon kawali had more fat than meat- for the price there should have been better meat cuts. The paella was disappointing- even the presentation was so ordinary. I had to ask the server for regular plates when he started serving the entrees. The cocktail was extraordinary- Isle of Cebu. The dessert menu was not offered- but that was OK we were disappointed. The decors was impressive- altho I wanted to see more upscale Phil decors- The light bulbs were burnt out in the huge decorative lighting fixtures. True- Phil food is an eclectic mix of different cultural influences- yet my palate tells me it is ordinary Filipino cooking. It is with great pride that I see a kababayan put up something like this and I do hope this will help in improving service and the menu.
Posted by Disappointed in PA on 05/28/2007
The best thing that Cebu can do is to fire the chef and the manager and decide what its identity is. It deserves every bad review it has ever gotten. I have gone to Cebu on several occasions from late fall 2007 to today. Cebu needs to relabel itself. Filipino is the last label it deserves. Foodwise, it has an identity crisis. It needs to decide whether it wants to be native Filiipino, Spanish-influenced Filipino or pure Spanish. If they want to be Spanish-influenced Filipino, they should serve more mechado, relleno, sans rival and less watery and taseteless sinigang and tofu and pork in vinegar. Whatever Cebu is trying to be right now, the food does not taste good. In fact, the food has gone downhill. At first, its kare kare had very tender oxtail meat with fresh tasting veggies, although the sauce was very timid and quite bland. This was fine with me. The next time I got kare kare, the meat was tough and somewhat burnt, and the sauce tasted day old and a little bit spoiled. The last time I was there, the portion size had gotten smaller and the sauce tasted less of kare kare and more of cornstarch. It tasted like cheap satay. Authentic kare kare uses rice powder, not constarch! Service wise, it does not practice Filipino style hospitality. There is hardly ever anyone at the door to welcome its customers. I suggest that they hire Filipinos, who exude warmth and welcoming. Their staff would do well to wear stylized uniforms with Filipino accents. All black is not Filipino at all. Bottom line, Cebu should decide what identity it wants to be. Whatever it is doing right now is all wrong. It is doing to be all things, and doing it all poorly.