The Inspiring Story of Paolito’s: Cebu’s Home for Sutukil

This small but popular sutukil restaurant in Cebu has an interesting history behind it.

Sutukil is Cebu’s contribution to the culinary scene in the Philippines.

It is an abbreviation for the most popular cooking techniques on the island, namely Sugba (grill), Tuwa (stew), and Kilaw (cooked raw with vinegar). These techniques are commonly used in seafood, inspiring several restaurants to feed hungry Cebuanos with a variety of delicious meals.

Paolito’s STK Ta Bai! is among the select go-to restaurants for this type of Filipino cuisine.

You may have visited two of its branches in both SM Malls, but its original location is in a residential area in Orchid Street near the Cebu Provincial Capitol.

It may take a while to locate since it’s not situated along the main road, but this eatery has a history worth remembering.

HISTORY OF PAOLITO’S

Paolito's STK Ta Bai! specializes in Filipino cuisine and has been featured in many media outlets.

The restaurant was set up by the Alcovers, after their previous toiletry supply business went bankrupt. The family persisted, praying that they would be able to set up a carinderia (a street side restaurant serving homemade dishes), with dishes made by their patriarch Jerry Alcover, a Carcar City native.

Jerry’s eldest daughter and manager of the restaurant, Karen Alcover Cabahug, recalls the moment their prayers were answered. Her father gained a P200,000 commission (around $4,000 in today’s currency) from selling a lot of food with her aunt, and in a snap, their business was ready to set sail.

They set up their small restaurant in their garage on Orchid Street, with only five tables and serving a menu of only five dishes.

Originally, taxi drivers were their target market, but none ever came. Instead, lawyers and employees became their primary customers because of the restaurant’s proximity to the Capitol area.

Their carinderia grew bigger and bigger, eventually opening two SM Mall branches in 2015 and 2017, until they became the popular seafood restaurant that Cebuanos have come to know and love today.

This seafood restaurant still stands today, and even has branches in major malls in the city.

Paolito’s (which was named after one of Karen’s siblings) now serves a wider array of Cebuano food delicacies and Filipino food staples for different types of foodies.

The restaurant is filled with figurines, memorabilia, and paintings, making you feel like you’re in a museum. The wooden walls, chairs, and tables give off a very vintage aesthetic, like an ancestral house.

A display of decades-old memorabilia gives this sutukil restaurant a homey and vintage-like atmosphere.

The Alcover family is also known for being faithful and devout, which can be seen through the restaurant’s display of religious figures, one of which includes the patron saint of Cebu, the Santo Niño.

Aside from serving Cebuano food delicacies, the Alcovers also show their Catholic faith through their exhibit of the Santo Niño.

SUTUKIL OFFERINGS

Because it is a sutukil restaurant, their main offerings are seafood classics, but they also have other dishes made from different kinds of meat. Their specialty is definitely the Tuna Panga (grilled tuna jaw), which they cook outside the restaurant.

They offer many Filipino cuisine specials, but the Tuna Panga is their best-seller.

HOW TO GET THERE

The restaurant is located on Orchid Street, near the Cebu Provincial Capitol. The closest landmark is the BPI Bank along the highway across from the Capitol.

You can ride a jeepney to Jones and ask to be dropped off at the bank. Paolito’s can be found on the street behind Angus Dan, a restaurant that’s a few meters from BPI.

The parking lot is located behind the restaurant if you wish to bring a private vehicle.

Trying out the food in Paolito’s is among the many things to do in Cebu City that is a must. With hundreds of local restaurants to choose from, this one stands out for having great sutukil food options and an interesting story that will inspire future restaurateurs.

Paolito’s is one half restaurant, one half ancestral house – bringing a vintage atmosphere to visitors as they enjoy their delicious meals. Their food is renowned by many of its past customers, including several media personalities in the Philippines. It’s definitely a Cebuano food staple that is here to stay.

Other posts

Cebu Sinulog Festival

Generally, Filipinos never fail to observe festivals, and Cebu takes theirs to the next level. After celebrating New Year’s Eve, Cebuanos participate in a monthlong celebration in honor of Sto. Niño. This is the renowned Sinulog festival. Held every third Sunday of January, the Sinulog festival is celebrated by dancing,

Read More
Colorful chairs facing the sea at Mactan Newtown Beach

Experience Mactan Newtown Beach and Its Soothing Waters

Lapu-Lapu City has many beautiful beaches. Its numerous resorts and island hopping activities have made waves all throughout Cebu. One of its most famous is located in the city’s premier business center. With a good location, budget friendly rates, and a ton of exciting activities, Mactan Newtown Beach is a

Read More
Charlie's Cup, the Newest Balamban Tourist Spot

Charlie’s Cup, the Newest Balamban Tourist Spot to Visit!

Charlie’s Cup is a cafe in Cebu that offers a cool and refreshing vibe thanks to its cliffside location. The Cebu Transcentral Highway (TCH) has become one of the island’s best spots to check out the newest and most interesting cafes and restaurants with breathtaking views. The long, winding road

Read More
SM Seaside shopping mall’s famous cube

Where to Go for the Ultimate Shopping Experience in Cebu

Enjoy shopping in Cebu on your next visit. Shopping in Cebu is at another level. Anywhere you are in the metropolis, make no mistake that a shopping mall is just around the corner. Whether you are looking to buy souvenirs, shirts, accessories, or food, shopping malls in Cebu have it

Read More
The Cebu City Hall, the venue for the celebration of the Cebu City Charter Day

Cebu City Charter Day

Cebu City Charter Day commemorates another year of Cebu being considered a city. While the world recognizes February for Valentine’s Day and different concepts of love, Cebu City, the Visayan region’s Queen City of the South, embraces its cityhood, heritage, people, and economic growth within the same month. The 24th

Read More
Sinigang, a popular Filipino comfort food

Discovering Filipino Comfort Food

Try any of these Filipino comfort food when you’re feeling under the weather. When you’re feeling down in the dumps or a little under the weather, there is always that one dish that your mother makes that would always perk you up. There are also those types of meals and

Read More

FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM

TO FIND YOUR TRAVEL DESTINATION

Cebu Insights Logo (Island)-03-03

Seeking to learn more about Cebuano culture, or wanting to know what to do once you arrive, Cebu Insights is the travel guide for you in Cebu!

Contact Us

See other Articles

Festivals in Cebu Province Gather for the Pasigarbo sa Sugbo

Several towns in Cebu Province gathered to celebrate the Pasigarbo sa Sugbo. Cebu Province has an assortment of local festivals that celebrate the food culture, the endemic plants and animals, and the general lifestyle of the people.  These festivals are celebrated through a number of cultural dances that give you

Cebu City Revives the Colon Night Market in 2022

The Cebu City government has revived the famous Colon Night Market. Two years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, government officials have proudly reopened the iconic Colon Night Market. This weekend-only business strip brings dozens of budget-friendly products and food items to fellow Cebuanos, located along the oldest street

The Shoe Business Enterprise in Carcar City

The shoe business in Carcar remains essential to the city’s tourism and economy. Carcar City is known as the Heritage City of the South due to its many historical sites. It has one of the oldest churches on the island and several ancestral houses with centuries-old architecture.  You may have

Learn about Catholicism in Cebu at the Cathedral Museum

The Archdiocesan Museum is where you can learn more about the history of Catholicism in Cebu. The Philippines is predominantly Catholic. The church has had massive changes over the past millennia, but Catholicism is still the most practiced religion throughout the country. A museum in Cebu has a collection of

Torta: The Delectable Dessert Turned Cultural Symbol

Not only is it a delicious dessert, but it’s also an integral part of the culture of Argao. Many Cebu towns are associated with the special delicacies sold in their locality. The cities of Carcar and Talisay have their Lechon, while the municipality of Liloan has the Rosquillos. In Southern

Why Island Hopping Is Perfect for a Summer Getaway

Rent a bangka and visit the many islands of Mactan with your barkada. Cebu is a summer paradise. Abundant with beaches, mountains, and forests, it’s clear to see why it’s a top vacation spot in the entire country. Some popular activities on the island include canyoneering and snorkeling, especially in

Scroll to Top