Dine at the best seafood restaurants in Cebu City.
One of the things Cebu is known for is its stunning beaches. Many tourists have flocked to seaside areas such as Malapascua Island, Camotes, Bantayan Island, Oslob, and Cordova. Considering the island of Cebu is surrounded by seas, it’s not surprising that it also has a variety of seafood dishes. Cebuanos definitely love their seafood so much that almost all restaurants in Cebu include a seafood section on their menus.
But not all seafood restaurants are created equal, which means there are bound to be some that are better than the others. With that said, here are the best seafood restaurants in the Queen City of the South that should be in your Cebu itinerary:
Isla Sugbu Seafood City
From grilled squid, to buttered shrimp, to cheesy mussels, you can taste them all here at this restaurant. It certainly lives up to its name: Seafood City. Located in the Grand Convention Center, what makes Isla Sugbu stand out is their Paluto-All-You-Can service. Basically, they have a buffet table of fresh seafood, and you simply pick which pieces you want and how to cook them. This certainly takes the buffet experience to a whole other level. The rate of this restaurant is Php 779 ($15.31), which is pricier than most. But the fact that you can keep coming back for more makes up for that.
Lantaw Floating Native Restaurant
One of the hallmarks of great restaurants is not only their food but also their ambience. Regardless of how tasty the food is, if it is served in a dingy and dirty place, why would you want to eat there? But at Lantaw, not only is the food delicious, the place offers a fantastic view of the city. Some would even say it is the best place to unwind in Cebu. This chain of restaurants has branches in Cordova, Busay, and in Talisay. Perhaps the most well-known is in Cordova because the restaurant is stationed on an actual pier (hence the name “floating restaurant”).
Of course, the star of Lantaw has always been its food. Some of their bestsellers include spicy scallops, grilled tuna belly, and Cordova express (their version of ceviche). However if you are hankering for some red meat, their pork dishes are just as exceptional. In short, your trip to Cebu would not be complete without dining at Lantaw.
Cebuanos are fond of buffet-style restaurants. That’s partially because their servings are smaller compared to dishes in the west. To satiate their cravings, they tend to order additional helpings simply to refill their plates. However, this means having to order another serving.
But with buffets, they can keep refilling their plates all for the price of one meal. Add to that their love for seafood. It’s no wonder Tongs became one of the most popular restaurants in Cebu. Their specialties are mostly shellfish, baked scallops, mussels, and oysters. All for the budget-friendly price of Php 300 ($5.90). If you are ever in Tongs, make like the locals and refill your plate to your heart’s content.
STK ta Bai! Paolito’s Seafood House
One of the most recognizable components of Cebu cuisine is sutukil, which is a portmanteau of three words namely sugba (grill), tuwa (stew), and kinilaw (marinated raw fish). Thus, sutukil restaurants serve grilled, stewed, and marinated raw dishes. There are plenty of STK (abbreviations for sutukil) in Cebu, but this is by far one of the most popular.
What makes this restaurant special is they serve select seafood that are freshly caught, namely grouper, mackerel, rabbitfish, crab, squid, and shrimps. If you have an adventurous palate, you can also try their crispy eel and octopus. While the seafood reigns supreme in STK ta Bai, they also serve other Pinoy favorites, like puchero, sinigang, pancit bihon, and lumpia. And because of its affordable prices, you can order as much as you want.
Parr’t Ebelle Tinola
There’s a reason sugba is part of the Holy Trinity of Cebu cuisine and that Cebuanos can’t get enough of grilled dishes. Almost anything you can eat can be grilled and seafood is no exception. But Parr’t Ebelle Tinola is slowly carving a reputation as one of the go-to sugbahan in Cebu. Although not as high-end as the other establishments on this list, the quality of food is just as superb. That’s because they serve only quality fish and meats. And because Parr’t Ebelle Tinola is found in the North Reclamation Area (which is near the major Cebu ports), their seafood is guaranteed fresh—including their seaweed appetizers. So dine at Parr’t Ebelle Tinola to taste the finest grilled seafood.
The best part is you can find these restaurants within Cebu City, and even within walking distance of Cebu hotels. For directions, you can simply type in “seafood restaurants near me” on your smartphone. All of these establishments are highly rated and reviewed by customers (both foreign and local alike).
If you want to take your seafood excursion to the next level, then one of the things to do in Cebu is stop by Pasil Wet Market—the largest fish market in the Visayas region. Here you can find an assortment of fishes for sale. Word of the wise is that you can find the freshest fish from the small vendors. Their products might not be as big, however, they are high in quality. The best time to shop would be at 2:00 a.m. because that is when the fishermen haul in their catch. (Additional note: When you shop, be extra careful with your belongings because there are some shady characters in the market. Better bring a companion for an extra set of eyes.)
When you visit any of these places, you’ll realize Cebu is a haven for seafood. By the time you’ve tasted these dishes, you’ll soon start craving for more.