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T.G.I. Friday’s Cebu November 9, 2008

Posted by drea in food, restaurants.
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So it’s been a while since I’ve been to Cebu as I’ve been at school, but when I came back, the Terraces was one of the major changes that told me Cebu was growing. That, and the new flyover spanning a section of the road from Banilad to Talamban, which didn’t really help eliminate heavy traffic.

The terraces is a great place to hang out on Sunday Mornings. Great for brunch and not crowded at all. There are actual surroundings to appreciate, with tall buildings towering around the area like watchtowers. It was like a mini-Greenbelt, with great food to boot.

We scored an invite to T.G.I. Fridays to participate in their dry run and evaluate. The place was packed with managers from Manila, enthusiastic waiters, curious guests, and really loud (but good) music. It was a while to get used to, the place was buzzing with energy. But, on to the food. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

The service was great — staff was helpful, enthusiastic, and unabashedly flamboyant when the occasion called for it. T.G.I. Fridays is certainly an all-American establishment with the exception of the liempo dish. However, there were some flukes — like the ordered dishes going to another table instead — so they made up for it with a pina colada. Perhaps alcoholic to help calm down frazzled, and hungry guests. As for the food — while I enjoyed my salmon dish very much, my corn side dish was sour and I’m guessing rancid. The Baby Back Ribs did not absorb the marinade (Apple Barbecue Sauce) so it ended up bland. The Buffalo Wings appetizer was not as hot as I expected, but at that point we didn’t care. We were just happy to have a free dinner — besides, we were mere test bunnies while the restaurant was still ironing out its kinks. Filled us up fast.

Quality of service was definitely something T.G.I. Fridays works hard at, but I hope it fares well in a market that just wants its food fast and cheap. Nice touch with the addition of a Filipino dish but it doesn’t fail to remind us of all things good about America — superheroes and superstars, with all its pop culture memorabilia strewn around the place.

They had their first dry run today, but be sure to check them out on their grand opening on November 15th.

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Cebu Restaurant Trifecta November 8, 2007

Posted by drea in food, restaurants.
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I am a college student studying in Manila, and I find that when I head back home to Cebu I always ask my parents to take the family to one of three places:

1. Marco Polo

2. Cafe Laguna

3. Port Seafood Restaurant

Thus, what I’d like to call my Cebu Restaurant Trifecta. There is a close runner-up which I will mention later but these restaurants are always where I head to for comfort food and where I like to go to for good eats, and bang-for-your-buck meals. Allow me to expound on the three restaurants which have won my stomach over.

Marco Polo Cebu is a hotel which sits atop a hill in Lahug and offers a view of the city which is as good as it gets. The view is simply one of the things that makes the place a winner. The clincher is their buffet, which for around 700Php is the best deal you can get in the city, given the wide selection their restaurant proffers. Myself, I stick to the salads and dessert. I really just come here for the salmon sashimi (for which I have frequent cravings) and their heavenly brownies for which there is no contender. Come on Sundays if you want a more quiet surrounding as the restaurant experiences heavy traffic usually. Reservations will save you some hassle. Use your HSBC credit card for a 10% discount.

Cafe Laguna is practically a city landmark for being a restaurant which has been around for so long. It’s hard to find another restaurant which has been as successful, and is the favorite stop for family dinners. Filipino cuisine is at its best here, and the busy atmosphere takes away the formality of dining out. I just come here for the food, which is great. Maybe your lola can make the sinigang better but if you’ve got relatives from out of town and you don’t want to cook for such a big crowd, this is perfect. This restaurant satiates my cravings for a variety of dishes Filipino cuisine has got to offer.

Port Seafood Restaurant, aside from its homey and intimate atmosphere, offers another great buffet for about 300Php. I say this is great because they offer on the menu succulent lechon and refreshing halo-halo, but only during dinnertime. A more intimate place for family gatherings, and always well-decorated (nice to look at when your date’s not going so well). Head over to Waterfront Lahug for a nice meal at this restaurant.

I like using the word trifecta. Doesn’t it sound nice? Trifecta. Trifecta. But there’s another restaurant that I like for the authentic Japanese cuisine that it offers. It’s Nonki at AS Fortuna, Banilad. You can tell the authenticity of the cuisine that a Japanese restaurant offers by the number of Japanese diners it has on any given day. Nonki is one of those restaurants, and I must say, this is the restaurant that started me on my love for zaru soba, chilled buckwheat noodles. I haven’t eaten soba at many Japanese restaurants but Nonki gets it right with the sweetness — not too sweet, and every bit as refreshing. A Teisyoku box should be more than enough for yourself so be prepared to share. It’s not a cheap restaurant but the times that we stumbled into it to satisfy a craving for good sushi, we’ve managed to score discounts. So it just might be your lucky day.