It’s been over five months now that I’ve started blogging and realized that I have never posted about restaurants in Cebu. My family and friends know that hubby and I are self-proclaimed food critics. Yes, we eat our way through life, hahaha!
I figured I might as well start a new category on Cebu restaurants. I hope this is helpful to those of you who might come and visit Cebu someday.
I think it is but appropriate that I start with one of my favorite authentic Italian restaurants in Cebu: La Tegola Cucina Italiana (the other one is Giuseppe’s ).
They have branches all over the city but my favorite would be their Lahug and Idea Italia branch in Ayala. We have been regulars (Mr. Alfredo, I think we should get a dinner certificate for being regular customers, wink! wink!) so I know which branch has better cooks. When you go to Idea Italia, Alfredo (the Italian owner) is always there (sometimes serves the food). They used to have their original restaurant at Banilad and I remember he was the one cooking and would occasionally come out from the kitchen and ask how the food was.
Try going to their Salinas, Lahug branch where it has this nice Italian courtyard ambience. Great for dates. When you go to Lahug, go there on week nights when it’s not all cramped with people. Very recently, I see a lot of Koreans who frequent the restaurant. I see them with their ipads and reading a blog or probably a post about La Tegola looking for a certain dish that was reviewed or posted. They just point at a picture on their Ipad. It’s probably by word of mouth. Sometimes they just look over our table and point at our dish, haha! Seriously!
After placing your order, the waiter will bring a plate of this appetizer that is on the house. This is called foccacia (pronounced fo-ka-cha). I can eat a whole plate of this all to myself. Funny though, but isn’t foccacia a popular italian bread that’s rather thick with herbs on top. This one is like chips, very thin, crispy dough. It’s topped with tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, etc. It’s like a bruschetta topping.
We had Caprese salad for our antipasti. Honestly, I still think I make better Caprese salad. No, seriously! Click here for my Caprese recipe.
Prices are reasonable compared to other Italian restaurants, if you know what to order. It’s fairly reasonable knowing you get good quality pasta, tomatoes, olive oil, etc. used in their dishes. I know this because I also get my pasta and olive oil from their supplier
I always order Penne Campagnola. It’s my all-time favorite! It’s penne with Italian sausage, sun-dried tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, carrots, mushrooms, capers and black olives. The cook even knows what I want, “No green peas and corn, please”. It’s off the menu in most of its branches but when I usually order this even if it’s not on the menu, the cook/chef knows what I’m talking about.
It’s probably sautéed and simmered with red wine. I can taste it from the tomato sauce. It’s then topped with parmesan and mozzarella then baked. It’s heaven on my plate! I’ve been trying to duplicate this at home and I’d like to think I am doing a pretty good job trying (take note of the operant word: TRYING!).
Mister’s favorite is Penne al Cartoccio. Cartoccio, if my italian serves me right, means “pouch”. This “al cartoccio’ is a way of preparing pasta that is partly cooked in a bag or pouch. In this case, an aluminum foil. It’s a pasta dish of seafood glory. As soon as you open the bag, the sweet smell of basil hits you and you know you must start digging in.
I’ve cooked this at home a couple of times and have been quite successful, I might say. Right, Mister? My remarks are starting to sound very self-serving. Hahaha.
I add a little mozzarella before putting it in the aluminum foil. Don’t forget your sweet basil. If you serve this to your friends who love seafood, they will definitely say how great a cook you are (tee hee!).
The husband had this for over five years. That’s all he orders – Penne al Cartoccio. Until very recently that he has religiously been going to the gym (Fitness First), he just wants an all-vegetable pasta dish “Penne al la Tegola” also in a pouch. It’s also a must try.
If you must have meat, try Arrosto di Manzo which is roasted beef with pasta. You can have it Aglio Olio or tomato-based.
This is Gamberoni alla Diavola. If you love prawns then this is a must-try. The large shrimps or prawns add that distinct flavor to the sauce which is a bit spicy. I don’t know if these shrimps were grilled first or just sautéed but it’s really juicy and cooked just right.
The service is good and the food is the reason we keep going back (for those dishes I mentioned). Just a suggestion to Cebuanos who are not into Italian food, when you do get the chance to dine in any Italian restaurants, try to do away with your usual spgahetti, carbonara or lasagna. You can always have that everywhere. try those dishes I’ve mentioned and prepare to be converted
The next time you crave for Italian food, try going to any of La Tegola restaurants in Cebu.
P.S. Mr. Alfredo, I think I should get a GC for this post. Hahaha!