There’s always such magic about being ‘grown up’. When I was little, I used to wonder when my parents would get all dressed up to go out—where do these people go? What do they do? What happens at ‘dinner parties’ or ‘cocktails’ or a ‘date’? Why did they like to ‘eat out’? I mean, isn’t food the same wherever it is you choose to eat?
Of course, years passed and the kiddie parties which were the only social functions I knew turned into big noisy lunches, and then disco visits, then coffee dates with groups of friends, then sophisticated dinners. Of course, the more friends and colleagues you build up over the years, the more you start going out for all sorts of reasons—be it to celebrate special occasions like birthdays or promotions, or just random days where you want to meet up and talk the night away. And luckily, our city’s best and most beautiful spots certainly do not disappoint when it comes to providing the perfect setting for all such affairs. From breathtaking views of the sea to a blanket of twinkling lights, gorgeous interiors and sumptuous food, we’ve got it all. Here’s my list of the top five spots in Cebu:
1. The Observatory– Imagine sitting in a private gazebo facing the sea, watching the sunset. The sky turns different shades of orange, pink and purple. A strong, balmy breeze and the sound of waves rushing to the shore surround you. All this with a glass of white wine in your hand, a plateful of lobsters and prawns, and a beautiful, juicy steak. If this isn’t bliss, I don’t know what is! That’s the feeling that you get when you dine with your special someone at the Observatory, Shangri-la’s Mactan Island Resort’s gem. It used to be known as Cowrie Cove’s Table 54—now re-launched in superb style. It’s truly unforgettable and probably one of the best dinners you could ever treat yourself (and a special someone) to. And boys, if you’re planning to propose to your lady love anytime soon…this place has a fantastic batting average, I don’t think any girl could possibly say no!
2. Blu Bar and Grill– Here’s another scenario. You’re sitting at a table, awash with tiny blue and white lights. The atmosphere is cool and mountains provide a scenic backdrop. Laid out in front of you is a spectacular view of the city lights, and above you is a starry sky. Yep, that’s got to be the Blu Bar and Grill, at the top of the Marco Polo Plaza Hotel in Nivel Hills. The food and cocktails are great (try their Amaretto sour, it’s the best I’ve had yet), and if you’re lucky you can even catch their bartenders performing stunts sometime after dinner. Definitely one of my favourite spots in the city.
3. Anzani and Bellini– If you have discriminating taste buds and are looking for a true fine dining experience, go to Anzani. It features new Mediterranean cuisine prepared in such a unique and creative manner, you are left bewitched. That plus the luxe interiors, an amazing wine cellar, a terrace with a romantic view (since the place is perched on a hill), and outdoor couches nestled comfortably with the trees, and you’ve got yourself one of the country’s best restaurants (even the Philippine Tatler says so!). Anzani is in the Miele guide for Southeast Asia and is nominated for a Michelin star rating for Southeast Asia as well. Try the Degustacion dinner if you’re feeling adventurous. And afterwards, cross over to the Bellini champagne bar, have a Kir Royale and chill out on one of the couches while listening to a live acoustic band. Now that’s what I’d call a great night.
4. La Tegola Busay– I’m sure pretty much everyone is enthralled with Tops and its fantastic view, the mountain air and catching shooting stars while sitting there just taking everything in. The thing is, you can’t exactly dine there. Imagine having that view to go with sumptuous Italian food and an intimate, romantic setting—that’s why La Tegola in Busay is so perfect. Try the Quattro formaggi pizza, the roast beef and the seafood pasta. Delicious!
5. Abaca– An exclusive boutique resort and private hideaway, Abaca houses one of the Philippines’ finest restaurants as well. It boasts world class cuisine, from duck confit to artisan cheese tasting, divine flatbread pizzas, truffled larganelle, seafood and steaks, all packaged in a California-Mediterranean setting– with candles glowing, an infinity pool in view, and lush gardens. It’s such a dream you can almost hear Bobby Darin singing in the background. It’s no wonder people fly in just to experience it.
So that’s why we ‘grown-ups’ love going out! 🙂