Thursday, September 07, 2017

Cebu, Philippines: Filipino-Style Chinese Dinner at Margarita’s Family Cuisine in Robinland

When I was in Cebu, Philippines last year, the sister-in-law treated the family to dinner at this interesting restaurant located in the penthouse of the Robinland building.

Chinese-Filipino food for dinner at Margarita's Family Cuisine.

The restaurant doesn’t look like your usual kind of restaurant that you can just walk into. Firstly, the restaurant is somewhat out of the commercial area and is located on the top of a building. It does not have easy access at all for any passing could-be interested customer. Next, I have not found any website of the restaurant, which is somewhat a bit strange. It is not actively advertised to consumers so it seems. Lastly, it looks like it mostly caters to corporate events and special parties.

The sister-in-law who has been dining here many times said that the food at this restaurant is quite good and that the main take away is really the view as it offers panoramic sights of the reclamation - port area of Cebu. Now that sounds inviting enough I guess, so I was quite looking forward to the evening's dinner.

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The lobby reception of Margarita's Family Cuisine Restaurant.

When we arrived, we were first led to the lounge and then to the outdoor terrace of the restaurant. At the indoor premises of the restaurant itself was an exclusive company and dinner event going on. I personally prefer to eat at the outdoor terrace anyway, except that it was a bit humid, but luckily though it rained that afternoon so that made the temperature a bit cooler than normal. This is the Philippines. It’s always tropical weather here no matter what day of the year and what time of the day.

Because it was already evening (it is already pitch dark in the Philippines at 18:30), we were not able to make the most of appreciating the panoramic views. But we, of course, loved the sea of city lights around us, it is great for the ambiance. It really is something when you are dining outdoors.

Like many cultures in Asia, family gatherings are dominated by volumes of food served on the table. In this part of the world, food binds people and families together. No words can describe it I guess. You do not have to talk at all to connect, just be there and eat, lol.

Moi and my cute and already quite big nephew. He is a big fan of American professional basketball sport and his favourite team is the Golden State Warriors.

My family in the Philippines is not big and my sister just moved to New Zealand. I took this photo as we wait for the staff to set the table and take our order. 

So as expected, we ordered way too much food for all of us to eat in one dinner seating. I am sure my Dutch family in the Netherlands would cringe on this, haha. But this is typically Filipino culture that I  grew up with and completely understand. In the Philippines, anything in excess that is food is seen as positive and very much welcomed. The more, the better and the merrier. Which also means no more cooking in the following days, except reheating of food =)

The food we ordered was Filipino-Chinese cuisine. Chinese dishes engineered for the Filipino, er Cebuano taste, and some of the local favourites as well such as breaded fried chicken, as requested by the nephew.

My mom enjoyed, in particular, their Peking duck so she asked for a separate order for our Christmas dinner at home, to be picked up the day before Christmas.

The verdict? I wouldn’t say the food here was that great but it was good enough. The ambiance of the restaurant was too business-like in my opinion, and I guess B2B is their business model. The view could have been better if there was no major building construction going on around the area. Oh well, we can’t have everything in life, huh? =)

Have to drink San Mig Light beer when in the Philippines.

We start with the quintessential Chinese bird's nest quail egg soup which always reminds of my childhood days when we go out as a family to eat at Chinese restaurants.

Buttered chicken or pork in sweet and sour chilli sauce. I remember this was very nice. An all-time Filipino-Chinese food.

A meal in the Philippines is not complete without rice. This one is I think Shanghai fried rice with shrimps.

Delicious roasted Peking duck served with shrimp crackers. This was lovely as well, and crunchy as you can see.

Mix vegetable of broccoli, mushroom buttons and small corns with seafood - shrimps and squid. Delicious! I requested this dish =)

Buttered fried chicken, Filipino style, ordered by my nephew.

Another vegetable mix here with a different (darker) sauce.

Steamed rice ordered by the nephew. He was craving for one. Steamed rice brings me back to my childhood and teenage memory lane in Cebu.

A quick pose with everyone before digging into the food. We sat outside in the outdoor balcony of the restaurant. We liked and enjoyed the city lights even though there was heavy building construction going on all over the place (see picture below).

The veranda of the restaurant on the other side facing the port area.

Travel Period: November 2016
Destination: Cebu City (Visayas), Philippines

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

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