What makes a great #OOTD? Besides a well put-together ensemble, location counts for a lot, adding to the overall look and feel of an Instagram. With so many stylish nooks and corners in the Queen City, it’s completely impossible to run out of picture-perfect venues. Zee Lifestyle rounds out the best of them in this list, and as a bonus, not only will you get your money shot in these places, but you’re going to make some enviable additions to the #foodporn hashtag. Cue the double taps and the hearts.
Founded through James and Tasha Dixon’s passion for creating, Unos Design started as their personal hub where they could showcase their love for designing interiors, fashion, motorcycles, food and drinks. “The concept behind Unos Design is to build a lifestyle brand around an establishment that promotes art, music, and the freedom to express your passions under one roof,” says Tasha. The result is a coffee and cocktail bar that serves great brews, small bites, and signature drinks while displaying their customized bikes, leather bags, and accessories.
Befitting to this concept, Unos Design successfully treads a fine line between a homey vibe and a big city feel reminiscent of Hong Kong, London, and New York. “We encapsulate a relatively hipster feel and promote street culture through our selection of art, products, and music,” Tasha explains. The eclectic design is emphasized through the hand-painted chairs, the propriety art and photography, and the customized BMW on display. Tasha adds that she and James conceptualized all the elements, with everything fabricated, modified and painted by their team.
THE CHOCOLATE CHAMBER BOUTIQUE
International delegates involved in the recently concluded APEC have already had a taste of Ralfe Gourmet’s famed chocolates, bringing Raquel Choa’s vision of promoting local tableya as a world-class product one step closer to reality. In line with her ongoing efforts, the Chocolate Queen of Cebu recently opened The Chocolate Chamber Boutique, an offshoot of her eponymous restaurant. It’s meant to be a showroom of her products; but while dining customers are directed to The Chocolate Chamber down the road, there’s also a room designated for small functions and chocolate appreciation sessions.
With Raquel’s penchant for decorating and close attention to detail, no two visits to The Chocolate Chamber Boutique will ever be alike. The neutral color palette on the walls makes them ideal canvasses for Raquel’s chocolate paintings, including a big map of the Philippines on one side. The items on the shelves are constantly rearranged to highlight different products. The chocolate displays are always different, yet mouthwatering every single time. The pièce de résistance is an artistic, almost abstract mural of Raquel and her famous truffle set on the wall behind the counter. It’s a befitting tribute to Raquel, who has worked hard to elevate tableya into a Cebu delicacy.
Following the huge success of Zubuchon—yes, that restaurant hailed by Anthony Bourdain as having the ‘Best Pig Ever!’—Market Man Joel Binamira shifts his focus to a new dining concept in Cebu. Vastly different from his flagship restaurant, Pigafetta is—in Joel’s own words—a small watering hole for folks who want an authentic Italian meal in a modern setting. “It’s a place to relax and enjoy a glass of wine and perhaps a plank of cold cuts before a bowl of pasta or a Neapolitan-style pizza,” says Joel. “It’s meant for a younger, cosmopolitan crowd that not only looks for Italian food, but an appealing setting as well.”
Pigafetta’s interior, designed by architect Maya Franco and executed by KG Builders, is meant to set the mood for a meal—a casual yet modern and slightly edgy feel than Joel’s other restaurants. The décor, is predominantly black and white, complemented by local machuca tiles, stainless steel surfaces, wooden tables, and metal chairs. Dining at Pigafetta is also a comfortable yet stylish affair, with carefully selected plates, cutlery, and glasses that are conversation pieces by themselves. Filament bulbs add a nostalgic touch, providing a softer light that creates an intimate and welcoming ambiance that invites guests to linger in the evenings.
AXIS Entertainment Avenue
N. Escario St., Cebu City
CANVAS BISTRO BAR GALLERY
Seven years after it first opened at the Ayala Center Cebu, Canvas Bistro Bar Gallery reinvents itself with an intimate yet industrial setting—a canvas, if you may—for their dishes served in signature artistic flair.
The new Canvas Bistro Bar Gallery, located along the Maria Luisa Road in Banilad, utilizes the materials used in their previous restaurant. Interior designer Shiela Solon collaborated with owners Chef Steve and Eya Shrimski for an unfinished minimalist decor, complemented with warm lighting from the eclectic mix of light fixtures. Besides highlighting the artworks displayed in Canvas—it is a gallery, after all—the lighting also makes it easy to take some drool-worthy #foodporn posts, especially their new offerings, which range from healthy options to classic breakfast staples to all-time favorite comfort food.
The rustic charm and lush greens of Circa 1900 has made it quite the popular destination for stylish #OOTDs and even wedding-related photo shoots. A scenic home-turned-restaurant tucked into one of Gorordo’s quieter streets, Circa 1900 is ideal for romantic dates and intimate group dinners. Picnic tables and benches are scattered across the property, although the grand staircase sitting underneath a porte-cochere beckons guests into the main area of the restaurant. At the top is a small porch with cozy lounges, cocktail tables and chairs, and an opening to the bar inside.
The menu is innovative, featuring international dishes while paying homage to the Filipino culinary heritage through the use of local ingredients. The food is ideal for foreigners who want to experience local cuisine, yet taste something that’s still familiar to them.
Did we miss any places? Have recommendations? Sound off in the comments below!