Apart from hotel lobbies, intelligently designed cafes are among the things that best thrill me. There's just something about how a well made-up cafe appeals and encourages me to be a more creative person. Adding to that feel, there's no comparing to the smell of a freshly brewed cup of coffee. Armed with a fast Wi-Fi connection, comfortable chairs, an accommodating staff, and a power outlet, these are the qualities that make me keep returning to a certain cafe.
Although I must admit, there are already a number of coffee shops that have turned into mini libraries, I often find myself in a dilemma; one where I have to break free from the routine of monotony and commercialism. In situations like these, I rely on my judgment and hunger for adventure to try a new cafe-- one I've never been to. The more intimate it is, the better; as I seek for local cafes that truly embody the qualities of how coffee drinking should and ought to be: slow, patient, and relishing in the moment-- that intimate moment between you and your hot mug; addicting! Oh yes, it's a relationship that I intend to keep at least for a little while longer.
In my hunt for intimate and inspiring cafes around Cebu, I try to steer clear from the ones found in malls or busy districts. While I'm still not finished with this list, I will make sure to only include the cafes I've found worthy of a good book or a pen and a notebook. Cafes that don't rush you into burning your tongue, just so the next customer can be accommodated. If you're looking for an internationally recognized commercial coffee chain, you're on the wrong list.
Thanks to my friend Sekki for this semi-candid shot
Here is my list of the best cafes to fall in love with in Cebu:
For the past five months, I have been going to work in my office in IT Park and never thought of visiting this haven just a few steps from my workplace. Thanks to my friend, Sekki, for bringing me here! Now this has turned into my after office hangout place so I can job hunt or just gather my thoughts. Famous for its Italian favorite dishes and pizza cones, Gusto Urban Cafe + Wine Bar is a delectable choice for a lunch meeting. Its cozy interior and natural lighting makes it a good stop in the afternoon. A cup of Americano is at P80 and served with fresh milk and brown sugar with a pistachio cookie on the side. There is a burnt smell to the coffee but when you add milk to it, the smell diffuses and turns into a flavorful cup.
Gusto Urban Cafe + Wine Bar is located at the Ground Floor, Calyx Center, Asiatown I.T. Park, Lahug, Cebu City. They are open from 8:00am to 2:00am daily.
On a whim, the first thing that attracts you to The Pantry, is that it has a dainty feel to it. Adorned with semi-faded brick walls, you'll feel at home in this small cafe as you delight in one of their gourmet delicacies and snacks. They have an assortment of sandwiches, deli, and cakes that make your visit worthwhile. Especially if you're looking for a light meal, you can indulge in one of the items on their menu. A cup of Cafe Americano is at P90 and is served with a pack of creamer and sugar.
The Pantry is located in The Gallery Strip Mall, Juan Luna Avenue, Mabolo, Cebu City. They are open from 10:00am - 10:00pm (Sundays - Thursdays) and 10:00am - 11:00pm (Fridays - Saturdays). For inquiries, call 032 268 9300. *Update: As of June 2014, The Pantry has closed in The Gallery. La Vie Parisienne
Since my weekend starts on a Sunday and ends on a Monday, I always make it a point to visit La Vie Parisienne for a light breakfast on Monday mornings. Armed with a couple of croissants at P25 each, I make my way to the relaxing deck where I am surrounded by pink makeshift Cherry Blossom trees that alight at night. The sight alone makes it a picturesque tourist destination that should not be missed. My week never feels the same without starting it here.
La Vie Parisienne is located along Gorordo St., Cebu City. It is open starting at 7 a.m. The Chocolate Chamber
Sweetened Hot Chocolate
While it may not exactly be a coffee place, The Chocolate Chamber is one destination that has made its way into my list and into my heart (cheesy!). I was blessed to have met the manager, Edu, that I learned about how passionate its owners are in this unappreciated craft of chocolate making. And it truly shows in their chocolate, a living testimony of how untouched and fresh chocolate should be. Every visit is always a memory on its own, with some parts too privy to share. Visit for an afternoon and you'll want to return for more every day!
The Chocolate Chamber is located at President Quirino Street corner Magsaysay Street, Brgy. Kasambagan, Cebu City. They are open Mondays to Saturdays from 9:00am - 9:00pm and on Sundays 10:00am - 7:00pm. For inquiries, call 09176287661.
Tucked away in a small side street behind The Redemptorist Church, lies a secret gem for coffee lovers and artists alike. Bintana is not your typical cafe. If you're looking for a cafe where you can quietly enjoy your cup of coffee and get to be inspired by the aesthetic of the location, then you've come to the right place. The friendly owner, Sarah, will chat with you every once in a while and inspire you over her passion for coffee preparation. Did I mention they serve civet coffee? It's definitely a place to fall in love with!
Bintana is located 181-K Elizabeth Pond Street, Camputhaw, Cebu City. It is in a small "eskinita" behind The Redemptorist Church. For inquiries, call 032 254 0563. The cafe is open from 11:00am - 9:00pm.
If you have a suggestion, please leave a comment so I can check out the cafe and hopefully include it on this list. My quest is to gather all of these cafes into one blog post that people like me can use as future reference.