A couple of months ago, my sister-in-law visited Cebu from the United States and she was craving for some Spanish dishes. She was asking if there were any good Spanish restaurants in Cebu. I told her there are several and the first restaurant that popped into my mind was Ipar's Restaurante y Bar de Tapas in F. Ramos Street. We decided to have lunch and we ended up having a #happytummy full of paella, tapas, lengua, and other Spanish favorites.
As you enter the antique door, you will be somewhat teleported to different time and place. You will not see a restaurant decorated like this in Cebu. It was like we were in a restaurant in Madrid where most the decorations will be about matadors and bulls. I was impressed with their large wooden tables. I thought that the Instagram generation would definitely take #selfies in different spots of this Spanish restaurant.
There were four of us when we had lunch at Ipar's. It was me and Steph with her sister Pam and dad Noli. We were a bit early and we called two hours before to order paella. The paella at Ipar's is cooked from scratch and they would really advise customers to call them earlier so that they can prepare the dish or else they are going to wait for their paella for at least an hour. We ordered quite a lot and below was what we had in our Spanish food trip.
Some of the Spanish Dishes at Ipar's Restaurante y Bar de Tapas
Among the signature dishes of the Spanish Cuisine are the tapas or appetizers. There are so many restaurants in Spain that specialize in tapas and it is my bucket list to have tapas in Barcelona someday. Ipar's Restaurante y Bar de Tapas prides itself as one of the authentic tapas bars in Cebu and the Phillipines.
Ipar's have a good line-up of tapas. We decided to get Gambas al Ajillo (shrimps sauteed in olive oil and garlic), pan seared Spanish chorizo, and Setas al Ajillo (oyster mushrooms cooked in olive oil and garlic). The other options were Queso Frito (pan-fried Buffalo cheese), Champinones Al Ajillo (button mushrooms sauteed in olive and garlic), Tortilla de patata (Potato omelet), Patatas Ali-Oli (potato cubes with garlic mayonnaise), and Croquettas de Pollo (chicken croquettes). The price range is from 120 - 250 pesos per dish.
For 250 pesos, the order is comprised of 10 bite size pieces of Spanish sausage or chorizo. The Spanish chorizo was much saltier than the Cebuano soriso. It can definitely open up your palate and prepare it for the Spanish main courses. On its own it could be good with rice but tapas are meant to be eaten as appetizers.
Gambas Al Ajillo
The gambas was also priced at 250 pesos. It comes with toasted garlic bread. It is presented way different from the majority of local restaurants that serve this dish. It is enjoyable with the bread. You might think that these servings are small but tapas are meant to serve as starters. Each dish is better shared with other people. Talking while having some tapas was a great way to kill time while waiting for our paella.
Setas Al Ajillo
Eating at Ipar's made me realize that Oyster Mushrooms are a great alternative to shrimps. This dish was prepared in a similar manner with gambas. It packed a lot of flavors and I would probably cook this dish at home sometime in the future. It was priced at 250 pesos as well.
Main Courses at Ipar's
Ipar's offers a wide variety of main dishes. They have Carnes (meat), Aves (fowl), and Pescados y Mariscos (fish and shellfish). For the meat, they have beef, pork, lamb, and goat including ox tongue and ox tripe. The price range is 200- 600 pesos. The most affordable main dishes are the Chuletas de Cerdo (pan-seared Pork Chops), Pollo Al Ajillo (chicken thigh fillets in olive oil and garlic) and Pechugas en Salsa (chicken breast fillets). We decided to get one main dish each.
Lengua Estofada (Braised Ox Tongue)
For 300 pesos, you can have a melt-in-your-mouth ox tongue. The tongue is one of the most flavorful parts of a cow. It is really lean and with some mushroom gravy, you really won't know that you are eating tongue unless someone points it out.
Pechugas en Salsa
This dish is comprised of two pieces of chicken breast fillets bathed with creamy mushroom sauce. It was delicious and lean which made it perfect for people who are conscious with their weight. Ipar's also serves a whole roasted chicken or Pollo Asado and it can either be classic (al horno), al limon (lemon sauce) or al ajillo (garlic sauce). One whole roasted chicken is priced at 600 pesos.
Solomillo a lo Pobre
Pescado en Salsa Verde
The basque style fillet of fish in parsley sauce is just one of the many options for seafood lovers at this restaurant. This dish was priced at 500 pesos an order. Ipar's restaurant also serves Bacalao a la Vizcaina (cod loin prepared the traditional way), Pescado al ajillo (fish fillet in olive oil and garlic), Pescado al Horno (baked fish fillet), Zarzuela de Marisco (mixed seafood casserole), and Langostinos a la Plancha (pan-seared prawns).
Ipar's Restaurante y Bar de Tapas House Specialty
Paella de la Casa
Ipar's specialty is the paella de la casa which is topped with seafood and meat. At 1000 pesos, it can feed 4-6 people or even more. It is served in a large paellera and it is a meal on its own. The paella has Spanish chorizo, gambas, and mussels. The restaurant also offers three other paella variants namely, Marinara (seafood), Negra (squid ink), and Verduras (mixed vegetable). If you wish to order paella for your lunch or dinner there, you should them at +63-32-2554727 to pre-order any of their paellas. I think we were only able to finish half of the paellera and we had the rest for take-out. It was still good when reheated.
For drinks, I tried their calimocho. This popular drink from the Basque region is a mix of red wine and cola. It was really refreshing and easy to drink. I enjoyed it but I refrained from ordering another glass because I was driving the family home. I would surely try to make one at home soon. I will probably attribute my liking for this drink to my Olano ancestors. ;)
Flan Al Caramelo
We had a great meal and if anyone would crave for Spanish dishes I will not hesitate to recommend this place. It is not cheap but the quality is really up there.
Do you like Spanish food? Share with us your favorite Spanish dishes and restaurants by leaving a comment. ;)