STK Ta Bay sa Paulito’s Seafood Restaurant started as a small eatery that served only 5 dishes back in 2002. Since then it has offered more authentic Cebuano dishes ranging from favorite staples such as fish sutukil to the more exotic fares such as turtle and eel.
I imagine that the house where the restaurant is located underwent a lot of renovations just to accommodate the growing number of patrons as well. The interiors however, still invoke an ‘old ancestral house’ appeal. There are antique furniture, religious icons and interesting collections of china for viewing while waiting for your orders to be served. This somehow makes the customers feel like they are invited family guests and not merely clients who want a good yet reasonably priced meal.
May I warn you in advance that I did not consume all the dishes below in just one occasion. I was with two groups last year. The first was with my churchmates and the most recent was with my former colleagues. Each dish by the way, came in a serving size that could adequately feed at least 3-4 persons.
But we got the grilled tuna panga or jaw in both times. This is in fact one of the restaurant’s bestsellers and true enough, it did not disappoint us. The sauce and marinade just had enough spiciness and sweetness. The juices of the fish were also retained despite being grilled over a period of time. This easily filled our hungry stomachs and won our hearts as well.
I am actually surprised why it took me awhile before I could finally dine at STK Ta Bay. The reason perhaps is that it is located at Orchid St, which is in between a tertiary hospital and the provincial capitol. Despite being relatively hidden or far from busier thoroughfares or malls in the city, the restaurant has managed to attract more than enough number of guests to keep it running for almost a decade now.
Proof of this are the handful high-profile guests that have graced STK Ta Bay at some point. A former Philippine president, local reality TV stars and many others have autographed a plate which are now in display at the restaurant’s main section. By some stroke of irony, the plates have also overshadowed the luster of some celebrities who only have a few months of fame compared to the STK Ta Bay’s longevity in the business.
We did not sign some plates of course during our first visit. But we managed to have our photo taken with Karen Leslie Alcover-Cabahug, the operations head of the restaurant. I do not have illusions at all of having it posted in their wall of fame, but the photo is good enough for this small-time blog.
I was still smiling at this photograph but a few hours later, I made a fireworks display that could be included in Kate Perry’s music video. But the good memory of our food trip that evening and the taste of STK’s grilled panga could more than make up for that experience.
STK Ta Bay at Paolito’s Seafood House
6 Orchid St., Capitol Site, Cebu City
+6332 2562700 / +6332 2534732