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At Long Last, Cebu’s Finest, Freshest Eat-All-You-Can Seafood Concept Is Now Here In Manila

Swahe, scallops, lobsters, king fish, mud crabs, sea mantis, barracuda, parrot fish, and the list goes on and on—they’re all waiting to be selected and cooked on the spot at the brand new Isla Sugbu Seafood City in Venice Grand Canal Mall.


For those old enough to remember, there once was a restaurant on Makati Avenue (on the site where A. Venue now stands) that featured live seafood that one could make turo (point to), have your selection weighed, then cooked onsite. With its live aquariums and the promise of fresh seafood, it was a popular eatery that survived a number of years. Whether it was the maintenance costs or shifting tastes of the clientele, the restaurant eventually closed. Other than heading to the open-air dampa on Macapagal, Libis, or Cubao, we don’t see this type of food concept at the big malls that dot Metro Manila.

We didn’t, until now! Thanks to the continued success of Isla Sugbu Seafood City in Cebu City which features Cebu’s famous sutukil cuisine—sugba for grill, tuwa for stew or soup, and kilaw for kinilaw (similar to ceviche)—the owners behind this very popular Cebu restaurant have opened a Seafood City on the second floor of the Venice Grand Canal Mall in McKinley Hill.


Mr. Lowell Yu welcoming guests to the preview dinner.


The big difference from the regular dampa experience is glaring—you’re now in an air-conditioned setting; the cleanliness and hygiene factor has been raised several notches; there’s spacious distance between tables; and you’re dining with high quality plates, bowls, and utensils. You don’t enter the premises to be assaulted by any fishy or malansa odor. There is even a wine selection to show how serious the owners are in offering a more refined dampa dining experience. 


And that’s not all! Isla Sugbu Seafood City is proud of its Paluto All You Can experience. Like a buffet, you pay a single price per person, and it’s eat-all-you-can—just choose your seafood and specify how you want it cooked. There’s a variety of fish and shellfish available, aside from tanks carrying premium items (which affect the pricing), plus a selection of vegetables to prepare as sidings or to flavor your seafood dishes.


Nicole H. Delos Angeles handling the lobster on her own.


The only caveat to this seafood bonanza is that you have to finish what you’ve cooked, as the restaurant is trying to avoid wastage, which has always been an issue with buffets. So many of us are takaw tingin, when it’s so much simpler to head back to the buffet instead of piling our plates with mounds of food we don’t end up touching. That’s outright wastage, and it is something to be discouraged; so I’m all for this policy that Isla Sugbu is trying to enforce. 

On the preview night that we were invited to, there were a host of dishes that were served, and they showcased just how adept the chefs and cooks are in handling different cuisines and styles of cooking. Some of the dishes were very Filipino, while others had distinct Chinese and Thai influences. But without a doubt, we all agreed that seafood has never tasted this good despite the simplicity of preparation, with the freshness of the seafood obviously a factor. Kudos to Mr. Lowell Yu, Mr. Winglip Chang, and the team behind the restaurant.


Photos of the variety of live and fresh seafood available for the patrons of Isla Sugbu Seafood City.


While the dampa may be uniquely Filipino, Isla Sugbu is pulling out all the stops to upgrade the dampa and sutukil concept, making this quintessentially Cebuano experience something we can all enjoy in a comfortable and clean setting. All those who love seafood here in Metro Manila now have a new destination—and it’s one that they’ll be overjoyed to discover.


The Paluto All-You-Can is offering a promo rate inclusive of VAT (original price is P1,300) only until February 28, 2019:

P848 on Mondays to Thursdays, 11 am to 3 pm

P888 on Mondays to Thursdays, 6 pm to 11 pm; Fridays and holidays, 11 am to 3 pm and 6 pm to 11 pm; Saturdays and Sundays, 10 am to 3 pm and 6 pm to 11 pm


2/F Venice Grand Canal Mall, McKinley Hill, Bonifacio Global City, FB: Isla Sugbu Seafood City