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“Porchetta!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Tavolata

A.S. Fortuna St. | Design Center of Cebu, Cebu City, Philippines
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Ranked #6 of 366 Restaurants in Cebu City
Cuisines: Italian
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations, Late Night
Description: In the vein of a traditional Italian Trattoria – a casual, local gathering place for food, friends and wine – our menu reflects the purity of tradition by relying on the classical and effortless approach. The simple purity of our inspiration comes from the superior ingredients and technique of the Trattoria.Everything on the menu at Tavolata is handcrafted, using only the finest local and imported ingredients. Our pasta is made fresh daily from 100% semolina from Italy using our own bronze die extruder. Unlike the store bought pasta most restaurants use, you will find the delightful chewiness of freshly extruded pasta a wonderful experience. From the fermentation of the dough to the homemade toppings, you'll certainly agree that our hand-tossed pizzas are irresistible.The joy of eating, both simply and well, while among good company is the aspiration of Tavolata. It is with this simple thought that we invite you to sit, dine an enjoy life with those you love at our Tavolata!
Cebu Island, Philippines
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2012

there is no bold signage at the front nor neon lights with arrows that point to the door. In fact, the restaurant is heavily tinted from the outside and you can only see the Tavolata name in the sides and if you squint more, you’d be lucky enough to see a silhouette of the dining patrons with their faces glowing from the candles on the tables.

Everything on the menu at Tavolata is handcrafted, using only the finest local and imported ingredients. They also serve spirits, grappa, coffee, tea, fresh juices, hot lips soda, and liqueur.

  • Visited September 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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54 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Sydney, Australia
15 reviews 15 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
“Bonfire of the vanities”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2012

This place was the 2nd Italian restaurant we visited on this trip and it was clearly the fashionable choice but my colleagues and I dine out for food, not to snap photos for Facebook or relay tweets for goodness sake. What happened to experience, is it now secondary to its digitized version?

To the meal, I was excited to get hand rolled fresh pasta having had my share in Itay but their versions lacked the gentle artistry I was expecting from a place with top end aspirations.Texture was a bit too soft and two out of three dishes were over-dressed with their sauces. You need to allow the cheese and pasta and protein be the stars they are, and I felt that they were drowned out by their co-stars, which is a very common mistake, particularly in Italian restaurants abroad. The pizza was much much better in my opinion because they nailed the crust, even though some neighboring tables complained of burnt crust ( little do they know) and mozzarella was real ( thank god) and a perfect complement to the fresh, not too sweet tomato sauce and unctuous sausage. A mixed green salad was far too ordinary to mention.

The wine list was hilariously over-priced not just for Cebu but for HK and it was all too typical of a place trying a bit too hard. Some might applaud the ownership for completely exploiting their status-seeking crowd for every last penny however, that is precisely how luxury brands are built and it appears to be the endeavor of this establishment to construct one. However as a collector of wine myself, and someone who has already gone though my vain phase, I had to abstain out of principle. Another star would have been forthcoming had they chosen the path less traveled.

Tavolata’s atmospherics, fashionista wannabe’ s aside, was something you might have seen in the 1970’s from the dark tinted windows, dimmed over head lighting, long soft curtains. It felt, well, very theatrical and perhaps that‘s what they were going for, for whatever reason. I would have preferred candlelight effects or less practiced modernity to match better with the faux antique wooden pieces they assembled. More importantly, if you are going to claim to serve genuine food, a claim they have a right to make, why spend so much energy focusing on the artificial?

I imagine the choice was motivated by their location, on a busy but otherwise unsightly highway and in a sleek but nonetheless pedestrian shopping “center”, across from a mattress store. With real life surroundings such as this, it’s no wonder they are trying to create a little make believe hideaway.

  • Visited October 2012
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cebu, Philippines
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Was expecting a little more”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 5, 2012

The promise of fresh pasta made daily and hand tossed pizzas made of dough fermented for three days lured me to this sparkling new addition to the Abaca group. I've enjoyed all my visits to Abaca, Maya and A Cafe and thus had high expectations for this Italian trattorria. For the most part it was a good experience -- beautiful lighting (who wouldn't look absolutely flawless under that lighting?), comfortable seating, attentive staff and good acoustics design. I enjoyed the pasta which was listed as having been "guitar cut". It would have been nice to understand why this would be a good thing but the menu didn't elaborate. However, technical explanations aside, the texture was very different from regularly purchased/served pasta --firm but with a slightly rough texture to the pasta to which you could really feel the sauce clinging too. Thus, each bite full of pasta didn't need to be dripping in sauce. Yum! Pizza wise I had the prosciutto and arugula which was definitely worth the visit. Thin crust with a chewy, airy middle in the bulbous edges. So why not five circles? I do look at the details and when I asked for hot sauce I was presented with a bottle of tabasco. I was disappointed as the sicilian restaurant down the road makes their own amazing hot sauce and so getting the Tabasco was a bit of a let down. For dessert I ordered the baked apple tart which was good although a little more of the vanilla sauce on the side would have been great. It came to the table just slightly warm which makes me think that the climb upstairs from the kitchen might have contributed to the loss in heat a bit? The coffee I ordered was good but was served with a chewy, cake-like biscotti. I had to ask if it was biscotti as it was a little thick but was assured it was. I dunked it into my coffee and soaked up the coffee and fell apart in my cup almost immediately. In Italy there are many different sorts of biscotti but I do believe that if you serve it with coffee the expectation is that one would be able to dunk without worry. One last thing, make a reservation as I called quite early and yet there was only one table left at 8pm on Friday.

  • Visited October 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cebu Island, Philippines
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
39 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
65 helpful votes 65 helpful votes
“Superb, plus owner always around to steady things”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 14, 2012

Cebu can always use a new restaurant, especially when the owner puts as much time and attention as does the owner of this one.

I haven't tried many things on the menu, as we are light eaters and tend not to go for main dishes at dinnertime. The things we have tried---pizza, bruschetta, ham, sausages---are all served with flavor and presentation in mind. Jason, the owner, seems always in the kitchen minding that things go out the right way. And so far for us, they have.

The service staff are well trained and deserve good tips. The venue is spacious, lit just right, and conversations are pleasant amidst the din of other diners.

We will be back often.

  • Visited September 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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