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“Experiencing growing pains”
Review of Cafe Elysa - CLOSED

Cafe Elysa
Price range: $2 - $10
Cuisines: Asian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Breakfast, Reservations
Description: Art Gallery-Cafe that serves Local + Travel Inspired Cuisine
Reviewed November 19, 2012

The people behind this restaurant have their hearts in the right place and obviously know something about food and style. There is a vision at work and it certainly takes some daring to distance yourself so far from most hotels—I like that!


The problem is that running a restaurant is not the same thing as going out to eat in one or even entertaining at home for friends. As a result Café Elysa comes off like an amateur production where they had all these great ideas and just fired them all off at once without thinking about how they all fit together. There’s a saying that as chefs get more experienced, they learn to cook with fewer ingredients and I would suggest a similar course of action for this restaurant. Not ingredients per se, but finding the true identity that they are as a restaurant and then focusing solely on those areas. Simplify. Refine. Forget trying to dazzle.


The dishes are all over the place and all the nice paintings and soft lighting cannot make up for the disharmony throughout the menu. My guests were excited to try an adobo dish that had the addition of dried fish. In concept, not bad, taking a page from Europe and this region but we all agreed that the version served was so overpowering with the latter that the nice aspects in the former were lost. It’s a perfect example of the overall issue I had with Café Elysa, which I think holds promise, but needs to grow up a lot more, to pass through this youthful discovery phase, and to mature as a restaurant.

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10  Thank Chris M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (45)
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15 - 19 of 45 reviews

Reviewed November 16, 2012

I was there Oct. 2012 and was surprised Cebu has such a place. the food is a medley of the right spices, taste, and the right wine to go with it. The food selection features a delightful blend of traditional Spanish and Filipino dishes, and a number of uniquely orchestrated palate that is heavenly and delightful to a food connoisseurs taste buds. Furthermore, the service was excellent, and the owner and manager were very friendly.

i will definitely drop by again next month when i visit Cebu. i would never miss dropping by when i'm in town.

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Thank RogerChaoJr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 15, 2012

I have been to Cebu for quite some time. Heck, I live here temporarily. My mother told me about this restaurant that sold the best food and wine. Being the person I am, I agreed instantly. A few days later, she brought me to the restaurant. At first, I was not quite fond with the location. But I assure you, it was worth it. The wine was wonderful! The food was something that I have never tasted before. In a good way, that is. Wonderful place this is!

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1  Thank SmileWhileTravelling
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 13, 2012

I moved to Cebu not too long ago and was introduced to Cafe Elysa by a good friend of mine. Having been traveling for the past decades I truly enjoy variety of cuisines, especially Mediterranean and Asian Cuisines...Cafe Elysa gives me the feeling that I am somewhere in the South of Europe...However, it is not just the ambience that inspired me and my 9 years old boy to dine regularly...but truly their food is great! I love their Calderetang Kanding - Goat cooked in Tomato Sauce, the best I have ever tasted in town...Every time I visit the cafe I never failed to order this dish and the price is fair. As for my boy, he just love their Pork Satay and Deep Fried Chicken Wings - with Sweet Peanut Sauce. The main course is not enough for us without a good dessert...their Flambe`ed Tropical Fruit with Nuts topped
with Ice Cream is also to die for...I am writing this review to invite food adventurers and explorer to visit Cafe Elysa and experience the mediterranean touch in the heart of the city of Cebu....Lastly, I like to say thank you Cafe Elysa for your wonderful hospitality, food, service and ambience. Cheers!

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1  Thank Fabulous S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 10, 2012

I don't take allot of stock in online reviews because they are fairly easy to manipulate. I can tell pretty easily the legitimate reviews from the known allies or those with axes to grind. Here is a straight up review.

Upon entering the place I was pleased with the ambiance and the fresh smell in the air. As was reported by some here, there was only one occupied table with three caucasian females on a Friday evening. This is usually one of the tell tale signs of a faultering establishment, but as the tile states, I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

I can see what others are thinking when they say what they do about Cafe Elysa being off their game, as a previous restautant consultant I have seen the signs before. But this place is not in serious trouble, they just need to rekindle the love and the passion that is a MUST for the restaurant business. Becoming complaicent is the beginning of the death spiral that many many places experience, but this does not have to be the case here!

The food was very good and the prices were fair. The service was friendly and more than adequate. As I told the manager Joy, a personal greeting at the entrance is a very important aspect of a successfful establishment and I think that she and the owner Steve agreed.

I was lucky enough to share a table with the aformentioned people and their lovely friend Joy (coincidence! LOL) to discuss these and other matters. I told them that in my opinion I could see the vision and the possibilities that abound for the concept.

Location location location!!! The spot is not ideal, but if you have the right mix of food, ambiance and experience, they will come. The parking is adequate!

After a couple of beers with dinner, a martini or two after dinner and a couple of bottles of wine shared with new friends, my remembrance of this dining exparience ends at this point. LOLOLOL

In closing all I will say is that we are sure to return so that we can help support the rejuvination and re-commitment to excellence. Steve has the passion for sure!

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2  Thank Bob W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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