What Paolo Eats


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*This entry is a re-post from my main blog. Read the original post HERE.

My friend Neil of Nfblogs invited me & another friend, Jaye, to a taste test lunch at Zao Resto earlier this week. Food is one thing that I will never, ever turn down (aside from, say.. well, I can’t really think of anything else), so of course I said YES (emphasis on the capitalization).

Before this, I had only been to Zao once in my life, which I think is pretty unbelievable as the place is only a two minute car ride from where I live. I didn’t even get to taste any food the first time I was there – it was a Halloween party – so I was definitely in for a surprise. I was told that Zao had a new menu, and we were there to try it out.

Neil was already there when I arrived and was talking with Paolo Ong (thank you again, Pao!), Zao’s resident chef & whose parents own the restaurant. It also turned out that Paolo and I have quite a number of mutual friends – but that happens a lot here. Cebu is such a tiny place that if it was a social network, everybody would have mutual friends with each other! Anyway, from the quite confusing exchange of words with Neil and Paolo (confusing because every time Neil would say “Pao”, Paolo and I both thought we were the ones being addressed), I learned that Paolo graduated from the California Culinary Academy and was heavily influenced by the food in San Francisco.

I’ve never been to San Francisco (or to the States, for that matter. Thank you nursing profession for getting my Visa application denied… TWICE), but the food there must be good since all the dishes we feasted on, to put it quite bluntly, blew us all away. Cebu seems to have a shortage of places that serve huge portions of good food at affordable prices (you know, places where all the hip young urban professionals *note hint of sarcasm*- and I, the young urban bum – would love to go to?). The go-to place for almost everybody is I.T. Park, but the next time someone asks you where you guys should eat, you should say, “ZAO!”. Take my word for it.

Thanks to Jaye, who is one of the prettiest girls I know, for keeping us entertained with her stories and to Neil for inviting us!

This was that I ordered, the El Guapito - grilled Mexican chicken with chipotle mushroom sauce, topped with caramelized onions and green bell pepper, served with garlic rice. That's a number of my favorite things in one plate. I had a difficult time finishing it, by the way, since it was HUGE.

Neil's Suck and Blow. Pretty shocking name, huh, until you realize that it's actually pastel de lengua (ox tongue) with mushroom and garlic rice serve on a sizzling plate. Most of Zao's dishes actually have pretty catchy names, such as Vampire Weekend and Highschool Days (both I cannot wait to try next). You'll have to visit Zao for yourself to find out what those are!

Jaye's Gambas - I'm a big fan of shrimp and an even bigger fan of gambas. My verdict? BEST. GAMBAS. EVER. HANDS DOWN! The sauce is incredible but it tastes even better with hot sauce!

I enjoyed Zao’s food so much that I’ve already told my mother that we HAVE to eat there this weekend.

What Paolo Thinks:

Zao Resto also has a grilled buffet of delectable chicken, beef, pork and seafood grilled to perfection, with bottomless drinks such as iced tea and pineapple juice..

Zao Resto is located at Andres Abellana cor. Julio Diaz St., Cebu City.

They are open from Monday to Sunday, with business hours of 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM for lunch and 5:00 PM – 11:00 PM for dinner.

For inquiries and reservations, call them at 254-3811.

Don’t forget to add Zao on Facebook by clicking HERE.


Written by paoloberdin

November 3, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Posted in A La Carte, Buffet

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