Imagine eating all those plates of food, and finishing them too. When the plates are so small, you don’t feel as guilty munching on a lot of things. That’s the beauty of Tapas!
When in Cebu, visit Ipar’s Restaurante Y Bar de Tapas for some of the most authentic & tasty Spanish cuisine in the Philippines. I’m not kidding, it’s pretty spot on from the ambiance to the cuisine.
Ipar’s interiors are chock-full of memorabilia, antique furniture, and Spanish photos of matadors and Tomatilla festivals, one can’t help but feel transported to a cucina in Espanya in no time.
The bar area is spacious and very traditional, with wine goblets hanging on a overhead rack, garlic hanging for effect, and the TV blaring for that bar appeal. I wanted to eat there, but my hostess refused. She was wearing all-white. Hot.
Since Cebuanos love to dine and wine, the bar is definitely the place to try some tasty tapas at Ipar’s. They even have Chicharron Para Apertivo on the house. It tasted just like Lapid’s Chicharron! Can someone translate the top sign?
The main dining hall feels almost medieval, with a lot of heavy drapery and wood furniture.
Speaking of wooden furniture… LOVE love love their solid wooden tables with leather studded chairs.
The interiors really evoke a lazy Spanish vibe, the warm tones and vivid paintings rendering mood and atmosphere.
Which made eating all these cute plates of tapas feel even more of an authentic Spanish experience. This is what we tried, and everything was fantastic:
Anchovies & Tomato with Porkloin. DELICIOSO.
Croquetas De Pollo
These chicken croquettes had a silky smooth texture enclosed in a crispy shell, just the way ToT likes it.
Smoked Tangigue with Egg salad
I mistook this for ham! It had a very meaty flavor to it, which must be the smoke.
Patata Con Ali-Oli
Boiled potatoes in Homemade garlic-mayo. Now, I’m not big on potato salads, but this one was very clean and well-seasoned. Could not get my fork to leave this dish.
Ensalada de Gambas con Patata
Served as a Montada, atop a piece of bread. Bite sized goodness.
Pulpo in Vinagreta
Octopus served with a pepper vinaigrette
Tortilla De Patatas – Potato Omelette
Tortilla! No, not the Mexican type, this tortilla was light and layered beautifully with potatoes and egg. So simple yet tasty and filling.
Salpicon De Mariscos – Mixed seafood in vinaigrette
Ipar’s makes his own Chorizo and it is tasty…
Everything was tasty and worked perfectly with freshly toasted bread for dipping in the sauces.
As we paused for a photo-op, I thought we were done with the meal, which had about 10+ plates in front of us… But NO!
The Paella Negra had to arrive. On the menu it said it serves 4-6 persons, but our group of eight could not even make a dent since the paellera was the size of a Bilao! Think XL Pizza, it was very generous for the Php650 pricetag.
A paella of squid and cuttlefish cooked in its own inc to give the distinct black color, it had great texture and flavor, and with the addition of aioli, it was HEAVEN and worth the 1 hour wait.
We were given a substantial slice of cake from the table next door who was celebrating a birthday. So nice!
But I kept my appetite for the yummiest of postres (dessert), the Flan Al Caramelo, or the world famous Leche Flan. Silky, creamy and not a bubble in sight, this rich egg yolk and condensed milk dessert conjured childhood memories of my grandma’s Leche Flan in Pampanga, all yolk and no white. It was like a pound of goodness per teaspoon, and it cleansed my palate from the tapas and paella in no time. I want this Leche Flan for take home please!
After that fantastic meal cooked by “Ipar” himself, I knew I had to meet the guy. He was hiding behind the bar.
Chef Ipar studied culinary in Spain and brought back all his knowledge to his hometown of Cebu. The unmistakable Spanish flavor evident in the food is due to the ingredients being imported from Spain, from the olive oil and the spices, to the anchovies and the coffee. The restaurant stands in front of a family estate, and almost every item on display is from his family’s personal collection and at least one or two interesting stories to be told.
Here’s the Chef all-smiles after laboring in the kitchen to make our tapas and paella. Since I’ve been craving for another European adventure after last summer’s Mediterranean cruise, it’s comforting to know that I can be transported to Spain with just a few plates of tapas, whether it be in Manila (Terry’s), or in the authentic den and kitchen of Chef Ipar’s!
157 F. Ramos Street
Cebu City 6000, Philippines
+63 032 410 7727 / 255 4727