a native resto with a spanish vibe

it was the closest to an ancestral house/museum that i went to, except that it was a restaurant. even cooler. for the first 10 minutes, i couldn’t bring myself to sit down. i just wanted to look around and take photos of the place!

paolito's stk restaurant, cebu

the decorative windows had me at hello. but then again, wooden spanish windows with their trademark capiz shells always do. once upon a time, i told myself that if i ever buy a house, i want windows like this. i don’t know why. i just do. these windows speak to me in a way that i can’t quite explain. or maybe it’s simply the nostalgia of it. a nod to the past when women wore maria claras and kalesas roamed the streets.

i’m probably romanticizing the philippines during that spanish era but if there’s one legacy of that time that i truly appreciate, it would have to be the houses. i’m a sucker for spanish ancestral houses. and i have heaps of posts scattered around this blog to prove it. some of the more note-worthy ones include casa gorordo, yap-sandiego ancestral house, and balay ni tana dicang, among others.

paolito’s restaurant definitely had that historical/ancestral house vibe going. i don’t know how some customers can just walk in and go straight for the menu. i inhaled that place. let the atmosphere fill my lungs and my system with reverence for the past.

paolito's stk restaurant, cebu

even their handwashing area didn’t escape my poetic admiration! gotta give them props for trying to make everything authentic. although back in the olden days, they didn’t have the luxury of running water from a tap.

paolito's stk restaurant, cebu

of course, what true-blue cebuano isn’t a firm believer of sto. niño? it’s almost a given to have his statue or image displayed somewhere, be it in the privacy of homes or openly exposed in commercial establishments. kind of like how vietnamese restaurants have these little altars tucked in a corner with fruits and offerings in there.

cebuanos and sto. niño, we go a loooong way back. he’s our homie. the roots of our history are so deep and so entwined that the moment we collectively put our hands up in the air to sing “kanamo maluoy ka unta…,” GOOSEBUMPS GALORE!!! i swear, it’s one of the most magical moments that happen during the novena masses leading up to sinulog. rain or shine.

here’s a video to show you what i mean. credits to the owner. you don’t even need to watch the whole entire video ‘coz it’s quite long. the first 2 minutes should suffice.

anyway, it was good that the restaurant wasn’t full at the time we were there. meaning, i got to take a lot more photos.

paolito's stk restaurant, cebupaolito's stk restaurant, cebupaolito's stk restaurant, cebu

as it’s a native restaurant offering popular local dishes, food-wise, it was great! and i say that as somebody who had been pining for authentic filipino food as the ones we have here in australia don’t hold a candle to the real thing. you might argue that your mom or lola can cook better and yes, i must admit, hands down, nanay cora whips up the meanest tinuwa na isda that’s better than this restaurant’s but their grilled panga and the other dishes we ordered weren’t bad either.

if i remember correctly, jeff loved the crispy kangkong. as always, i had a bit of everything because that’s just how i roll. fats and all.

paolito's stk restaurant, cebupaolito's stk restaurant, cebu

the nice thing about this restaurant too was how you get to pick the seafood that you want them to cook, and how. and they were fresh. something you really get to appreciate when the ones you get at the fish shops here are/have been frozen.

back home, we have vendors going door-to-door selling the freshest catch of the day. and a nanay cora to cook them.

now i miss home.

paolito's stk restaurant, cebupaolito's stk restaurant, cebupaolito's stk restaurant, cebupaolito's stk restaurant, cebu

*raven at 1 year and 3 months old

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10 thoughts on “a native resto with a spanish vibe

    • i know, right?! i was even thinking of incorporating some elements of it here but i don’t know where to source my materials. also, i kinda suck at interior decoration. lol.

  1. Wow, that is really beautiful music. I love it that you didn’t sit immediately but instead wanted to wander around enjoying the architecture and decoration . Thanks so much for sharing this, I really enjoyed reading your post and watching and listening to the video 🙂

    • watching that video transported me back like i was actually in the crowd too. i guess traditions are part of what makes you who you are. there would always be that connection that transcends digital media.

      thanks for your time, tracey. have a nice weekend! (at least, it’s weekend here in australia. hehe.)

        • omg, i swear ingon ana sad jud ko! like if things are happening in real time, in my head i’d be like, “omg, i am so blogging about this!” pero igka abot na sa time na isuwat na, magtutok ra sa computer kay wa na ko kahibaw unsa akong isuwat.

          most of the time i have to push/force myself to write. that’s the only reason ni survive ni nga blog.

    • i didn’t know there’s actually a proper term for it. god knows how long it took for me to come up with a title so i just settled for the closest description i could think about. thank you for that information. will definitely keep that in mind. 🙂

      but it is beautiful, isn’t it? you rarely get to see those features on new houses anymore and it’s quite sad. must be why i love going to ancestral houses so much as they take me back to the beauty and splendour of the good ol’ days.

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