Used to be a carenderia, Cafe Elysa transformed the place to a cozy and warm dining space which is both intimate and mellow. The bistro is located at Parian which is very near the heritage monument of Cebu – just right after you turn right to the Pari-an Fire Station and Police Station. Cafe Elysa was named after the owner’s mother, Elysa Aznar. Stephen Aznar talks about the food being classified as Filipino with infused tastes from his travels overseas and abroad.
Classical and simple yet chic – that was my first impression as I entered the wooden door of Cafe Elysa. With chill out music on the background which sets the contrast between the wooden and classic facade, you’d know it’s not gonna be a boring dining experience.
We started with a special Tapa (not on Cafe Elysa Menu) prepared by Chef Skippy Borromeo – Caviar on white cheese and salty crackers. Different Cafe Elysa Tapas or appetizers was then served.
Chicken Liver Paste with Sauteed Apple and Triple Sec priced at 85php. If you like the sandy and strong taste of liver then you’d enjoy this appetizer. It’s not like the liver spread we buy in the supermarket which is spicy and sweet which blends and masks the strong taste of the liver. This one tastes like liver. 🙂
Pinoy Lumpia Prito – priced at 65php. This one is clearly Thai/Vietnamese inspired as you can taste the glass noodles which is being used in both Thai and Vietnamese spring rolls. Perfectly fried and seasoned! Me likey!
Salt and Pepper Squid in a bed of Bokchoy – I highly recommend this Tapa to everyone. Spicy and semi sweet sauce which complemented well with the Bok Choy. For those who doesnt know what Bok Choy is, it’s Chinese cabbage, which is a good source of Vitamin C and A.
Another Tapa reccomendation is the “Popcorn Shrimp.” So why did they call it Popcorn Shrimp when there’s no corn ingedient on this tapa? Well, it simply is because when they first cooked the dish, the popping sound like a popcorn popping was heard on the kitchen so they called it “Popcorn Shrimp!”
Tangigue Ceviche – or locally known as kinilaw is plainly Tangigue in vinegar chilis, onion and spring onions. I eat raw fish but am not a fan. But what’s good about Cafe Elysa’s Ceviche is that the vinegar is not too strong but just enough to kill the fish’s sea taste.
Spicy Beef & Eggplant Cake with Red Curry topped with Holy Basil – priced at 85php. Strong spiced beef taste which then cleansed with the taste of cucumber. Interesting Tapa! FYI – Holy basil or tulasi or Tulsi is a natural remedy for stress.
Pasta Bolognese with basil and Grana Padano Cheese – spaghetti pasta with with classical Italian meat sauce with Italian Grana Padano Cheese. You can taste grits of semi salty yet milky bits of Italian cheese, I find it a bit salty though. But the pasta was cooked just right!
Elysa Fried Rice – Amazingly not as oily as the fried rice we are accustomed to. A very homey and nostalgic taste just like when we were served fried rice in the morning when we were kids as the salt rocks melts in your mouth and sweet taste of bits of fresh spring onions.
For dessert, we had Apple Banana Fritters with Sugar Syrup. Classic!
Definitely will be back for the caldereta as Vahnjohn had recommended!
iluvcebu.com authors Doyzkie, Noe, Chai, Nayki with Cafe Elysa owner Stephen Aznar and Chef Skippy Borromeo.
Thanks to Jude Bacalso and Stephen Aznar for the invite!
Cafe Elysa is open on Tuesdays to Sundays from 11am-3pm and 6pm to 10pm. Closed on Mondays.
Address: 30-A ZAmora St. Pari-an, Cebu City
Phone: (032) 414 9265 | (032) 416 6793