Two Saturdays ago, we were going to have dinner in the newest place to dine, an outdoor floating restaurant. This place gained popularity through word of mouth, both online and offline. Friends advised that we call the restaurant prior to our visit to make reservations as the place could get packed, especially on weekends. We called, but we were denied of a reservation since the slots were full. No problem. They put a limit to their reservations so they could still accommodate walk-in guests. We just had to be early. As we prepared and dressed up, rain suddenly poured like there was no tomorrow, but we didn’t allow that to ruin our plans. We still headed to Cordova, hoping that the rain would stop along the way. Anyway, the adjacent town is a good twenty minute drive from home so anything can still happen. Besides, if the rain will be such a killjoy, Gaisano Grand Mall is not that far-away.
As we were nearing the bridge that separates Cordova from Lapu-Lapu City, the rain stopped! Yey! The sky was much brighter on this side of the island. Dad was quite familiar with the town so we left all the burden of navigation to him as he was the driver anyway. Prior to this, I made my own research and learned that while Lantaw might be quite far from the happening places, one would just have to take the Mactan Circumferential Road until you reach the town’s crossing. From there, the road splits into three. Turning left would lead to the town poblacion. Turning right would lead to the poblacion of Lapu-Lapu City. The middle road would lead to Barangay Day-as where Lantaw is located. Sounds easy, right? But then, we were not aware that the Cordova was celebrating their town fiesta during our visit, so there were several detours.
Before we could even reach the town crossing, we were made to turn left to a two-way-but-very-narrow sh*tty (pardon me for the term) barangay road dominated by houses encroaching the road, pedestrians and pedi-cabs! I thought my own city had the worst roads in Cebu but then we experienced Cordova. LOL. (No point in comparing though since my city is a highly-urbanized city, while Cordova is just a third-class municipality. Therefore, my city should be more than capable to repair its own roads which it is doing so right now). Dad trusted his directional instinct, and in no time, we found ourselves in Cordova Reef Village Resort. The town poblacion was right behind us but then we encountered another road closure. Thankfully, there was a traffic enforcer who led us the way to Lantaw. He instructed us to take a limestone road that would lead to the main barangay road, all the way to Lantaw.
After a few minutes, we finally saw the sea, a sign that we were taking the right direction. Before we could enter the Day-as Wharf, we had to pay an entrance fee of P10. (P10 for 4-wheel-vehicles, P5 for 2-wheel-vehicles, or P1 per pedestrian). (UPDATE: I just learned that you could actually have your parking ticket validated when dining at Lantaw, and the parking fee is waived.) The parking lot was full so they made us park on the roadside.
View of Lantaw Floating Native Restaurant, from where we were parked.
Finally, we have arrived! I said to myself, “Gosh, the food should be worth all the hassle we went through just to get here!” LOL.
From the road, a bamboo stilt bridge led us to the floating restaurant.
LANTAW, is a Cebuano word which means “to look out”, an apt name since the restaurant affords a panoramic view of the Cebu City skyline.
True to their label, a native restaurant, we were warmly received by the staff in the native tongue. We were informed that all the tables were occupied but we were second on the waiting list. Great! While waiting, we browsed through the menu so we could order directly when we are seated. We waited for quite some time but we really didn’t mind since were too busy appreciating the view around us.
I wasn’t able to bring my tripod with me so this is my only photo of the Cebu City skyline, as seen from Lantaw
Fifteen minutes passed and one table was finally available. It was in the “unroofed” area, and we were asked if we were going to take it or just wait for the next table in the covered area to be available. Confident that rain will no longer pour, we said yes.
Lantaw’s Outdoor Area with the mangroves and Cebu City as its background
Lovely skies, eh?
Now, let’s go to the food. Lantaw Floating Native Restaurant is owned and operated by Pages Holdings, Inc. (PHI), which is also behind the Cebuano brands: THIRSTY Juices and Shakes and Mooon Cafe Mexican-inspired restaurant. Plus, the hype, and the labyrinth we went through just to get here. Our expectations were really high! Ravenousness was raised to the highest level.
clockwise from top right:
Sisig. P130 – this was good. It wasn’t too spicy and didn’t need any condiment to enhance its flavors.
Baked Scallops. P140 – baked scallops will always be a favorite and a consistent craving and what I loved about Lantaw’s version is that it’s literally cheesy.
Crispy Pata (Large). P425 – presentation-wise, it may not be that inviting, but it was toothsome; no condiments required.
Grilled Pork Belly. P160 – sweetness and juiciness was gratifying.
Lantaw Halo-Halo. P95 – nothing extraordinary but good enough to cool down after a long day.
Iced Tea (Bottomless). P65 – it’s all about presentation! an empty sandwich spread/mayonnaise jar + powdered iced tea = Instagram worthy. LOL
Garlic Shrimps. P85 – shrimps were very fresh but I almost didn’t taste garlic at all. I was expecting something like The Veranda’s Garlic Shrimps which was tumaceous and herbaceous!
Squid Adobo. P230 – I felt that the serving size was quite small for the price. Nonetheless, it was good and flavorful.
Adobong Kangkong. P80 – redolent and garlicky, I love it!
Bibinga Cake ala Mode. P70 – cute and unique. Imagine having La Marea’s Warm Brownie Cup but instead of the brownie, you have a bibingka. Novel!
Overall, the food was good. It was like Mooon Cafe stripped off of its Mexican menu. I am sure to come back and next time, I’ll be fully-equipped so I can give justice to the beauty of Cebu’s ever-growing skyline. Aside from that, I’ll try to order the Bakasi, which is one of the products associated with Cordova, or saltwater eels that are particularly abundant in Cordova (In fact, the fiesta that caused
the hassle the massive rerouting is named “Dinagat-Bakasi” Festival).
Located in Barangay Day-as Cordova, LANTAW is open daily, 10am-10pm on Sundays to Thursdays and 10am-12mn on Fridays and Saturdays. For inquiries and reservations, you may call +63 32 514 2959.
UPDATED as of August 27, 2012:
Last Saturday, August 25, a friend of mom celebrated her birthday at Lantaw. She wanted to tag me and my brother along as she wasn’t confident she could navigate to Lantaw alone. Without any hesitation, we went with her. (Yummy food floating in our minds). Thankfully, there were no more road detours this time so locating Lantaw was a breeze. My brother and I decided to stay in another table so she won’t feel conscious socializing with her friends, haha. As they already had a prior table reservation, we somehow had “priority” for an additional table, so while there were a few groups on the waiting list, we were seated immediately.
The Cebu City skyline, as seen from Lantaw. (Mao ni ang malantaw gikan sa Lantaw)
We were initially seated in the covered area but while browsing the menu, we were informed that a table in the open area was vacated so it was offered to us. We grabbed the table outside since the atmosphere was much better out there.
Lantaw’s covered area
Jam-packed as usual
BUSY Saturday night for Lantaw
For our second visit, we got two servings of Baked Scallops plus the following,
Mangga with Bagoong. P65 – The mango was not so “hilaw”, so it wasn’t too sour, just enough for that craving.
Lumpia. P110 – I wasn’t sure what I was eating. 🙁 Even Jollibee’s Shanghai Rolls was more pleasing to my taste buds.
Tuna Belly. P175 – borderline saltiness but aside from that, it’s perfect!
Lantaw is still experiencing growing pains. There are still a few inconsistencies here and there. For instance, our first order of baked scallops for that evening came in overflowing with cheese (which I liked!), but was cold while the second serving was freshly-baked-hot but was short in cheese. Minor mishaps like this are normal for newly-opened establishments. I could say that the floating native restaurant is still fine-tuning to bring the best dining experience to guests. Having said that, I am not at all discourged and there is no reason to be. In fact, we’re already planning our next visit to Lantaw as I type this update.
HOW TO GET THERE:
– From the Lapu-Lapu City PUJ Terminal, take a multicab bound for Cordova. Inform the driver that you’ll be disembarking at the “crossing”. Jeepney fare is P12 At the “crossing”, hire a pedicab to take you to Day-as Port/Wharf. Or you may say, “bakhawan” (mangrove area). Pedicab fare is P10 per person + Entrance Fee to the port, P1 per person.
– Taking a cab from Cebu City would cost you approximately P400-P500, one-way. You may have to commute back to the main highway before you can get a taxi that would take you home.
– From the 1st Mandaue-Mactan Bridge or Marcelo Fernan Bridge, take the Mactan Circumferential Road (ML Quezon Highway), all the way to the “crossing” in Cordova. From there, the road will split. Take the middle road, and drive all the way to Lantaw.
ROUTE MAP TO LANTAW (Click to enlarge)
LANTAW VICINITY MAP (Click to enlarge)
DISCLAIMER: Prices, fares, are subject to change without prior notice.