Good sushi is hard to find in the Philippines outside of Manila. In some places, they may have an abundance of restaurants and enough chefs and know-how, but can’t (or don’t) get fresh fish. But, of course, the Philippines is made up of almost 7,500 islands, so there are plenty of spots that have fresh fish and seafood. However, too often, these areas are remote, small, or don’t have the infrastructure, the chefs or restaurateurs, or, frankly, enough clientele to justify a sushi restaurant.
Mizu Sushi in Cebu City
So every time I make it to the big city of Cebu (from my current home of small-town Dumaguete), I take advantage of big city amenities – including a sushi meal or two. That being said, I often end up at MIZU, a sushi restaurant in “Gourmet Boulevard” inside the Waterfront Hotel near IT Park and Ayala Mall.
I’m not going to lie and tell you that it’s the best sushi I’ve ever eaten – or even great by the standard of U.S. sushi restaurants, but, alas, I’m not in the U.S., and I’d rate MIZU as exactly 3.5 out of 5 stars. Part of its attraction is that there are few other options. Cebu is a big city, but there are far more Korean restaurants (ok, millions of them!) and a few Japanese places but few traditional sushi houses. I do know of one in the IT Park business neighborhood across the street from the Waterfront Hotel, and while it’s a little less expensive that MIZU, it’s not always consistent, a step below in ambiance, presentation and even orderliness and cleanliness, and doesn’t benefit from the Waterfront standard of service.
I’ve tried five or six things on the MIZU menu, and while they are good, I would say that the biggest negative is that the portion sizes are very small – especially for the price. My favorite is sashimi, and they do have several sashimi sampler dishes here. The 7-variety sashimi mix goes for about $30+ USD and is supposed to feed 4-5 people, but it will probably only fill up 2-3 hungry patrons, while the 5-variety mix is $13 or so and is supposed to feed 2-3 people, but will barely fill up one.
The sushi rolls are a little bit more affordable at $3-6 each, but you’ll find they go way heavy on the rice in an obvious attempt to skimp on the fish. If you want to get your much-needed sushi fix AND fill up without breaking the bank, order a sashimi mix but also a few bigger dishes, like off the teriyaki menu or their great beef with rice or boiled and noodle dishes. They also usually have a small special menu featuring a few recipes from one kind of fish at good prices. But I also suggest you avoid anything too exotic or uncommon, as those things are less likely to be fresh and tend to be way more expensive, too.
Stick with the basics, fill up on some of their dishes that stick to your ribs to augment their sashimi, add a few beers, and MIZU will be one of your best options without even leaving your hotel (or driving too far from IT Park) when in Cebu.