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STK ta Bai! A Scrumptious Cebuano Experience

If you love seafood then you have to visit STK ta Bai Sa Paolito’s Seafood House in Cebu City. You will be doing your self an injustice if you tour the city without coming here. STK or SuTuKil is a popular Visayan fare where “S”  is for Sinugba = Grilled,”T” is for Tinola = Soup and “K” is for Kinilaw = Ceviche.

STK ta Bai Sa Paolito’s Seafood House started out as a side street grill in front of an old house blossomed into a homey family-run restaurant decorated with gazillions of antiques. At STK ta Bai!, you don’t just eat the food, you get a comforting dining experience similar to coming home. Karen, the owner’s daughter always makes sure of  that by visiting each and every table making sure that you have everything you need.

It’s not an easy place to find, especially if you are not in the know. It’s only lately that I’ve seen tourists there, since the locals have kept this secret very well. Although the place is a bit hidden, it’s not rare to spot a few celebrities dining at arms length. Former President Gloria Arroyo, VP Jejomar Binay and celebs like Gerard Anderson have had their share of STK’s buttery scallops. I first heard of this place when I was in college, a friend of mine boarded a room a few houses away from STK. Since then it has become one of my favorite restaurants ever and I never left the place unsatisfied. Perhaps only craving for more, in fact during our 1 week stay in Cebu we had to eat there twice;-)
Enough chitchat, here’s some eye-candy for you. 
Baked Scallops (P135)
These are fresh, tender, buttery fall-off-the-shell grill baked scallops. The smell alone is enough to pair with rice and one order is never enough!
Shrimp Sinigang (P115)
Cebuano’s are not really big on sinigang, as a Manilena who once called Cebu my home, I can attest to this fact. It’s very hard to find good sinigang in Cebu, except perhaps in STK ta Bai! Unlike the super sour Tagalog version, their sinigang is mildly sour, with real sampalok (no sinigang mix at all) and lightly sweet. You can taste every bit of flavor from the plump shrimps too. Another must try is the Mixed Sinigang (P145).
Grilled Tuna Panga (Depends on the Size)
I am not big on fish, specially if it looks like fish. Crazy, I know but I prefer my fish in a can or filleted. However, if I can will myself to dream of food, I’d dream of this. Perfectly grilled, gigantic tuna panga (jaw) seasoned with soy sauce and calamansi. Very fresh, tender and does not smell fishy at all.
Squid with Butter Sauce (P105/P195)
This is a nice break from other strong flavored dishes. The squid is very tender and fresh, the butter sauce is sweet and mild although it’s a bit on the thick side. It could be a taste thing, but hubby wasn’t too crazy about the sauce and finds it “weird tasting”. Another squid dish Sofie and I liked is their gigantic Calamares (P105/P195). I was not able to take a picture since we were too busy eating;-)
Of course, they have other non-seafood dishes that are equally good like their Pork Sisig (P120/P130) and Crispy Fried Chicken (P200) that simply says “Move over KFC!” HAHA!

What I like about STK ta Bai! apart from the fantastic food, is its proximity to the city. One does not have to venture into Mactan island to get a taste of great seafood. The ambiance is also another experience, compared to its busier seaside counterparts, this antique-filled resto-home gives one a nostalgic feeling. The best thing I like about STK is the price, you get real value for your money and the price hasn’t changed that much through the years. 
Here are some more photos I borrowed from a friend. 

And just to give you a glimpse of how much their food can lift up your day, here’s a before and after shot. 
Mom Foodie Verdict:
Food – 5/5
Service – 4/5
Ambiance – 4/5
Value – 4/5
Kid Friendly- 3/5 
Average Price/Meal per person –  Php 150.00 to Php200.00

For Inquiries and Reservations check them out on Facebook!