Imagine this. The soft glow of the sunset on your lover’s face. A calm ocean breeze caressing her hair. Sweet music matching her smile. The sound of gentle waves. Perfectly chilled cocktails. And the freshest catch of the day, exquisitely prepared and laid out before you.
Mactan, Seafood Heaven
If you’re a couple who have a few days to travel to Mactan Island in Cebu, make sure you sneak in The Cove to your itinerary. The Cove is a live seafood restaurant located at the Bluewater Maribago Beach Resort, just 11 kilometers from the Mactan International Airport.
The setting couldn’t be more perfect. The Cove overlooks the private island of the resort and the open sea. Watch the sky as it turns from a happy kind of blue over lunch to the glorious pinkish orange of sunset. Of if you prefer to linger on, stay until it becomes a dark canvas accentuated with the sparkles of the stars.
Upon entering, you will be welcomed by warm and friendly Cebuanos as well as Filipino craftsmanship. Look up and marvel at the dining room chandelier made of tiny shells strung together.
For seafood lovers, nothing beats freshness and seeing your meal alive and moving right before they are caught, cooked and served to you. At The Cove, you can choose from a variety of live seafood from lobsters to clams, from scallops to grouper. You’ll have a tough time choosing how you want them cooked as you have so many choices: grilled, steamed, baked, braised, fried, or ceviche-style.
Start off with a local salad called Lato and Guso, which are fresh seaweeds with sliced tomatoes and onions and drizzled in spiced vinegar. Lato is the seaweed that looks like a bunch of mini grapes, while guso is the branch-like seaweeds.
Follow your salad with a clam soup, which they serve with a bread of basket and herbed butter on the side. The clams are so fresh there’s a certain sweetness from the flesh. The broth has captured the flavor of the sea combined with fresh local ingredients like tomatoes, ginger and leaves from a sili (a small kind of pepper) plant.
The scallops prepared with a lemon butter sauce are just as fresh-tasting as the clams.
The grouper was steamed and served with a sauce flavored with ginger, scallion, soya fermented black beans, and some julienned red bell pepper.
Choose the right season for Mactan
Depending on the season, or the catch of the day, your selection for seafood could vary. I recommend going to The Cove with an appetite open for anything. Here’s a tip: let the server give his suggestion, as he knows what’s best. Cebuanos are known for their friendliness and hospitality, and more often than not, they’ll be extending a delightful service to you.
Sure you can have a fancier and more expensive seafood dinner from a nearby five-star resort, but The Cove has its own kind of class and charm for a fraction of the price.