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The best pares in Cebu I have tasted

If you’re looking for the best pares in Cebu, you should definitely try Chef Gelo’s Ultimate Beef Pares! Tender beef with crispy edges on a bed of rice soaked with the saucy goodness of well cooked pares. It was so good that I highly recommend you try this one at Hidden Eats by The Phatbastard Cebu.

pares in cebu
Chef Gelo of Hidden Eats

I first saw Hidden Eats while scrolling through my Facebook feed. For one who is always on the lookout for good local food, I sent a message asking for a menu. I got this reply:

Hi Stan. Thanks for messaging. At the moment I am about to print the menu and will show the jaw dropping affordable prices maybe Monday, a day before soft opening. I will be cooking (personally), good quality comfort food for the working class… One thing’s for sure, I will serve a good version of beef pares which is close to the authentic beef pares in Retiro, Quezon City.

Time to expand the palate of Cebuanos to real good food at very affordable prices. ????

-Chef Gelo

And my curiosity got piqued.

I visited Hidden Eats twice: first to try the ultimate beef pares and cheeseburger deluxe. The second time, to try the pork paksiw and pork cutlet. Because these are two rice dishes, I opted to have the regular order. Chef Gelo had me try too his homemade pandesal.

Chef Gelo

Prior to my second visit, I messaged him a few questions. I asked about him and about his food and initially just planned to make a video for Tiktok and Instagram Reels and perhaps expand it to a blog post. After the initial questions, I went for a second visit.

Born in Manila but heritage is from Bohol. As a child, I always watch my great grand lola cooking Spanish dishes for her family and grand children. Somehow later in life, I discovered I have a strong palate for good food and can easily turn bland tasting dishes into something greatly edible and satisfying.

– Chef Gelo

The idea behind Hidden Eat is his way of sharing his culinary experience in creating comfort food to Cebuanos at a price that is affordable. The place is rather out of the way, thus the ‘hidden’ part. There’s no signage. An avid biker, he’s known in his bike community as The Phat Bastard and its also the name of his custom motorbike. It’s a reference to The Fat Bastard, a well loved and iconic character in the Austin Powers comedy films. It’s these moments of going around on his bike and the family culinary traditions that has introduced him to the different food and ways of cooking. And if you’re a foodie, you will enjoy talking with Chef Gelo. I did.

Below are the ones I tried at Hidden Eats by The Phatbastard Cebu.

pares in cebu
This is so good and perhaps the best pares in Cebu! Chef Gelo’s ultimate beef pares is a must try!

Ultimate Beef Pares (best pares in Cebu)

If you’re craving for beef pares in the tradition of the one in Retiro, Quezon City, then you should definitely have this one. There are two versions: regular (PHP99) and ultimate beef pares (PHP139). I opted for the latter. The only difference is that there’s more serving than the former plus a pair each of fried siomai and lumpia shanghai.

What I immediately noticed, when compared with the other pares in Cebu is that it’s not as sweet, which I really like. The cut of beef is not the retaso kind (trimmings and leftovers) that others use. Chef Gelo mentioned that he uses kamto cut which is beef flank and more savory. Think of meaty strands that you get in high quality corned beef. The pieces of beef in this pares is tender with crispy edges. And the sauce? It’s served together in one bowl that the grains of cooked, fluffy rice soak in. It’s topped with chopped scallions and crispy fried garlic. Take in a spoonful and its an explosion of flavors and textures! If you want to add another layer, drip some homemade chili oil. You won’t be disappointed. And don’t worry, the rice is more than a cup so its more sating and filling.

I’m salivating writing this post thinking about that afternoon I had this delicious dish. It’s the best pares in Cebu for me, my best Cebu pares experience.

pares in cebu
So tender, melt in your mouth pork paksiw

Pork Paksiw

This bowl of oh so tender, melt in your mouth pork paksiw (PHP99) is neck and neck with the beef pares when it comes to delicious food at Hidden Eats. It’s that good! It’s a good combination of pork kasim meat and fat that you just want to dig in again and again. My first spoonful, followed by another and another were like glorious heavenly bells ringing. Figuratively, of course. I just want to close my eyes and savor every bite, every piece of jiggly fat, and every strand of tender meat as I revel in the different flavors and textures that come into play.

The dish made this second visit well worth the time and distance as I live south of Cebu City. It would really be hard to chose either of the two: beef pares or pork paksiw? Pork paksiw or beef pares? So… go for both!

pares in cebu
Pork cutlet is another recommended dish!

Pork Cutlet

Chef Gelo’s version of the katsu, this pork cutlet (PHP99) is crispy outside and juicy inside. It’s breaded with secret spices and perfectly fried. A combination of bbq and teriyaki sauce makes for an interesting counterpoint of flavor and taste. Although its a good piece of pork steak cut in itself, my tongue was still enamored with the pork paksiw’s gloriously beautiful flavor profile and texture. Perhaps, I should just come back and have this on its own and not overshadowed by either the Beef pares or pork paksiw.

Cheeseburger deluxe is all beef patty, homemade coleslaw and nacho chips.

Cheeseburger Deluxe

In my first visit, I opted for the ultimate beef pares and this cheeseburger. Kind of a rather strange combination but as a burger person, I just have to try this one. The Cheeseburger Deluxe (PHP149) doesn’t disappoint. Juicy 100% beef patty, and seasoned only with salt, pepper and onions. Then topped with homemade coleslaw and finished off with a buttered bun. Big serving.

You should also try this homemade pandesal which easily runs out early in the morning!

Homemade pandesal

Its bigger than your local bakery’s pandesal (PHP7, PHP8 if buttered), soft and perfect for breakfast. Pair with your favorite palaman and coffee or hot chocolate. Chef Gelo’s pandesal is available starting at 5AM and usually gets sold out an hour after. He averred that it took him six months to perfect this and you won’t be disappointed.

It was already afternoon when I was able to taste this and I can only imagine if it was hotly off the oven with still a crusty exterior, steaming interior and a lather of butter should make this a beautiful bread. But then, I have to go there at 5AM. If you’re closer, go grab some!

pares in cebu
Open air Hidden Eats by Phatbastard Cebu opened last August 15, 2023

Hidden Eats location

I actually took the wrong road when I first went here and had to follow directions via Google Maps (map below). Hidden Eats is located at Greenplains Subdivision. The small restaurant is open air and accommodates around 21 diners. Drinks can be ordered at the back where there’s a sari-sari store. No sign but you can easily see an open gate with the counter a few steps from the road. You can also visit their FB page (link below) to see more of their menu or send Chef Gelo a message.

After reading this, pay Hidden Eats a visit and have a sating bowl of comfort food, like the best pares in Cebu and more.

Hidden Eats by The Phatbastard Cebu
#18 Mahogany Street
Greenplains Subdivision
Banilad, Cebu City
+919 991 2676
Monday-Friday (5AM-9PM)

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