New eats: Cebu's Seafood City brings 'paluto all-you-can' concept to Manila

Angelo G. Garcia

Posted at Dec 05 2018 12:50 PM | Updated as of Dec 06 2018 10:08 PM

Live kingfish. Angelo G. Garcia

Salted egg shrimp. Angelo G. Garcia

A selection of fresh seafood at the restaurant’s market area. Angelo G. Garcia

Live lobsters from Palawan. Angelo G. Garcia

Live seafood section. Angelo G. Garcia

Scallops with broccoli in oyster sauce. Angelo G. Garcia

Isla Sugbu Seafood City’s spacious dining area. Angelo G. Garcia

Steamed lapu-lapu. Angelo G. Garcia

The market or seafood area where customers can pick their fish or live seafood. Angelo G. Garcia

MANILA – There’s a new restaurant in town that puts “dampa” dining to the next level.

Isla Sugbu Seafood City operates like a typical “dampa,” where customers pick the seafood at the market then ask the restaurant staff to prepare it the way they want it.

But this time, diners can do it as much as they can, with as much seafood as they can consume.

Originating from Cebu, Isla Sugbu Seafood City recently opened a branch at Venice Grand Canal Mall in Taguig. It offers the “paluto all-you-can” concept, which is basically an eat-all-you-can restaurant but “dampa”-style.

“We are very excited to bring Isla Sugbu Seafood City at Venice Grand Canal Mall. We have always believed that the Seafood City brand will be welcome and have resounding success here in Metro Manila,” said Kuya J Group president and chief executive officer Winglip Chang.

Kuya J Group is the company behind the Kuya J chain and the Cebu-based restaurants Tsay Cheng Chinese Cuisine, Majestic Restaurant, and Grand Convention Center of Cebu.

The group is also bringing back the US fast food chain Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen to the Philippine market soon.

“What differentiates Isla Sugbu Seafood City is the concept of ‘paluto all-you-can,’ the freedom to enjoy as much seafood as they want to eat for one fixed price. We firmly believe that providing our customers with impressive seafood should also be coupled with providing our customers with delicious cooking,” Chang said.

The price of the “paluto all-you-can” at Isla Sugbu Seafood City is at P1,300 per person for lunch and dinner.

The restaurant can seat more than 200 customers, occupying a large space at the mall. It has a market section where customers can pick fresh and live seafood, and a large kitchen that can accommodate large orders. Chicken and pork are also available here.

Staff members are present to assist customers when picking the seafood and recommend cooking methods. There is no fixed menu, but the restaurant offers mainly Asian cuisine like Filipino, Chinese, Japanese, and Singaporean.

“For our method of cooking, the discipline is predominantly Asian, you have your Chinese salt and pepper items, steamed, etc. But the menu has now expanded to Filipino and we also do Singaporean chili crabs, black pepper crabs, and salted egg crabs. We will cater to the customer’s request,” explained Don Adrian Tirol, general manager at Kuya J Group.

According to Tirol, Isla Sugbu Seafood City sources its seafood from all over the Philippines. Lobsters are from Palawan, some seafood items are from Cebu, and some crabs come all the way from Zamboanga.

“We’ve done this business for a while now so we know exactly where to go and what seasons some fish are. It’s not like we’re buying in bulk and freezing it somewhere. At Seafood City, we are proud that we do our seafood purchases every two days. None of our fish are frozen then displayed, then frozen again then displayed. We only keep the seafood at its peak,” he said.

Diners can enjoy the following introductory rates until February 28, 2019: P848 for lunch on weekdays (Monday to Thursdays, 11 AM to 3 PM), and P888 for dinner (Monday to Thursdays, 6 PM to 11 PM) and all day on weekends (Fridays, 11 AM to 3 PM, 6 PM to 11 PM and Saturdays Sundays, 10 AM to 3 PM, 6 PM to 11 PM).