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September 23, 2010

MAYA Cebu: My Birthday in the Best Mexican Restaurant

September 23, 2010

MAYA Cebu: My Birthday in the Best Mexican Restaurant

 Maya Mexican Restaurant, Cebu-30
Last August 24, I crossed an age milestone. Technically, I am not "young" anymore. In most award giving events for the "youth", age 35 is the cutoff to qualify. So we celebrated my last year of being "young" in what I believe to be the Best Mexican Restaurant in the Philippines - Maya Mexican Restaurant & Tequila Bar.

The BEST of Cebu City Series:

Maya Mexican Restaurant, Cebu-37
The ambiance of this Cebu based retaurant is what I call  gothic romantic.  Your romance is easily  evoked by being surrounded with glowing candles inside handmade blown glass. It's quite exotic yet still gives that homey vibe. It gives you that fine dining intimidation at first, but after awhile you get that chillaxing feeling -- you just want to hang out and be comfortable.

Our table, perhaps because of the birthday luck, is situated in a corner and the only table with a high ceiling. I like it a lot.

Maya Mexican Restaurant, Cebu-2

For a group who wants a little bit more privacy, ask for the "center table".  Because of the huge windows and doors that sandwhich this table, you get that dinning-at-home feeling.

One thing remarkable about this place is the warm service of the staff. They are very accommodating and attentive. The Cebuano hospitality is very apparent in this place. What more can you ask for on your birthday?

Maya Mexican Restaurant, Cebu-22Maya Mexican Restaurant, Cebu-6About Maya | Botanas Y Antojitos | De La Plancha, Especiales | Burritos, Tacos, Sides, Postres
(Tip: enlarge the menu in Flickr by clicking Action button and View All Sizes)

The Maya menu gets my vote as the best Restaurant Menu in the Philippines! It looks like a collectible item with its intricate and exciting gothic graphics. One will wonder if a master tatoo artist designed the print.

The Maya food is a celebration of the street food of Mexico City with some distinct influence of the family dishes of the Mayan Riviera Coast and the "cal-mex" cuisine of the Hispanic American community of  Los Angeles. If Maya is a burito, its ingredient would include Ristras Gourmet quality, Zapatas Mexican comfort food spunk  and Hermano's authenticity wrap in by  Tequila Joe's audacity.

Maya Mexican Restaurant, Cebu-3
A larger than life mask greets you as you ascend to the 2nd floor loft where the Tequila bar is located.

Maya Mexican Restaurant, Cebu-35
Maya's Tequila Bar Menu

Maya Margarita | Types of Tequila | Categories of Tequila and Ageing | Reposado and Blanco | Aperitos & Licores, Conac Y Brandy, Ginebra, Bourbon, Whisky Escoces, Whisky de Malta, Whisky Irlandes | Vodka, Premium Cocktails, Cerveza Local, Cerveza Mexicana, Refrescos, Agua, Jugos Grescos, Cafe Y Te | Anejo, Extra Anejo, Platinum Blanco
(Tip: enlarge the menu in Flickr by clicking Action button and View All Sizes)

Smoking is permitted in the 2nd floor only after 10pm on Friday and Saturday. One remarkable entry on the menu is the 100% Blue Agave Tasting Tour where you can try any  eight of the blanco, reposado, or anejo tequila for only P825. 

Everyday should be a learning experience and on that night the subject is Tequila 101.  I learned from the menu:

Categories of Tequila and Ageing
The longer tequila is aged in wood the smoother its flavor profile becomes. This is  due to the oxidation of the alcohol. Aged tequila becomes sweeter and they develop more secondary flavors on top of the natural flavor of agave. Aging also changes the color of the tequila from its initial clear color (like vodka) to a honey color (like fine whisky). 100% agave tequila is typically bottled in one of four categories:

Blanco or Plata [Silver] - un-aged and bottled or stored immediately after distillation, aged less than two months in oak barrels. This category has the purest agave taste and driest flavor;

Reposado [Rested] - minimum of two months, but less than a year in oak barrels. This tequila is aged long enough to develop some sweetness and smoothness but not long enough to lose the primary agave flavor.

Anejo [Aged] - minimum of one year but less than 3 year in oak barrels. In this category of tequila the sweet and secondary wood flavors are generally stronger than the agave (which becomes background flavor).

Extra  Anejo [Extra Aged] - Minimum of three years in oak barrels. This category was established only on  March 2006. The flavor of this type of tequila is the furthest removed from the original flavor of the agave. The beauty of Extra AƱejo is the subtle "cognac-like" character they develop.

Maya Mexican Restaurant, Cebu-4
Maya Nachos with Chili Con Carne
(P335 +10% service charge)
. Masa chips covered in cheese, salsa roja,  sour cream, pickled peppers.

We started our meal with crispy nachos with the freshest vegetables & salsa and  the creamiest sour cream. It is perfect and good to share for 2-3 people.

Maya Mexican Restaurant, Cebu-24
Quesadilla Gringa Carnitas
(P185 +10% service charge)

I like the grilling  and taste of their  home made tortilla. This dish actually convinced me that this Mexican restaurant is on a totally different level.  In one sitting, all the ho-hum fastfood Mexican food meals I had before are erased. 

Maya Mexican Restaurant, Cebu-25
Tacos Carnitas (P265 for 3 soft tacos +10% service charge). Six hour roasted organic pork shoulder.

This is probably the  dish that we shouldn't have ordered. The tacos are actually served soft and pieces of toppings are just that -- pieces.  They should' ve added more protein to make this dish better.

Maya Mexican Restaurant, Cebu-27  
Mission Style Burrito with Carne Asada
(P425 +10% service charge)
. Straight from San Francisco's Mission District-- this hand made  burrito is a California classic

The burrito is humongous  and most certainly made for sharing. It is also too heavy in the stomach from all that carbs emanating from the rice and the  wrap. We love the combination of the ingredients which reminds me somewhat of a paella-- but this time wrapped in a buritto.

Maya Mexican Restaurant, Cebu-28
Sonoran Chimichanga with Carne Asada (P425 +10% service charge). From North of Mexico; this crispy burrito is deep fried and covered in red chili sauce.

I am missing this Chimichanga! This is essentially a burrito but with fried and crispy wrapping topped with melted chili and cheese. Ang sarap! Really unforgettable.

Maya Mexican Restaurant, Cebu-29
Fajitas de Maya Carne Asada
(P555 +10% service charge)
 . A sizzling platter with a choice of meat served with frijoles, Mexican rice, charred peppers and onions. It comes with warm flour tortillas.

The fajitas are no pushover. They are also very good. We love the quality of the meat  (although it is cooked well done). It is not tough and has deep flavors. Sadly, after eating the burrito all we can enjoy now is  the meat on this dish. At this point, we are all full and just skip the side dishes.

Maya Mexican Restaurant, Cebu-23
Thanks to Camille Aldeguer for the great time at Maya and for taking care of Raphael for a while. During this time, Aidan actually got sick (not from the Maya food) and we have to end our dinner abruptly  and go home to rest at BE Resort.

Maya Mexican Restaurant, Cebu-1
Maya is my favorite Mexican restaurant experience in the Philippines. This is attributed to exemplary  ambiance, great service and quality food. Some find it a tad expensive but everyone agrees that this is perfect for special occasions :) Great job to Jason Hyatt and team!

MAYA Mexican Restaurant & Tequila Lounge
Crossroads Banilad, Cebu
Telephone: +632 238-9552, 238-9618
Delivery Hotline: +632 416-2442
Website: www.MayaCebu.com
Email: Service@MayaCebu.com
Mobile: +63 917 624-9185

Sundays & Mondays Para La Familia Family Dinner P395+ per person (min. 4 persons)
Tuesdays & Thursdays 2-for-1 Tacos Buy One Take One on All Varieties of Tacos
Enjoy Discount Card Offer:
Free Margarita when spending P500 or more, Free Chips & Salsa when spending P500

Check out Mexican Restos in Manila: http://www.ourawesomeplanet.com/awesome/mexican/

The BEST of Cebu City Series:


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Disclosure: Nothing to disclose. We paid for our meals thanks to our host :) We are not connected in any way to the owners of the restaurant. 

P.S. I'm excited for the opening of Maya in Manila! 

Maya Mexican Restaurant, Cebu-21

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