Toma-hooked at Il Primo

After a thrilling parade of modern Chinese dim sum for lunch at Mott 32 in Cebu City some weeks back, a craving for steak led us to Il Primo Steakhouse for dinner that same day.

True to its name, Il Primo is touted as the “first” and only Italian steakhouse in Cebu City. One cannot miss its grand doorway by the casino area of Nustar Resort and Casino, its high-ceilinged interiors calling out to those seeking a hearty meals with wines to boot.

Molten Chocolate Cake.

The spacious, modern-designed place offers far more than great steak choices prepared in a Josper grill. Before the star of the night was served — a truly impressive, perfectly grilled 1.5-kilo Tomahawk steak that we shared in our table of six — we delighted in new tastes that were, of course, somehow familiar.

(CLOCKWISE from top) Burrata Salad, Risotto con Porcini and Il Primo Salad.


We started out with house-baked focaccia as we waited for the food. A wine list was presented by the sommelier, and a bottle ordered. The Burrata Salad was light and the cheese on top just the right indulgence over fresh arugula and tomatoes in light balsamic vinaigrette dressing. We sampled a white pizza and surprisingly delicious Ube Gnocci Quattro Formaggi, made with ube potato dumplings in cheesy sauce. The Risotto con Porcini was savored to the last grain, its taste lingering our mouths even as the steak demanded our full attention.

Ube Gnocci Quattro Formaggi.

The steak arrived to a round of awed expressions, served with flair and accompanied by grilled vegetables and mashed potatoes. We chose smoked black pepper and mushroom cream sauces for it, but for me, just the smoky-grilled taste of our medium-cooked steak was more than enough.