HALL OF FOOD
District on 53rd introduces global flavors to the local palate
“I’m in a hurry, let me get some salad. I’m entertaining friends, let me get some cheese,’” co-owner Kate Anzani summarizes what District on 53rd aims to be.
Located at the Cebu IT Park where condominiums and call centers continue to grow in number, District on 53rd is a one-stop food place that caters to your every mood and craving. If you are familiar with food halls or food courts, this may be counted as one, with the wide array of food housed in one place. The main difference between this and food courts, though? There are no concessionaires inside District 53rd.
Serving anything and everything from coffee and bread to wine and cheese, the dynamic Anzani husband-and-wife duo created 53 dishes inspired by their travels—and these do not include the daily specials and their selection of gourmet desserts. “When we travel, we always go to cities where there is a special restaurant or gourmet place, sometimes even market places. [ Whatever we learn in our travels], we keep in our memory and actually try to offer to the Cebu market,” shares chef Marco Anzani.
Stepping into the newest resto on the block may be a bit confusing at first glance. Their huge menu panels, hung behind the food counters, could overwhelm you at first glance, but they’re divided into different segments: Noodle and Soup Bar, Earth Stone Oven, World Cuisine, Nibbles and Cravings, Crispy Station Charcoal Grill, Fresh Station District, and Sandwich District—to help you out as you choose. Skim through the menu and you would read familiar and foreign words like adobo, porcini, falafel, etc. It’s not your usual mix, but diversity and innovation are key in District on 53rd, and new head chef Fadi Zaidan, who is of Lebanese descent, adds a different dimension to every dish with bold inclusions of a variety of spices.
Once you order, a huge platter of dips, breads, and chips will be served. (By the way, this place is semi-self service. You pay as you order but water and cutlery may be served to you.) The platter combines the familiar and foreign. It has what seems to be pan de sal but yellow, because the chefs add turmeric to the classic morning staple.
When asked how Cebuanos have received their attempt to diversify the choices of food, Marco answers, “They are more adventurous now; we [even] decided to create the lechon belly with foie gras. We know that people will be looking for pork or lechon, and they will try [our version] out of curiosity.”
Most of their dishes come in hefty servings. Their version of porcini fondue is good for four to six people. The huge bowl of fondue is composed of seven different cheeses—Parmesan, Swiss, blue, and cream cheese, to name a few—and ham, served hot with crouton bread baked ‘til crispy and topped with olive oil and oregano. The customary Lebanese snack shakshuka served with freshly baked pita is still on the chef’s menu. This dish of eggs poached in a bed of tomatoes and chili peppers makes a casual appetizer that’s good for sharing as well.
This unassuming urban- industrial restaurant is slowly creating buzz as it feeds everyone, from the breakfast people with their freshly brewed cups of coffee and bread selection to the after hours crowd with their wine offerings from Wine Depot. District on 53rd. Cyberzone Filinvest Salinas Drive, Lahug, Cebu City. 0936-8529899. www.districton53rd.com
FROM TOP: LAMB TAGINE SERVED WITH COUSCOUS (NOT IN PHOTO); YOUR MORNING CUP OF COFFEE CAN BE SERVED FOR
DINE-IN OR TO-GO,