Review: Choobi Choobi Seafood Restaurant, Iloilo City, Philippines
For my mother-in-law’s birthday, we decided to try out Choobi Choobi Seafood Restaurant in the newly constructed wing of one of the biggest malls in Iloilo City. It was a Sunday, and we just came out of a church service that ended late, so we were famished and in a feasting mood. There were nine of us, and at first, we had another restaurant in mind. Our attention was caught, however, by the seafood-in-a-bag concept. We’ve had always wanted to try something like that, so we decided to go to the Choobi Choobi restaurant.
It's very easy to find the restaurant. Just go to SM City Mall, on Diversion Road. Use the entrance door of the newly constructed north wing (it's the left wing if you are facing the front side of the mall). Choobi Choobi is located on the lower ground floor.
The restaurant is very spacious and bright. The atmosphere feels like it’s a restaurant for typical, middle-class families. I loved the simple set-up and the white and red paint combo of the walls. The tables and chairs were neatly arranged. Photos of their dishes were strategically displayed on the walls, and a larger version of their menu was situated up front to entice and welcome the guests. The almost-life-sized version of the menu actually did its job well in convincing us to give the restaurant a try.
The service was satisfactory. The staff assigned to us was helpful and took care of our orders well, even the late orders. We waited around 20-25 minutes before our food started to arrive. The wait was worth it, and the food that was served was hot and freshly cooked.
There were nine of us so it’s just right that we ordered a feast. Here is some of the food we tried out:
This was a combination of shrimp and mussels with corn in a bag. We asked ours to be cooked with mild spiciness and we enjoyed every bit of it.
Shrimp in a Bag
The was, obviously, a batch of shrimp with corn in a bag. We ordered two bags and asked them to be cooked in butter garlic and salted egg. Salted egg shrimp was one of my favorites and a must-try if you like seafood and red egg.
The was grilled milkfish topped with a special creamy sauce. Nothing unforgettable but can be enjoyed if you’re a bangus fan.
Chai Tao Miao
The was a dish of stir-fried snow pea sprouts. It was my first time to try snow pea sprouts and it was all right. If you’re not very picky and actually enjoy greens, include this in your order.
Mussels in a Bag
This was a batch of mussels with corn in a bag. We asked for ours to be cooked in spicy gata (coconut milk) and this is another favorite. My sister-in-law liked it too, so that’s two points for this dish.
This was cooked like how chopseuys are usually cooked. Nothing really special but this can allow a different flavor in the table since most of the specialties in the menu are seafood.
This was pork trotter that was fried to a crisp. And should I say, this pata was “wow!” It was perfectly crisp outside and soft and juicy on the inside. Almost everyone in our group loved it. Definitely one of the “must order” things at this restaurant.
Tinolang Manok Bisdak
This was a chicken soup cooked with green papaya and malunggay. With all the seafood in the table, the comfort of chicken and the warm broth of tinola were very much welcomed.
Stuffed Grilled Squid
This was nicely grilled and stuffed with rice seasoned with squid ink and other flavorings. For me, this was average but can be worth a try if you love squid.
We enjoyed all these dishes together with unlimited rice and two pitchers of iced tea.
Value for Money and Overall Rating
We paid a little over Php3,000 for the food, the service, and the ambiance. Nothing to complain about the staff, the pricing, the service, and the place though there is still room to improve when it comes to the food. Some were outstanding, really delicious, yet most of what we ordered was just average. Also, the plating can still be improved for the food to look more appealing. Overall, I’m giving Choobi Choobi an average score. I hope to give them a better score on our next visit.