Hubby made reservations for us at Antonio's last Saturday, as an early Valentine's day date. Antonio's is a hidden and exclusive dining experience in Tagaytay. A hidden oasis, if you will. A place for your palate to experience the rich, sinful and decadent dishes that chef Antonio has concocted and personally developed for his loyal patrons to enjoy, savor and remember long after you have left his magical restaurant.
Most of all, your sense of taste will go into overdrive for the lovely and delicious selection from the menu.
Each set meal from Antonio's come with a salad of the day (mixed greens, beets, radish, blue cheese and a raspberry dressing), soup of the day, (which was a molo soup with tomato puree or tomato oil, I can't put my finger on it), your choice of entree, your choice of dessert and coffee or tea.
The Squid Ink Garlic Bread is black as coal but was surprisingly very tender. Be prepared to have black teeth after :-)
If you don't want to order the set menu, Antonio's has a wide selection of appetizers and salads to choose from. I think I will try the bone marrow next time. But I will eat oatmeal for a week after that, he he he.
Hubby and I ordered a nice selection from the appetizer menu. I wanted to try all of them. But alas, I manage to restrain myself.
For starters, hubby and I ordered the Truffle Baked Oyters. This was absolutely divine. They oysters were huge and fresh and the topping of cheese and herbs (and yes bacon) was just enough.
I ordered the Scallops Tasting, scallops cooked two ways. One is poached and the other one is breaded and fried. I liked them both and would prefer to have ten more servings, if I can. I absolutely love the dressing on the scallops, it has some lemon, parsley and cilantro, very refreshing. I reckon that will go with salads as well. Gave me an idea for a new dressing.
Our favorite is the Grilled Portabello Mushrooms with Foie Gras. Oh so heavenly! The sauce is absolutely fantastic and creamy. The portabellos were cooked perfectly, tender and a little bit smoky, and the foi gras, so buttery. Oh my. I get hungry just thinking about it.
For the main course, hubby ordered the Grilled Beef Fillet, Gratinated with Shrimp Bisque on Tagliatelle. A surf and turf kinda deal but taken to a higher level. It took a while for our orders to be delivered but hubby was appeased when he took a bite. Well worth the wait he said. The beef was cooked perfectly. It was very tender and juicy.
I had the Seafood Sampler which consisted of Grilled Pink Peppered Chilean Sea Bass on Boiled Potato, Saffron-Kafir Sauce, Prawn Thermidore and Pan Seared Scallops on Celleriac Mashed, Truffle Cream Sauce. I love all three but my favorite is the Pan Seared Scallops, which was so tender and buttery. I love it.
For dessert, I had the Mixed Berries with Chantilly Cream. This was so beautifully presented. The chantilly cream was just right, no too sweet and very creamy. Just the way I like it.
Hubby ordered the Panna Cotta with Chocolate and Caramel Sauce. If I wasn't there he would have probably eaten the whole thing in one gulp!
Dining at Antonio's is a feast for the senses. Your eyes will feast on the wonderful verdant dining areas and gardens. Your sense of smell is teased by the lovely smells coming from the kitchen and lovely fragrant flowers that adorn its secret passages in the garden. Your sense of touch is highted by the lovely flowers and shrubs and rich textures of the wooden banisters, Antonio's imposing doors and a lovely assortment of plants, shrubs and flowers. Your sense of hearing is also spoiled with the gurgling sound of water fountains, chirping of birds and lovely chatter of your companion.
Antonio's was voted as one of the best restaurants in Asia, and righfully so.
We even met Chef Antonio, he approached us while were taking pictures of his lovely restaurant and talked about the improvements that he is doing on the property. He also talked about a new lamb dish that he will soon introduce on the menu. Let's see if I remember it correctly.. It's lamb rubbed with special herbs and spices, vacuum packed, to seal all the wonderful flavors, poached in warm water (warm because he said you can still dip your finger on it) and then grilled to medium. I don't eat lamb but they way chef Antonio described it, made me a convert.
Chef Antonio was so gracious, he even invited us to check out the rest of the property including his home located at the back. We are really glad that we took that offer. The garden out back is bigger than the restaurant and his home looks really wonderful and homey, reminds me of a resort in some exotic place in Thailand.
Chef Antonio's pug even uproached us to be petted and posed for a picture.
I highly recommend dining at Antonio's...now!