I’ve always heard of Antonio’s Garden Restaurant & secretly, I’ve wished that someone would bring me there. It took 32 years before that secret wish came true! hahaha! Anyhow, friends have been raving that this place is romantic but expensive. Usually guys bring their special someone there to propose their love. Well some, just want to eat good food too.
When our car was entering the gate, it felt like we were in a very secluded place. It felt so different, I felt special.. The way the servers warmly greeted us, guided us to our seat, patiently explaining to us the menu items, WOW was all I could say at that time. The service is top notch, I just can’t believe how every need and expectation is met and exceeded!
We were first served bread while waiting for our orders. I spent most of the time admiring the wonderful scenery of Antonio’s Garden Restaurant. The dinner tasted as if it was baked fresh that day, which it probably was. And the spread was a black olive tapenade which is a fine spread of black olives, anchovies, capers, and olive oil. Apparently this spread is common in the south of France… This is definitely a great start to a very well executed and delicious meal. The taste of the spread is that of a very rich saltiness that combines the flavors of the black olives the most with the hints of the capers and the anchovies, enveloped in a such delicious olive oil. This dish, to prepare, must be expensive to make in the Philippines since the ingredients, must be of high quality for it to taste just as good as it did at Antonios.
While we were seated, with the tapenade and roll in front of us, we focused more and admired the ambiance of the place. It’s actually a very well designed place. As you enter the doors.. you are immediately immersed in the history of the place. The lighting is just so romantic, with lights strategically placed so that it could give enough lighting without being too bright. The room that you immediately walk into as you enter is their staging area with photos on the wall. The maitre d’ escorted us down a few steps to one level of Antonios, then down another short step to where we would dine. We were seated just above their main banquet area that they use for parties and big events. It was an amazing sight from everywhere we looked. Beside our table was a fish pond & we could also had a view of the entrance where all the memorable photos of Antonio were displayed. Seems like Antonio is a very sentimental person hehehe (a romantic too, I suppose) 😛
Here are the drinks & appetizer that what we ordered:
- Scallop Tasting (Php 250)
The scallop appetizer was actually a scallops tempura in mango orange sauce with lampfish caviar. It was perfect. To say that this is the most perfect scallop dish that I have ever tasted is an understatement. The scallops tempura, as with any tempura was lightly battered and fried. But it wasn’t battered too much, just enough, so that it added that texture and that slight crispness to the dish. It maintained the tenderness of the scallops too, and most importantly it retained that most important fresh scallop taste.
The mango sauce is just amazing, and is probably what made the dish just oh so appetizing. Imagine having that perfectly seasoned cream sauce, with the perfect seasoning and just enough salt to taste. Add on to that the brightness and fruitiness of mango in an ever so slightly amount, and you have one of the best cream sauce you will ever have in your life.
As if the layers of flavor weren’t enough. To balance out the slight sweetness of the mango and cut through the richness of the cream, it was topped with lampfish caviar. A very high quality caviar that didn’t bring too much saltiness, but just enough to balance out the whole scallop appetizer.
Perfect scallops, as in perfect!! I wished we had a refillable version of this. I actually noticed both of us wanting to eat more but opted to just be happy with what we ordered hahaha! I was lucky as the seafood risotto had the same scallops included in the dish.
- Limoncello (Php 140)
- Triplum Orange Dry (Php 140)
While, the entree that we ordered were:
- Seafood Risotto (Php 1,300)
I dare say that this is the most delicious risotto I have ever eaten so far in my life. It’s different from other risottos because it’s made with seafood in mind. So, the base of the risotto is tomato basil with crab fat, goes perfectly with the shrimp, scallops, and the mussels. The scallops are wayy more than perfect! The other seafoods were so delicious too.
The creaminess of the risotto was really like heaven. The crab fat just added to that richness, and the tomato basil, once again, gave it that all important balance of taste. The reason why this dish is just so excellent too, because the seafood really was so fresh, you could really taste it. And the way the scallops and fish was pan seared, gave it that extra bit of flavor.
It was just an amazing experience eating such great food! I really wished we had met the chef coz he/she definitely creates excellent recipes & executes them very well. It made me feel that the price, though it looked expensive, is worth every penny.
- Duck Leg Confit (Php 1,400)
The duck according to my friend is challenging to cook. He said that the chef did an excellent job as he was able to make the duck skin crispy. The duck leg confit was drizzled with a juniper berry and Gran Marnier Beurre Blanc sauce. The sauce is such an important part of this dish and describing the taste, you will need to know a couple of things. Beurre Blanc is a reduction sauce of wine and vinegar, with butter to add the richness and thickness. In our case, the wine or liquor used is Gran Marnier, which when reduced through cooking, gives off a bitter orange taste. The Juniper berry on the other hand has a very tart taste, very much more so than a blueberry. So with the combination of flavors, you get an almost buttery, very very slight sour, slight fruity sauce, and seasoned to perfection.
The bed of gratin potatos that the duck rests on is simple, yet, perfectly seasoned. The gratin are layers of potato in butter, cheese, with a light crust to it too.
I saw how my friend enjoyed each & every bite of the dish. Well, not really much to envy as I enjoyed eating my order too!
Each entree included coffee or tea & the following:
- House Salad
Antonio’s House Salad is fresh mesclun salad of bleu d’ auvergne crumble, glazed walnuts, dried currants, dried cranberries with raspberry vinaigrette. I’m not fan of this salad. I guess it was too bitter for me. Antonio’s did a great job incorporating fruits into their dish to make that complex taste to it. But this salad’s fruits and nuts just did not add a good combination of flavors. And the bitterness of the lettuce really just was not good.
- Soup of the Day
The soup of the day was cream of oven roasted capsicum soup. This soup was just heaven. I keep saying that the dishes at Antonios are perfectly seasoned, but this soup is by far the perfect description of what I mean. Capsicum is actually just peppers or bell pepper. I’m not sure what kind are used here, but the fact that the pepper taste is not overpowering, the cream is not too much. I could eat so much of this soup!
We get to choose which one we would like to get for dessert. The choices were Felchlin Maracaibo Chocolate Terrine w/ Double Cream & Roasted Pistachio, Dark Chocolate Souffle w/ Cardamom Creme Anglaise, Earl Grey Flourless Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Mint Parfait, Panna Cotta w/ Vanilla, Caramel & Chocolate Notes, Profiteroles w/ Vanilla Ice Cream, Chocolate Sauce or Caramel Sauce, Chocolate, Lemon & Pumpkin Seed Madeleines w/ Vanilla Ice Cream, Tartufo Nero w/ Grand Mamier, Assorted Berries w/ Creamed Chantilly and lastly, Assorted Sorbet.
I have opted for the Assorted Sorbet as sherbet has always been my only choice for ice cream. I’m picky that way. Antonio’s version didn’t disappoint, I’ve loved how tasty each of the flavors are. You can really distinguish the major ingredient in each scoop. Truly delightful.
While my friend went with Panna Cotta w/ Vanilla, Caramel & Chocolate Notes. It was very rich and blended carefully to make that perfect taste.
This is just one of the many places that my friend & I went to while he was on vacation early this year. Such a nice place to dine in, very cozy & romantic.
It’s also good to note that both Antonio’s Garden Restaurant‘s service & food are of top notch! Kudos to the owners and the staff! They really did a great job on the place. Will definitely be back next time!
Antonio’s Garden Restaurant
Bgy. Neogan, Tagaytay City, Cavite, Philippines