My new favorite restaurant and dining experience | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Many of my readers will call me “huli sa balita,” but I just have to share this experience. For over four years now, Oye and Malou have been inviting us to try their favorite restaurant—Antonio’s in Tagaytay. It was only a few weeks ago that our schedules met. And what an evening it turned out to be!

There are two places in the world where I experienced my most memorable and wonderful meals. One was lunch in a breezy garden restaurant in France in the shadow of what seemed like a chestnut tree with a view overlooking the town of Bordeaux. I came across the place when I was driving from Paris to Barcelona and was on the lookout for Michelin-rated restaurants.

The other was at my favorite fine-dining Paris restaurant, Chez Lasserre. Both places have sophisticated interior design, perfect table setting, outstanding service, excellent ambiance and super delicious food. Even if they served me galunggong there, the experience would still be worth it.

On a recent Saturday, those two experiences were joined by a third one. Our reservation was set at 5:30. We entered a gated property and parked. As we walked into the huge restaurant, the place reminded me of a 1930s “The Great Gatsby”-like setting.

There were black-and-white photos of the owners’ family. Service staff were dressed like those Chez Lasserre, in pressed white clothing, and they very attentive and polite. We were escorted to our table that was right in front of a quaint, well-manicured garden of assorted fruit-bearing trees and plants, many of which I had not seen before and not indigenous to the Philippines.

The Tagaytay weather was perfect. There was sunshine with a light breeze that was also crisp and cool. We had cocktails on a deck overlooking a garden, and, soon, a sunset that left us breathless.

The table setting was impeccable. Cutlery and glasses were quite elegant. And we were to have dinner with two of our good friends—both foodies, too. What more could one ask for?

I had never come across a more perfect combination of environment, style and, as it turned out, culinary genius. It was a scene that made me want to sit down and write a poem. I did not. But really, it was so perfect that it made me realize how God is indeed amazing. He is, after all, the creator of all things wonderful.

Excellent wine

We had an excellent bottle of chilled white wine right in the garden. We then sat down to a hot cheese and mushroom  soufflé. From there, we ordered an assortment of dishes from the impressive menu list.

We started with a rich, creamy and delicious mushroom soup, followed by fresh garden salad picked right from the farm next door. The contrast of blue cheese, fresh fruits and glazed nuts made the fresh salad taste even better.

For main, I had some lamb cutlets that were also delightful. Everything on our table was not only very well presented, the taste was also impeccable. Everything from aperitif down to the dessert was such an experience.

This place clearly pays attention to all the fine details of service. And the dishes were a testament to the chef’s passion, experience and skill. I was so impressed.

We stayed until late evening and drove back to Tali. I talked about this place for weeks, and whenever I did, the most common reaction among my friends is, “You just tried it now?” I am told many improvements have been done to the place, and it has become even nicer today.

So I join Oye and Malou in declaring that this is my new favorite restaurant and dining experience. For those of us who are “huli sa balita,” I urge you to try Antonio’s in Tagaytay. Include it in your bucket list. You have to dine in this paradise before moving on the other one. Go around 6 p.m. or even lunch.

Call 0918-8992866 for reservations; comes very highly recommended.

Happy eating!