Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Tagaytay - tinto verano at Antonio's

Yesterday we had lunch at Antonio's in Tagaytay. We arrived at 10:30, an hour too early for the lunch seating, so we drove over to Sonya's Garden and took a quick tour of the grounds.

It was a luxurious meal in every sense of the word... delicious food, wonderful garden surroundings, a long leisurely 3 1/2 hour lunch - and a price to match. :)

The six of us started off with two appetizers, fresh oysters, and portobello mushrooms with balsamic vinegar and garlic. We ordered a pitcher of tinto verano (merlot, lemon, and soda), which tastes like a light, refreshing version of sangria. Antonio himself came by our table to welcome us, and told us about getting his idea for tinto verano from Spain. See, sangria is too heavy and too sweet for the middle of the day.

Antonio's serves a choice of several main courses. We ordered the rib-eye steak (marvelous!) - it comes in 500g servings to be shared between two people, and a choice of mashed potato, rice pilaf, or potato gnocchi. One friend had the foie gras ravioli (topped with scallops). Another friend ordered sea bass, which she said came with the best tomato she ever tasted.

The onion bread, salad, and vegetable soup by themselves are enough to make a light meal. They're just the beginning though... We somehow made our way through the main course (raving the entire time) with just enough room to spare for dessert. Four of us had the double chocolate soufflé, two picked the creme de menthe parfait. I have to say the soufflé was the better choice (lucky me!).

Reservations

Reservations are a must. I got lucky and found a vacant table for the same week that I called, but I have heard stories of 2- or 3-month waiting times to get a table. Call or text +63 917 899 2866 for reservations. They'll send you directions when you reserve, and then a confirmation (and a list of payment options :) ) on the day itself.

Lunch seating starts between 11:30 am and 1:30 pm. Dinner seating starts between 5:30 pm and 7:30 pm.

Prices

Fresh oysters: ~P300
Portobello mushrooms: P~P450

Pitcher of tinto verano (two rounds for six people): P1250

Four course meal with salad, soup, dessert and choice of entree:
Rib-eye (good for two) - P2,200
Foie gras ravioli - P1000+
also includes brewed coffee or tarragon tea.

Directions

Drive down the South Luzon Expressway. Take the Santa Rosa exit, and then follow the road all the way to the Tagaytay ridge. When you reach the end of the road, turn right. Continue down past the Rotonda, Josephine's, Taal Vista Lodge, and the market. When you reach the radar (you can't miss it), turn right at the Antonio's sign and just follow the signs to the end of the narrow road (about 8 minutes from the radar).

If, like us, you arrive too early, drive back out and keep going on past the radar until you get to Sonya's Garden. Buy a few things from the shop, or, if you get lucky, see if you can squeeze in a massage.

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