Indulge in fine Spanish dining experience 

Over the years, acclaimed chef Chele Gonzalez has impressed food lovers with his creative dishes, earning widespread praise and a loyal fan base. So, it’s not surprising that The Westin Manila, managed by Marriott International, has partnered with Gonzalez to bring a sophisticated Spanish dining experience to Metro Manila.

Cantabria by Chele Gonzalez, ensconced on the Roof Level of the hotel, offers authentic Spanish-style cooking that strikes at the core of Filipino taste buds. It features a focused menu that aims to capture the color and passion of Spain, particularly the region on Cantabria, the hometown of Gonzalez.

Yes, Cantabria, located in the northern coast of Spain, is renowned for its diverse culinary treasures — from fresh seafood sourced from its rugged coastline and deep blue waters to an abundance of lush greenery and mountains. This region boasts some of the world’s finest seafood and a wide array of delicious meats.  

“A Spanish restaurant has always been in the plans for our hotel,” says Alexander Dietzsch, The Westin general manager. “And we wanted to collaborate with a chef who can bring an authentic experience to the table. We searched far and wide and we didn’t find anyone in Manila who is as dedicated to the concept as Chele.” 

Cantabria by Chele Gonzalez presents unique seafood, inventive tapas, hearty meats and classic Spanish dishes. The carefully crafted menu reflects the chef’s childhood memories and culinary style, transporting diners to the Cantabria region with flavorful bites infused with Spanish flair. 

“Spanish cuisine continues to evolve over time, and so do tradition and techniques,” says Gonzalez. “At Cantabria, we try to present the unique side of Spanish cuisine that blends tradition and modern trends to enhance the dining experience.”

Chef de cuisine Ivan Saiz Sordo leads the Cantabria kitchen, ensuring Gonzalez’s menu is carefully and perfectly prepared. Both Sordo and Gonzalez hail from Cantabria and have previously collaborated on various restaurants in the Philippines. Their shared heritage, culinary background and mutual passion for seafood reunite them at The Westin Manila, where they revive the flavors of their childhood.

“We take on a creative and sophisticated approach to seafood and showcase a unique side of Spanish cuisine unknown to most, together with innovative tapas, meats and other Spanish favorites,” Gonzalez adds. “We also serve rustic and traditional Spanish comforts from steaks to paellas, sangria, vino and more.”

Cozy, decadent

Cantabria by Chele Gonzalez has a cozy yet dramatic setting — plush interiors, comfortable seating, warm woods and subdued lighting that highlights the brick red walls. The elegant dining hall exudes an air of European exclusivity suited for intimate dining or formal gatherings. 

The central attraction in the dining area is an open seafood display, with the fresh catch of the day prepared in front of diners.

Gonzalez has created a haven for finest Spanish dining, paying attention to the combination of flavors, balance and color. 

The Tosta De Anchoa Y Berenjena features premium anchovies on toasted baguette with charred eggplant that offer  a balance of salty and smoky flavors. The light Tartaleta de Vera combines sweet scallops with white chocolate and caviar for a smooth texture. The Tiradito de Pargo (sliced snapper) contrasts nicely with lime salsa, avocado, radish and cilantro oil, topped with parmesan shavings for added flavor.

The restaurant’s signature fish, Rodaballo a la Parrilla (grilled wild turbot fish), is sourced from the Cantabria region, where the powerful waves of the Atlantic Ocean contribute to its exceptional quality, making it a prized catch that shines on the plate.

Other seafood options include Mero al Horno con Patata Panadera, which is baked grouper served with roasted potatoes and garlic-parsley emulsion; Ostra dela Casa, an oyster prepared with sherry mignonette (a combo of vinegar, shallots and pepper), green apple and chives; and Tartare de Oyster Salmon, oyster and salmon tartare topped with salmon roe and ceviche dressing.

Tapas — which make a perfect appetizer while sipping Spanish wine —are given a creative twist with delectable bites like Ravioli de Carne Guisado con Espuma de Parmesano, braised beef and porcini ravioli with parmesan foam and basil oil; Wagyu and Ikura Toast, beef Wagyu tartare with salmon roe on brioche toast truffle yolk; and Chili Crab Croquetas con Mayonesa de Lima, creamy chili crab croquettes with lime mayonnaise. 

Meats, especially steaks, are equally pleasing and excellent choices. Highly recommended are the signature Presa Iberico con Patata y Mojos, grilled and tender pork Iberico steak with fried marble potatoes served with green and red mojo sauces, as well as the Chuleta Angus, a grilled Angus beef rib eye with fries and shishito peppers on the side 

Be sure to leave room for one of Gonzalez’s divine desserts, such as the Toffee, Cacao, Avellana y Café, a merry mix of caramel mousse, chocolate sponge and caramelized hazelnut. The coffee flavor is quite dominant and overpowering ideal for diners who are coffee drinkers.

Cantabria by Chele Gonzalez is now open serving dinner from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. E-mail [email protected] or call 0962-5337957.