Now, I would like to get this out of the way before anything else, as this was sort of a pet peeve with any other restaurant who does this. I am to admit that this was my first time at Antonio's and like a lamb left unattended in the fields, we were there to enjoy the evening and run with it, i.e., whatever was to be found on the menu. That also meant we were quite agreeable to suggestions. While the menu was pricey, it was a trivial matter since we were there ready to spend anyway. After a brief orientation from a server, we explored the menu, during which we were suggested to have some "house juice", i.e. some special dalandan juice with exquisite pulp frozen in the ice cubes. We said yes to that, but eventually when the bill got to us, it was then that we realized how naive it was for us to expect the item to be free or at least priced sensibly to our expectations. I mean, it was for a pitcher of native lime juice after all. So for anyone planning to dine, beware of suggestions and make sure you're ordering what you expect to pay for. The pitcher of juice was about $20 by the way 800 to 1000 Php from what I recall. That's all I'm saying.
On to the experience; I would say that the service was superb. All servers were trained to know how the dishes are cooked and prepared. They were attentive, at least when they were looking at our table's direction, as it seemed that there were a lot of shuffling and movement for servers on the floor. They kept tabs on the progress of our dining to know if it was time to serve the next part of the course. They would pleasantly ask how the food was, eager for feedback as it was probably for protocols' sake as well.
We had a soufflé for our appetizer, the gruyere and portobello soufflé. It was an excellent start as it had that "meaty" taste and texture simulated by the mushrooms and of course the thick cheese that made it all the more tasty.
As we had ordered an entree designed to be served as a course, we were served a house salad next. It was all right, although I had dreaded they would put arugula in it as the menu seemed to show that they had a penchant for serving arugula in their ala carte salads; I was right. And so I ate less those leaves, as there was no love lost.
There was some soup, too, but regrettably forgettable.
We ordered the Grilled Dry Aged Angus Prime Rib Eye Steak for our entree and I can absolutely say that this was an excellent dish. In fact, once we began eating, I found it hard to recall the last best steak I had; and trying to remember now, it's maybe a bit better if not as good as the steak from the timed-buffet we had in Rokkasen in Tokyo, Japan. Tender, tasty, and juicy, the flavors were enhanced with how they pre-prepared the beef. No condiments were needed, but they had 6 beside the platter just in case. It had horse radish, chili, mustard, a special sauce, salt, and garlic cloves.
As for the desserts, the course meal allowed us to choose whatever we wanted and so we ordered the dark chocolate soufflé and paired it with a scoop of amadeo coffee ice cream. The combination was definitely meant to be.
The venue's ambience was tranquil and the pace was calm. No one was rushing anyone and the word I would use to describe the atmosphere is "pleasant". The seats were comfortable and the table size was appropriately generous. The washrooms were decorated and maintained well and every other customer seemed to genuinely have a very good time. Antonio's is a must-experience restaurant.
All compositions, statements and opinions of the author are copyright © Earl T. Malvar 2009-2017. All rights reserved. There is no honor, respect, admiration, intellectual and academic dignity garnered through plagiarism.