Chele Gonzalez Offers A Taste Of Cantabria In New Restaurant

Chef Chele Gonzalez’s latest dining concept opens its doors to guests, offering delectable treasures from Spain’s rich landscape and waters.

The Westin Manila, which celebrated its first birthday, opened Cantabria by Chele Gonzalez at the Roof Level of the hotel. The Westin Manila, a premium hotel managed by Marriott International, partners with the renowned chef to introduce an elevated Spanish dining concept to Metro Manila.

Cantabria is Chef Chele Gonzalez’s hometown in the northern coast of Spain, a tierra infinita or “infinite landscape” known for its unparalleled culinary treasures from its ocean to its mountains. This region is rich with some of the best seafood in the world as well as a variety of meat delights. This region can boast to have the best anchovies in the world.

Chefs Ivan Saiz Sordo and Chele Gonzalez Westin Manila Cantabria
Chefs Ivan Saiz Sordo and Chele Gonzalez

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Cantabria by Chele Gonzalez is a restaurant that specializes in seafood, creative tapas, comfort meat, and traditional Spanish dishes. The menu transports one to the shores of Cantabria with its ocean bounty in delicate bites and indulgent delights, an ode to the famed chef’s childhood summers and culinary beginnings played out on plates prepared with a unique Spanish flair. Gonzalez also recreates some of the dishes his mother prepared while he was growing up there. One is the Ravioli de Carne Guisada con Espuma de Parmesano – braised beef and porcini ravioli with parmesan foam and basil oil. As a child, the famed chef ate this dish his mother made for him during Saturday lunches. 

The Westin Manila General Manager Alexander Dietzsch shares “A Spanish restaurant has always been in the plans for our hotel, 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” when asked about the partnership with the chef and hotel.

Chef de Cuisine Ivan Saiz Sordo takes the helm in the kitchen, overseeing the execution of Chef Gonzalez’s menu. He is a long time friend of Gonzalez and is also from Cantabria. The two chefs worked together in Gallery by Chele before Saiz moved to Cebu to handle another of Gonzalez’s restaurants in Cebu. Their lineage, culinary roots, and common love for seafood brought them back together at The Westin Manila, to create extraordinary Cantabrian dishes that they learned and loved growing up. 

Gonzalez shares “Spanish cuisine continues to evolve over time, and so do tradition and techniques. Cantabria presents a unique side of Spanish cuisine and raises the bar by showcasing a blend of tradition and trends through a flavorful journey. 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 favourites. We also serve rustic and traditional Spanish comforts from steaks to paellas, sangria, vino, and more.”

The central attraction in the dining area is an open seafood display, with the fresh catch of the day prepared in front of diners. Of course, the Cantrabrian anchovies are featured in the menu brilliantly executed as Tosta de Anchoa y Berenjena or Cantabrian premium anchovy on a baguette toast with charred eggplant. Other creative tapas include their Wagyu and Ikura Toast (beef Wagyu tartare, salmon roe, brioche toast, truffle yolk), Solmillo Ibérico “Sando” Sandwich (deep fried pork tenderloin sandwich with tonkatsu sauce topped caviar), and Chili Crab Croquetas con Mayonesa de Lima (creamy chili crab croquettes with lime mayonnaise). 

The restaurant’s signature Rodaballo a la Parrilla (grilled wild turbot fish) is drawn from Cantabria region’s powerful waves facing the Atlantic, which make it a hero catch or a sea gem surfacing on a plate.This fish is grilled to perfection and served with a green salad and potato confit is a must order whenever it is available. 

Gonzalez adds “Other seafood delights include Mero al Horno con Patata Panadera (baked grouper, roasted potatoes, garlic, and parsley emulsion), Ostra dela Casa (signature oyster), Tartare de Oyster Salmon (oyster and salmon tartare, ikura, ceviche dressing), and Tiradito de Pargo (sliced snapper, avocado and lime salsa, radish and cilantro oil)”

The most popular meats are the signature Presa Ibérico con Patata y Mojos (grilled pork Iberico (Iberian) steak, fried marble potatoes, green and red mojos sauces) and the Chuleta Angus (grilled Angus beef rib eye with fries and shishito peppers).

Gonzalez says “We’ve embraced a wide range of tradition and innovation across our menu. We want you to experi ence Spanish cuisine anew through authentic and progressive cooking as well as seafood and time-honored delicacies.”

The beautiful interiors will transport diners to Cantabria and after dinner, the soon to open al fresco area at the roof top will probably entice one for pre or post dinner cocktails, also created by the Cantabria by Chele Gonzalez team.

Cantabria by Chele Gonzalez is open for dinner from 6:00PM to 10:00PM. For reservations and inquiries, e-mail [email protected] or contact (0962) 533 7957.  Check out @cantabria.manila and @westinmanilahotel on Facebook and Instagram for updates and announcements. 

Food photos courtesy of The Westin Manila; photo of the chefs by Pepper Teehankee.

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