Chef Andrea Spagoni Brings Finestra His Italian Sensibilities

Get to know Finestra Italian Steakhouse’s new executive chef, who blends the global culinary experience with his ingrained Italian sensibilities, all while staying faithful to the Filipino palate

Whenever the name Finestra comes to mind, one is probably quick to imagine the sweetness of enjoying the quiet, the romance of slow-living, and the beauty of being still—not to mention the majestic gastronomy of marbled steaks, fine wines, and hand-crafted pasta central to the rich cuisine of Italy. Perhaps it is because the restaurant is reminiscent of the deeply-rooted philosophy of la bella vita, literally translated as ”the beautiful life” in English.

From the intimate dining space that can hold up to 16 persons only to the decadence and warmth of the dishes that originated from the European peninsula, Finestra Italian Steakhouse is all about savoring every mouthful with those closest to you, over passionate conversations and joyous laughters.

In 2023, Finestra brings out the big guns with Michelin-starred Andrea Spagoni at the helm, along with his vision on the restaurant’s years of innovation and culture. “[In] bringing a more authentic Italian taste, I try to remain as genuine as I can. People are generally happy to explore and discover the authenticity,” the Italian chef tells Lifestyle Asia.

Time-honored mentalities

Raised in the historic city of Turin, Italy, Chef Andrea Spagoni’s culinary journey began in the most authentic of settings—his grandmother’s traditional Piedmontese kitchen. Surrounded by the age-old culinary practices, the then-young chef’s deep-seated love for authentic Italian cuisine blossomed.

Today, as the executive chef at Finestra, Andrea Spanogi infuses each dish with an air of authenticity that harkens back to his formative years in Turin. Every sauce is simmered, each ingredient hand-selected, and every dish carefully constructed, mirroring the meticulous care his grandmother devoted to her cooking. Such faithfulness in preparation and respect for the cuisine’s roots not only defines Chef Spagoni’s culinary style, but also deeply resonates with the patrons of Finestra.

“Zuppa d’aragosta,” an Australian rock lobster bisque with king oyster mushrooms

His work is a bona fide expression of the Piedmontese kitchen, a living tribute to his grandmother’s teachings, and an embodiment of the true essence of Italian cuisine.

Societies enmeshed

A seasoned globetrotter in the culinary world, Chef Andrea Spagoni has further honed his craft in the bustling kitchens of Europe, America, and Southeast Asia. Each city left an indelible mark on his culinary style. From the robustness of New York to the subtleties of Florence to the elegance of London all the way to the vibrancy of Hong Kong, the Italian chef has mastered the art of weaving these cultural influences into his creations—thus, making his offerings at Finestra a true culinary spectacle. 

At Finestra, he marries this global experience with the authentic Italian cuisine of his heritage, creating dishes that are as cosmopolitan as they are grounded in tradition. “We aim to treat and cuddle our guests, in order to let them live an unforgettable experience, enjoy good food, and get to know top-of-the-line service all blended in one outstanding ambiance,” he explains.

Finestra seafood starters: Grilled tiger prawns (right) and “Ostriche,” half dozen Gillardeau No. 1 oysters (left)

Chef Spagoni’s menus tell a story of culinary exploration and a deep understanding of diverse global flavors. His ability to fuse his global experiences with traditional Italian cooking showcases his adaptability and innovation, creating a unique dining experience that bridges borders and transcends cultures.

This exceptional talent of Chef Andrea Spagoni has not gone unnoticed, as he’s earned prestigious Michelin stars for his unparalleled contributions to gastronomy.

Assimilation of culture

Navigating the challenge of importing authentic Italian ingredients, Chef Andrea Spagoni has been able to harness his creativity and culinary prowess to devise innovative solutions in the kitchen at Finestra. “There are few [culinary] differences that I found here in Manila compared to the other places I have lived in or visited before,” he says. “Firstly, sourcing ingredients can be challenging in terms of being able to assure high quality products, and secondly, the stability of the supply chain can face few difficulties from time to time.”

Finestra signature selections: “Tonno crudo,” Bluefin Chutoro tuna belly tartare with radish and citrus dressing (left) and “Calamarata,” fresh ditaloni pasta, saffron, cuttlefish, and bottarga (right)

Rather than viewing these challenges as limitations, he has seen them as an opportunities to redefine the traditional Italian dishes he grew up with and adapt to the Filipino culinary standards. From sourcing local, high-quality substitutes that echo the essence of their Italian counterparts to crafting ingenious culinary techniques that preserve the authenticity of his dishes, Chef Spagoni’s innovation is a testament to his adaptability.

“I enjoyed the process of getting used to the local taste,” he further adds.

Not only does he find the balance between authenticity and localization, but also excels in creating a menu that is a true gastronomical delight, reflecting the robust flavors of Italy that is adapted ingeniously for his local audience. This unique approach stands as a marker of his commitment to his craft, pushing culinary boundaries and persistently innovating to bring the best of Italian cuisine to the table at Finestra.

Executive Chef Andrea Spagoni preparing “Branzino,” Mediterranean seabass and broccolini fish stew

Finestra Italian Steakhouse is located at 1 Asean Avenue, Solaire Resort Entertainment City, Tambo, Paranaque. For reservations, visit the Solaire Resort Entertainment City’s website.

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