Dining area layout
Cantabria by Chef Chele Gonzales is located on the roof level of Westin Manila Hotel.

Cantabria by Chef Chele Gonzalez Celebrates His Spanish Heritage

Renowned Chef Chele Gonzalez opened a new epicurean hot spot in Manila—Cantabria. Named after his hometown in the northern coast of Spain, this fine casual restaurant offers an a la carte menu of specialty seafood, tapas, meats, and traditional Spanish favorites.

Dining area layout
Cantabria by Chef Chele Gonzalez is located on the roof level of The Westin Manila Hotel.



Curly-haired girl holding a cocktail drink by the bar
Kate was here.

Located on the roof level of The Westin Manila in Ortigas Center, Cantabria is the only Spanish restaurant of Chef Chele Gonzalez in Metro Manila. Chef de Cuisine Ivan Saiz Sordo takes the helm in the kitchen, overseeing the execution of Chef Gonzalez’s dishes.

Two people in a bar
Go beyond the classic sangria. Try the following Cantabria bar drinks:
Kalimoxto: red wine, rum, lemon, mango shrub, and soda
A Night in Santander: Tequila, lemon juice, honey, and rosemary

“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,” Chef Chele said. “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,” he added. “We also serve rustic and traditional Spanish comforts from steaks to paellas, sangria, vino, and more.”

With Chef Chele Gonzalez and my friend Andrea (right)

I was invited to sample 12 of the items from their menu, ranging from traditional Spanish comforts to innovative tapas, each paired with either red wine, white, or champagne. That night of drinking and dining made a great escape from Metro Manila’s notorious traffic jam happening just outside the hotel.

We started with sea produce:

Tartare De Ostra Y Salmon, ₱990: oyster and salmon tartare, ikura, and ceviche dressing.
Tartaleta De Viera, ₱950: scallop tartlet, celeriac puree, white chocolate, and caviar




Appetizer tapas
Tosta De Anchova Y Berenjena, ₱420: Cantabrian premium anchovy, baguette toast, and charred eggplant

Followed by tapas:

(Top) Croquetas De Pollo Trufa, ₱490, roasted chicken and truffle croquettes
(Bottom) One of my favorite tapas that night: Chili Crab Croquetas Con Mayonasa De Lima, ₱390, or creamy chili crab croquettes with lime mayonnaise

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Pulpo A La Parilla Con Patatas Aliñadas, ₱790: grilled octopus leg, pickled potatoes, paprika
Ravioli De Carne Guisada Con Espuma De Parmesano, ₱840: braised beef and porcini ravioli with parmesan espuma and basil oil

And then the main dishes:

Presa Iberico Con Patata Y Mojos, ₱2,400: grilled pork Iberico steak, fried marble potatoes,
green and red mojos sauces.

 

Chef slicing a big grilled fish
Rodaballo A La Parrilla or grilled whole wild turbot is the restaurant’s signature fish. Price is ₱2,000 per 100g. It’s flown all the way from Cantabria, Spain.
Arroz Negro De Viera Y Chipiron, ₱990: black ink creamy rice with grilled scallops, baby squid and herb aioli

 

And of course, I always save room for dessert:

Sobao Pasiego, ₱420 Cantabria’s delicacy cake, cheese ice cream, and berries coulis
Toffe, Cacao Avellana Y Café, ₱460: varamel mousse, chocolate sponge, and caramelized hazelnut

Don’t be intimated, if, like me, your only experience of Spanish cuisine is through the paella-centric Spanish restaurants and buffets in Manila. In my case, allow me to add a short visit to Madrid and Barcelona back in 2018 as part of my authentic Spanish cuisine CV. And after giving up pescetarianism last year, I’ve started expanding my palate.

A visit to Chef Chele Gonzalez’s new spot will transport you to Spain’s Cantabria region, where the he spent many a childhood summer and where his culinary journey began. Instead of the usual fine dining set menus where the dishes are pre-selected for you, Cantabria lets you mix and match from a bigger menu.

As Filipinos, we tend to go for the familiar choices of paella and gambas al ajillo, but when you book a table at Cantabria, I dare you to go out of your comfort zone.

Cantabria by Chef Chele Gonzalez is open from Tuesdays to Sundays and is located at The Westin Manila, San Miguel Avenue corner Lourdes Drive, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong, Philippines. For more info, follow Cantabria by Chef Chele Gonzalez on Facebook and Instagram for more info.