beauty and the feast
A lavish Meditereannean dinner inspired by the locavore movement
Cebu is laden with dining places ranging from hip, new joints to no- fuss, small eateries one can easily go to in casual wear and flip flops. But as for fine dining places with intricate settings and exquisite gourmet menus? Not so much. Anzani New Mediterranean Restaurant brings a refreshing change in the dining scene with its European cuisine offerings and a carefully curated selection of vintage wines and champagne. Not far from the business hub but still hidden enough to be an intimate destination, the restaurant sits cozily on top of Nivel Hills, a quiet place where one can get intoxicated by wine and the panoramic views of the city.
The kitchen is led by Marco Anzani, a chef famed for his new coastal interpretations of classic Mediterranean flavors. What makes his menu still have that Cebuano touch is how he is able to maximize local ingredients with a Mediterranean style of cooking. “We grow our own produce and concoct our in- house limoncello, all born in Cebu,” he shares. “But we take into consideration new products from Europe. Our cheeses come from all over the world. The one rule that we have is that we don’t scrimp on quality or freshness.”
Despite its contemporary interiors and fancy atmosphere, guests can feel right at home with its warm and filling comfort food. For starters, the Five Wonders of the Ocean is a melange of oyster in white zabaione, large scallops, marinated Norwegian salmon, crispy squid, crawfish and squid salad in one flavorful serving. But the real star of the dining experience is Anzani’s oval thin pizza, with flatbread selections such as smoked speck ham, white three cheeses, spinach, and parma shavings. The smoked speck ham is sprinkled with gorgonzola cream walnuts, caramelized pears and cherry tomato. You can view the chefs working in action as they make the pizza in the open kitchen. The braised Wagyu shank is a flavorful treat for the main course, made even more satisfying when paired with a glass of Merlot or Chardonnay. The underground cellar houses red and white wines sourced from all over Europe, the oldest one dating from the late 1990s. The menu may be lengthy, but the options are welcome.
The prices are not too intimidating, but that little extra for good food, fine drinks, and breathtaking views is definitely worth the price. You are, after all, getting the best of both worlds: the classic charm of Europe and the lived- in warmth of Cebu. Chef Anzani says, “On many levels, Cebu is holding its own in many ways as a prime destination. The light is shining in Cebu.”
FLAT DOUGH PIZZA IS ONE OF ANZANI’S SPECIALTIES, WHICH IS MADE FROM SCRATCH EVERY DAY. THE LAND ON WHICH THE RESTAURANT STANDS USED TO BE A VINEYARD 60 YEARS AGO.