Finestra could be your window to exquisite Italian dining without the need to fly out to Europe. The restaurant’s name, which means “window” when translated into English, is Solaire Resort and Casino’s signature Italian steakhouse.
Here, you can upgrade your overall food experience, as you indulge in cuts of Australian Blackmore and US Snake River Farms Wagyu beef, cooked to perfection by Chef Allan Marchetti. At Finestra, you can boldly state that your meal is “a cut above the rest.”
Heading here last week was not as stressful as I anticipated. It was like Manila traffic cooperated for a bit for this special feast organized by Zomato. I, together with other food bloggers, were invited to indulge in their upcoming Christmas menu, a sampler of classic dishes with modern twists, composed of different meats and Italian staples.
Finestra’s sophisticated interiors boast of walls of glass and chandeliers of Ornate Murano from Italy. Its ceiling reaches the heavens, floors are well carpeted and the furniture fit for royalty. Going inside was like traversing a palace, and I was their very important guest. You can expect impeccable service here, it is personalized, informative and intimate.
As you dine you’ll likely notice their open kitchen set-up. It’s a stage where everything happens and you can observe it in full access. I was impressed by how clean, organize and quiet everything was despite a relatively busy night for them.
For starters, we sampled their fresh Fine de Claire (Php 1,900). These are newly opened, fattened with fruity touch oysters. If you are up for an adventure, must have is the Octopus Carpaccio (Php 680). This flattened invertebrae was mixed wonderfully with cherry tomatoes, olives, spring onion, basil, Ligurian extra virgin olive oil, and Amalfi lemon zest. It was quite addictive to eat. It had a nice moist and chewy feel paired with strong citrus taste.
Not to forget, we were served signature Italian dish, pizza. We got the Primavera (Php 680), which had mozzarella, prosciutto di parma, wild rocket, parmesan shavings and bold truffle oil. This was a gastronomic bite after another even with its simple ingredients, a favorite ensemble made elegant by the Chef. I also loved the rustic crust, soft with a slight crisp on the onset.
Another Antipasti attention stealer was their Giant Burrata (Php 1,700), accompanied by heirloom tomatoes, homegrown herbs, and a 25-year-old Modena balsamic vinegar to give a boost of seasoning. Even if mozzarella is not my go-to cheese, I enjoyed the smoother and chunky version of it here.
Flashed in our very eyes was Josper grilled USDA Omaha Beef Tenderloin (Php 3,600). This was perfectly medium grilled with an overly juicy pink center. It was joined by porcini mushrooms, potato mousseline, baby leeks and crispy pancetta. Our 300-gram wonder sadly vanished too fast with my palate still longing for it. This is just one of the varieties of steak Finesta is proud of. They also offer different parts of Snake River Wagyu and Australian Blackmore Wagyu.
Next was the Organic Spring Chicken Cacciatore (Php 2,100/500 grams), with San Marzano tomatoes, Tagiasca olives, sage, thyme herbs, and roasting jus. It resembled similarities to the charm of our Adobo, only more memorable. I enjoyed this dish tremendously for its abounding flavors that I ordered a cup of rice with it, even if Finestra didn’t offer it on their menu.
Other notable Italian delights here include Chilean Sea Bass al Cartoccio (Php 2,100/200 grams), with cannellini beans and pesto sauce. This was a favorite by the ladies at our small table. We were also served a pasta piece in Agnolotti Tartufo Carbonara (Php 1,080), a handmade pasta parcel, carbonara stuffing, crispy bacon, diced zucchini, and black truffle. This impressed as it was like an art piece, how does one think of arranging two pasta in one?
For the contorni or side dishes, there were Josper Grilled Asparagus (Php 200) with lemon zest, Ligurian extra virgin olive oil; Cauliflower Puttanesca (Php 200), and Duck Fried Potato Chips (Php 200) with sea salt, and thyme. Stay away from the latter if you are veering away from extra weight.
For Dolci or dessert, we were treated to the most fitting sweets to cap off our modern Italian meal. The Baked Alaska (Php 550), an igloo-shaped creation, had homemade hazelnut, coffee, and chocolate ice cream in it. This was the balanced blend of hot and cold, a cake and ice cream in one go. They also threw in Finestra Tiramusi (Php 550). Their version had mascarpone, marsala, lady finger, and coffee, a classic and timeless cake. The fancy-looking one, the Lemon dome (Php 360), which has Lemon cremeaux, almond sponge, and limoncello sorbet am not much of a fan of, but it was the most interesting thing to take a photo of on all we had.
I also had the pleasure of meeting Chef Allan Marchetti, a pleasant and endearing individual, far from the stereotype of the angry passionate chef. His creations may intimidate for its combinations, flavors, and price, but they do give you and me an unforgettable trip to Italy!
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