The Philippines’ Antonio's Restaurant in Tagaytay landed on the 84th spot of the illustrious Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant 51-100 List for 2021, and Gallery by Chele just claimed the 90th spot. The announcement comes at a time when the local restaurant industry is faced again with a difficult challenge—a surge in Covid cases that will again limit travel, and a Manila lockdown prohibiting establishments from offering indoor dining and allowing only 50 percent capacity for those which offer dining outdoors.
Chele Gonzales looks at the recognition as a silver lining in what has been a very long year. “2020 has been quite the year,” says the chef and partner of Gallery by Chele. “All of us in the restaurant industry continue to deal with the shifting realities of the pandemic. We not only have to figure out how to keep our restaurant, families, and guests safe but we also have to ponder how to keep the business side of our restaurants moving forward. It has been a challenge, to say the least.”
Gallery by Chele, which opened in 2018, is one of the most respected restaurants in the country, known for its inventive cuisine that puts a premium on the best local ingredients and traditional cooking methods. The restaurant, located at the Clipp Center Bldg along 39th Street in BGC, was designed to highlight the food’s special relationship with nature, as seen through a space its architect describes as “a rural farmhouse in an urban jungle.”
Gonzalez had previously landed on the Asia’s 50 Best list, in 2016 and 2017, but through Gallery by Chele’s previous incarnation, Gallery Vask.
“Our inclusion on this year’s list has a special meaning for us,” shares executive sous chef and partner, Carlo Villaflor. “Chele and I see this honor as a recognition of our team. It is their faith in our vision and the hard work they put in day in, day out that inspires us everyday. We could not be more proud of them.”
Antonio's, meanwhile, was the first restaurant to have made it to the Asia's 50 Best Restaurants List, landing on the 48th spot in 2015. The weekend favorite, which opened in 2002, is famous for its European cuisine interpreted with homegrown touches, as well as its stunningly crafted and decorated restaurant that sits around a beautiful, lush garden.
It is the first time the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants announced the establishments ranked from 51st to 100th. The move is designed to shine a light on a wider array of restaurants across the region that could inspire food lovers as they consider their dining and travel plans. “The global pandemic has been devastating for hospitality and it is vital that we support restaurants across Asia in their recovery,” said William Drew, Director of Content at Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants.
“To be acknowledged by our peers in Asia is an honor,” adds Gonzalez. “It is a privilege for us to represent the place that we live, love and work. It is a place that inspires us, a place we call home. To be part of this list is simply one of the best moments. Thank you to the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant Academy, our hardworking team and to our ever supportive guests.”
The Asia's 50 Best Restaurants list will be announced later this week.