Special Features

A New Taste of Spain: Why Families Will Love Cantabria by Chele Gonzalez

From tapas to seafood dishes, wines, and more, families can enjoy a taste of authentic Spanish fare in Westin Manila’s newest dining concept: Cantabria by Chele Gonzalez.

Here in the Philippines, Spanish food is synonymous with paella (a rice dish topped with meat and seafood) and tapas like gambas al ajillo (shrimp sautéed in garlic and olive oil) or croquettes (fried balls of creamy béchamel and meat or seafood), and chorizo (cured smoked sausage).

But there is more to Spanish cuisine than meets the eye—or in this case, the palate.

Spanish cuisine, at its core, features a harmonious balance of flavors. And while the taste profile and dishes vary across regions, the common elements that tie them all together include the bold and robust flavors of garlic, paprika, saffron, and olive oil.

Take for example Cantabria. Set on the northern coast of Spain, this tierra infinita or “infinite landscape” is known for its mythic oceans and multitude of greeneries and mountains. As a treasure trove of unparalleled culinary treasures, this region showcases some of the best seafood in the world and a wide variety of meat dishes.

Thus taking the best of what this region has to offer, visionary chef Chele Gonzalez teams up with Westin Manila to debut the newest dining concept: Cantabria by Chele Gonzalez.

Cantabria by Chele Gonzalez restaurant interiors
The restaurant interiors of Cantabria by Chele Gonzalez

Wine and Dine

Whether you’re looking for a place to spend date night with your partner or a location for the whole family to celebrate milestones or just enjoy a good dinner, Cantabria by Chele Gonzalez is where you can indulge in authentic Spanish fare.

With a bespoke menu that takes you across the shores of the Cantabria region of Chef Chele’s hometown, Cantabria by Chele Gonzalez features one-of-a-kind seafood, creative tapas, comfort meats, and traditional Spanish favorites. Thus taking inspiration from the famed chef’s childhood summers and culinary beginnings, the dishes showcase his creative ingenuity with a dash of Spanish flair.

Set on the Roof Level of the hotel, this dining venue aims to become a new epicurean hot spot. With a central attraction in the dining area set to become an open seafood display, the freshest catch of the day will be prepared in front of diners.

But more than its Spanish delights, there is a diverse array of vino, wine, and spirits that accompany the meal.

Picon Punch from Cantabria by Chele Gonazalez
Picon Punch

A collaboration born from shared heritage, culture, and familial history

Westin Manila’s General Manager Alexander Dietzsch shares, “A Spanish restaurant has always been in the plans for our hotel, and we wanted to collaborate with a chef who can bring an authentic experience to the table. We searched far and wide and we didn’t find anyone in Manila who is as dedicated to the concept as Chele.”

Joining Chef Gonzalez is Chef de Cuisine Ivan Saiz Sordo, who also hails from Cantabria. Beyond working on celebrated restaurants across the Philippines and a shared love for seafood, the two share an understanding of the dishes the Spanish region has to offer. This is why Chef Sordo takes the helm in the kitchen—responsible for executing Chef Gonzalez’s well-crafted menu.

Chef Chele Gonzalez and Chef Ivan Saiz Sordo both hail from the region of Cantabria
Chef Chele Gonzalez and Chef Ivan Saiz Sordo

“Spanish cuisine continues to evolve over time, and so do tradition and techniques,” explains Chef Gonzalez. “Cantabria presents a unique side of Spanish cuisine and raises the bar by showcasing a blend of tradition and trends through a flavorful journey.”

“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 adds. “We also serve rustic and traditional Spanish comforts from steaks to paellas, sangria, vino, and more.”

Must-haves from Cantabria by Chele Gonzalez

Nothing brings people together more than a shared love for food, and families who are looking for something they can enjoy together can easily indulge in our recommended picks:

Sangria Tinto: red wine infused with fruits, dried orange, and rosemary
Sangria Tinto: red wine infused with fruits, dried orange, and rosemary

1. Sangria Tinto

Sangria is a quintessential drink in Spanish cuisine, and for parents who want some alcohol to unwind after a busy day, the Sangria Tinto hits the spot. Made of fruits soaked in red wine to achieve that sweet taste mixed with nuances of oranges and apples, this summer drink is further elevated in Chef Gonzalez’s hands with some rosemary that is torched for added smokiness.

Just make sure your kids are of legal age before introducing them to this drink!

Tosta de Anchoa y Berenjena: Cantabrian premium anchovy baguette toast and charred eggplant
Tosta de Anchoa y Berenjena: Cantabrian premium anchovy baguette toast and charred eggplant

2. Tosta de Anchoa y Berenjena

Starting off the appetizers on a flavorful note, guests are treated to a Cantabrian favorite that was flown in from the region itself! “We’re putting our own touch on this ocean bounty with unique dishes like the Tosta De Anchoa Y Berenjena,” explains Chef Gonzalez.

The resulting tapa is a thinly sliced crunchy baguette toast that’s topped with charred eggplant for smokiness and finished off with showstopping Cantabrian premium anchovies. While seemingly simple, the flavors are reminiscent of the sea: salty, tangy, and umami—but without the overpowering fishy aftertaste.

Tartaleta de Viera Scallop: tartlet with celeriac puree and white chocolate caviar
Tartaleta de Viera Scallop: tartlet with celeriac puree, white chocolate, and caviar

3. Tartaleta de Viera Scallop

Taking elements from the sea, Chef Gonzalez weaves up a unique combination of flavors in a bite-sized tapa that must be wholly enjoyed and consumed: the Tartaleta de Viera Scallop.

In a crunchy thin tartlet of a shell is a mix of chopped scallops, celeriac puree, and caviar—finished off with white chocolate shavings. Overall, the taste is fresh and clean, with the mild saltiness from the fish eggs. And while it may seem different to find white chocolate in a savory dish, its mild sweetness, when paired with all the elements, serves to accentuate the umami flavors of the seafood.

Chili Crab Croquetas Con Mayonesa De Lima: creamy chili crab croquettes with lime mayonnaise
Chili Crab Croquetas Con Mayonesa De Lima: creamy chili crab croquettes with lime mayonnaise

4. Chili Crab Croquetas Con Mayonesa De Lima

Tapas are given a sophisticated and creative twist with delectable bites like the Chili Crab Croquetas con Mayonesa de Lima. Visually, these croquettes are deep-fried into a lovely golden brown. And taste-wise, these balls are filled with a creamy mix of chili crab with lime mayonnaise.

Overall, the taste profile is a mildly spicy kick that comes and goes, with a bright refreshing acidity from the lime. Now this is something you can easily get addicted to!

Arroz Negro de Viera y Chipiro: squid ink paella with scallops, baby squid, and herb aioli
Arroz Negro de Viera y Chipiro: squid ink paella with scallops, baby squid, and herb aioli

5. Arroz Negro de Viera y Chipiro

Paella is yet another must-have for Spanish cuisine, and while the more familiar version is the Paella Valencia—a bright orange rice dish topped with mussels, squid, and sometimes, even meat—its squid ink counterpart is an underrated must-have.

With a creaminess that can be likened to a heartwarming risotto, Chef Gonzalez’s take features a darkly-colored squid ink rice base, topped with scallops, baby squid, and herb aioli. Each piece of seafood added to this dish is cooked just right—springy but not tough, and lightly salted all the same.

“We’ve embraced a wide range of tradition and innovation across our menu,” ends Chef Gonzalez. “We want you to experience Spanish cuisine anew through authentic and progressive cooking as well as seafood and time-honored delicacies.”

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Cantabria by Chele Gonzalez serves dinner from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM daily. For reservations and inquiries, e-mail [email protected] or contact +63 962 533 7957. Visit westinmanilahotel.com and follow @cantabria.manila and @westinmanilahotel on Facebook and Instagram for updates and announcements.

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