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March 16, 2013

FINESTRA: The Finest Taste of Italy in Manila! @SolaireResort

March 16, 2013

FINESTRA: The Finest Taste of Italy in Manila! @SolaireResort


FINESTRA is the authentic Italian restaurant of Solaire Resort. One of four signature restaurants there, it boasts beautiful floor-to-ceiling windows that look out into the Manila Bay and the Solaire pool. Finestra is well-named, given that it means 'windows' in Italian.

We just came from a recent food trip of the Veneto region in Italy, so I was happy to discover that the quality of cheeses, antipasto spread, handmade pasta and wood fire oven-cooked pizza is the same quality you would get in Italy. We were pleased to hear that most of the ingredients are directly imported from Italy and that the Executive Chef is Italian.

So far, this is the closest you can get to the romantic flavors of Italy in Manila.

SOLAIRE RESORT: The Game is About to Change Series

It's hard not to be impressed by the sophisticated ambiance -- artworks from the finest local artists, high quality tables and chairs, exquisite ceiling, and attention to every detail of the dining experience.

FINESTRA MENU: Antipasto, Soup, La Pizzeria, Risotto| Hand Crafted Pasta, Entrees | La Pasticceria (Dessert)

I love the high ceiling, beautiful acoustics, and the feeling of privacy in every table. The resto has one private room if you really need to have a closed door.

During dinner time, there is a bar lounge section where you can hang out for cocktails, starting at 6pm.

It's great that they have an open kitchen, which is like a live theatrical performance of the culinary team in bringing each dish to life as you order.



The ideal time to go is during lunch time where you can enjoy one of the best Antipasto buffets I've seen here in Manila. I love those blood-red cherry tomatoes and the vegetables in olive oil.

Executive Chef Salvatore de Vincentis, the Italian chef formerly from Paparazzi in EDSA Shangri-La, said that the secret to FINESTRA is that most of the ingredients are indeed imported from Italy.

In Italy, the soft, white Buffalo Mozzarela cheese was one of my favorite starters. I usually paired it with thinly sliced prosciutto and juicy tomatoes. Sarap!

★ Tasting of Italian cheese and cold cuts from Lucania with artisan jams and home-baked bread (for 2 persons).

If you dine at night, you can order a plate of the Antipasto sampler.

Gas or No Gas? Natural or Sparkling Water?

Yes, these are the same brands of water they serve you in Italy.  They say Europeans are addicted to sparkling water, but I still can't appreciate having bubbles in my water.


MAIN COURSE #1: Pizza or Pasta

★ Margherita Bufalina with tomato, buffalo mozzarella from Salerno, and basil.

This pizza was very good, with its just-right chewy thin crust and yummy buffalo mozzarella cheese.

★ Porcini Mushroom Risotto with late season harvest porcini mushrooms and parmigiano.

We loved the al dente risotto, the flavors of the mushrooms, and the hint of truffle.

★ Lasagna "Classica Al Forno" with prime beef, creamy sauce, tomatoes and Stracchino cheese and ★ Spaghetti Chittra "Guitar String Spaghetti" with peperoncino, tuna and sundried tomatoes.

Classic Italian yumminess: Handmade pasta combined with the finest ingredients and flavorful sauce!


MAIN COURSE #2: Main Entrees

Veal cutlet "Milanese" with cauliflower, chopped tomatoes and arugula.

This was as yummy and as big as the ones we ate in Milan. Although, it would be better if the vegetables were served on the side instead of on top.

★ Sardinian lamb chops "Pizzaiola" with potatoes and roasted eggplants.

This was highly recommended and the tastiest among all the entrees we tasted. I loved how the soft lamb meat was cooked just right.

Roasted Branzino, prawns with Vesuvius tomatoes and candied lemon.

This dish had a big chunk of European Sea Bass in the unique-tasting sauce.

★ Veal Ossobuco in Gremolata, bone marrow and Tuscan pappardelle.

This is best eaten by combining a slice of the veal, a portion of the pasta, and the tomato sauce mixed with the fatty bone marrow.

I enjoyed my Finestra dinner with these guys who couldn't stop raving about the food!

Italian meals are usually served individually over 4 courses, but since we're in Manila, we didn't mind sharing the big portions of the entrees to get a little piece of everything. :)



★ Hazelnut Gelato. (Daily selection of homemade gelatos and sorbets per scoop)

This is the best dessert in Finestra! It's like enjoying Grom-quality gelato here in Manila. Order the Hazelnut flavor. :)

Panna Cotta with caramelized orange.

Served in a big glass with a thick layer of orange, the panna cotta was good. However, it was overshadowed by the other desserts we ordered.

Tiramisu Solaire.

The classic Italian tiramisu was presented with Solaire flair.

Calzone Nutella.

The dough of the calzone was too heavy and it just had little Nutella inside. This is not a good idea for dessert. :(

★ 24 Karat Chocolate Fondant.

Yes, this is best way to eat chocolate -- with real 24-karat gold! :) Although the gold does not really taste like anything, at least you can say you ate real gold. After the initial excitement of eating something so precious, the oozing chocolate in the middle will surely satisfy any chocoholic craving you have. :)


Overall, we loved the authentic flavors and the ingredients of the food, the sophisticated modern high-ceiling ambiance, and the Italian chef who makes sure each dish is crafted to Italian perfection. Order the appropriate wine to pair with your food, and limoncello as a digestive to complete the authentic Italian dining experience in Manila.

This is the Finest Taste of Italy that you can ever have in the metro! After dining in Finestra, you won't settle for anything less but the best Italian flavors.

Indeed, Finestra is a game changer in the Italian cuisine landscape in Manila. :)

FINESTRA. Italian cuisine
G/F Solaire Resort & Casino, 1 Solaire Boulevard, Entertainment City, Manila
Telephone: +632 888-8857 for reservations
Operating Hours:
Open Daily for LUNCH: 11.30am to 2.30pm (last seating)
Open Daily for DINNER: Bar 6.00pm | 6.30pm to 10.30 (last seating)


SOLAIRE RESORT: The Game is About to Change Series


Live an Awesome Life,

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Founder, www.OurAwesomePlanet.com
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If you have tips on awesome food and travel destinations, please email me at anton@diaz.ph.

Full Disclosure: Our Finestra preview was courtesy of Solaire Resort Team.

 I wrote this blog post myself, and it expresses my own opinions. We only feature awesome experiences in the blog.

I have no business relationship with any company mentioned in this post or any organization promoting it. As a policy, I don't receive compensation from food and travel places we feature in the blog.

P.S. As of this writing, the pricing is still being finalized for Solaire's opening tomorrow. A similar meal in Italy would cost about 30-45 Euros, so expect to budget around P1,500 to 2,500 per person. If you have more info, please put it in the comments section.

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