Artisana Restaurant : The artist named Ana

It’s easy to fall in love with this girl named Annie. I don’t exactly know when I first met he. All I know is she’s the wife of a former schoolmate. Perhaps it was on the opening of Spirale, the Italian restaurant the couple first opened north of the city.

The food at Spirale was really good, but the desserts were unforgettable. The Rum Cake had the perfect bitter sweet taste, and the coffee in the Tiramisu was quite defined. Both made love to my palate. I had that smile of a dessert addict who had his dose. When she showed up from the kitchen to greet her guests after dinner, she still had this happy glow as if she knew her best was appreciated by everyone in the room. She got that right.

Spirale became synonymous to good pizza and pasta (and dessert for me, too). Soon she opened a branch in a mall and exchanged it for Pastanni with a fast/street food concept in two malls, but kept one in SM. She also a short resto stint along Torres street where her Gambas and Salpicao were a hit! 

Recently, Annie introduced her new baby—ArtisAna, a play on the word “artist” and her real name “Ana”, and a place where food art would be celebrated. If you know her enough, it’s given that she’s an artist in the kitchen (she just proved that she is. Again). 

The Modern Filipino resto fitted in a 1950’s restored house is also a space that can hold visual arts. It still exudes the warmth of an old family house, a perfect venue for relaxed lunches and dinners.

Annie’s recipes are born from constant travels and food exploration. She always has her notebook with her to jot down ideas for dishes she could try cooking at home.

“I would eat traditional Filipino dishes and think of how to tweak it to make it taste different but still its basic Filipino flavor,” she shared, and these Filipino dishes are showcased at ArtisAna.

(Left) Paella Mariano was named after the Cacho patriarch; (Right) KBL. Kadyos, Baboy, Langka has slowly simmered lechon as an ingredient

The menu holds exciting dishes. If you’re trying it for the first time, she is recommending the Salad artisAna, where the Kangkong and camote tops share the plate with the lettuce, seedless grapes and local chevre cheese, and drizzled with mangosteen-pineapple dressing. 

Her Ilonggo delicacy of Kadios or KBL (Kadios, Baboy, Langka) and is prepared with slowly simmered lechon, along with the regular pork ingredient. The Beef Pares is quite tasty, it was inspired by the Binondo Chinese practice of rice topping with clear broth, so is the Duck adobado, shredded crispy duck meat cooked in a home made adobo sauce.

(Right) The Salad ArtisAna has kamote tops and kangkong leaves among the greens; (Left) Duck Adobado. Shredded crispy duck meat cooked in home made adobo sauce. 

By personal favorite? The Black Linguini with Grilled Squid + Balsamic adobo garlic agilio e olio. The pasta has the hint of the squid’s briny taste and the sourness of the balsamic vinegar gives a nice balance to it. 

(Right) and Crispy Pata Like No Other, 2-way pata, fried and stewed; (Left) My favorites- Black Linguini with Grilled Squid, Balsamic adobo garlic agilio e olio.


Now, for desserts. I highly recommend the Queso de Bola Cheesecake that can be shared by two. I love that it bears the right level of sweetness I like, the cake’s consistency is not gelatinous, and the distinct sharp flavor of the edam cheese is present in the creamy confection.  

Try the Chuni Cake. It was named after her husband. Made of layers of offee and vanilla sponge cake with Nutella butter cream frosting and topped with slated potato chips and drizzled with chocolate syrup. It’s sweet and salty treat.

(Right) Queso de Bola Cheesecake; (Left ) Ube Langka Turon.

Running the new Modern Filipino restaurant together- Crine Bacani, Annie Cacho-Garcia, Jun Garcia and Joy Gallenero-Garcia

Also published in the SunStar Davao newspaper.

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