,

El Cocinero by Chef Arnaldo from Wheesper

 

A taste of Spain just 2 hours away from Manila! A few weekends ago, my wife and I discovered by pure coincidence El Cocinero, by Chef Arnaldo (special thanks to Canyon Cove Hotel & Spa for “encouraging” guests to explore  alternative dining options in nearby Nasugbu). We couldn’t believe to have found authentic Spanish food on a beach day in Nasugbu!

Chef Arnold is a dreamer, hard-working Filipino who, during the 14 years he spent in the Spanish island of Ibiza, mastered the art of cooking some of the best Mediterranean recipes. The menu predominantly has Spanish dishes, but Nasugbu town fellows are well aware of El Cocinero‘s homemade breads, pizzas and calzones (yes, freshly baked!). El Cocinero is a small, basic restaurant that opened 15 months ago. Simple but authentic, as Chef Arnold not only applies original recipes but also ensures that clients taste the freshest ingredients (vegetables delivered from Tagaytay, fresh seafood from the nearby waters). In fact, the food was so good that we went back for dinner on the same day!

The Good: the food is fresh and tasteful (one of the best Spanish paellas I’ve had in the Philippines so far), you feel the personal touch of Chef Arnold on each dish as he really makes sure you are having an unforgettable experience (prepared the dough for the Churros con Chocolate from scratch for us, found some old Alex Ubago songs to play in his iPod…). The Paella de Mariscos was just Authentic, combining the chef’s talent with the flavorful local seafoods!   We also enjoyed dipping the Calamares in the Ali-Oli (or actually the other way around). The bread baked in the restaurant feels like just bought in a Panaderia in Spain, oh, and don’t forget add some of the side sauces (particularly the tomato crashed one).   Chef Arnold added a few more vegetables to the combination of cheese and tomato….what a tasty Calzone!   I know some may disagree…but Tinto de Verano (red wine + ice + lemon + gaseosa/Sprite) is the best get hydrated on a hot day!   Yes, the Chef prepared the dough for the Churros just in front of us!!! What a better way to finish a meal!

The Bad: The restaurant was small, only 5 tables, with a non-Ibiza picture on the back. The wine selection was limited, a pity to accompany such amazing meal.     The salad was just ok, we found the dressing too sweet.   And…The

Verdict: El Cocinero is one of the best Spanish restaurants in the Philippines without doubts. The simplicity of the venue matches the natural, fresh ingredients used by Chef Arnaldo. Order paellas, pescadosand bread! He has managed to shorten the distance between the Philippines and Spain. Now, if I feel homesick, I know that I can find a bite of Spain in Nasugbu.

Where to find it: From Manila drive to Nasugbu thru 1) Tagaytay for a faster way (you may also buy some fruits and Pasalubong in the way back) or 2) Cavitex Ternate-Pico de Loro-Punta Fuego road (for a more scenic sea views along the road). The restaurant is located in Nasugbu’s main street (J.P. Laurel St) just across St. Francis Xavier Parish Church. 164 J.P. Laurel Street, Nasugbu Batangas 0920 295 4612 Open daily 10.30am to 10.00pm

Original post: https://wheesper.com/2015/03/25/el-cocinero-by-chef-arnaldo-nasugbu/