A European wine bar and restaurant has boosted fine dining options for visitors and residents in the city. Located at Rosario Strip just beneath Skypark and beside Figaro in sprawling Limketkai Complex, La Vetta Wine Bar and Restaurant serves specialties from Spain, Italy and Switzerland.
La Vetta is managed by European master chef Carsten Radke and his Filipino-Chinese wife Jenny Abarado. Chef Carsten Radke and his wife Jennifer decided to settle here after the chef’s contract in Cebu expired two years ago. Mr. Radke, a German national who worked in different hotels and restaurants around the globe, came to Cebu in 2005 as a business consultant for Tinderbox’s Aziza, a restaurant that also specializes in cigars, cigarettes and liquor.
The 441-sq.m. restaurant has a minimalist but elegant design, with warm earth colors, bricks and cushioned benches. The design highlights an open kitchen where there’s no pre-cooked food in view. The interior was conceptualized and designed by the couple themselves, who wanted to translate their passion for details in the place. The high ceiling, stainless-steel-top semicircular bar, brick accents, elegant decors, mahogany furniture and stainless-steel, professionally-designed kitchen achieve the ambience the couple wanted. Carsten and Jenny personally handpicked the elements of the design, from the floor tile and door handles to the decors.
The menu is with carefully handcrafted black leather jackets with La Vetta’s name embossed on the front. The chic bar has a wide variety of wines from different regions in the world such as Australia, Chile, France, California, New Zealand, Italy and South Africa.
The food La Vetta offers is one-of-a-kind. Olive tomato crispbread (made using a very old tradition of bread making in Italy), pork tenderloin tips, bruschetta and the cold cuts platter rank as their best-selling appetizers. They also have great soups such as mushroom, potato, curry lemon grass and minestrone. Their pizzas are awesome! And the tasty classic pastas like carbonara, marinara and padrone are winners! Most importantly, they offer the juiciest steaks like the US Angus rib eye in mustard sauce, US or local beef tenderloin in peppercorn sauce, and the must-try lamb with olive pecorino crust. Seafood dishes such as blue marlin, cream dory, rainbow trout, tuna and the seafood platter are included in the main courses. They also have glazed chicken breast in honey rosemary sauce!
The restaurant now accommodates more diners and Mr. Radke steps in to help if the 17 service staff can no longer handle guests coming in.
While most dishes on the menu are described as specialties of the house, the chef recommends lamb chops with olive pecorino.
La Vetta also serves wines. “We have a preservation system with a wide portfolio of major wine brands in very good volume so the customer can just order a glass and the wine won’t spoil in the next days,” said Mrs. Radke.
La Vetta’s prices have been described as competitive for Cagayan de Oro, but much cheaper compared with Metro Manila restaurants’ rates. “People can come here and they have so many options. They can have beef for about P300, or they can have imported steaks for less than P1,000,” said Mr. Radke.
So far, the couple has received positive comments from customers. “They would say it’s good that Cagayan de Oro finally has this kind of restaurant,” said Ms. Radke. “Maybe Kagay-anons are really craving for some upscale restaurants” Ms. Radke said.
La Vetta has made its mark in the city as a niche market of Kagayanons have wished for something like this for quite some time. The classy ambience, great food and wines, and the stellar service that you get at La Vetta is the kind of dining experience every gourmet person in Cagayan de Oro has hoped for. The nice thing about the place is even if it’s upscale, it is also cozy enough and its friendly staff makes it all the more warm and inviting.