A Sunday brunch buffet worth a couple of hours’ drive

Have you travelled for a couple of hours specifically to visit a restaurant? Rare is the occasion that this happens for us, as our plan is usually built around destinations we must check out first, with the search for nearby restos almost always an afterthought.

But there are dining destinations that are simply worth the trip.

One such place is the Ristorante di Virona, an Italian restaurant inside the Swissôtel Clark Philippines. One fine Sunday, we decided to travel for two hours from Manila to Clark just to make our tummies happy. 

We heard they have a new buffet offering—the Verona Brunch Club—and we just had to go.

Spoiler alert: We loved the dishes we tried (more on these later). Suffice it to say, the refined gastronomic experience was worth the trip.

The Ristorante di Virona is the first authentic and only Italian restaurant inside the Clark Freeport Zone. The executive chef is from Sardinia, the second-largest island in the European country, which is famous for its superb olive oil. The Italian restaurant is the 10th dining destination to open at the Swissôtel.

Upon arriving at the resto, guests are greeted with a lovely “Welcome to the Good Life!” artwork. It sets the mood for the great time guests are about to have.

Among the food items that we had—and are now recommending to you—are the pan-seared salmon fillet with star anise beurre blanc sauce, the Wagyu double beef burger served with truffle fries, the porchetta served with marble potatoes, carrots, and green pea cream, and the beef tenderloin served with Hasselback truffle potato, carrot, asparagus, and red wine reduction sauce.

We also loved the pesto butter chicken supreme with vegetable ratatouille, the cod fish with spiced chickpeas, and the beef carpaccio. For dessert, the mascarpone cheesecake and candied banana millefeuille are musts.

The Sunday brunch buffet isn’t laid out like your typical buffet setup. Instead, guests can order as much food as they want from crew members. Most meals are cooked as ordered in the open kitchen, ensuring they are freshly made every single time.

In the al fresco area, a DJ spins beat every Sunday, which gives the place a more youthful vibe.

Oh, by the way, the Ristorante di Virona also houses the biggest wine cellar in North Metro Manila with over 300 wines sourced from various regions worldwide. This truly makes this experience equal parts fine—and fun—dining.

Kenneth M. del Rosario
Kenneth has been writing for the Philippine Daily Inquirer for more than 17 years, covering travel, food, motoring, technology, real estate, and business, among others.