Chef Antonio Coelho is one of the most admired personalities in the Macau culinary arena. This year he (and the whole of Macau) celebrates the ten-year anniversary of Antonio—his signature restaurant in Taipa Village.
The brand “Antonio” has grown into an institution of great food and the place for exceptional dining experiences, garnering top recognition around the region.
The Michelin-recommended restaurant is not just popular for heartwarming and delicious dishes but is associated with the man himself, Chef Antonio. “Cooking is like an art,” he explains, “every flavorful dish is a masterpiece, carefully crafted with culinary skill, taste, and imagination.” Hoping he would divulge the secrets to his success, we asked him—what is the real recipe for a successful restaurant?
“First and foremost is the quality of products. It is the most important aspect of cooking. It has to be fresh. The products are something comparable to cars or people in general. Some might be better than others in different ways. For example, a Mini Cooper and a BMW, although both new they are both different. Seafood is the same and quality could be described the same way. Ensuring quality ingredients is of paramount importance.”
“Secondly, the order of food and the way you cook and mix things is also very important.”
“For my third secret, I will share something very practical and resourceful. For example, you have to cook fish and you forgot to put the fish in the freezer and you get home to cook fish and you think it’s no longer at its freshest. I suggest you use a little bit of ginger on the fish. It may become dry but you can create something out of it and that’s resourceful.”
“My fourth piece of advice is to remember the essence of spice. The onions, garlic, tomatoes, coriander, salt, and pepper are all very important. We don’t use too much ginger in Portugal but in Macau, we use a relative amount of ginger and lemons. A quick side tip—always have a toothpick in the kitchen. It is handy and important. How do you know your codfish or croquettes and potatoes are cooked? That’s the trick with the toothpick!”
“Lastly, I welcome and receive all customers with a smile. Service really is of utmost importance in this industry. Even when you are faced with many problems, you must always serve with warmth because it makes a difference to the guests. We want to make them feel at home because for me this is my home.”
Chef Antonio explains, “You know, normally with big cities and big restaurants when the tourists stroll in restaurants and they put their hands in pockets. It happens to me and you when we go to places and travel. How much am I going to spend on dining out? That’s the pricelist factor and a fact. Don’t do hard selling with the most expensive dish on the menu. Don’t lie to tourists or customers at all at any time. Don’t even attempt to sell the lobster” [laughs]. “I believe that you should always start with a medium price and work from there. Remember they’re here for the experience.”
Antonio’s is located in the beautiful heritage district of Taipa Village.
“Taipa Village—Authentic Macau” is a new brand concept established by Taipa Village Destination Limited, with the goal of promoting Taipa Village as Macau’s premier lifestyle district, boosting heritage attractions, innovative dining, niche retail offerings and a diverse arts and entertainment scene.
The primary goal is to foster “sustainable heritage” in Taipa Village—the blending of architecturally beautiful local shop houses with vibrant retail and food and beverage concepts, which benefit the wider Macau community and become a new tourist attraction in their own right. We aim to promote Taipa Village as an exciting and culturally rich non-gaming destination by offering a perfect alternative to the city’s casino resorts.