Margarita Forés rebrands food empire, announces new restaurant

An icon in Philippine food, the multi-awarded chef and restaurateur showcases her new brand identity and a new restaurant.

The invitation left much to the imagination, only indicating that there was to be an announcement coinciding with the host’s birthday. While 65 might be the year that many decide to retire, Filipino culinary icon Margarita Forés sees it simply as the perfect time to evolve.

During dinner at Lusso in Greenbelt 5, Forés excitedly shared that her signature endeavors such as her catering arm, the floral shop, and her many bottled products, will now be under a single brand, simply and aptly called Margarita.

She worked with Chris Owen and Victoria Tang-Owen of Hong Kong-based Thrity30 Creative— a multi-disciplinary studio that specializes in creative communication, brand identity, product and campaign design.

Margarita branded products range from dinnerware to flowers, sauces and pasta.

Owen shared that they had a “beautiful lightbulb moment” when Tang-Owen noticed Forés impeccable penmanship. “Victoria determined that this handwritten logotype would perfectly showcase Margarita’s attention to detail, creativity, education, and appreciation for aesthetics.”

From there, Thirty30 built a brand that truly represents the quality that Margarita delivers to all her customers and guests.

Forés, after all, is the architect of her world, evident in her food, tablescapes, and yes, her elegant calligraphy and curated homeware. Her new brand identity is meant to embody the essence of Margarita’s aesthetic. It introduces guests and clients to her creative principles which value refinement and traditions, and exudes an appreciation for excellence and attention to detail.

A young Gaita Fores at her first Cibo restaurant in Glorietta
Filipino culinary icon Margarita Forés at 65 is still evolving as a chef and businesswoman.

What was truly thrilling, especially to those who were fans of Forés’ fine dining restaurant, Pepato (which used to be located in what was Greenbelt 2), was her announcement of a new signature fine dining establishment opening soon at The Shops at Ayala Triangle Gardens. Restaurant Margarita’s frontage will be right on the corner of Makati Avenue and Paseo de Roxas, slated to open in the latter part of 2024.

As a preview (or a reminder for many of us), dinner that evening was composed of Fores’ dishes that best embody her culinary style and food philosophy. To start, there was a salad of palm heart shavings, button mushrooms, celery, and parmigiano reggiano, simply dressed with Ligurian extra virgin olive oil and sale di cervia.

Even before the huge push to showcase Filipino ingredients in innovative ways flooded the local food scene, Forés has been doing her share which is evident in her prosciutto with chico sorbetto drizzled with a thick, sticky DOP aceto balsamico tradizionale de Modena.

She continues this horizontal progression with a kangkong ravioli stuffed with Negros blue crab, swathed in calamansi crema and crab fat, followed by the meat course of lamb adobo accompanied by grits of Negros heirloom rice and corn in a rich gorgonzola sauce.

A fitting end— a napoleones-like parmigiano reggiano-crusted millefoglie layered with grana padano espuma, accompanied by a poached pink guava and guava jelly. Great as a dessert, and worked just as well as a cheese course to help finish off that glass of exquisite Tagnanello.

It is easy to imagine this kind of food prepared and presented with such finesse and thoughtfulness, with the backdrop of Restaurant Margarita’s contemporary dining room that promises to marry “minimalism with a touch of quirkiness, sophistication with approachability, and comfort with chicness.”

Designed by the brilliant architect and interior designer Sean Dix who shares Forés’ passion for New York, Italy, and the Philippines, he see’s Restaurant Margarita as “a plush sala, a jewel box showcasing Margarita’s culinary finesse.”

Margarita Home

Dinner was simply the opening salvo to an evening of celebration, as friends from the food and beverage industry started to arrive after their busy Saturday dinner service.

While many at dinner have already bid good night, Forés demonstrates that incredible energy which had her partying the night away with the rest of Manila’s finest chefs and restauranteurs. The turnout shows just what a beloved figure she truly is, and that whatever comes next for Forés, we all await with bated breath.

The new lifestyle.