Cafe Cortina offers private chef's table right in the garden

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

Many of the ingredients chef Ernesto Antopia uses to create multi-course menus at Cafe Cortina's new chef's table come from the garden surrounding the private dining setting. 

The longstanding upscale Italian restaurant in Farmington Hills, celebrating 44 years this month, is known for having romantic settings inside and out. This garden-side chef's table is a new way for diners to have privacy and socially distance from others while experiencing a high-end, fixed-price meal for six to 12 of their closest friends or family. 

Diners can splurge on a multi-course, fixed-price meal at a table built for six-12 right inside Cafe Cortina's chef's garden.

Eggplant, peppers and zucchini grown in the garden arrive on the plate as a Sicilian caponata dish, fresh basil is found in the pasta and the risotto employs the edible nasturtiums flowers. Even the meat courses in the lavish experience use bounty from Antopia's garden, including aged steaks marinated in fresh rosemary and fish with fennel and chives. 

Cafe Cortina's Rina Tonon says Antopia kept working on the garden even when the restaurant was closed in the spring because of the pandemic. 

"He thought it would be fitting to create a real chef's cooking garden back in the kitchen as they have in Italy," she said. 

Advance reservations are required to snag the herbaceous oasis, and diners should expect to spend $90-$118 per person on the multi-course meal. Wine pairings are available for an added cost. 

Call Antonio Giannola at (917) 770-3589 to reserve. Cafe Cortina is at 30715 W. 10 Mile in Farmington Hills. 

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Twitter: @melodybaetens

Ernesto Antopia trims herbs from his garden at Cafe Cortina.