An unassuming establishment at the ground floor of Exchange Regency Residence Hotel in Ortigas. Benassi Alimento E Caffe is easy to miss once you make a turn to the inner Jade road from Exchange Road in Ortigas. However, those who spot this humble dining space is in for a treat. Benassi is a family-run restaurant. Filipino-Italian owner Katia Benassi was born and raised in Italy and brought their beloved home-cooked Italian favorites in Manila.
One of life’s hidden blessings is living a short walk away from nice eating places. It doesn’t always have to be fancy, swanky places or franchises of big chains. Personally, we at Happyfoodies are big fans of small establishments, hole-in-the-walls and mom-and-pop operations whose offerings defy their size and relative obscurity. Stumbling upon BonBanhmi along Mayapis in Makati is a good example, a small nondescript shop operated from the house. If it weren’t for the small sign, it’s fairly easy to miss. The giveaway sight is the usual display counter. For an eating area, it has a converted garage furnished with monobloc tables and chairs. But if the place is simple, the food is anything but.
With the ramen craze phenomenally sweeping across the metro, it wouldn’t be far for popular Japanese brands would come in like the recent opening (November 2013) of Hanamaruken Ramen at the Trinoma’s Garden Restaurant. Originally established in 1982 in Osaka Japan, Hanamaruken Ramen has about 40 branches in Japan and is highly popular for its slow-braised pork rib topped Signature Happiness Ramen that takes about 20 hours to prepare. Happyfoodies was invited to dine in their first Philippine branch so I along with guest foodie, Jen, happily tried out some of their offerings.
It’s not everyday that you can dine surrounded by the very herb plants that season your food. But at Cocoon Boutique Hotel‘s rooftop restaurant, that’s what you experience exactly with every meal. Call it an organic experience but for those old enough to remember, this is what our parents and grandparents used to do way way back when most houses still have backyard gardens and seasoning as well as whole ingredients are plucked from just outside the kitchen, not the nearest supermarket.
Fast-paced city living has also changed people’s eating habits. For those who are always on the go, snacking seems to be a practical choice to balance nourishment with other daily tasks. BonChon thinks snacking should not only satisfy in-between meal cravings but also be affordable with the quality of taste and quantity of serving good enough to stave hunger pangs. BonChon Snack Ons offers quick fix meals, snack- sized munchies from their all time favorite meals. Happyfoodies got to sample these Bonchon Snack-Ons and checked out what we liked.