Summer is beginning to make itself felt. Pretty soon, people would be reaching for something cool and comforting to beat the heat. If you’re passing by either the Burgos Circle in BGC or SM’s The Block, why not check out Casa Italia? Don’t be intimidated by the fancy interiors of this gleaming Singapore-based Italian coffee and gelato cafe chain. The friendly staff greets you a warm “Ciao” the moment you step inside. Then, the array of vibrant colors of the gelato on display may just awaken your passion for dessert indulgence.
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.
We came to C’ Italian Dining towards the tailend of our Angeles City foodtrip assignment for a magazine. It was just early evening but we were already full after a day of glorious eating. But who’s to resist a serving of Italian fare? Not us, especially when it comes with a promise of ice cream at the end of the course. Finding the restaurant was a cinch as it is located just along Clarkview, literally within view of the entry gate to the Clark Ecozone. The first thing we noticed while waiting to be seated was the wall-lined with plates upon autographed plates, kind of like badges of good taste. As if we needed any as the place, the originator of the Panizza, the medley of Panini and Pizza now becoming popular in other joints, came highly recommended by our friends from the tourism office.
The last time Happyfoodies attended a lunchtime wine tasting event, we left the venue slightly inebriated. As we boarded the lift with some editors, we seem to share a collective feeling of being primed for taking an afternoon nap and foregoing the tasks reserved for the rest of the day. When we set our appointment with Nectar Restaurant in Makati for some lunchtime wine and food tasting, we thought history might repeat itself. Happily, with a bit more restraint, it did not. Oh, we’re not big wine drinkers, certainly no connoisseurs, but the concept of promoting a more democratic wine dining tradition sounded very interesting and too good to pass up.
Minetrone and bruschetta so good, they inspired and conspired to make people fall in love. Veteran photographer Mark Floro tells of a food tale both incredible and romantic — of how Linda so enamored him with her renditions of Minestrone and Bruschetta that he promptly married her.
The story piqued the curiosity of your Happyfoodies so much so that when we got the opportunity to visit Buon Giorno, Mark and Linda’s Italian restaurant in Ortigas, we knew we had to order what has smitten Mark.
I remember passing by Reposo many years ago on the way to Saint Andrew’s Church along Kalayaan and the Makati municipio farther down the road, driving past a row of restaurants and establishments that include the familiar white structure that is Budji Layug’s shop. Fastforward to the present: the street is now called Nicanor Garcia, Budji now shares billing with Royal Pineda and there are newer shops and offices along the row but a lot of the restaurants have either moved or are now gone. One of the holdovers has a familiar name but the façade looks new to my eyes.
It’s been quite a while since we last stepped into Amici in Don Bosco in Makati City. Oh, we’ve always considered this restaurant that boasts of affordable, home-cooked Italian-style cuisine as a comforting constant in a constantly changing foodscape. But ever since its takeover by a new management team two years ago, we had our apprehensions. And there’s also the expansion to include a branch in SM Megamall. Did the move to professionalize the operations alter the relaxed eating experience? Or worse, change the great-tasting food we’ve always come to love?
To find out, we dropped by on a Sunday afternoon for a late lunch – something that was not possible when Amici was still run by the Salesians of Don Bosco. Obviously, this is one of the benefits of the new management as Sunday is a very nice time to avoid the big weekday office crowds and take your sweet time to savor each and every bite. The verdict: still as lip-smacking good as ever.
Right from the start, Italianni’s was among the casual dining restaurants that have become synonymous with big servings. Not to say that the food isn’t good because it really is; it’s just that people with bigger than usual appetites have always been drawn to it because of the very generous servings. The price point is okay for the kind of food and service; however, it is a bit pricey for regular dining. Italianni’s makes amends with five new menu additions just for this summer. The formula is simple: filling weekday lunch entrees and big servings (fit for sharing) complete with pasta and veggies at more affordable prices – how can you go wrong?