Does Gotti's Ristorante hit the Spot?

Affordable Italian eats are Gotti's number-one crowd drawer.

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Gotti's Ristorante, tucked in a corner of the Atrium of SM Megamall, is noticeably packed during lunch and dinner, with office workers and families flocking to the ristorante to nurse their love affair with Italian food. Named after the notorious mafia boss John Gotti, the casual, no-frills brick-lined resto is dimly-lit and has an intimate feel.

The menu, with a caricature of Gotti that evokes memories of Al Pacino in the Godfather series, is filled with a variety of pasta dishes, entrees, appetizers and the Italian staple, pizza. Dessert is also available for those who need a sweet ending to every meal.

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What we ordered:

We zoomed in on the dishes with a bestseller mark, namely Dirty Fingers (P155), a serving of chicken breast fillet with honey mustard dip on the side. The crunchy deep-fried chicken fillet were soft and tender, but admittedly tasted better if smothered in dip. Still, we like that the chicken fingers were served fresh from the kitchen and steaming hot.

The Goodfella Meatballs (P150 for a single serving/P235 to share), which was a heaping plateful of spaghetti with a few Italian meatballs. The huge serving would be great if the dish didn't taste like any other spaghetti-with-meat sauce combo out there.

The Shrimp ala Pobre (P180 for a single serving /P270 to share) was tasty, with hints of butter mixed in with the mushrooms, shrimps and herbs. The garlic in the dish wasn't so overpowering that you'd want to gargle with mouthwash right after eating.

We had high hopes for The Godfather pizza (P350), which the menu noted as a bestseller, with pepperoni, smoked ham, bacon, Italian sausage, black olives and mushroom toppings. But far from being the "Don" of all pizzas, the thin-crust slices–which bore a slightly disappointing resemblance to a certain chain restaurant's "manager's choice"–offered only a satisfactory respite for pizza cravings.

When to go:
If you're not prepared to wait for a table, hitting Gotti's at 11:30 a.m. or 6:30 p.m. is best. The resto gets packed quickly at 12 noon and at 7 p.m. with mall-goers and large groups opting for a filling and affordable eats.

What we think:

While you may not fall head over heels in love with all the dishes, Gotti's is a go-to place for cheap Italian fare at the mall. Far from offering Italian gourmet, it's a comfortable choice with classic dishes. The brisk service and the resto's ambience make you feel like you're taking part of a communal dining event, and the menu selection is as economical as it is diverse.

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Gotti's is located at the 4th floor, The Atrium at the SM Megamall. Tel. No. 634-0348.

Photos by Warren Espejo.

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