New Restaurant Alert: Lucia Ristorante at Arnaiz Avenue, Makati City
Chef Lombardi revives straight up Italian cuisine.
Hotel Celeste, 2 San Lorenzo Drive corner A. Arnaiz Avenue, San Lorenzo Village, Makati City
Tel. No. 887-8080
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
(SPOT.ph) Lucia doesn’t need much of a draw to attract customers. The ristorante at Hotel Celeste covers essential Italian from four-cheese pizza (Quattro Formaggi, P490) and lasagna (Lasagne Della Casa Con Crema de Porcino, P320) to the carpaccio (in several variations), minestrone, panna cotta, and tiramisu. Lucia doesn’t innovate; instead, it banks on the tradition that makes Italian cuisine one of the pioneers of cookery-which is more inviting than intimidating.
And Chef Davide Lombardi of Lombardi’s Authentic Italian takes responsibility for that. One must-try is the Insalata Mista (P240) which puts together cherry tomatoes, shallots, and balsamic vinaigrette. There’s a bit of a tang there that, like any good starter, poises the palate for the meal, but shallots balance it out with a mild sweetness. For the pasta, it’s easy to be partial to the Taglierini Tartufati (P440). Thinner compared to the usual spaghetti and tagliatelli, the taglierini has a different, softer bite to it that takes a bit of getting used to. The alluring fragrance of truffle is strong, wrapping its deep flavors around the tiny noodles. If you’re not one for the unabashed profile of truffle, the signature Spaghetti Lucia (P590), which is their rendition of a vongole, is a sure hit.
Pizza is a problematic toss-up between the Quattro Formaggi or the Napoletana (P290), which is basic tomato sauce and mozzarella topped with fresh basil. The pizzas are on the thin side, so in case deciding is too much of an inconvenience, it wouldn’t be a big stretch to get both.
Tagliata Di Manzo
There’s a sweetness to Lucia that’s befitting of Hotel Celeste’s own quaintness. It’s small, but spacious, a wall of swirly slats comprise one side and the ceiling features a simple vine pattern. Posher than most of the options along Arnaiz Avenue, Lucia, however, doesn’t stick out too much. Nothing is too ornate, the servers look professional but not overly starched, and the dishes are prettily but simply plated. Like any authentic Italian eatery, Lucia gives that air of relaxation that makes us want to sit back...if only the chairs reclined.