(SPOT.ph) From carbonara to puttanesca, ravioli to the quintessential spaghetti Bolognese, let’s face it: Pasta is the best carb, a perfect fit for any person, in every occasion. After all, is there really anyone in the world who doesn’t love or, at least, like pasta? For anyone looking to carbo-load, here are 10 of the best pasta places in Metro Manila:
Mama Lou’s Italian Kitchen
The warm, cozy atmosphere at Mama Lou’s is perfect for anyone looking to enjoy some hearty Italian comfort food. With their large portions, this restaurant is a great pick for family gatherings and group dinners. The pasta dishes are superb, authentic, and fairly priced. At Mama Lou’s, you can get top-notch Italian food, without burning a hole through your wallet.
Must-tries: Vongole Olio (P295), Spaghetti Seafood Olio (P315)
Mama Lou's is at Block 1, Lot 36, Tropical Avenue corner Tropical Palace, BF Homes, Parañaque City; and G/F UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City.
For two decades now, Italianni’s has been providing Metro Manila with classic Italian food. The extensive menu—updated with new dishes over the years—is full of simple yet delicious Italian fare. The long-standing restaurant’s stellar track record is proof of its carb dependability. If you’re looking for a solid pasta dish that won’t disappoint, Italianni’s is always a great choice.
Must-tries: Spaghetti Pomodoro (P360), Shrimp Fra Diablo (P650)
Italianni’s has branches at Greenbelt 2, Makati City; Shangri-La Plaza, Mandaluyong City; Glorietta 4, Makati City; SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City; Eastwood City, Quezon City; Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City; Alabang Town Center, Muntinlupa City; Trinoma Mall, Quezon City; Robinsons Ermita, Manila; and Uptown Place Mall, Uptown Bonifacio.
This well-loved chain taught Filipinos the meaning of "al dente." CIBO is a must for anyone who is into Italian food. Helmed by Asia's Best Female Chef Margarita Fores, its comprehensive menu—complete with different types of noodles in cream, pesto, tomato, squid ink, olive oil—satisfies all sorts of cravings. Every dish here is always someone's favorite.
Must-tries: Farfalle alla Genovese (P310), Penne al Telefono (P375)
CIBO has branches at Glorietta 4, Makati City; Power Plant Mall, Makati City; Shangri-La Plaza, Mandaluyong City; Alabang Town Center, Muntinlupa City; Promenade, Greenhills, San Juan City; Gateway Mall, Quezon City; Greenbelt 5, Makati City; Eastwood Mall, Quezon City; Robinsons Magnolia, Quezon City; and SM Mega Fashion Hall, Mandaluyong City.
Linguini Fini is an award-winning Italian restaurant from Hong Kong. Its mission to source locally and use ingredients made from scratch are philosophies that have been carried over to the Manila franchise. The pastas are made fresh every day so you get that beautifully firm texture every time. By the way, they have 22 pasta dishes, each one as tasty as the other.
Must-tries: Parpadelle “Nose-to-Tail” Bolo (P245), LF Puttanesca (P195)
Linguini Fini is at SM Mega Fashion Hall, Mandaluyong City.
From being a gas station secret that foodies loved to sniff out, this pasta deli now has three braches around the Metro. Chef Massimo Veronesi serves fresh and flavorful Italian food, but it's his pastas that have created a lasting impact on diners. The portion sizes are generous, the flavors more so. Everything, from the spaghetti to the ravioli, will want to compete for your attention. While their al dente pasta is always a hit, Va Bene also serves great pizza and risotto.
Must-tries: Black Ink Tagliolini (P440), Organic Eggs Tagliatelle (P440)
Va Bene has branches at 3/F Central Square, Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City; 2/F Petron Gas Station, EDSA corner A. Arnaiz Avenue, Dasmariñas Village, Makati City; and Circuit Lane, Olympia, Makati City.
When you're looking for finer Italian dining, you shouldn't look any further than Caruso, which provides excellent food and good service in a distinctly more refined atmosphere. This Makati haunt serves a solid range of Italian food—including meat dishes, seafood dishes, as well as a variety of different pastas and pizzas—along with a selection of fine wines and champagne. Their pasta dishes may be priced a bit higher than most, but you can truly taste the difference. Caruso is perfect when you're looking to celebrate something special with pasta.
Must-tries: Tagliatelle alla Crema di Tartufo (P680), Garganelli in Salsa di Pomodoro e Gamberi (P630)
Caruso is at 210 Nicanor Garcia Street, Bel-Air, Makati City.
Trufa Pasta Bar
If you’re a person who likes to be hands-on with your diet, don’t worry. Trufa, which just opened in Makati, hosts a self-service pasta bar that lets you pick from 12 different types of noodles, 14 sauces, and a wide variety of toppings to create your one-of-a-kind pasta masterpiece. With even the most specific cravings satisfied, you really can't go wrong with this restaurant.
Must-tries: Trufa with Penne and Setas (P380), Boloñesa de Casa (P260)
Trufa is at 109 Esteban Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City.
To the relief of tired drivers everywhere, Pampanga favorite C’Italian thankfully opened two branches in the Metro—one in Ortigas and another in Salcedo Village. The charming restaurant, while known mostly for its panizzas, also provides a selection of delicious pasta dishes. While the rolled-up pizzas may be a playful take on another Italian favorite, C'Italian keeps their pastas classic and comfortingly familiar.
Must-tries: Linguine al Frutti di Mare (P310), Linguine al Tartufo e Prosciutto (P390)
C'Italian has branches at L' Ermitage Apartments, 115 L. P. Leviste Street corner Toledo Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City; and City Golf Plaza, Doña Julia Vargas Avenue, Ortigas, Pasig City.
Carpaccio in San Antonio Village, Makati is an old favorite. The relaxed and down-to-earth atmosphere perfectly complements the terrific, fuss-free food. The fact that it’s been a staple in Manila’s Italian dining scene for over a decade demonstrates its true caliber and dependability. This is definitely the place to go to for quality Italian cuisine.
Must-tries: Ravioli con Ricotta e Spinaci (P470), Con Vongole (P350)
Carpaccio is at 7431 Yakal Street, San Antonio Village, Makati City.
Mona Lisa Ristorante
Mona Lisa’s relatively large servings and appetizing Italian food is perfect for anyone looking to carbo-load. The dim-lighting provides a quiet type of intimacy to the restaurant’s ambience and the servers are generally attentive and polite. With gluten-free, whole wheat, and vegetarian options—all delicious, by the way—Mona Lisa has something for everyone.
Must-tries: Linguine alla Carbonara di Salsicia (P305), Pollo Pizzimente (P320)
Mona Lisa has branches at 5/F SM Aura Premier, Bonifacio Global City; Commercenter, Commerce Avenue corner Filinvest Avenue, Filinvest City, Muntinlupa City.
Photos courtesy of JJ Yulo (Va Bene), The Bistro Group (Italianni's), and The Moment Group (Linguini Fini); and from the official Facebook pages of Mona Lisa Ristorante, Caruso, Carpaccio, and Mama Lou's