This Secluded Resto Whips Up Some of the Best Italian Food in Town
Move over, tapas. Italian small bites are making their way to the top.
8/F MDI Corporate Center, 10th Avenue corner 39th Street, Bonifacio Global City
Contact: 987-4756, 0917-321-4756
Open from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. (Monday to Saturday)
(SPOT.ph) There may be hundreds of restaurants scattered all over Taguig City, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find one that offers excellent Italian food, away from the crowds, and with an enviable view of the skyline.
Cicchetti, which means “small bites” in Italian, is a fine spot situated a couple of blocks from the malls and restaurant rows of the Uptown Bonifacio district. Up on the eighth floor, its unlikely neighbors are a design studio, dermatology clinic, and some corporate offices and retail spaces. It’s set apart from the food scene, which actually does it a lot of good.
The intimate 26-seater restaurant (with an outdoor deck and bar that seats about 35) is cozy and stylishly urban. Designed by EC Studio’s Noel Bernardo (of Mendokoro Ramenba and Ramen Yushoken fame), Cicchetti’s chic, industrial interiors are the perfect foil to the warm, comforting Italian dishes they offer. Backed by The Belle & Dragon group and developed by Chef Alec Santos, the menu is simple, straightforward, and clean—offering exactly the kind of heartwarming flavors you look for when choosing to dine Italian.
Santos, who was part of the opening team of Michelin-starred Carbone in New York’s West Village, was eager to have a venue to pursue the type of cuisine that’s close to his heart. “A lot of my training was spent in classical French and Italian, but I really wanted to pursue Italian cooking because its philosophy is something I’ve always stuck to—fresh, local ingredients…and lots of pasta,” he says.
Cicchetti’s soft-opening menu kicks off with perfected Italian basics. Their signature cicchetti include seared Foie Gras (P550/three pieces) with a surprising strawberry compote and green apple; Carne Cruda (P530/three pieces), an Italian steak tartare made of prime tenderloin, Pommery, mustard, and lumpfish caviar; and Housemade Ricotta (P280/three pieces), which merges a delightfully rich cheese with rosemary, honey, chili, and almonds.
For those looking for appetizers to share and are craving bigger bites, Cicchetti also serves a mean Burrata (P690) coupled with a zingy pomodoro and a comforting pesto sauce. Top it off with their perfectly crunchy bread and you’ll be instantly transported to cheese heaven. Foie gras lovers will also be pleased to know that they offer a larger-sized version of their bite-sized Seared Foie Gras (P635).
No Italian restaurant would be complete without pasta offerings, and Cicchetti’s are worth trying for their extra al-dente noodles. If you want bite to your noodles, then these are a must-try. The impressively plated Crab and Ricci (P920) combines linguine, shredded crab, uni, and basil into a surprisingly subtle, slightly spicy dish. The staple Vongole (P750) features Manila clams, linguine, and cherry tomatoes, with a bowl of bread crumbs you can sprinkle on top of your noodles.
The pièce de résistance of the pasta offerings, however, is the Spaghettoni Alla Vodka (P850). Here, spaghettoni is coupled with soubise (or onion sauce) and tomato compote, with a beef, pork, and veal sausage meatball on the side—a plus for folks who like to keep their plates neat and their food separate.
Another winner is the Pollo Alla Sostanza (P720), a pan-fried chicken breast and thigh in sage brown butter and corn. This friendly dish will satisfy all palates across the board. If you’re bringing kids along to your Cicchetti dinner, you can’t miss with this. Dig in for the cream corn for its lovely texture that complements the chicken extremely well.
Wrap up your meal with a nightcap from Cicchetti’s selection of signature cocktails, all of which add an Italian spin on favorites. Their Dry Martini (P450) has a hint of sweetness, and the award-winning Perennial (P450) is a mix of Bacardi gold, Bacardi light rum, sweet vermouth, lemon, honey syrup, and orange. Their Black Manhattan (P450) provides a rich flavor with the addition of Amaro. Their prize drink is Rome with a View (P450)—a sweet cocktail of dry vermouth, Amaro, lime, and sugar syrup.
You can’t go Italian without dessert, and Cicchetti’s two options are both winners. The Cannoli (P400) is a classic, while the Panna Cotta (P350) is a refreshingly light serving of sweetened cream, a delightful berry gelée and crunchy almond crumble.
While Cicchetti’s menu is off to a solid start, there’s much to look forward to in its future, too. Come December, the outdoor deck and bar will be open to guests, and by January, Santos says they’ll be introducing new dishes. “Our goal for our menu is to have everything fit in one page but have it change with the seasons,” he explains. The staples are worth the trip and it looks like the months to come will give guests even more reason to take a small bite out of Cicchetti’s many offerings.
Photos by Jericho San Miguel