Top 10 Carbonara in Manila (2020 Edition)
Yes, as in the kind that's made with egg.
(SPOT.ph) Carbonara, done the classic way, is different from the “white sauce” pasta dish most Filipinos are familiar with. The recipe is fairly minimal—just egg, cheese, cured pork, black pepper, mixed with noodles. Because the dish is so simple, it is important to get every ingredient just right. The cheese used is typically Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Romano, while pork is usually pancetta or guanciale. Spaghetti is commonly used as pasta, but there are versions that feature bucatini and fettuccine, among others.
What makes carbonara good is the balance it possesses among its ingredients. With such few elements to work with, finding the right ratio between cheese, egg, and meat can be tricky. And as with any pasta dish, the texture of the noodle also comes into play.
We scoured the Metro's restaurants for those that carry this classic dish—we hope this list helps you find the one that appeals to your own pasta tastes. So, get ready to twirl your forks and buon appetito!
All SPOT.ph Top 10 lists are researched, paid for, tested, and selected by the writers and editors. They are discreetly conducted without any notice made to the establishments or their owners.
Craving carbonara? You'll want to get your fill of this pasta from these places that serve the best ones:
10. Authentic Carbonara from Mamma Mia (P375/solo; P1,285/sharing)
If it’s your first time trying “authentic” carbonara, you’ll want to hit up this family-friendly restaurant for its well-portioned dishes and solid price points. Mamma Mia’s carbonara has a spaghetti base, mixed with parmesan, black pepper, and pancetta. It’s remarkable for its salty bacon taste—it's something that both kids and adults will like, though you'll want to mix your pasta well before taking your first bite. The egg component of this carbonara is thick, leaving the noodles slightly dry, which is a plus if you’re looking for a pasta dish that’ll leave you satisfied after a few mouthfuls. Pro tip: get this one to share!
Mamma Mia is at UG/F Uptown Mall, Uptown Bonifacio.
9. Spaghetti alla Carbonara from La Spezia (P450)
Carbonara is typically a heavy dish, thanks to the amount of egg that’s incorporated into its recipe. What La Spezia does and does incredibly well is keep this pasta dish so light, you’ll want to wipe your plate clean. What makes this carbonara different is its 63°C sous vide egg. Instead of giving the dish weight, it keeps everything so light it’s almost like an Italian version of Japanese spaghetti. The recipe uses pancetta cut into small bites that you can easily distribute throughout the noodles, and 18-month Parmigiano Reggiano in delicate amounts—less salty than most carbonaras, this is right for you if you want flavor but don’t want it to weigh you down.
La Spezia is at 90 Scout Dr. Lazcano Street, Diliman, Quezon City.
8. Carbonara from Salvatore Cuomo Café (P400)
You’ll know how good the cheese is in Salvatore Cuomo’s carbonara because you’ll smell it from afar—the Grana Padano’s scent will hit you as soon as your server approaches your table. If you’re particular about cheese, then this is one pasta you’ll want to try. It’s salty, works well with the pepper, and complements the crunchy, fatty bacon that you’ll find in the dish. This dish is generous with its egg—so much so that it is extra saucy, making the al dente noodles a little softer than you would expect, without losing its bite. Salvatore Cuomo gives a good blend of textures in this offering, providing you with an all-around well-put together dish.
Salvatore Cuomo Café is at G/F The Podium, ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City.
7. Bacon Carbonara Bucatini Pasta from Providore (P185/solo; P375/sharing)
Carbonara can be overwhelmingly rich, which is why Providore gets plus points for knowing exactly how to portion this dish to suit Filipino appetites. Their solo gives you just enough to satisfy your craving, and its sharing option is priced so well, you’ll probably opt to split with someone. What features in this version of carbonara is the fresh egg yolk that tops its dish, adding extra flavor to its already extra mix of double, smoked bacon, Malagos Pecorino, and peppercorn. If you want a small taste of indulgence, nix the diet and grab yourself a solo plate of this dish. Note: Providore switches the Bucatini to Linguine depending on availability.
Providore is at Level 1, SM Aura, C5 corner 26th Street, Bonifacio Global City.
6. Carbonara from Elbert’s Pizzeria (P550)
If you want over-the-top carbonara, head straight to Elbert’s Pizzeria. This dish doesn’t shy away from organic egg—it even incorporates extra egg yolks into its recipe. With a traditional recipe of guanciale, Pecorino Romano, and black pepper, you’ll get a classic carbonara but dialed up to the nines. The noodles are delightfully al dente and give you something good to chew on—a nice match to its extremely rich sauce. As luscious as this dish is, it is able to get its flavor just right—definitely not bland but not overwhelmingly salty either, this carbonara is a treat that will please all your senses.
Elbert’s Pizzeria is at G/F V Corporate Centre, 125 L.P. Leviste Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City.
5. Spaghetti Carbonara alla Romana from Caruso (P580)
Caruso offers two options for its carbonara, but we suggest sticking to the alla Romana to get a real and authentic carbonara experience. Their Spaghetti alla Carbonara is extremely well-balanced. While the egg in this dish brings some weight to the noodles, this carbonara remains light and palate-friendly, employing just the right amount of Pecorino cheese and guanciale to give you flavor that teases your taste buds but doesn’t leave you stuffed. Caruso’s carbonara is also unique because of its very subtle smoky taste—something that bacon fans are sure to love.
Caruso is at G/F LRI Design Plaza, 210 Nicanor Garcia, Makati City.
4. Carbonara from a mano (P550)
The most remarkable thing about a mano’s carbonara is its pasta—the de Cecco spaghetti in this dish is perfect. Al dente, full-bodied, and delicious, it’ll make you want to come back for more. a mano’s carbonara is extra salty, with its egg component light but savory, and topped with beautifully fatty guanciale—expect this carbonara gets you an unbelievable amount of tang in every bite. If you’re a stickler for good pasta and want to experience spaghetti done right, a mano is your best bet.
a mano is at G/F Power Plant Mall, Lopez Drive, Rockwell, Makati City.
3. Spaghetti Carbonara from Francesco’s (P580)
Skip the BGC branch if you’re looking for carbonara—it’s not on the menu. Instead, head to Francesco’s OG San Juan outpost to give yourself a taste of this light, mild, and subtly flavored dish. Francesco’s uses egg yolk, parmesan cheese, crushed black pepper, and guanciale for its carbonara. It sticks to the traditional recipe for good reason—it just works. Its guanciale is beautifully flavored and portioned well enough to not take over the taste of the entire dish. It is classic carbonara at its finest, showing how simple but excellent ingredients can come together to produce an unforgettable dish.
Francesco’s is at 863 A. Mabini Street, San Juan City.
2. Bucatini Carbonara from Wildflour Italian (P590)
Make sure you don’t load up on Wildflour Italian’s famous breadsticks when you order this dish—you’ll want to make lots of room for this version of carbonara. Bucatini is an excellent pasta choice for carbonara because its thickness provides extra bite, and is weighty enough to match the carbonara’s sauce. Wildflour Italian’s noodles are al dente and balance the jaw-dropping crunch of its pancetta very well. This dish is smooth on the palette and so simple, you’ll wonder how they get it so good. Pro tip: mix this dish well before serving so you’re sure the pancetta is evenly distributed.
Wildflour Italian is at G/F The Finance Center Building, 9th Avenue corner 26th Street, Bonifacio Global City.
1. Bucatini alla Carbonara from Osteria Daniele (P695)
If you’re willing to splurge on carbonara, then Osteria Daniele will not disappoint. Its bucatini is thick and substantial, while its Pecorino-guanciale-fresh egg yolk mix hits the extraordinary sweet spot between richness and lightness. The guanciale is particularly good here—it gives a subtle crunch and peppers the entire dish with an indulgent, nix-the-diet fatty flavor. This Bucatini Carbonara is so wholesomely flavored it will do well with both kids and also adults with discerning palates. If you’re attempting to make your own traditional carbonara at home, head first to Osteria Daniele to experience what gold standard carbonara tastes and feels like.
Osteria Daniele is at the Ground Level, High Street Corporate Plaza, Tower 1, 9th Avenue corner 26th Street, Bonifacio Global City.
Photos by Toto Labrador