Tag Archives: Italian restaurant

Hello, Moto! (Motorino)

motorino italian restaurant pizza philippines

Please excuse my gluttony if I tell you that my Motorino experience happened as a 2nd dinner one traffic-laden Friday night in Makati.

To add to the carbo load, I had a full height green tea Family Mart cone in between, that certainly added to the inches to my waist.

But a Friday night is certainly not complete without calling it a Pizza Night.

And so the (unexpected) Motorino (Greenbelt 3) was welcomed with open arms and excited fingers.


pizza motorino makati


Quattro Formaggi and Salsiccia pizzas filled the table with their delectably chewy crust and cheesy splendor. The pizza was baked just right, that you look forward to biting on the center part the most. It’s the type of mindless munching that makes you forget about the week’s woes and focus on the pizza. Just the pizza.

There was something not killer-filling about the pizzas, that you can finish the entire pie, have a hearty burp and move on with life.

pasta motorino makati

The Parmesan and Mascarpone Pasta was a different story but with unparalleled festivity.

The mildness of the flavor was a creamy contrast to the pizza, while the noodles can only make Linguini Fini hide in shame. The genuine chewiness of the noodles made me fork in pasta until the last drop of sauce came into un-being.

It was that homey, confident yet soothing Italian dishes that will make me come back for more.



Leave a comment

Filed under Home

Don’t Walk.. Skip to Mama Lou’s Kitchen!

UP town center restaurantUs Northern folks have been dying to try Mama Lou’s Kitchen for ages and are glad that a branch has finally travelled all the way to U.P. Town Center!

Literally went UP! We have been waiting for you, Mama Lou’s. Skipping music please.

Situated in the same complex as Merkado (the supermarket), Mama Lou’s is quite easy to spot, since it houses (and invites) the most patrons.

What’s not easy to traverse though is the Katipunan traffic, but that’s an entirely different sob story to be reserved for a churros party!
mama lou's italian restaurant

Mama Lou’s Kitchen has the homey Italian vibe, complete with brick walls and  complimentary bread for the hangry. That’s right, if you’re hangry and on a first date, best to calm down and have a bruschetta.lazy black cat blogThe photo stating “Stay dreamy, stay creamy” is no joke. I got it from Mama Lou’s and succeeding dishes will testify to this undying creaminess of a feast. jenina gonzales blog

Starting off with the Oriental Salad, you will realize that this is the “diet” food in the bunch. I speak of diet but it does have a smorgasbord of Asian fusion toppings: kani, apple slices and soy  sesame dressing reminiscent of Kewpie.
mama lou italian restaurant

Bacon Poutine in an Italian restaurant may be a bit left-out but this was received ample Ahhhs probably because it was topped with mozzarella cheese and bacon .

Something you’d want to take along in a movie and eat alone… with all that cheese!

j.anne gonzales blog When the Escargots came, I nearly fell off my seat in excitement!

How sophisticated and they came in their special scooping container–and every bite was filled with a buttery cheesy concoction!

Food coma in the making, and I didn’t even reach out for the equally buttery bread.

pasta where to eat quezon city The Truffle Mac and Cheese is my favorite from our evening roster, since cheesy truffle cream sauce is just something that makes you forget calories and just chew some more.

Seriously that awesome, I could eat it alone and forego dessert. Or maybe eat both!

italian restaurant manila qc

The Spaghetti Seafood Olio is brimming with shellfish and other seafood, so it is just right to serve it oil-based. Buttery oil-based best topped with parmesan still.
italian food katipunan

The “meaty” dishes were just as resplendent and succulent.

where to eat quezon city italian

The Marbled Rib Eye Steak was gone in a matter of seconds, whilst the Chicken Fra Diavalo‘s herbed chicken concoction gives off that irresistible roasted flavour that goes well with the mashed potato.

mama lou's las pinas bf homes Another heavy and creamy dish was the Risotto Tartufo Funghi. Delectable and cheesy, but make sure you bring a giant appetite if you wish to challenge this rice dish!

Pizza is, of course, an inevitable order and with Mama Lou’s roll-it-up-with-alfalfa-and-arugula, the more fun it is to eat!

pizza pasta quezon city

Bianca Pizza, as the name suggests, is the cream-based white pizza made for bacon and mushroom lovers.

where to eat pizza manila Mama Lou’s Pizza has prosciutto, arugula, mango slices and balsamic cream, so that’s like attacking a myriad of flavours in each satisfying bite. On the side, it looks amazing!

Despite an already heavy dinner, there is always room for more cream… yes, dessert!
dessert cheesecake UP town center

The Blueberry Cheesecake was pitted against the Chocolate Cake but the vote seems divided.

where to eat up town center The Chocolate Cake is not killer sweet, as it is tempered by the layers of cream. However the Blueberry Cheesecake retaliates by offering smooth creamy cheesecake for its gooey blueberry topping.

Best to just eat them in alternate bites. Everybody happy!

restaurant up town center Capping off the meal was the Mango Crepe with hints of hazelnut and topped with ice cream.

Don’t forget to order tea, since Mama Lou’s has an extensive offering–so I had peppermint tea!

Now if this meal still does not make us dream of creamy cheesy splendor, I don’t know what will!

Mama Lou’s Kitchen certainly warrants future visits, whether we’re craving for yummy Italian fares or just in plain need of a happy-creamy-gooey meal.

Stay creamy, stay dreamy!

1 Comment

Filed under Smorgasbord

Feelinguini Hungry: Linguini Fini

linguini fini revie


For the longest time, we have lusted over Linguini Fini at the Mega Fashion Hall. Must be the catchy rhyme or the homemade pasta promise.

Nope, it was the rhyme. Linguini Finiiiii. How can you not resist those i’s?

linguini fini compli bread

While I couldn’t drool over the porchetta, pancetta and all other meaty P’s, anything with cheese could suit my fancy. And of course there’s squid!

linguini fini calamari

The Calamari was ostentatiously soft, there was no way you could settle for one, two. Just keep on shoving, but do beware of shoving some chili as well. They do well to garnish but not so much to remedy a sore throat. The dip was just as divine, so scooping is the only acceptable method.

megamall italian

The Bronx Pizza was meat studded, save for 2 plain cheese slices for me (via special request)! For a meat lover, this will do. However for a pizza lover, this was just awright. The dough was not to-die-for, and when I ate my 2nd cheese slice after some time, it was hard and greasy.

While a non pork eater, I could spy chunks of pork fat on the porchetta (5% meat only?) which, I tell you, is no pretty sight (and the pork eater did agree, yes). Maybe next time, stick with the friendly p, Pepperoni!

linguini fini pasta

I went for the basic Pomodori pasta, and learned rather idiotically that linguini fini actually referred to their homemade noodles,as in fine linguini.

After that Aha! moment, we ceased all jokes relating to linguini fini, and if the server was Fini in the flesh, and well, you probably get what I mean, All good. On to the next vocabulary word. (It was digestivo, by the way.)
linguini fini20150226_125514

The Pomodori was a hearty serving of tomato, all twisted in pasta propriety.

The noodles were firm and chewy, and there was a lot going on under that linguini twist. Whilst I relished each bite and delighted in my tomato feast, it was the last few bites that had the clincher.

linguini fini noodle
I guess some strands were just too attached to one another, huh? Sending me their love, in a hard-to-break clump!

Good thing the pizza made me full, so I let this one pass… though with a snapshot to remember them by! Sneaky linguini!

Leave a comment

Filed under Smorgasbord, Uncategorized

To Bistro or not to Bistro (Ravioli)

lazy black cat food blog

To bistro or not to bistro? (Bistro Ravioli, Glorietta/Greenbelt)

That is the question.

And the answer actually depends on you.

If you ask me though, I give it a maybe.

For starters, finding this little hole in the wall of Glorietta was a pain because it was literally a wee hole in the wall. All right, more like the shelf you DIY on a wall when you make the New Year’s resolution to clean up your room—that’s how accidental and cramped it looked.

The good thing though is that while I was painstakingly typing this, I learned that the Greenbelt 1 branch has opened, giving Bistro Ravioli more breathing space and hopefully, less looking like Harry Potter’s room and more of a restaurant which it really is.

If you’re walking from Glorietta though, the “walk” can be torture especially during rush hour.

As for the food, if you think that ordering Ravioli is your saving grace, the answer may vary depending on your appetite, gourmet expectations, company and budget—the last 2 equally important to taste!

j.anne gonzales pasta italian

The waiter-server-or-perhaps-manager suggested their bestseller Italian Sausage Ravioli in Romesco Sauce which I opted not to follow because I’m part vegetarian, and even if I do eat meat, I don’t want a meaty ravioli. It just doesn’t seem respectful to eat ravioli alongside blatant meat.

Better seafood like that Salmon Ravioli in Saffron Cream Sauce which my companions ordered and enjoyed quite well. The slightly yellowish tinge might have contributed to their amusement since they likened the saffron to what strangely sounded like curry. Hmmm…

glorietta italian restaurant

As for me,  the eternal green beckoned and I ordered the Spinach and Feta Cheese Ravioli in Pasta Sauce, which when unearthed, revealed roasted tomato slices peeking from the bottom—that for me was a delightful present. Topped with pesto and bathed in pomodoro, this beats team saffron anytime.

At first glance this P245 dish seemed too little for hungry me, but after engulfing loads of carbs—three quarters through the meal, a sense of fullness developed. Did I mention that I even donated my garlic bread to the hungry?

Sans the garlic bread and extra order of pizza (boo, I know), Bistro Ravioli’s ravioli was filling enough on its own. The flavor was all right for that hole in the Glorietta wall joint and I did manage to enjoy the burst of spinach-feta goodness. Of course other more expensive restaurants would offer the more gourmet ravioli but at least this offering was not ordinarily mainstream, if you know what I mean.

If I return, it would be in that Greenbelt branch (hello sunshine and air) and I might try that Salmon in Saffron Sauce. There’s also that three cheese ravioli. And there’s pizza too.

Oh dear, someone better get hungry fast.


Filed under Home, Smorgasbord

Piadina and Pariahs

As a newly baptized pariah of Philippine society, it was fitting to dine in a place of childhood comfort where our wallet size was always welcome: Piadina. McDonald’s and Coffee Experience nearly made it to the list but then again, cushioned seats were mandated that day. Last time I ate in Piadina was probably a decade ago, and last time I fully enjoyed Robinson’s Galleria, I was still sporting my Goldilocks high school uniform in a sleek bob. So 90s.

With flare jeans memories flooding my vision, you might call it blast from the past, though I’d prefer pariah on a budget—and a bit lost on the side. That Robinson’s Galleria Veranda required crossing the street, while my old-time favorite apple pie and St. Cinnamon have succumbed to the decade 2000’s advancement to gelato and anything red velvet.

And so, if there’s anything left from the quaint past, it’d be Piadina. Plus points for being empty on a Saturday. Lunch time. Sale day. Come to think of it, where are the people? Is this the new after life? Oh right, they’re looking for Mang Inasal.

Piadina used to be our destination of choice because of its piadina-pasta meals which were innovative back then, and cheap on the side. Having Italian food for such pocket-friendly price was quite the attraction, and the thought of eating at Piadina (back then, I repeat) sounded rather sophisticated, unfamiliar folks might as well thought we had lunch in the hills of Sicily.

Warning: These are not tofu orbs.

Of course moving to the present these unabashed thoughts seem rather unfounded.

A decade smarter and heavier, it seems that the Piadina references to Italy were liberally granted and being a conservative, I would like to paraphrase my adolescent mumbling. Piadina is still that Italian restaurant that wishes you “God bless!” upon your exit. Why they do that, it must be a call for glad tidings or a possible return. I’m banking on the latter because based on my 2012 experience, Piadina can certainly improve on its dishes, to at least reflect its ambience and colorful menu. True, the place continues to offer meals at affordable prices, but as for taste, I suppose Michael Corleone would on a spontaneous shooting spree once he gets a bite of anything from here.

The Pasta Cabrese lacks the flavor of anything under the bright Tuscan sun. While oil based, it could still benefit from the collective flavor of the garlic and anchovies, but I received nothing gastronomically satisfying, not even after shaking half the contents of the parmesan cheese. If it wasn’t for the broccoli, this pariah would’ve been a reincarnation of one angry and hungry consigliere.

The Margherita Pizza looked stunning upon delivery, with the waft of freshly baked ingredients and the promise of that delightful Piadina crust. While the flavor was excellent—after all it was just cheese and basil—the crust was on the tough side. Being tough is a good thing for a person, but for pizza crust/dough, it doesn’t go well, especially when there’s no olive oil-balsamic vinegar dip to dunk that chunk of rock.

As a precaution to those with dentures or use Sensodyne, the pizza is not for you. If you insist on it though, do share it with someone. Don’t hog it all to yourself or you’ll find yourself drinking your Sensodyne the next time around.

The Baked Chicken meal came with rice and a wee scoop of vegetables that looked like cafeteria cooking. Mediocre was the order of the day, and it looked more like a normal rice meal than a serving of Italian-inspired pollo. It’s probably their way of saying, Piadina is our specialty so it’s the only food we got right. Live with it.

But wait, isn’t the pizza also Piadina-based?

Ah well, it’s best that I end this harangue before I get banned from Galleria, my once second home and haven for the giggly Goldilocks girls.

Piadina doesn’t claim to be gourmet par excellence, just an Italian joint for the economically challenged. It is highly possible that my menu selection is flawed and their Pasta Vongole or actual Piadina do taste sublime.

After all they’ve been in that same spot for years, so there must be a sensible reason for that longevity. Outliving Las Paellas and Chef d’ Angelo, Piadina’s secret recipe might remain a secret from me, but not for the people (Who are you?) who dine there. I may not have seen you, but you probably exist under the tables or belong to the next shift.

My 2012 Piadina experience may have been quite the letdown, but visiting Robinson’s Galleria will always be a reminiscent escapade.

From yesteryear’s yellow uniform to today’s pariah, it has always turned a blind eye on our dirty deeds. And so I return the favor to Piadina: God bless!

Leave a comment

Filed under Home, Smorgasbord

Pasta Tripping: Cibo

Whenever I suggest eating at Cibo to some folks, they just have a cunning way of changing the topic or pretending that I was speaking on mute mode.

Whatever the reason is, I’ve figured out that they would rather dunk their Chicken McNuggets in BBQ sauce than dunk their bread in EVOO + balsamic vinegar, but I cannot give in to the triumph of fast food. Fast food and cheap restaurants have created that niche we call pasta abomination, and for that, I cannot forgive you that easily. For an industry that has given rise to soggy pasta, fake parmesan cheese, vegetable oil pesto, carbonara made of cream, sweet spaghetti and worst of all, sweet spaghetti with hotdog, you should surrender to the Italian police.

End these food crimes, and stop feeding us MSG and week-old noodles. If I wanted something soft, I’d have gone for mashed potatoes. And if I wanted hotdogs, I would’ve gone to a ball game!

Unfortunately I live in Quezon City, not Sicily, so I have to make do with what’s around. Landing in Trinoma one Saturday, hungry and deprived of nutrients, we decided to visit the least visited place where we knew no lines existed: CIBO. I thought of just ordering a salad, but when I realized my need for sustenance, the carbs suddenly popped out of the menu. Actually it was more of pleading, and I was more than happy to oblige.

Pasta violations are certainly banned from the confines of Cibo, as we are assured of al dente pasta and real parmesan cheese. There is also an abundant supply of balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and chili. In here, we are shielded from the dangers of vegetable cooking oil and Eden cheese, and if espresso were as cheap as tea, I believe they’d serve house espresso as well.

Spaghettini Estivi

The Spaghetti Estivi falls under the vegetarian portion with its minimalist content: arugula and fresh tomatoes. Majority of the people I know would probably hate it and go for a McSpaghetti, but I would prefer this light dish. It veers from the sour-canned-tomato taste and relies on the fresh flavor of the tomatoes and garlic. Actually it was a bit too light for my abysmal appetite, but I feared that ordering a family serving might warrant stares from the waiters. Again. For fear of another public debacle, I’ve decided to go with this bambino serving and hope the pizza could fill the hunger void.

Linguine il Giallo

I will never understand why my hermano went for the Linguine il Giallo as this is one of those dishes that my eyes skip in the menu and pretend never existed. If people would ignore my Spaghetti Estivi, they would question this squash flower – anchovy cream pasta. When his order came, I didn’t even have the sibling temptation to fork out a noodle. I just stared as he ate his meal sans the parmesan, claiming that the anchovy made it salty enough. While he seemingly enjoyed another light dish, it was not that extraordinary. I suppose with squash flowers as the highlight of the dish, we shouldn’t really expect an ooh-la-la frenzy, just “I had my vegetable serving from this meal. Great, on to the pizza.”

Zuchinne Pizza

It doesn’t take a bambino to figure out that this pizza’s main man is the zucchini (plus, it’s got goat cheese). Now if you don’t know what zucchini is, then you’re better off having that McSpaghetti with Hamburglar. Off with you! For those who do not only know zucchini, but like it as well, then join the club. This pizza’s the perfect partner for the pasta, plus the crust is unbelievably crisp, you’d want to dunk it on EVOO and balsamic vinegar and finish it off until the crust. There is no overbearing flavor or that doughy attitude we hate from commercial pizzas, this one’s straight from the Italian oven and deserves one grande burp! 

When another pasta fest will be, only my wallet could tell. Where it would be, there’s a chance it’ll be at Cibo.

I’ll squash anyone who orders the squash flowers though.

1 Comment

Filed under Home, Smorgasbord