Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Va Bene Pasta Deli: Fresh Pasta Goodness

"That right by the corner place serving great and authentic Italian food" is how I'll describe Va Bene Pasta Deli. First, it is situated inside a gasoline station which is perfect for hiding a quaint restaurant. Second, it is run by an Italian Chef who once headed Mi Piace in Manila Peninsula. Third, the food is really awesome. Hence I couldn't agree more to the name of the place: Va Bene, which means"Very Good!" in English.

The Place

I read the place opened in late 2010 and selfishly, I am happy to know that it hasn't gone mainstream yet. It's always nice to have your own little secret. Since the time it was recommended to us by friends, we've tried dropping by the place numerous times but the actual dinner happened only on Valentine's Day: it's either the place was full or it was a Monday when they close the restaurant.

Va Bene is not a fancy restaurant. It's a small place with casual ambiance that can fit around 50 diners. It is dense that private conversation may be impossible; the other table will most definitely hear your discussion. Due to its proximity to an exclusive subdivision, it won't be rare to find some well-heeled crowd.

The Food

Their website proudly heralds that they're the only place in town which serves fresh pasta in all their dishes. Nothing boxed! The menu is also straightforward. A few appetizers, some main course, around 5 desserts and a short list of drinks. It's not difficult to order once you have decided what you want to eat.

Complementary bread  is served once you've placed your order. 

It comes with fresh tomato, olive oil and some herbs. 

A good replacement to the typical olive oil-balsamic vinegar dip. I like the flavors of the dip married with the crunchy texture of the tomato. 

Pasta in cream sauce (Php380)

Of course, a fresh pasta order should be made. Organic eggs tagliolini with portobello mushrooms in white cream sauce and truffle oil.

Tagliolini is the cylindrical version of tagliatelle pasta. Due to its rough texture it is great with thick sauces. The fresh pasta has indeed a distinct rough texture as compared to the boxed ones which usually glides smoothly. This is done al dente so no issues there. It is also more wheaty-tasty than your regular pasta. The sauce is awesome. I can't taste the egg but I suspect it contributes to the mild creaminess of the sauce. Also, the flavors are very subtle, mainly dominated by the mushroom and truffle oil. I recommend this.

Arbori Risotto with Rosso di Puglia Wine, Italian Sausage and Radicchio Salad (PhP 550)

When i laid my eyes on the plate I was looking for the sausage and salad but I couldn't find them. 

There were just bits and pieces on the entire rice plate. Fair enough considering I ordered risotto and not sausage. I can't remember the flavors but I do remember that the rice was done to perfection and that it was good too. 

The only issue I got with the dish is how it is presented. Parang biko lang. It can still be improved.

Strawberries A La Milena (PhP 190)

Marinated strawberries in balsamico with vanilla ice cream.

The strawberries are crispy and bigger than the Baguio variety we can buy from the supermarket. I also like the sourness of the strawberries with the balsamic vinegar. I think sugar is added to the marinade to temper the taste. Of course, vanilla ice cream completes the sour-sweet mix making this dessert great if you crave for something sweet, sour and unique. I also recommend this.

Iced Tea (PhP 190)

Brewed iced tea with fruit juice. 

I find the mix too fruity considering that I like my tea to taste like tea.

In Summary

1. With its neighborhood restaurant feel, the place is perfect for casual dining with family and friends and anyone who can enjoy good food. It can also be a date place with your special someone as long as you are not expecting for an all the way fancy experience.

2. Food is great in an authentic and non-commercial kinda way. I can say it can be my best Italian restaurant in Manila. Person A is not so sure. We both agree that we still go for Amoroma if forced to choose between the two. I can say it's worth a go.

3. Price slides to the expensive side but considering it's in Makati and the quality of the food, I can report it is competitive.

Va Bene Pasta Deli
2/F Petron Gas Station Dasmarinas Village
Pasay Road cor. EDSA, Makati
Open Tuesdays to Saturdays, 11:30 A.M. to 3:30 P.M.; 6:30 P.M. to 9:30 P.M.

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