Thinking of where to have your next special dinner? Well, if you’ve run out of ideas, here’s a refreshing place to start.
Last Friday, we celebrated my Mum’s 46th birthday in one of Makati’s best-kept Italian restaurants, tucked in—get this—a gasoline station! Yep, that’s right. The best Italian restaurant I’ve ever been to in Makati, and possibly in the entire world (no exaggeration whatsoever), is tucked away on the second floor of a gasoline station in Dasmariñas Village.
The name of the place? VA BENE. It means “It fits well., right: That’s all right”, according to mydictionary.net. Hehehe.
My family is an adventurous bunch when it comes to food. Whether it be the mouthwatering adobo at Sosing’s carinderia to the sinful Foie Gras burger at Lusso, it’s safe to say that we have a curious set of taste buds that leads us to priceless gastronomic discoveries. It is, also, the underlying reason behind my “I’m a little teapot” body. But it’s okay.
My Dad is very meticulous and hard to please when it comes to food. He may not be a man of many words, but he knows his stuff. My Mum, on the other hand, loves Italian food, specifically Pesto, and she can have it every single day of the year given the chance.
Va Bene brings together a merry mélange of what my parents (and I!) are looking for in food: authentic, comforting and made with love. Simply put, each dish we ordered was excellent. This restaurant has definitely set the standard for Italian restaurants in Metro Manila.
So I’ll skip the chitchat and get to the point(s).
Va Bene gives complementary Crostini and a homemade Tomato+Basil+EVOO dip. It tasted sophisticated despite its sheer simplicity.
Italian Chorizo Pizza
Mum and Dad ordered some pizza. I’m not really a fan of the thick crust, so I just ended up peeling the toppings and cheese off the crust (hehe). And eating the arugula, of course! Dad enjoyed them though.
Spinach and Ricotta Cheese Ravioli (from Heaven, if I’m not mistaken). Php 350.
THIS. DISH. IS. MAGIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Soft, pillowy pasta stuffed with ricotta cheese and spinach with a light beef, mushroom and cream sauce with hints of white wine. I love love love ravioli, and this dish did not disappoint! The pasta was cooked perfectly. It wasn’t soggy and it held the filling in just right. It spelled “superdelicious”, and I was so tempted to lick the plate right after.
I think I just drooled on my laptop. TMI. LOLJK.
You won’t find this dish on their regular menu because it’s part of their “House Specials Menu”, which they don’t really have a hard copy of. Nevertheless, you can just ask your server about it and he’ll be glad to narrate the list. : )
Crab Tortellini in seafood bisque, lemon zest, and basil infusion (black ink pasta upon request). Php 450.
Oh how my belly yearns for you…
Mmmm. This dish gave me goosebumps! The crab was fresh and not overcooked and the pasta was al dente! The seafood bisque was mighty tasty, but the flavors overpowered the hints of lemon and basil I expected. Oh well, it was still very delicious.
Black Ink Homemade Spaghetti with Seafood Marinara. Php 390.
We also ordered the specialty of the house, which is this squid-ink pasta in seafood marinara sauce. It’s my first time to try squid-ink spaghetti, and I found it rather interesting. It isn’t as doughy as normal pasta, but it has a wonderful bite to it. Surprisingly, it didn’t taste as fishy as I expected, and it went perfectly with the seafood marinara sauce. And speaking of sauce, the shrimps, fish, squid, and scallops were cooked just right! The sweet flavors of the sea complemented the tangy marinara sauce. This was my Dad’s favorite of all the dishes we ordered.
Organic Eggs Tagliolini with Portobello Mushrooms and White Wine Cream Sauce. Php 380.
I’m not a fan of Carbonara because it’s too heavy a dish for me, and this will probably be the only Carbonara dish that I will make an exception for. Well, it isn’t Carbonara-Carbonara, but it reminds me of Carbonara. So. Anyways.
If you’re looking to a surprisingly light cream-based pasta dish, then this is your best bet. It’s either this or Mamou’s Truffle Cream Pasta. Need I say more? I practically swooned over this dish. Yum-o.
For dessert, we were supposed to try out their Marinated Strawberries in Balsamico with Ice Cream (Php 180), but it wasn’t available. BOO.
The Bear Family
But it’s okay. There’s always a next time. Which I hope comes very soon. (I’m hinting, ehem ehem, Mum and Dad, ehem ehem).
Va Bene is located at the 2nd Floor of Petron Gas Station, Edsa Corner Pasay Road, Makati City. Reservations are highly recommended (02) 556-9442.