Bellissimo Ristorante – Brgy. Sacred Heart, Quezon City

Bellissimo Ristorante, the name speaks for itself- “Beautiful Restaurant”; it delivers a very beautiful dining experience that is worth repeating.

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Previously located in the busy Tomas Morato area, Bellissimo is now located within the residential area of Scout Rallos Ext. in Quezon City since September 2012. Celebrity couple Cesar Montano and Sunshine Cruz- Montano developed this place where people can celebrate their passion for Italian food, appreciate art, and enjoy music.

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Upon entering, we were welcomed with warm lights, wooden tables and seats, brick walls adorned with Cesar Montano’s fabulous paintings. His interesting artworks can be a conversation starter, as you wait for your food, with a classical music playing in the background.

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Upstairs, there are rooms for private gatherings or business meetings; Each room has its own design and is named after a family member of the Montano’s which gives this places its own unique charm. Overall, it has a great ambiance for a date night or catching up with friends.

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On the table:

For appetizer, we had a basket of  Italian Bread Stick with marinara and pesto dips.

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Pescatora spaghetti (Php370) is spaghetti enveloped with a tomato based sauce with shrimp, squid, and mussel and Parmesan cheese. This seafood pasta dish is rich, creamy and delicious. This festive dish encompasses a balanced flavor; I like it that it’s not too tangy. The sauce did not overpower the delicateness of the seafood. The pasta is cooked ‘al dente’ – firm to the bite; Good job for this one, chef!

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Cesare Pasta (Php 340) is spaghetti with extra virgin olive oil, bell pepper, black and green olives, tomato, capers, basil leaves, and Parmesan cheese. This dish is perfect for vegetarians. It has a light and fresh taste even non-vegetarians would enjoy. I like how the olives, tomato, and bell pepper give a refreshing taste.

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Aglio Olio (Php 365) is a classic Italian dish. It is spaghetti with extra virgin olive oil, garlic and chili anchovies, shrimps, clams, and Parmesan cheese. Alio Olio in English is garlic and oil; if you love garlic then you would love this pasta dish. This dish has my two thumbs up for the night; the garlic infused olive oil creates a gorgeous flavor that tickled my taste buds. Though it is packed with flavor, it does not overpower the sweetness of shrimps and clams. This dish is heavenly and worth coming back for.

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Ali di Pollo (Php 285) consists of 5 pieces chicken wings slowly cooked to perfection and smothered with Original or Hot Barbecue sauce. Although the amount of heat/spiciness is variable, I like the way Bellissimo Restorante’s Ali di Pollo is made; it’s sweet with just a hint of spicy flavor aftertaste.

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The best way to quench the heat is to match it with the Cesare Iced Tea (Php 75). It’s not your regular iced tea as it has secret ingredients that make it interesting.

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Sunshine Pizza (Php 465) is another favorite. It is a thin- crust pizza delightfully embellished with white sauce, mozzarella cheese, bacon, beef, Pocini mushroom, onion, minced garlic, bell pepper, oregano, and olive oil. I’ve tried different kinds of pizzas and this one gets two thumbs up for the flavor. It has superb- quality ingredients the restaurant should be commended for. You will undoubtedly fall in love with this pizza after taking your first bite.

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Bellissimo Supreme (Php 465) is another gourmet pizza cooked from a wood-fired oven. This visually appetizing pizza is loaded with tomato, mozzarella, cooked ham, spicy salami, sausage, mushroom, bell pepper, onion, pineapple, and oregano. I like the texture and taste at every bite. The crunch of the crust and the burst of flavors is ‘Amore’. It’s a feast to the eyes and the stomach.

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Bellissimo Ristorante offers a sufficient selection of wine to appease wine aficionados.

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Bellissimo Ristorante – The Chef in Action

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The Staff with Mr. Cesar Montano and Sunshine Cruz-Montano

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The Staff:

Christina D’ Souza – Head Chef

Ryan Tolentino- Asst. Chef

Chuck Dennis Amante- Asst. Chef

Giovanni Loyola- Asst. Chef

Lara Patricia Tio- Bartender

Margarette Cuerda- Server

Patrick Sison- Server

Jayr Muega- Server

Suzette Antigua- Cashier

Marivic Vargas- Secretary

Perla Corpuz- Asst. Secretary

The menu

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What I wish they could improve on is to extend their entree selection, perhaps Roasted Chicken or Baked Salmon, other than steak or ribs to provide more options for guests. On the bright side, I commend Bellissimo Ristorante for their wide selection of pizza and pasta.

To conclude, I would say that Bellissimo Ristorante is a restaurant that not only serves food with excellent quality but beyond that, it is a venue for sharing the passion for good food, art, and music. It’s a clap, clap, clap for Bellissimo Ristorante for great food, outstanding staff who are attentive to the customer’s needs, and cleanliness of the place.

We’ll definitely visit this place again…soon!

Bellissimo Ristorante

Contact Numbers: 4123553 / 9273162

Address: 135 Scout Rallos Ext. Brgy Sacred Heart, Quezon City

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IL Mercanti – Metrowalk, Ortigas

Another food mecca for foodies can be found in Pasig City. IL Mercanti Food Bazaar opened last September 2011, catering to families and friends as well as employees from call centers/companies nearby. It operates Wednesdays to Fridays, from 7pm to 5am.

Metrowalk has a wide parking space but it may still be hard to find a place to park your car, with a lot of people coming and wanting to try out the food here in Il Mercanti…most especially on a Friday night. As for us, it took us 30-45 min from Greenhills to Metrowalk. Whatta TERRIBLE traffic we got there! We had to wait for 15 to 20 minutes before we were able to park. Luckily, we found a table right away. We cooled ourselves down with iced tea while waiting  for our table to be cleared.

We roamed around and tried to search for something new, something interesting. There’s a large variety of food choices and one will absolutely enjoy “exploring” – it’s delightful to the senses. At very affordable prices, one can sample products such as: Mexican food, Chinese food, Filipino food, Mexican food, Korean food, Roastbeef, Lechon, Tapa, Steak, Mixed Rice, Barbecue. For snacks and drinks they have Burger, Corndog, Pizza, Pasta, Shawarma, Fish and Chips, Ice cream, Cakes and Pastries, Empanada,  Churros, Crepe, Bubble Milk Tea, and Fruit Juices.

Whew!!! I could hardly remember all the food I saw. Here are some photos of what we had for dinner.

 

The Spaghetti with Pesto sauce with Chicken tenders and Garlic bread was okay. Same goes for the Baked Macaroni. The serving was just right but it lacks flavor.

Crispy liempo thinly sliced somewhat looks like crispy bacon. It’s crunchy and a bit salty. It would’ve been perfect if served with soysauce and calamansi or vinegar. Uhmm… just a suggestion.

There’s a number of people gathered around this stall. Hmmm… the sight of the pans make me wanna try ’em all. Deep dish pizza for pizza lovers!

The pizza looks inviting… enticing… but sadly, it failed to satisfy our palate. The crust was thick and has a texture of a tasty/american bread, that absorbed the sauce. The topmost layer of the pizza did not have enough sauce which made the pizza dry and a bit hard to chew.

Oh man! You will get some sugar rush with the huge selection of sweets in IL Mercanti. We tried Blueberry Cheesecake… one of my favorites. The taste was ok but not as good as the ones sold in some famous bakeshops in the metro.

This must be the best among what I had that night. This is… AMBURGER’s Juicy Lucy with Bacon Mushroom Melt. OOOHHHLALA!!!

The patty itself is stuffed with cheese making every bite oooozing with cheesy goodness. The huge cheeseburger has generous servings of crunchy bacon, lettuce, mushroom, blue cheese, cheese sauce, onion, relish, and the thick Juicy Lucy patty.

It was awesome!!! As much as I like to finish the entire burger, I couldn’t because I had little of everything we ordered and I’m stuffed. I find this the most delish burger in town. It’s OUTRAGEOUS, I tell ‘ya!

Hurry up and experience good food and fun with your family and friends here in IL Mercanti. I know the bazaar just started and a lot of improvements will take place as they settle. I will definitely go back for some more Juicy Lucy burger and try out other food they offer.

 

IL Mercanti

 

Address: Metrowalk Commercial Complex, Meralco Avenue, Pasig City

New Schedule: Wed-Sat , 8pm – 5am

Merco- Quirino Avenue, Davao City

 

Merco became my instant favorite when I was in Davao last March 2011. I like the simplicity of the interiors, the quality of service, and the food they offer.

Merco has been in the market since 1946, and with more than 35 branches all over Davao, it has made a mark in serving quality food in the entire province.

I was in Davao for the Araw ng Dabaw Festival and Merco gave discounts and freebies during the week. We got free milkshake for every rice meal. I was ecstatic that I ate breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner in Merco, and I wanted more of it. The servings was just right for the price and the taste is truly matches the pinoy palate.The waitstaff were friendly and attentive to the customers needs.

Below are some of the meals we ordered: (clockwise)

Chicken strips, Spaghetti with bun, pritong bangus with garlic rice and egg, and tapsilog. Sorry for the photos, I was halfway my meal when I remembered to take photos. Oooops…  :/

 

I’m missing these free milkshakes we had. It came in vanilla, ube, chocolate, strawberry, mango, and durian flavor. I tried everything except for the durian -it out of stock. The milkshake was thick and heavenly!!!

There’s nothing in the menu that’s more than Php120 so think about how affordable and satisfying it is to eat in Merco. By the way, it is known also as a bakeshop and ice cream parlor; you can smell bread fresh from the oven.

Start your day right by having your breakfast in Merco. Spend your day, have snacks, or end the night by a great meal or a cup of coffee without spending too much. Merco is all over the metro.  🙂

El Buono Pizza- B.F Homes, Parañaque

It's a great place to hang out with family and friends.

The best way to enjoy pizza is to share it with family or friends…unless you can finish a 65-inch pizza by yourself. 😉

I’m glad to have found this place in Parañaque where friends can “chill”, sit back, watch a live band , or play beer pong while feasting on pizza, pasta, and more. The restaurant has a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere… it spells F-U-N!

I was there to take photos with my team from Asian Escapades/Manila Escapades Magazine (watch out for this events guide magazine this June 2011). We were able to take a closer look of the restaurant, watch how they make their famous pizza, and interview Sir Lance – the man behind El Buono Pizza.

The pizza guy and his "masterpiece"- photo by: Mishale Aragoncillo

Being a pizza lover, I was captivated by the way the pizza guy made this 4 flavor Celebrity 36″ pizza. It’s the largest pizza I’ve seen in my entire life. I have yet to see the 65″ pizza…hopefully soon. Sir Lance described the process in pizza making from preparing the dough, putting in the sauce, adding the cheese, arranging the toppings, and popping it in the oven. He explained that initially, preparation and cooking time for this size of pizza was about 1 and a half hour which is now trimmed down to only 20-25 minutes.

While waiting for our pizza, they served us one of their Group Platter’s Treat- Set 1. It includes 6pcs. Southern Fried Chicken, Spaghetti Bolognese, French Fries, and a Pitcher of Iced Tea. This set meal is prices P750 and is good for 4-6 persons.

On the table:

The friend chicken has a seasoned coating making the skin crispy and flavorful. The meat is tender and juicy, I finished my share in no time. The spaghetti bolognese is spaghetti topped with a rich, ground-meat and tomato based sauce. I love the generous amount of beef chunks served, plus the firmness of the noodles which gives a perfect bite. The french fries is just regular fries, served with mayo and ketchup. The red iced tea that was served in a pitcher was good, it has the right amount of sweetness.

The spotlight goes to the 4 Flavors 36″ Celebrity Pizza (Php 1,988). It has four toppings: El Buono Special, Il Hawaiian, Salami Picante, and Le Verdure.

El Buono Special has mozzarella cheese, special cheese, signature sauce, pepperoni, ham, ground beef, bell pepper, onion, pineapple, black olives, herbs & spices.

Il Hawaiian has mozzarella cheese, special cheese, signature sauce, ham, and pineapple.

Salami Picante has mozzarella cheese, special cheese, signature sauce, pepperoni, herbs & spices.

Le Verdure has mozzarella cheese, special cheese, signature sauce, bell pepper, onion, tomato, corn, and black olives.

I can eat these everyday... 🙂 - photo by: Mishale Aragoncillo

It’s a whopping 36″ sliced into 24 slices. Among the 4 flavors, I liked the El Buono Special best. Blasts of flavors filled my mouth as I take every bite. The special sauce matches the Pinoy taste which is really GOOD. The crust is thin but I wish they could make a thinner version.

There’s 4 of us in our team and we were only able to finish 1/4 of the pizza. My mind says “eat more” but my tummy couldn’t handle another slice. Good thing they divided the pizza and placed in small boxes for us to bring home.

Below is the brick oven used for cooking “the world’s largest pizza” that is deliverable. According to Sir Lance, some restaurants only make large-sized pizza for the world record and their restaurant is different because they make the largest pizza that is sellable and could be enjoyed by customers.

the "mean" machine...strong enough to handle the biggest pizza

Though a number of pizza restaurants tried to serve large sized pizza, Sir Lance claimed El Buono to be the pioneer in making the biggest pizza in the Philippines. When asked about their edge with other pizza places, he said it’s the size and the taste. People will patronize pizza not only because it’s big but because they like the taste.

Sir Lance of El Buono Pizza- photo by: Mishale Aragoncillo

Whether you’re up for a challenge or just wanna have fun, you can try this game: Beer Pong – a beer drinking game for added fun in your drinking sessions.

El Buono in Parañaque have tournaments every Thurs/Fri and Regular games from Sun-Wed. We were able to watch a few games from the qualifications, down to quarter finals. We left the restaurant around past 12mn and semi finals hasn’t started yet. Jared, the organizer of the Beer Pong tournament said tournaments end around 3am.

Champions for every tournament get a shirt with a “Teammate” and El Buono logo or 1 grand cash… Most winners choose the shirt instead of moolah.  😛

Ready...Aim...Shoot...

BTW, El Buono Makati and Parañaque offer this EAT ALL YOU CAN Promo for only P299. Read the mechanics below.

All you can eat for P299!!!

It’s me and the pizza guy with the star of the night… the 36″ pizza.

It’s definitely a clap…clap…clap… for El Buono Pizza. See you again soon!

El Buono is open for franchise. You may contact the numbers below for inquiries.

El Buono Pizza

Mandaluyong: 500 Boni Ave. Corner San Rafael St.

Makati: Makati Cinema Square

Parañaque: 154 Aguirre St., BF Homes

Cavite: Congressional Road, Dasmariñas

Soon to open: Quezon City branch and San Pablo branch

FOR FRANCHISE INQUIRIES:

Contact: 519-1111/ 519-2222

403-1528/ 403-1575

AC RUMPA- Angeles City, Pampanga

AC Rumpa, short for Angeles City Retired US Military Personnel Association, serves classic American- Spanish influenced food. It is by far my favorite restaurant in Pampanga. I remember it was my cousin Ate Maya who introduced to me Rumpa more than five years ago. I’m so glad she did. From then on, Rumpa has become part of the itinerary every time we go to Pampanga. Just like last February when we were in Angeles City for the Hot Air Balloon festival.

We went to Rumpa twice that day, one was for lunch and the other was for take-out dinner.  It was our last stop before heading home to Manila   🙂

Good Ol' wooden sign

Enter the Gates of Food Haven

The interior gives a cozy feel, with dimmed lights and a blend of natural colors of the wall and furniture.

Neutral colors...basic and bold

Ready to be filled up with hungry customers

yum!!!

On the table:

The House Salad priced less than Php150 is good for sharing. The huge plate consists of lettuce, strips of green bell pepper and carrots, onion slices, tomato, ham, egg and cheese. It comes with thousand island dressing and crackers on the side.

The crispiness of the fresh veggies makes it special. They could however improve on the dressing.

Caesar Salad with crackers on the side...

Next is the Spaghetti Bolognese which Baloogs and I shared. It is served with toasted bread with butter. The thick tomato sauce is loaded with meat. It didn’t leave any impression on how it tasted. What stuck on my mind was the generous serving and that grated cheddar cheese was used instead of parmesan.

Spaghetti Bolognese with bread toast

Rumpa’s BBQ Spareribs is one of their best-sellers. This keeps me coming back to Rumpa. Its tender, fall off the bone meat is heavenly delicious. With less than Php 200, you seriously can now have ribs that are as good if not better than all the famous rib places.

It’s coated with rich, thick barbecue sauce that’s absolutely lip smacking. We love eating it with the sweet, tangy barbecue sauce poured on hot rice. Yum!

It’s so good that we each ordered a plate of this.  🙂

House Specialty....BBQ Spare ribs

This is what I had for dinner, Rumpa’s Burrito. Two large burritos for less than Php150. It’s loaded with beef, refried beans, onion, and cheese. It’s actually a “wet burrito” or enchilada style burrito, as it is smothered with red chili sauce. I like how the sauce covered the entire burrito; really delicioso! I just added hot sauce from taco bell since I wanted it HOT. Burrito locos can get true value for money as this Rumpa specialty promises a satisfying meal.

My Burrito to go...

I give AC Rumpa a clap…clap…clap for the excellent food, quick service, and value for money.

AC RUMPA
Location: 1307 Surla St., Balibago/ Sto. Rosario St., Angeles City
Contact: (045) 892-6659 (Balibago) / 331-4805 (Sto. Rosario)

Pan de Amerikana – Marikina

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this place… a unique rustic themed restaurant, something I imagined to be in Tagaytay or Antipolo and not in Marikina. I have lived in Marikina for a decade and heard about this place. Pan de Amerikana? I was visualizing a plain bakery, nothing special to make me go there. I was wrong. After so many photos seen on the internet, I dragged my cousin to check out the place and try their food. Anyways, it’s just a 10 minute ride from our place. Here are random photos of the bakery/resto.

You guys can enjoy taking photos, chat with your friends, relax on the hammock swing, climb the tree house, or play chess (some chess boards are carved on the tables…cool!). Oh yeah! You can bring your laptop or gadgets too since they have free wifi access.

What’s more amazing is their food. Pan de Amerikana serves mostly Filipino dishes, there’s ILOKANO (longganisa, papaitan, pinakbet, and igado, BICOLANO (bicol express and laing), CEBUANO (sinugba), KAPAMPANGAN (pork and bangus sisig), and BATANGENO (tawilis). There’s also Halo-Halo, carbonara, spaghetti, turon, and their famous pandesal for snacks. Check out the menu board below. You need not worry about your budget; you can spend as low as 20 pesos for spaghetti and as much as 150 pesos for a t-bone steak. Ain’t that cool?… That’s totally awesome!

Next time you’re in Marikina, drop by and chill in Pan De Amerika. You might want to join also Tai-Chi lessons, photography clubs, and Art classes… so tag your family and friends along!

Pan De Amerikana

Contact:  Malou- 4752398

Web: http://www.pandeamerikana.multiply.com

PAN DE AMERIKANA – 92 Gen. Ordonez St., SSS Village, Concepcion Dos, Marikina City
Contact Nos.: 9340667 or 4752398

How to get there: From Cubao, ride a jeepney or FX going to SSS Village, Marikina then get down at Bay Tree, SSS Village. Rice a tricyle from there to the place.

Tagaytay White House and Ming’s Garden

Yeah, I told myself not to procrastinate but one side of my head says it’s ok to do some things ‘ late than never’. Errr… not so good to start 2010. Imma start working things out and be productive…so here’s a headstart!

Days before Christmas, our family went outside the metro to unwind and feel the cool breeze or should I say “chill” in Tagaytay. My cousin found an interesting house and had it reserved for 3 days. It is called the White House… no need to explain why. Enjoy the sight!

hallway leading to the main living room

huge mirror and crystal glass figures

my favorite part of the house

TV room with bar and LOFT

one of the 2 rooms upstairs

the master's bedroom

view from the veranda

 The 2nd day was spent more on touring the city and buying pasalubong. The kids also enjoyed horseback riding…until the time it rained and we had to leave the area.

who wants to ride?

white corn... anyone?

how bout some mangosteen? langka? ponkan?

 We headed to Ming’s Garden for lunch. This place is owned by Ming Ramos, the wife of former president Fidel Ramos. The kids played in the playground while others looked around. It’s just a simple garden but I love how peaceful it is there. Great place to enjoy a sumptuous meal. I was so hungry I forgot to take photos of the food. Sorry about that. Anyways, we had korean beef stew, kare-kare, chicken barbecue, and spaghetti. We had mango juice and soda for drinks. Good food and very affordable. If you want something different from the usual fastfood…this is the place to go.

gorgeous pond at Ming's Garden

lovely narra dining sets

plants plants plants...

floating flowers

sunrise...view from my window

We headed back to the white house for dinner… guess what we had for dinner??? Bulalo.. of course! Tagaytay trip isn’t  complete without the special bulalo.

Tagaytay White House

Mavic – 09078346303

Rent is P6500 per night (Good for 6 persons)

Additional 500 for extra person

Kids below 7 yrs old are free!