Friday, October 17, 2008

Meatballs and Opera

Weary of my usual Italian food haunts, I rack my brain for restaurants that I have not visited for quite a while. I suddenly remember Caffe Puccini. Craving for something rich and hearty after a fun-filled night, Matt and I decide to drop by one afternoon.

Named after the famous Italian composer of the world's most romantic operas, Caffe Puccini really does feel like a small trattoria with its cute Italian memorabilia on the walls, wood paneling, wide display of deli products, and the roaring fire of the brick oven behind the counter. Very cozy and warm indeed.

For some reason, I have been craving for Italian Meatballs and so I order their version with spaghetti. It was a really good dish, with all the components working well together: the sauce was simple yet flavorful and authentic, and the meatballs were moist. Truly Italian comfort food. I remember liking their pastas a lot, and they have quite a selection, too.

We also had a pizza, which was half Quattro Formaggi and half of the Pizza with beef, mushrooms, truffle oil and egg. It was good, not blow-my-mind good, but I would not mind having their pizzas again. The crust was perfectly done, but the toppings of the Pizza-Flavor-I-Forget was just too all-over-the-place for me. The concept was good (truffle oil + egg = awesomeness), but for some reason this marriage just did not work out.

Their service was, again, just ok. Most of the time I could hear the server's mindless chatter near the counter. Maybe its because of the time- right before dinner service- so there's really just two tables occupied at that point and they're bracing for the evening rush. I don't mind if the staff is relaxed, especially at a casual dining environment, but there is a thin line between laid-back and unprofessional.

Due to a relatively low seating capacity, they're almost always full during lunch or dinner, so do call to reserve.

Caffe Puccini
The Fort Strip
Bonifacio Global City
Taguig, Metro Manila
Tel. no. (632) 8163055.


Miguel said...

The meatballs look hearty....

Have you tried Amo Roma? They were in Alabang bt moved to Tagaytayand just opened recently. One of my favorite Italian resturants.

Chinkee said...

Hi Miguel!

Matt and I were big fans of their branch in Legaspi Village, back when it was still open. We were even supposed to celebrate Matt's birthday there a few years back. We made reservations and all, then, when we arrived, it was a completely different Italian restaurant! You can probably imagine how disappointed we were.

I'd love to visit the one in Tagaytay! I miss this wild boar sausage bucatini that I used to order there. Thanks for the heads up!:-)

Noel said...

I love good spaghetti and meatballs. One of my favorite food memories from when I was young (9-10 years old) is having spaghetti and meatballs at the Army & Navy Club after swimming all day during summer break. No other spaghetti and meatballs these days seem as good.

I will definitely have to try out the one in your picture.

Oh, and I happen to like opera, but the only ones of Puccini I've seen are the ubiquitous Tosca (Placido Domingo in the role of Mario Cavaradossi) and, the now cliché Turandot (Nicola Martinucci as Calaf). I like Tosca much more. The Chinese stereotypes in Turandot just seem too strange (and vaguely distasteful) to me.


Miguel said...

I never went to the one in Legaspi buty I used to frequent the one in Alabang. The owner was always there and he made sure they had the best ingredients.

I hope their tagaytay branch is the same as the one in Alabang. havent been there yet but i will be going soon.

Chinkee said...

Hi Noel! I love how food can sometimes take you back to simpler times. For me, its got to be my mom's lasagna. It's oily and meaty and cheesy... She'd always make a couple of trays for our parties, enough so that we'd have leftovers. The best time to eat it is the morning after it was made, and I'd pop a slice into the oven toaster. Now, it's Matt's favorite, too.

I'm not particularly into opera, but there are certain arias that I enjoy listening to. They always get me misty-eyed. The only opera I ever saw was La Boheme at CCP back in 1st year high school, and it was for extra credit. I remember our dinner at Korean Village in Malate before the show more vividly. Hehe.

Chinkee said...

Hi Miguel! Sigh... If only Amo Roma wasn't so far! Oh well... its probably God's way of saving me from myself. Hehe.

Noel said...

Your story of watching La Boheme reminds me that I watched Mozart's Die Zauberflöte with my senior year high school class at the CCP. I enjoyed it, but couldn't let on to my barkada that I did - wouldn't have been cool.

That, in turn, made me remember that my late mom took me to watch a concert of Placido Domingo back in elementary school - I don't recall how old I was, but I know I was still in short pants - meaning I was 3rd grade or below. I didn't enjoy it then. I remember fidgeting in my seat, my mom telling me to be still, and, eventually, falling asleep.

Thanks for triggering those memories.


Miguel said...

Had a chance of watching the 3 tenors(Pavarotti, Placido Donigo and Josep Carreras) in Spain some time back. My mom forced me to go. Didnt really listen but now I regret and should have listened more...

Frances F. said...

Chinkee! so where can I find blow-my-mind Pizza?

Chinkee said...

Hi Frances! It really depends on what you're up for... For authentic Neapolitan pizzas, my personal favorite is Caffe Caruso in Reposo. The closest cheaper alternative would be Amici in Don Bosco Makati and T. Morato, Q.C. Amongst the "delivery pizzas", the best- in my opinion- is still Shakey's and Yellow Cab.:-)

Noel said...


I never got to watch Pavarotti live, just Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras. You're so lucky.


I and my family love Caruso's pizza Napolitana - it's the only one I eat. My kids also like the one topped with Parma ham. The pizza in Bravo's Alabang is similar, but the crust is crunchier.

Best to you both,