Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Amici and Cara Mia Gelateria

Alvie and I were at the Walter Mart, Makati area one weekend to have our car's electricals fixed at a nearby shop (boring) and since we are rarely ever there, we decided to take advantage of eating at restaurants that aren't typically on-the-way for us.

We snacked a bit at the mall with my parents and my brother. We had some Red Ribbon empanada (so-so) and a tiny cup of Dairy Queen's Caramel Cheesequake MooLatte (this was good, I plan to try the other flavors as well).

After relaxing and snacking, it was time to get down to business: Dinner. It was a toss-up between Karate Kid and Amici.

Karate Kid was a fast food favorite of mine during college. I usually describe it as "like Tokyo Tokyo but better". Their Katsudons are pretty good (not as good as Komoro Soba, though, and I should really stop with the comparisons or this is going to be an endless trail), and so are their Takoyaki and Tofu Steak. Needless to say, we didn't choose to eat here but got the chance to during a trip to Enchanted Kingdom the next day. I'd just like to say do not eat there. Price is about the same as with other branches but all I got was a dry half a serving of Katsudon on a bed of cold rice, ruining my chances of validating why I liked Karate Kid in the first place. Sad.

Now, where were we? I was on the fence about where to eat, but Alvie quite easily chose Amici since she is not a fan of Katsudon, nor is she a fan of Karate Kid at all (haha). After my parents and brother left, off we went. We just conveniently left our car at Walter Mart since all you need to do to get to Amici is cross the intersection towards the Don Bosco side. This is not usually a well-lit, well-populated area so I'd be alert during this walk. I haven't heard any bad incidents about this place, but it's the type of place I'd think twice before waving an iPhone 5 about. Don't take my word for it, though. I'm a bit of a paranoid parrot.

Expertly taken with my trusty Galaxy S2
Finally at the restaurant! After some deliberation and going through the menu, we decided to go for two plates of pasta. Amici has decent pizza, and I do love all pizza, but I'm more of a fan of the thick-crusted type (S&R, Pizza Hut, Yellow Cab). Amici has a great selection of pasta so deciding which ones is the hard part. Craving for some truffle goodness, we first chose the oil-based Linguine al Prosciuto e Tartufo (Quite a mouthful to say. When giving the waiter my order, I had to look back and forth between him and the menu to make sure I was saying it right haha). Wanting to keep our bill down and saving some budget for post-meal gelato, we chose one of the cheapest pasta dishes on the menu, the yet again oil-based Spaghetti Aglio Olio e Pepperoncino (I consciously kept myself from using an Ezio Auditore da Firenze accent when pronouncing this one). And so, the dishes came.

Linguine al Prosciutto e Tartufo, P288.00
This dish was as delicious as it looks, as good as expected for any pasta dish in Amici. We have tried better prosciutto, it usually has a lightly salty taste and is sliced much more thinly. The prosciutto on this dish tasted a bit more like regular ham. Another observation was that the truffle flavor really could have been stronger. I do not know if this is because it is oil-based, rather than the usual truffle oil and cream combination. The truffle flavor just did not hit me as much as I would have liked. A well-balanced truffle dish can taste and smell so good that it is intoxicating. This was not such a dish, but nevertheless, still good.

Spaghetti Aglio Olio e Pepperoncino, P198.00
If you'd look at the picture above, you'd just think it was an average, plain aglio olio dish. You'd be dead wrong. This unassuming little beauty was the unexpected hero of the night. Everything about it was perfect. Not expecting much, I was surprised when my first bite into this dish led to a burst of flavor so uncharacteristic of how plain it looks. ...and the texture, also done perfectly. I can't tell if they do it this consistently for this dish, but the noodles were cooked just right. I like the noodles quite al dente and it was well-executed here. It was almost as if you could count how many noodles you were biting into every time. Each noodle felt individual, yet a harmoniously melded part of the whole. I am glad we were budget-conscious and got to try this dish, I was thinking about it hours after the fact. All our attention was on the spaghetti, leaving its truffle-oiled brother quite ignored.

For the awaited dessert, we had the Cioccolato and Toffee Almond Roca, both on one waffle bowl. The waffle bowl comes free optionally with every scoop.

Cioccolato and Toffee Almond Roca Gelato, P75 and P85 per scoop, respectively
Cioccolato was much better in this case, very rich and may konting tapang. The other flavor was just okay, only really becoming interesting with the delicious almond bits inside. The waffle cone was fun to eat off of, but the taste was just alright.

All in all, the dinner was quite memorable due to the magnificent aglio olio, and the rest was the usual delicious food you'd expect from Amici. This restaurant still remains to be one to keep coming back to for good Italian cuisine.

A satisfied pair's self-shot.
Linguine al Prosciutto e Tartufo: Good
Spaghetti Aglio Olio e Pepperoncino: Must-try
Cioccolato Gelato: Great
Toffee Almond Roca Gelato: Good

Love Amici? Hate it? Let me know what you think about anything by commenting below, and you can always just tweet me! I realize this post was quite lengthy so thank you, too, for bearing through it! haha :)

- Joaquin

Don Bosco School
A. Arnaiz cor C. Roces
San Lorenzo, Makati City
(02) 818-4444
Facebook: Amici Philippines

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PRO-TIP: With Instagram or any app with similar filters, you can turn your gelato into a vision of glowing manna from the heavens.



  1. Try their Quattro Formaggi and White Vongole. Hazelnut Gelato for desert.. Everything in this Italian Restau is AWESOME. :) Been my fave Restau since the age of 12 :D

    1. Is that pasta or pizza? haha I'll remember that! I also love their salmon cream pasta (forgot the actual name).

      Based on your comment, you must be young! Or I'm old? I remember Amici during its cafeteria days in Don Bosco. Haha.