Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Craving Italian Food? Casa Nostra is THE Place to Go!

I have a weakness for most things Italian. I'd die to spend some time in Italy just roaming the streets in amazement. I love hearing the Italian language spoken. I remember Elizabeth Gilbert saying it is the world's sexiest language. I used to think it was French, but having interacted more with people from Italy and France in the past years, I think that Italian does have an edge.

Then there's the food. Glorious Italian food! Who doesn't love Italian food? I doubt that you can find more than a handful of people who are not enamored with Italian food!

Having professed (for the nth time, actually) my love for Italian food, I guess I should now say how I am always on the lookout for good Italian food in Manila. There are a couple of decent restaurants that I regularly visit, but it is always a great adventure to find a new place that offers something better. And believe me, I think I just found the ultimate Italian restaurant in this part of the world.

I know I am not the best judge of how authentic Italian food tastes, but I do know awesome food when I taste it. And trust me, my experience last week was one that will make me come back for more.

Casa Nostra. That's the name of this gem of a find. It's located along Pasong Tamo extension in Makati, tucked in the corner of a quiet building.  (Click on the photos for a larger view.)



Upon entering the premises, you will not fail to notice the cozy atmosphere and the attentiveness of the staff.  Despite the fact that I had already taken a look at their menu online, it still took me a while to decide what I wanted to eat. (No surprise there!) The staff was very patient about it.
View of the bar from the booth

Oh, I just remembered - one big reason I got distracted from ordering was the bread basket that was served very soon after we had sat down. You will immediately notice that Casa Nostra does not skimp on the bread as some Italian places do (if they even serve free bread at all). There are several different kinds of bread. The usual baguette is there of course. I really like the crostini-like bread, which they actually call Triangle Pizza, and is also similar to naan. There's even a huge soft pretzel thrown in. What hit the sweet spot is the trio of spreads/dips: olive oil and balsamic vinegar; tomato salsa; and chicken liver pate. I seriously would have asked for more of the pate if I weren't thinking of what to order!
Bread Basket

L-R: Olive oil and balsamic vinegar; tomato salsa; chicken liver pate

When I finally made my mind up, I decided on the Carpaccio di Manzo and the Selvaticci di Spinaci.
Carpaccio di Manzo
This choice is really not surprising as I almost always want carpaccio as a starter. How can you not want slices of raw beef so thin that they almost melt in your mouth? One thing I have to say, Casa Nostra places a premium on quality when it comes to their carpaccio. I have had to stop ordering carpaccio in several places I frequent because of their awful meat. The carpaccio at Casa Nostra, however, was mouthwateringly, droolingly good. (It's so good I don't care if my Grammar Nazi friends flag me!)
Selvaticci di Spinaci
 After finishing the starters (gobbling them up was more like it), these two dishes really tested my appetite - in a good way. First up: Osso Buco Gremolata.

Ossobuco Gremolata
 This is the dish I had been dreaming of since I heard about Casa Nostra. While the other dishes distracted me for a while, I came back to ossobuco in the end, and boy, I did not regret it! The beef was so tender that it was falling off the bone - just the way I like it. The beef and vegetables are served over a hefty serving of arborio risotto, which is cooked perfectly. I normally am not a risotto fan, but this went well with the beef. The verdict: hands down the best ossobuco I have had!
Costata d'Agnello Piccanti

I also tried the Costata d'Agnello Piccanti - pan grilled lamb chops with spicy herb, tomato, and balsamic sauce. Yup, I am a carnivore, and lamb is something that I consider a treat. I was not disappointed with the flavors of this dish. It kind of paled in comparison with the ossobuco, though!

The entire meal was made even nicer by a bottle of Spanish wine: Trio Gran Reserva. I hadn't tried this wine before that night, and I guess I can say I have a new favorite.

Now for the perfect end to the meal: dessert!

At first, I was convinced that I was going for tiramisu. It's a no brainer, isn't it? Well, I did get tiramisu.
Tiramisu
It looks pretty, doesn't it?

This, however, is the bestest dessert I have ever had. Tartufo Cioccolato con Gelato. Bliss.
Tartufo Cioccolato con Gelato
 Chocolate gelato so rich that I can't even begin to describe it. Seriously, it is so good that I would come back just for a bite. Here's a closer look. That's vanilla ice cream on top.


Now do you understand why I think Casa Nostra is THE place to go if you need to fill up your Italian food meter? Check out their menu to see other dishes - which I certainly will be trying this Friday.

They are located at:

G/F Ecoplaza Building
2305 Pasong Tamo Ext.
Makati, Metro Manila

And you can call them at:
Tel. (63 2) 403-9854 to 55
Mobile (0917) 593-7521






4 comments:

  1. I presently live in Las Vegas, but have known owner of "Casa Nostra" then you may think my comments can't be objective. Although I haven't visited Manila since Casa Nostra grand opening therefore one must question how I can write a comment objectively? Owner/builder/developer is one of the most professional F&B operator's building fine dining restaurants in Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, San Francisco, Las Vegas and many others located in tropical paradise of Philippines. He only knows and insists on building up-market gourmet dining restaurants; that’s been his modus operanti and or life long objective. Based upon my pass rewarding eating experiences at most of Casa Nostra's owner pass facilities; even without having the pleasure of eating there YET, I know or anyone who tries this great Italian restaurant with presented food and ambiance will be completely satisfied and can't wait for return dining treat.

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  2. This is near our office! Thanks for the recommendation! :)

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  3. Anon - yes, the experience was definitely positive. The food exceeded my expectations.

    Ikyachuck - you're welcome! Give it a try - very highly recommended!

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  4. Costata d'Agnello Piccanti looks yummy and great. I like to try this food. Please let me know how can I visit this place. Thanks.

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