March 18, 2011
Update Sept 2014: Check out the 2nd branch VA BENE Pasta Deli by Chef Massimo Veronesi @ BGC Cinemas!
We've been hearing a lot of buzz about this Italian restaurant. According to Makati foodies, the "Best Italian Restaurant" in the area is hidden inside a Petron Gas Station. We wanted to eat there after hearing mass on a Sunday, but the restaurant was closed.
Finally, we were able to go on a packed weekday dinner night. Indeed, it's the BEST authentic Italian Pasta place in Makati. And the secret lies in the hands of the ex-Mi Piace Italian chef and his Filipina wife, the tandem behind this gasoline station restaurant.
Va Bene is pronounced as "vah beh-neh", which means Very Good (food)! They make fresh pasta every day, which they also sell in the resto.
The place is warm and inviting. The fact that it can get a bit cramped strangely adds to its charm, especially when you see the packed place at night. It feels good to eat here because it's like you've discovered something special, and you just want to keep it secret a little while longer.
Italian Chef = Authentic Italian, ✔
Handmade Fresh Pasta = Freshly Made, ✔
Experienced Chef = Worked for 5 years in Manila Pen in Mi Piace and Old Manila, ✔
Pogi Italian with a yummy-sounding name = Chef Massimo Veronesi, ✔
Chef/owners who love kids = ✔ (That's a winner in my book!)
Since their kids study in a nearby school inside Dasma, they decided to establish their business near it. Locating the restaurant inside a gas station adds to its charm as well.
The truffle oil and portobello mushroom pasta was absolutely delicious! Besides the taste, the reason why their pasta is really good is because of its texture. It's different from the common al dente pasta you'll find in other restos. This one has a bouncy kind of bite.
Their squid ink pasta was executed differently. Since they make their own pasta, they mix the squid ink with the dough before they cook it. The pasta itself is black, so you don't have to worry about the black ink staining your teeth (which might turn off your date).
The pasta came with generous servings of seafood with thick tomato sauce. Sarap!
Every week, they have specials in the menu, and the lamb chops were highly recommended. This dish did not disappoint! Its unexpectedly excellent quality was worth every peso.
The meat was tender, tasty and sarap-to-the-bones. It was complemented very well by the ravioli and the vegetable side dish.
We still felt a bit bitin, food-wise, so we had a follow-up order of some salmon ravioli. I liked the pillow-y texture of the ravioli and the taste of the salmon in it.
I heard that the spinach and ricotta cheese version was the best, but it was out of stock already. :(
Learning: We came in late, around 8pm, so most of their best pasta dishes were sold out. Better go early, before 7pm, if possible.
The best-selling dessert -- profiteroles with ice cream -- was sold out, too. We decided to try the next best thing -- Strawberries in Balsamic Vinaigrette. The balsamico used for the strawberries was not too strong and went very well with the ice cream.
I only recently discovered Paradis Ice Cream, which is made from natural and healthy ingredients. I personally love their Coco & Vanilla, Thai Milk Tea, and Chili Chocolate with Saffron (called Agasajo) Ice Cream flavors.
Warning: This chocolate ice cream is really spicy hot!
Carol Veronesi (in black) personally serves all the guests, while Chef Massimo cooks the food (a set-up similar to Claude and Mary Anne Tayag's tandem in Bale Dutung).
Congratulations on a job well done with Va Bene! It's time to create a full-blown Italian restaurant in Bonifacio Global City. :)
This is definitely one of the best pasta places I've tried in Manila. Masarap talaga! They currently serve focaccia-style pizzas; hopefully, they will have a brick oven for their pizza soon.
(Note: They can close the restaurant for a minimum group of 20 with a set menu of P700-P1,000/person, depending on your preference. Very good for a birthday party or an intimate foodie feast. :) )
Chef Massimo Veronesi's Va Bene Pasta Deli
2nd Floor, Petron Gas Station, Edsa Corner Pasay Road,
Dasmarinas, Makati City
(Across Dusit Hotel, Edsa side)
Contact: Carolyn Veronesi
Telephone: +632 556-9442, 904-6063
Mobile: +63 917 345-6869
11.30am to 3.00pm and 6.00pm to 9.30pm
(Late-night dinners after 9.30pm are possible with prior reservation.)
Parking is available in Petron.
Live an Awesome Life,
Full Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.
P.S. This Petron station is also home to San Lo's famous empanada, this unique hampanada on the ground floor, and Tony Cuervo's Mango Torte. Indeed, a foodie haven hidden in a Petron Gas Station.