Aria Cucina Italiana in Manila!

ARIA was the talk of the town when it first opened in D’Mall Boracay in 2003. Foodies raved about its homemade pasta and wood-fire oven pizzas (see: Top5 Bora Restos!, and What’s New in Boracay in 2010?). After 9 years, it finally opened its doors in Manila. 🙂

We’re curious to know if it would create the same buzz among foodies amidst really good Italian restaurants in the metro. Cyma Boracay’s expansion to Manila was very successful, setting up shop in various malls.

As for Aria, it decided to expand to a super high-end mall with relatively higher prices–will it click? Will we see Aria Mania in Manila?

Bonifacio High Street Central Restaurants:

Aria Cucina Italiana in Manila!
Aria Cucina Italiana MenuAppetizers | Soups & Salads | Pasta | Ravioli, Risotto, Gnocchi | Wood Fire Open Baked | Meat, Seafood, and Chicken | Vegetarian and Side Dishes | Dessert | Juices, Beer, Sodas | Cocktails, Shooters, Coffee

Aria is known for having tasteful interiors. Designed by Anton Mendoza, its BHS Central branch exudes a nice, beach-homey vibe that is not too intimidating.

I particularly love the Kenneth Cobonpue’s See You See Me Divider, which provides a textured net-like effect that breaks down the stiffness of the interiors.

Aria Cucina Italiana in Manila!
The art is playful, interesting and open to personal interpretation.

Aria Cucina Italiana in Manila!
★ Quatro Formaggi (P525 +10% service charge). Topped with four different cheeses (pecorino, feta, parmesan and mozzarella).

We loved this pizza — it was cooked just right with few burn marks. Plus, the pizza itself was crispy on the edges but chewy on the inside. Aria’s pizzas are priced within the P400-P600 range.

I particularly enjoy simple pizza (with just cheese on it), and the boys seem to have inherited this quirk too. They don’t like toppings on their pizza. 🙂

Aria Cucina Italiana in Manila!
We are still figuring out different tactics on how to control super-hyper boys (ages 7, 4 and 2) when eating in restaurants. They adore bread, so we had to order pizza first to keep them happy.

We’ve tried offering them a promise of Timezone playtime in exchange for good behavior, and handing over the iPhone to play with as our last resort. We also engage them in conversation, which works for Aidan, and teaching them how to eat food properly.

Any other tips or suggestions from experienced parents of 3 boys?

Aria Cucina Italiana in Manila!
★ Insalata di salmone affumicato e rucola (P410 +10% service charge). Mixed greens and organic arugula topped with smoked salmon in a balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Aria’s salads are always a joy to have, with their different flavors complemented by a touch of lemon. You can’t go wrong with this combination of fresh greens, arugula and salmon.

Aria Cucina Italiana in Manila!
Ravioli di branzino (P390 +10% service charge). Homemade ravioli stuffed with seafood in a tomato-based sauce.

We usually like the pasta dishes in Aria because one can taste the homemade goodness in every bite.

However, in this case, I think we made a mistake in ordering this ravioli because the seafood had a bland, dry taste. We realized our error when we smelled the fragrant truffle from the Homemade tagliatelle with white truffle, asparagus and parma ham at the next table.
 Aria Cucina Italiana in Manila!
Costicine di agnello (P980 +10% service charge). Oven-baked lamb cutlet with garlic and rosemary, served with roasted potatoes.

The lamb was not cooked well at all. We specified medium-well, but we got thick, uncooked fat portions of the lamb, with drippings of blood and not a very appetizing presentation. (But I guess that’s what you can expect when you eat in a restaurant during its soft opening period.)

Better stick with the pizzas, pasta and salad when you eat in Aria for now.

Aria Cucina Italiana in Manila!
Another good thing about Aria, that’s been translated well in its Manila branch, is its down-to-earth, welcoming service. It’s not as snooty as you would expect from a high-end restaurant. It’s just like the service one would find at a neighborhood Italian cafe.

Aria Cucina Italiana in Manila!
Overall, we loved the wood-fire oven-baked pizza, homemade pasta, fresh Mediterrean-inspired salads and the accommodating service. They do bring back nice memories of Boracay (but in a Manila setting). Budget around P700 per person if you plan to dine here.

ARIA Cucina Italiana
The best Italian restaurant in Boracay is now in Manila!
7th Ave. corner 29th St. South, 
Bonifacio High Street Central, 
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Phone: +63 917 519-5368
Facebook: Aria Cucina Italiana
Twitter: @ariacucina

Bonifacio High Street Central Restaurants:


Live an Awesome Life,

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Full Disclosure: Nothing to disclose. We paid for our meals. We are not connected with the owners or the organizations promoting Aria Cucina Italiana.

P.S. There are better pizza options in Bonifacio Global City, like Caffe Puccini in the Fort Strip, but I guess people like eating in restaurants not just for good food, but also to be seen eating good food in a nice restaurant.

P.P.S. I’m trying to experiment with iPhonenography, and some of the photos used in this post were taken with an iPhone (versus Canon). It seems like the iPhone will replace point-and-shoot cameras very soon. Can you distinguish the difference? Let me know if you have tips on taking pictures using the iPhone.