Sunday, September 20, 2009

Amici (Updated)

(article updated and added more photos on Jan. 4, 2010):

The first Saturday of September 2009 was a very ful-"filling" day for me and my family. After seeing the pediatrician for my baby girl's shots, my husband decided to to take us all out for lunch -- him, our daughter, the yaya and I.

Having seen how much I missed eating Italian cuisine, he thought it best to take us to Amici at the Megamall.

We've eaten at Amici before...back when it was originally called Amici di Don its first and only branch inside the Don Bosco School compound in Makati. It looked more like a trattoria or cafeteria with simple, unassuming yet presentable decor; and, if I'm not mistaken, run and operated by a coop that mostly comprised the school's maintenance and service personnel.

My husband and I were, what you would refer to as, "regulars" because (1) I'm an Italian-food-fanatic and (2) we used to live just minutes away from the school. Being regulars, of course, we did our part in strongly recommending the place to our friends and family as a value-for-your-money, authentic-homestyle-Italian-cooking restaurant.

As expected, Amici gained "success" and eventually, Amici di Don Bosco was bought-out by a Don Bosco alumnus who completely re-packaged Amici (the once small Italian trattoria) into a big Italian chain or franchise.

To tell you honestly, my husband and I didn't know how to react when we first learned about this "development". We were worried that the overall "taste", "feel" and "texture" of the original Amici might have gotten lost with the re-branding. It took us about a year before we finally decided to give the "new" Amici a try.

The branch in Megamall has a nice, ristorante feel to it. Uniformed waiters. Giant photos of their food mounted on the walls. The once black-and-white logo now shows colors from the Italian flag: Red, Green and White. Sleek counters. The once simple menu made only from bondpaper has now been replaced by a nice, thick, glossy cardboard. Nice chairs and cushioned booth-style pieces, whereas before we used to feel just as comfortable using both the aluminum and the monoblock kind. A lot of difference! Deep down, I was praying that no changes to the food and the portion size were done.

We ordered our "usuals":

Antipasti (Appetizers):
Mozzarella Fritto (Golden fried mozzarella logs with pomodoro sauce)

VERY GOOD alternatives (must-try!):
  1. Cozze Al Forno (Mussels baked with cream and pesto sauce)
  2. Salsicce Italania (2 pcs. homemade Italian Sausage served with marinated vegetables) Here's a photo, taken on Oct. 2009, during our 1st family lunch-out after the Ketsana- (aka Ondoy) flooding:

Frutti Di Mare (mixed seafood- so yummy! But I strongly recommend requesting for it that extra umph!)

Good pizza alternatives are:
  1. Al Quattro Formaggi (Four cheeses)
  2. Tutta Carne (all meat - italian sausage, ham, pepperoni)

 Spaghetti White Vongole E Gamberetti (sauteed mixed seafood on al dente spaghetti w/ olive oil & white wine reduction)

Good pasta alternatives are:
  1. Spaghetti Red Vongole E Gamberetti (sauteed mixed seafood on al dente spaghetti with pomodoro sauce)
  2. Spinach Fusili Montanara (Homemade pasta with italian sausage sauce)
  3. Spaghetti Aglio Olio E Pepperoncino (mildly spicy pasta dish in rich garlic & olive oil sauce). Here's a photo:
If you're a vegetarian who does not care for any meat but, instead, want something "light" yet fulfilling and flavorful...this pasta dish is just the thing for you!

House Specials:
Roast Chicken (rosemary-flavored half chicken served with vegetables)

Gelati (Ice Cream):

Vanilla and Cioccolato (Chocolate)

The Verdict?.....VERY GOOD! It's a relief to know that nothing has changed with regard to the quality, quantity and value of food served in Amici. All were still tasty. The signature thin-crust pizza was still yummy and flavorful. The seafood was fresh. Overall, the food still had that Italian authenticity and homemade-feel to them. My daughter seemed very pleased. Our yaya was satisfied. My husband was especially happy that I was so giddy from everything that transpired in the span of our lunch :)

Left the place so stuffed! But very happy. Thanks honey for always spoiling me! :)

Mama Mia is a 30-something wife; stay-at-home mom to one; blogger; and author of Online Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Mom (OCSAHM). Learn more about Mia here, or contact her via this page. You can also get instant updates on this blog by following Mia on Twitter @miadsoriano; by "Liking" the official OCSAHM Facebook page; or by subscribing via Email or RSS.
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