I read a lot of food blogs. I’ve come across several posts mentioning Va Bene, a not-so-secret authentic Italian pasta deli, so it’s long been on my list of must-try’s.
Although the restaurant is located so close to where I live, it’s been quite a challenge finding the time to make our way over. Finally, after months of unsuccessful attempts, the H and I, along with our good friend M, decided to meet up for an impromptu dinner, and Va Bene was our unanimous choice :).
Despite the lateness of our meal, I was surprised that there were still a lot of people when we got to the restaurant. The space itself is very small, so I can imagine that it gets pretty packed. Good thing we had made reservations ahead of time, so we didn’t have to wait to get a table.
After a quick glance at the menu, the H and I settled on an arugula salad to start. For our mains, the H decided to have the crabmeat ravioli, while I chose the tagliolini with portobello mushroom cream sauce and truffle oil.
While we were waiting for our food to arrive, a complimentary bread plate was placed on our table, along with an olive and tomato dip, sprinkled with parmesan cheese. Sa dip pa lang, winner na! It was so good, that I had to refrain from eating too much, as there were two more courses plus dessert that we had to look forward to :).
Next came our arugula salad. The presentation was very nice–a bed of fresh, green arugula leaves, drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette, over slices of onions, caramelized apple slices, and strips of chicken breast. This was the H’s and my attempt to start eating healthy again–hahaha!
I have to say, the sweetness of the apples perfectly complemented the sourness of the vinaigrette, and the bitterness of the arugula. Again, it was another winner dish! I’m not usually a fan of salad, but I wouldn’t mind eating this one again :).
The serving size was also pretty generous. It is enough for two, especially if you decide to get a pasta dish, or another entree.
After being served two really good dishes, we were off to a great start! We were looking forward to the piece de resistance of the evening–the pasta! I had been hearing raves about the truffle pasta in particular, and I could not wait to finally try it for myself!
As soon as the steaming plate of creamy goodness was set in front of me, I caught a whiff of the most delicious, mouth-watering smell…haaay…heaven! Ang sarap talaga kumain! How I envy those who can eat loads and not gain a single pound! I swear, I gain weight just by smelling food! Hahaha! That and I have the metabolism of a snail :(!
Anyway, back to the food–the truffle pasta was absolutely yummy! It was creamy and rich with an ever so slight hint of heat. I thought this was an interesting twist, despite the fact that I’m not very partial to spicy food.
Aside from that, what made this dish really good was the texture of the pasta. I had a difficult time describing it, so I’ll use M’s description instead–she said it had “body”. It was kinda chewy-slash-bouncy and tasted very freshly made. Iba siya from the usual store bought pasta. It definitely had more substance to it, and was cooked to al dente perfection :).
Similarly, the ravioli was also very delicious! They were very generous with the crabmeat filling, and that was enough for me to give it a two thumbs up! Any restaurant that does not scrimp on its ingredients immediately earns plus points in my book :).
To end our very delightful meal, we decided to have their dessert special of the day–lemon tart pie. While we were expecting a very traditional version, we were pleasantly surprised that this pie arrived with a thin layer of caramelized sugar on top. Again, it balanced the tartness of the lemon filling very well. It also had a nutty, chewy bottom which I absolutely loved! The pie plus a scoop of vanilla ice cream, drizzled with chocolate syrup and nuts was a wonderful way to finish off an equally wonderful Va Bene experience :).
The verdict? We will definitely be back at Va Bene! There are other items on the menu that look really delicious–the squid ink pasta and the capellaci, for instance–that I would love to try :).
This restaurant is also the perfect place for a chill Friday night dinner. The interiors have mismatched tables and chairs, displays of pasta, tomato sauces, wines, and the chef’s personal collection of cook books. It is cozy and unpretentious, and has that neighborhood, hidden, out-of-the-way feel.
I hope it continues to stay that way :). I have a sneaking suspicion that aside from the food, it is the relaxing, family feel that makes customers keep coming back for more :).
Va Bene is located at the 2nd floor of the Petron Gas Station, EDSA corner Arnaiz Street, right outside Dasmarinas Village.