Thanks to Zomato for choosing me as the winner of their Write for a Bite Contest the second time around, I earned a PHp 1000 voucher in this chic restaurant in The Fort Strip, Taguig (or shall I say Makati City now?) last Saturday.
For four, please. I was glad that my dad and my sister agreed to join us for dinner at L’Opera Ristorante Italiano or my mom and I would be forced to finish everything ourselves!
Having a pleasant family dinner always puts a smile on my face. Dining into an all-star restaurant offering a great selection of vegetarian dishes makes this smile even wider. 😀 Too often vegetarian-friendly restaurants tend to over-complicate and over-compensate, but L’Opera Ristorante Italiano by L’Opera Holdings, Inc. is not afraid to let their ingredients shine with a daring simplicity and a passion for flavor.
Review of L’Opera Ristorante Italiano (The Fort Strip, BGC, Taguig)
I have seen one or two reviews about this place so I know I could expect the ambiance to be elegant and quite classy. True enough, the interior design was grand and well above and beyond expectations. Wine bottles were displayed on the walls. The chandeliers and lighting, thick curtains, heavy golden chairs and tables, and rustic flooring all provided an enchanting vibe. Background music was soothing to the ears. We felt like dining in some royal event in this “two-storey palace.”
Servers were friendly and interactive. They gave good recommendations and answered our questions on food kindly. We appreciated their good service from automatic refilling of water, positioning the plates to fit well on the table to taking our pictures and following our requests quickly.
Our server warned us that cooking time of the food we ordered requires patience. To satisfy us while waiting, she served a basket of complimentary appetizers onto our table. It consisted of their homemade focaccia bread (four pizza-shaped ones and four regular-shaped bread), a flat oven-baked Italian bread that’s a wonderful alternative to garlic bread, which we topped and flavored with patie liver spread, black olives purée, sliced tomatoes in olive oil and butter.
The combination of these tasted surprisingly awesome. What’s good is that you can order unlimited refills of the focaccia bread but of course, don’t be too greedy or you’d be too full to appreciate the main entrées.
After like 30 minutes, the four dishes we ordered came almost simultaneously one after the other. First was the Pizza con verdure grigliate (PHp 460). The name was too hard to pronounce and we were also left speechless after finishing a slice. There were eight slices of this pizza filled with tomatoes, mozarella cheese, grilled eggplant, zucchini and bell peppers.
The mozzarella was super oozy, the sauce perfectly tomato-y. We added a touch of salt and pepper to make the pizza more appetizing. The crust and bottom were crispy and thin. It was comforting and hearty and felt really light. For sure, it’s a pie to beat.
Second came our Pasta Vegetarianas: Penne all’ Arrabbiata con Porcini (PHp 360) and Trofie Al Pesto Alla Genovese (PHp 380). Why two pastas in one meal? you ask. Well, my mom’s pasta addiction certainly knows no bounds. We were entranced by the tastes of these pastas.
The Penne all’ Arrabbiata con Porcini was cooked with garlic, basilico, chili and porcini mushrooms in fresh spicy pomodoro sauce. I accidentally ate the chili together with the penne and thought the spiciness was tolerable. Porcini mushrooms are no picnic to find. In fact I haven’t seen them sold in our local supermarkets. The care taken in bringing out every bit of flavor from the tomatoes also was a prime example of what vegetable-centric cooking should be.
We gave another “thumbs up” to the Genova-style pasta with freshly made basil pesto sauce – Trofie Al Pesto Alla Genovese. I mean, there’s nothing like green pasta to brighten up a meal. The taste of pesto was very evident, punctuating the whole dish. To add savory bites, I thought toasted pine nuts would allow for that missing extra crunch and nuttiness. Nevertheless, this meat-free pasta was extravagant, authentic, and just may be the best if you want to impress your non-vegetarian friends. 🙂
Lastly we had the Ravioli Ai Funghi Porcini (PHp 390) which was recommended by the staff under the “Pasta Fresca” category. It comprised of seven mushroom-filled ravioli in their porcini mushroom cream sauce. The earthy punch of porcini mushrooms was DIVINE. The hook is in. Inside the ravioli was cheese. Immediately once you taste heavenly find, you might not want to go back down to earth. 😛
Price for Value: ★★★★☆
As a complete Italian fine dining restaurant, L’Opera Ristorante Italiano is a keeper! You’d walk out of this venue with a tab that’s lower than what you’d rack up by sharing at a small-plates eatery and those restaurants where you have to nibble. Here, you gorge. Portions of food were bigger than we expected. Essentially, it had was one of the best renditions of pastas and pizzas I’ve come by. Prices of food may be at the high end. Ultimately though, the money-to-happiness ratio was truly a steal. 😀
Operating hours: 11:30AM-2:30PM; 6:30PM-10PM – daily