Permeating a classy vibe, Caruso Ristorante Italiano in Nicanor Garcia Street, Makati (an easy walk from SM Jazz Mall) is where dishes are expertly prepared and enhanced with a solid wine list raising the bar for your mealtime pleasure. This restaurant which started operating since 15 years ago was named after Enrico Caruso who’s regarded by many music lovers as the greatest Italian operatic tenor of all time.

Caruso is a high-end authentic Italian restaurant offering a cozy, quaint ambiance for customers who appreciate fine dining and delicious Italian food. It’s a popular choice for expats and a date-night nexus of romantics. Louie and I had lunch here last Saturday with its owner, Emilio Mina, and Online Community Marketing Manager, EJ Santos, as our kind and gracious hosts.

Review of Caruso Ristorante Italiano (Bel-Air, Makati City)

Ambiance: ★★★★★

The interior design of Caruso Ristorante Italiano looked like a page out of Italy. And why shouldn’t it be, this restaurant has a traditional look with rustic furniture and wooden white-clothed tables. Lightning levels and spaciousness complete the atmosphere where people can unwind in an intimate setting. Soft music playing on the background added to the unpretentious charm.

The place also finds personality with paintings/artworks and fine wine bottles displayed at the bar section and some hanging on the walls. It’s exactly where I can imagine men in suits and women in beautiful dresses get together for a refined meal. Speaking of attire, wearing of shorts, sando, and slippers is not allowed inside.

Service: ★★★★★

The staff were all knowledgeable on the menu and they provided exquisite service. Since items on the menu are in Italian, first-timers who find it difficult to understand and order may find it best to allow the waiters to drive recommendations while they ride along. Every request was handled promptly and effectively, and personal attention made us feel more welcome.

Food: ★★★★☆

Our meal began on a high note, with a complimentary round of freshly baked Focaccia bread delivered to the table. As dip, the combination of balsamic vinegar and olive oil was deceptively simple yet tasty, resulting in a mouthwatering epicurean delight. Much like French fries with your burger, this bread can be treated as a good “sidekick” for any main pasta entrée as well.

La Risacca Salad (PhP 860) consisted of  juicy chunks of tomatoes and plump shrimps in tortella. The shrimp’s taste was straightforward and won the perfect marriage of sweet and savory right in a bite. Yes, it was appetizing albeit not too bold and exciting in terms of flavor. We just wished there were more basil leaves or lettuce to the salad. It’s a good move to get this dish, if you’re not much of an adventurous eater.

Given choices for pasta, which would you prefer: red, white, or green? The good news is that in Caruso Ristorante Italiano, the answer can be all of the above. A long list of different kinds of pasta is available on the menu, and customers are free to choose three kinds of pasta in seafood sauce to be served in one plate. Note: Portions are rather small compared to the full-fledged/regular portion.

We had Spaghetti Aglio Olio e Peperoncino con Vongole (PhP 590 – regular size)—spaghetti with garlic, olive oil, chili and clams, Garganelli in Salsa di Pomodoro e Gamberetti (PhP 630 – regular size)—homemade garganelli with shrimp and tomato sauce, and Tagliolini Portofino con Salmone e Caviale (PhP 750 – regular size)—homemade taglioni with salmon and caviar. All three were creamy and perfectly seasoned, neither heavy nor greasy.

Capping off our carbs quota, the Tagliatelle Alla Crema di Tartufo (PhP 680) was finished with truffle cream and topped with the lovely parma ham. It’s both decadent and comforting, with a hint of truffles.

In a world filled with too many kinds of pizzas, the awesome flavor of cheese may be one of the most basic edible explanation proving why classic cheese pizza is a hit. Boasting the three colors of the Italian flag—red (tomatoes), white (Mozzarella cheese), and green (basil), the Margherita Pizza (PhP 670) was simple and just timeless. I would have found it more remarkable with a thinner and crispier crust.

The Margherita with Mozzarella Bufala (PhP 980) was presented with a slight upgrade from the Margherita Pizza; that is, with the snowy white bufala mozzarella cheese featuring a mild and slightly sour taste. The pizza crust was about the same, soft and a bit chewy.

For dessert, we had the deliciously creamy classic Italian Panna Cotta (PhP 360) which took me like on a mini Italian vacation while relishing it with my eyes closed. The concoction of this sweet pudding-like treat can put the regular panna cotta or leche flan we know to shame. Its texture was so good I just can’t get enough! 🙂 Obviously, it’s a must-try.

Punctuating the end of lunch was Caruso’s Tiramisu (PhP 360), which was likewise flavorful without being too dense. Those layers of cocoa-dusted mascarpone, coffee syrup and sweet, light cake were definitely delightful. Once you taste heaven, you wouldn’t to come back down to earth.

As a good wine paired to every dish, we tried the Prosecco Brut Treviso Agr. Venegazzù Veneto (PhP 380/glass, PhP 2800/bottle) (second from the left on the picture below) which brought out the fruity taste of tomatoes and the inherent sweetness of the cheese, framing up the integrity and quality of the other ingredients overall. It was zesty and enjoyable, party in the mouth! 🙂

Price for Value: ★★☆☆☆

So far, at Caruso Ristorante Italiano, price for value does not quite deserve a standing ovation. Classic Italian fare served with flair and care is what you’ll find here, so it’s probably best to consider it a distinguished night out and you won’t be mad. In any case, if you’re a seriously loved-up fan of Italian food or celebrating a special occasion, it’s okay to indulge without minding the high prices, as food tastes and ambiance surely won’t make you feel disappointed.

Bon appétit! 🙂

210 Nicanor Garcia Street, Bel-Air, Makati City
For inquiries/reservations, call (02) 8952451 or +63 9175812832
Date Published: 08/13/2015
16 / 20 stars

Operating Hours:
Lunch 11:30AM-2:30PM
Dinner: 6:00PM-11:00PM

Upcoming Event:

Caruso will be hosting KIDSPIZZA Awards, a painting competition for children under 11 years old, starting from September 13, 2015 until November 29, 2015.

A. 11:00AM to 3:00PM – Lunch at Caruso with Pizza Shape of Winnie the Pooh and other animals like the cat, fish, duck, etc. or their usual pizza and menu.
B. Children who will participate in the competition have to give their three paintings made at home to the judge representing Galeria Astra.
C. The painting will be submitted to three famous judge-painters. The declaration of winners will be on November 29, 2015 in Galeria Astra with special concert of children and famous testimonials.

As prizes, winners will receive the following respectively:

1st: PhP 10,000 + bonus for Hong Kong Disneyland with airplane ticket for three + one night in Disneyland Hotel
2nd: PhP 7,000 + 3 tickets to KidZania
3rd: PhP 5,000 + 2 tickets to KidZania
4th: PhP 5,000 + 2 tickets to KidZania

Free gifts will be given to all participants of the competition. 🙂

About 

Digital marketing strategist. Health and technology freak. Food and lifestyle blogger with a large appetite for food and travel.

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48 Responses

  1. Mr_jeng

    Dude the panna cotta is really good right??? That’s pretty awesome!!! I like how they really love te arts… The last time i was there they sponsored and hosted an art contest for semi professional guys… Hmmm pizza and pasta hmmmm

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yes, their panna cotta was really executed well. If I were to recommend only one item on Caruso’s menu, it would be that small piece of GOODNESS! 😀 Yeah, this place pretty much has both food and art covered. They will be hosting another art contest this time for kids. Pizza + pasta = love. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Kita

    Shrimp looks glorious. I don’t think you will be able to take me on trips I would need someone to carry me out after visiting all of these food places. I am not a fan of the extra bread though in the beginning of meals…why do they do that to me and tempt me lol

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Food tripping and trying out restaurants you never have thought of visiting are two of the things that I enjoy most doing in the weekends. I like the complimentary set of bread given out as appetizer because this gives me more patience to wait for the food we ordered. The best part about it is that it’s free. 😛

      Reply
  3. Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle

    What an amazing place! I’ve got to get to the Philippines just to try all of the wonderful restaurants you showcase. I had absolutely no idea that the Philippines had such a huge variety of gourmet and fast food dining or that it was all so fantastic looking.

    Reply
  4. Nancy

    Oh how snazzy does THAT Italian restaurant look. I love that it still looks traditional but with a rustic flare to it. And looks as though you were served some of my favourite appetizers: Focaccia bread. Ugh, mouth watering am I right? Your pizza looked AMAZING too.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      If you order the homemade items, you won’t go wrong…homemade pastas, pizza, and sauces. But certainly, the piece de resistance here are the desserts – especially the panna cotta. The wine was good, too! 🙂

      Reply
  5. ashley

    This place looks fantastic for a date night! All of the food looks absolutely delicious, especially that tiramisu! YUM! The atmosphere and decor looks perfect, too.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      It’s all about the specials at this warm, classy Italian restaurant abetted by elegant service and a deep wine list. Sure, the tabs are expensive, but most agree it’s the total package for that special evening.

      Reply
  6. Orly Ballesteros

    Delizioso and fantastico, this is all I can say about what Caruso Ristorante is all about. I can’t wait to have a bite with their Margherita Pizza .

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      That’s a good choice to share with a group. Be prepared to be thrilled with refined surroundings tended by staff that’s gracious and on-cue. Remember to just dress pretty and bring your bank manager since they’re not shy with the pricing. 😛

      Reply
  7. Nicci

    Everything looks so yummy! Especially the desserts. You wrote a wonderfully detailed review. It felt very professional and trustworthy. Keep up the great work!

    Reply
  8. Jelo Pal

    Elegant serving and interesting place to dine it. Best romantic place for dating and cool idea for every possible occasion!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      High standards are a given and you won’t be set down by swoon-worthy Italian food here. Their meals are made for celebrating something special indeed. While prices are a splurge, its upscale clientele has no complaints.

      Reply
  9. Anne V

    Looks elegant and kinda stuffy, but that’s fine dining for you haha. I’m a sucker for seafood, pizza and pasta, looks like they offer a sumptuous selection of my fave choices. Would love to sample the Panna Cotta though. 🙂

    Reply
  10. Tammileetips

    All of this sounds like such an amazing restaurant to get to eat at. I think I could devour all of the desserts. The Tiramisu would be the one I really want to try, looks amazing!

    Reply
  11. Tess

    Those are mouthwatering desserts. Panna cotta is one of my favorite dessert. If I am not familiar with the menu or like you said a first timer, I ask the waiter for recommendation.

    Reply
  12. Ourfamilyworld

    What a nice restaurant. All the food you featured, from the salad to the dessert, looks so delicious. We love Italian food and we would love to try all these foods, especially the Margherita with Mozzarella Bufala and the Tiramisu.

    Reply
  13. amz88

    WOW! This looks like a very authentic italian place to eat, would love to go if i’ll visit the philippines.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      In a sea of neighborhood pizza joints here in the metro, Caruso is a cut above them, producing remarkable Italian food. High prices can be more reason for you to be pleasantly eager to try the food and see if it’s worth every cent.

      Reply
  14. Sage @ Sage & Simple

    I love the decor of this place! And those pizzas look delicious! I grew up in the New York area where amazing pizza was a given, now I live in Denmark where pizza places and kebab places are one in the same and the pizza is barely edible.

    Reply
  15. Karen

    The resto looks elegant and the food looks so tummy-yummy. Margherita Pizza, La Risacca Salad and the Panna Cotta are my favorites.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Absolutely. Caruso Ristorante Italiano is also a place for fans of music and art. The building where it’s housed has plenty of stores displaying and selling unique furniture pieces and some quirky designs.

      Reply
  16. Leslie

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE Italian food. It’s my second favorite after Mexican Food. The dishes look really delicious! The pizza looks perfect and the panna cotta (which I’ve never had) are making me so hungry right now.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      OMG you should try the panna cotta and you’ll not regret every bite of it. 🙂 You can even skip the salad and appetizers and just go straight to desserts if you’re in the mood!

      Reply
  17. Mark

    The food looks very delicious. Though I never tried italian food but by just looking at this pictures makes me one want to try one. The place looks great too.

    Reply
  18. Chantal

    I love all of your restaurant reviews, you always have something awesome to share and this post is no different!The pizza looks AMAZING, as does the rest of the food!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Thanks, Chantal! I appreciate your kind comment. 🙂 Despite the high prices, this enterprise is a must for anyone who likes to eat. Dine in here with your special someone and have a great dining experience! 🙂

      Reply
  19. Britni

    This looks like a beautiful restaurant. I can absolutely see me and my husband going here for a great date night! Plus all of the food looks incredible. I love Italian food so this is perfect for me!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      I suggest you book for a reservation to have a table reserved. 🙂 Hope you have a great experience at Caruso! Don’t forget to end the meal with wine. Cheers!

      Reply
  20. apple

    Roch,

    I do food blogs too once in a while because my love for food doesnt stop at eating out but by cooking them too.

    The place looks high end and the food seems as delightful as you’ve described it. When in Manila, we will try to come and check this recommendation. Great job!

    Apple

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Actually, it’s when in Makati. 😛 Finding an easily accessible restaurant that offers a true fine dining Italian experience at the heart of Makati business center is hard. Caruso is a much needed addition to the metro’s culinary scene. Come try their food here soon.

      Reply

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