My college friends and I had a mini reunion on March 9, 2014 for the opening of our time capsule. This time capsule was sealed five years ago in our last retreat program (LASARET) held in our final term as students of DLSU. It contained our letters to our future selves and to God and also our creative white paper of commitment as Lasallian achievers for God and country. It wasn’t as exciting for me because I still remembered what I had written. In contrast, my other friends had completely forgotten the messages they wrote. It was funny that some did not recognize their own handwriting!
The person who kept the time capsule for five years was Johann who’s now permanently residing in General Santos in Mindanao. Can you believe he flew back to Manila just for this activity? Hahaha. Anyway, we had a nice dinner at Conti’s Bakeshop and Restaurant, Robinsons Magnolia and also a good catch-up.
Since most of us had not tried dining here before, we all agreed to dining at Conti’s following Louie’s suggestion. I thought this joint only serves cakes and pastries, so I was a bit surprised that their menu as well comes with an array of culinary treasures served as a la carte dishes. To sum up quickly, Conti’s has “satisfied the most important of appetite”…ours! 😛 Read on for the review.
Review of Conti’s (Robinsons Magnolia, Quezon City)
Conti’s Bakeshop and Restaurant literally has two sides: a bakeshop and a restaurant. Interior design was clean and consistent both from the outside and inside. On the bakeshop stood refrigerators, which contain their cakes, and shelves where bread, pies and other pastries are displayed. The restaurant side looked like a classy lodge where lights on the ceiling and on the sides did a good job at illuminating the area.
With blue accents that complemented with beige and wood tones, the ambiance felt like a typical scene from a movie. My only concern is that some tables and chairs were put so closely together that some seated customers need to stand up to make way for others who want to pass between the spaces. (You can’t see that from the picture because I’m referring to the side in far-right near the POS.)
It was around 7-7:30PM when we came in. Conti’s was full house and we had to wait outside in queue until our names were called. Waiting time was almost half an hour, so booking a reservation here as early as possible is very much recommended. Once we were seated, the staff took our orders quickly but served food slowly. After almost an hour of waiting, we had to call the waitresses to follow up on food.
If we were in a game like “Diner Dash,” “Burger Rush,” “Pizza Frenzy” or “Betty’s Beer” which tests the staff’s ability to serve customers very fast, the game would have been over in like five minutes. The place was so busy at the peak of dinnertime, so maybe Conti’s can hire more employees to take care of customers or streamline their processes without compromising the quality of food.
Louie and I shared two dishes. One was Conti’s Baked Salmon (Php 360) which consisted of Norwegian pink salmon baked with a delicious topping and served with buttered vegetables and rice with almonds. (Sorry, I forgot to take an “autopsy shot” – picture of the salmon’s pinkish flesh.)
This is one of the food I would choose to eat every day for a year, if I was asked for only one choice. Definitely, the baked salmon tasted fresh and succulent, the best baked salmon I’ve had in my life! I may either have to kidnap the cook of Conti’s and make him my kitchen-slave, or go straight to this den for my fix every time I feel like it.
The other dish we split into half (in terms of portion) was Conti’s Chicken ala Kiev (PHp 240). I love the usual comfort food with an added twist. This Chicken ala Kiev was made with breaded dried fried boneless chicken filled with cheese and herbs topped with creamy sauce and served with buttered vegetables and garlic rice.
When I first wrapped my lips around the herbs and cheese inside the chicken, I knew I was hooked. Sure, the plating looked plain but the entire dish well deserves a good chance to get the world to take notice. It was lovely!
I didn’t bother to taste all food the rest of my friends got, as I was relishing ours. But then, Johann and G offered and it was hard not to accept the taste test even for a small smack. 🙂
Johann ordered Linguine in Pesto Sauce (PHp 215)—rich green basil sauce served on delicious linguine. It didn’t have toppings and those little shrimps and squid which did not much contribute to the flavor, but the pesto alone was appealing and the sauce was evenly distributed. I thought adding pine nuts will add a more interesting texture to each mouthful.
Gianne had Chicken Pastel (Php 200) which was a lot like chicken ala king. It was made with chicken chunks, carrots and potatoes with mushroom sauce eaten with flaky crust and served with garlic rice. The mushroom sauce was creamy and fragrant. A taste of its crust made me recall the crust of baked chicken pie my aunt used to order from Uno Seafood Wharf in Escolta, Manila. The flakes shattered slightly on the tooth, giving way to fluffy-yet-dense satisfyingly chewy interior of chicken and button mushrooms.
Price for Value: ★★★★☆
It’s been some years since Conti’s first opened, and it’s still around. This means that they must be doing something right. The dishes were really good with reasonable prices to match.
The restaurant was cozy and it provided an authentic experience. The only thing that suffered some hiccups was service. So I repeat, if you’re planning to dine in at Conti’s, Robinsons Magnolia, book a table right away. In another case, if you’re waiting in line for a ready table, it’s good to order food so you’d get it sooner after getting in.