I’ve actually eaten at La Grotta Cucina Italiana before but when they released discounted coupons through Groupon, we jumped on the chance to try it there again.
The first time we were there, we were impressed by the classy atmosphere and the delicious food and I kind of felt under dressed. The servers were in suits or just really neatly dressed and the food (and their prices!) was nothing to scoff at at all. So I actually made an effort to put on make up and look presentable, haha.
We made reservations for their evening shift on a Saturday night. We were there at 5:30pm, and we were the first customers. Maybe it was because we were the first people there and they have just opened, but the place smelled a bit like cleaning solution. That wasn’t really appetizing, but I guess that’s the bit of price you pay when you catch them unawares by coming early. Our table was ready right away and our waiter was quick to hand us menus so we could start selecting our food.
The coupon that we had was originally for four people which included one pasta, one pizza and four iced teas. For our pizza, we chose the best seller, Quattro Stagioni (regularly priced at P450) which contained herbs, salami, prosciutto, mushrooms and artichoke. Meanwhile, I chose their Linguine Alla Vongole (regularly priced at P380) for our pasta. I always order Pasta Vongole (pasta with clams cooked in white wine) when I see it on the menu and I hoped that they wouldn’t disappoint me.
While we waited, we were served bread with Pâté and butter with a dipping sauce composed of olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the side. We have learned from our last La Grotta trip and we barely touched the bread. If you eat the bread, you will become full and unable to fully appreciate what you ordered and besides, it’s added fat that you don’t need. Also, Italians don’t eat bread before they start a meal, and they don’t dip bread in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Our food arrived soon enough and it looked… yummy.
The pizza will be good enough for four people who don’t have big appetites as it was a 12-inch pizza cut into eight slices. It was easy enough to see why it’s considered the best-seller as who would say ‘no’ to prosciutto, salami and cheese? Add mushrooms, herbs and artichokes and you’ve got a winning combination. Plus the dough was cooked perfectly. Normally, I like my crust thin, but this crust was soft and chewy and when paired with the cheese it was absolute heaven.
Linguine Alla Vongole
My problem with the pasta dishes over at La Grotta is their serving size. I wish they were bigger because their pasta dishes are great and their Linguine Alla Vongole was just excellent. The clams were cooked just right, not rubbery when I try to chew and swallow which was always awful when it happened to clams. The flavor was rich without it being overwhelming and the pasta was al dente. If only the serving size was bigger! I guess their pasta dishes are only really good to fully feed one person but could be shared by two if they had pizza on the side like we did.
The last time we were at La Grotta, we were also treated to some entertainment. There was a trio of musicians who entertained the diners and took song requests when they went around the room. We were lucky that we were there on a Friday night since they performed on Friday and Saturday nights only. It was the same thing for us earlier tonight when we were there. There’s just something about having live music while you had dinner. They were also able to grant our song requests (“She” by Elvis Costello, “Words” by Bee Gees / Boyzone and “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley) and it was a good end to an enjoyable and delicious dinner.
So all in all, La Grotta Cucina Italiana is one of those Italian restaurants that you should visit, if you could. It’s a bit pricey, but it’s well worth it for the quality of the food and the ambiance, especially if you stay for a while and take the time to be serenaded by the musical trio they have on Friday and Saturday nights. Also, I would also like to commend the staff of La Grotta. They were oh so accommodating, especially when we asked them numerous times to take our pictures. They certainly gave service with a smile. 🙂
(La Grotta Cucina Italiana can be found at G/F Angelus Medical Bldg., 104 V.A. Rufino St., Legaspi Village, Makati City)