ARIA CUCINA ITALIANA
Bonifacio High Street Central
(Note: Click on the photos to enlarge, if you must!)
I often hear that Aria is one of the best dining hubs in Boracay. However, I haven’t eaten here during two times I’ve been to the island. First, because I knew it was quite expensive and second, because I don’t really associate “fine eating” with the beach life.
And so Aria has already opened its second branch in Manila at the Bonifacio High Street Central. I knew I had to swing by soon enough to taste the food here for myself. It was a Sunday when I finally did and it was a day to take advantage of this “parent meals” resto — meaning pricier-than-norm restaurants that are better off visited with parents!
Risotto allo scoglio, Php 650
Seafood risotto. I’m a big lover of all kinds risotto, and because my dad is big on seafood, we got this. I loved that it had lots of seafood bits because it gave it a stronger aftertaste that lingered on my tongue. The rice was flavored with tomato and cooked just before it got too mush, giving it better texture. It was good overall but it lacked that punch. This was a subtle, safe but not an exciting risotto. (I couldn’t help but compare it to my all-time favorite seafood risotto at Amici, oozing with flavors.)
Fettina di manzo alla puttanesca, Php 540
Puttanesca means pasta in my head, but no this wasn’t pasta. This was beef tenderloin cooked in olive oil, garlic and sage. Indeed, it was very tender and soft making it easy to chew. You can taste the natural flavors of the ingredients with every bite. It was good but I dare say again that I wasn’t impressed. I couldn’t help but imagine that it was something that could simply be cooked in some homes because it didn’t need much flair.
Lapu Lapu in Aqua Pazza, 620
This one was more exquisite compared to the other two. It was a soup that I enjoyed as I ate more of it. I was surprised to taste a hint of spiciness that added character to it. The soup was also filled with lots of meat. It was cooked with white wine and cherry tomato sauce.
Capricciosa pizza, Php 580
Really, really good. If the others didn’t catch my fancy, this one was definitely the star of the show. After all, Aria is better known for its pizzas. Made with cherry tomatoes, artichokes, farmers ham, mushrooms, kalamata olives and mozzarella. Every bite was a burst of wonderful flavors in my mouth. So rich but no one element being obnoxious and distracting the others. This rarely happens I tell you, but my dad actually wanted the last piece and that says a lot (him being not at all a pizza fan).
If the basis for the meal was the pizza alone, Aria meets my expectations with flying colors. However, the others that we ordered were a bit short on spectacular. For the price that we paid, I think they could have done a better job at creating distinct flavors and at plating. The meals could have looked more visually appealing and better “decorated.” I don’t think I’ll be coming back anytime soon, but if I do, you bet I’ll be focusing on those pizzas — lots of kinds to choose from and of which I’m more assured to be dee-licious!
Location: Upper Ground Level, East Superblock, Bonifacio High Street Central
7th Ave. corner 29th St., Bonifacio Global City