I’d be lying if I told you I don’t miss the old Amici – the wonderfully chaotic self-service canteen in the not-so-fancy area of Makati that offered authentic and freshly-made Italian dishes. Walking into Amici di Don Bosco was like being invited by a friend at his home and served with a delightful home cooked meal. I remember that my very first visit back in 2004 made me feel that this restaurant was named so because it provided a warm and relaxed space for friends and family to enjoy Italian cuisine.
However, the turo-turo feel of the old Amici vanished when it was bought out in 2007. The new management decided that it was time to say goodbye to the self-service feature. It’s bittersweet – it has become commercialized.
While the new owner had introduced major changes – a brighter, orderly, more updated and modern space; efficient and well-trained wait staff; and a broader menu – it made sure that the food remained true to its Italian origins.
Needless to say, I’m just happy that I can still enjoy authentic Italian food. My go to dish at Amici is Spaghetti Ai Tesori del Mare – a mildly spicy feast of spaghetti tossed in fresh tomatoes, scallops, clams, mussels and chili oil. Believe it or not, I visit Amici at least once a week to get a fix of this delicious dish. Waiters would ask me, “Sir, Tesori?” whenever I step into the restaurant. It actually feels like walking into Starbucks and getting my usual coffee.
The only problem I have with Amici is the lack of consistency. The food may look and taste different depending on the cook who prepares it. I can actually tell when my pasta was made by someone other than my favorite cook.
When I’m with friends and family, I’d normally order soup and salad. Minestrone Soup is the best but they stopped selling it some years back. Mushroom Truffle Soup is a good replacement though. They have some good salads, too. I highly recommend their Blue Cheese and Pear Salad.
Then there are the thin-crust, slightly burnt at the edges pizzas that they are also known for. Tutta Carne is Amici’s all-time favorite but my personal favorite is Al Quattro Formaggi – a flavorful combination of mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan and blue cheese.
One should never leave Amici without getting a scoop of gelato. My favorites are Sans Rival and Mango Berry Medley. And by the way, their gelato cakes are also worth a try.
Don’t forget to drop by Amici for their anniversary promotion on July 27 & 28.
Arnaiz Ave. corner Chino Roces Ave.
San Lorenzo, Makati City