Sure you’ve heard of rice in a box but how about having pasta in a box?
After scouring Manila in search of the city’s best albeit little known dining spots, I ended up following a hungry pack of yuppies to a small hole-in-the-wall establishment tucked within Fort Bonifacio Global City.
Opened in 2009, Pasta Roni is one of the newest dining places in the area that offers guilt-free Italian cooking. Made with 100% durum wheat, a cup of pasta here contains 200 calories, 40 grams carbohydrates, less than a gram of fat and no cholesterol. I repeat: no cholesterol. Each heap is served in eco-friendly biodegradable boxes wrapped in paper bags. They even use biodegradable cups and starch-ware cutlery.
And the price will surely give nearby fast food restaurants a run for their money. An order of Spaghetti for one, in basic Pomodoro goes for P89. And the serving is enough to fill one really hungry tummy. Unlike fast-food spaghetti sauce, Pasta Roni’s pomodoro tastes and smells like true home-made red sauce. You can really taste the freshly crushed tomatoes and herbs lacing every strand of al dente durum wheat pasta.
Those with more adventurous palates can try another best-seller—Pasta Roni’s Sausage Arrabiata (P179). This item is basically penne pasta in chili pomodoro topped with grilled Italian hot sausage. And when I say hot sausage I do mean hot. If you’re one of the many audacious diners this meal will surely add sizzle to your lunch or dinner.
Their menu offers over 20 pasta dishes in pomodoro, olive oil or white sauce made with reduced fat cream. Pasta served in white sauce among others include fettuccine carbonara (lean smoked bacon and parmesan cheese), wild mushroom fusilli (mixed with mushroom), and salmon linguine (smoked salmon and spinach).
Those who prefer to have it simply with olive oil can order the basic Spaghetti aglio olio (P109) (garlic, mushroom, Italan herbs), nutty pesto linguini (almond, walnut, pecan nuts, basil pesto), Spicy tuna spaghetti (P179) (tuna, olives, capers, sun-dried tomatoes) or the Shrimp fra diavolo linguine (P239) (tiger prawns in chili garlic olive oil).
Pasta Roni’s house specialty on the other hand includes Fusilli in pesto cream sauce served with Fish Milano (P239), Fettuccine with Chicken Marsala (P229) and the drool inducing Four cheese ravioli (P239) (asiago, ricotta, parmesan, fontina) in creamy pomodoro, among others.
We all know that Filipinos cannot live without rice hence they’ve included a few rice meals that goes from P99 pesos (like the Italian meatloaf) up to P149 (for the beef scallopine in red pepper sauce). All rice meals here are served with either saffron or brown rice.
And if the pasta or rice meal wasn’t enough to satisfy your kind of hunger, you can order an extra gourmet sandwich served in multi-grain bread. Hot sandwiches include chicken, grilled tuna and fish while cold ones like the salami and pastrami are served with the famous gruyere cheese.
The place itself offers a no frills dining experience for diners looking for healthy Italian cooking. The humble establishment is nestled between restaurants within the Bonifacio Stopover. The latter is a corner spot in front of the new St. Lukes Hospital marked by a Shell gasoline station. The bright lighting and colorful walls make it so easy to spot specially at night. The interiors albeit small is reminiscent of a typical trattoria in Italy with wine bottles lining the walls.
I personally like coming here at night and dining outside where most tables are arranged. The view of the Fort’s skyscrapers provide the perfect backdrop for a casual Italian diner. At night you’d often find yuppies here from nearby offices having a quick bite before heading home. The place also is a refuge for residents living in nearby condos looking for an affordable and fast dinner sans the hassle.
But if you’re too tired to head on out to the stopover, you can stay in and just order. Pasta Roni also delivers and they have recently made party packs available. Good for approximately 8 to 10 persons, the package goes for P490 for the spaghetti pomodoro, P650 for the spaghetti Bolognese and P870 for the nutty pesto linguine. Perfect for dinner parties that shouldn’t burn a hole in your pocket.
The best thing above all is that the place is open almost every day. They’re ready to serve pasta from Monday to Friday from 7 am – 11 pm and Saturday from 10 am to 10 pm.
So next time that pasta craving hits you and you find but a few hundred pesos in your wallet , you know where to go.