Who wouldn’t miss the Mediterranean? The serene crystal clear water, the slow paced dolce vita as sweet as that scoop of gelato gently melting under the subtle heat of the sun. The ancient structures densely rich in history and above all else—the food.
But who on Earth would want to go through the stress inducing airport checks, spend thousands on plane or cruise tickets and hotels just to have a taste of true Mediterranean cuisine?
Thank God for places like Sophia Mediterranean Deli’s in Alabang. Now all you have to do is drive South of Manila to experience a truly Mediterranean gustatory tour.
Located within the Westgate center a few meters away from Ayala Alabang Village, Sophia’s Mediterranean Deli, is almost like a portal back to the Mediterranean region.
The place itself is reminiscent of a typical French cum Italian cum Spanish cum Greek home with low ceilings, brightly lit dining areas , and semi-rustic furniture. Walls are adorned by paintings depicting scenes and elements of Mediterranean lifestyle.
A small bar sits on a corner within the first floor which is almost always full of diners at night. A second floor with the same theme is accessible via a staircase on the right side lined with Spanish inspired metal railings.
The smell of Mediterranean herbs and spices will welcome your nostrils and whet your appetite as you step inside the restaurant. If you close your eyes, you can almost imagine yourself as a guest in some Greek or Italian home waiting for your host to serve the food that has been carefully and lovingly prepared for you. Only here you’d have to pay afterwards of course.
The menu features a number of dishes from every part of the Mediterranean region and specialties that you should never miss. Pastas include Penne Granchio (P325 - Single, P550 - Family) (crab meat in cream or tomato sauce), Penne Gorgonzola (P220 - Single, P395 - Family) (blue cheese cream sauce), and Moussaka (P325) (baked eggplant in tomato sauce), all served with garlic bread. You can order pastas in single servings or family that should approximately be enough for 4-5 people.
A definite must try though among the pastas is their ravioli. Fans of the green leafies can order Ravioli Verde (P295) (spinach in cream sauce) while meat lovers can have Ravioli Bolognese (P299) (ground beef in tomato sauce). But cheese monsters like myself should never ever miss my personal favorite—Ravioli Quattro Formaggio (P299)(four cheeses in tomato sauce). Served with either white or red sauce, these little pasta pockets are so delectable you’ll forget about your diet once you sink your teeth into the filling.
What has been making me come back here for more though I would have to say is their superb Osso Buco (P495 - Single, P900 - Family) — a little like the local caldereta and a bit similar to the Filipino mechado.
The dish’s tender beef with beef shank slowly cooked to perfection is drenched with the richly flavorful red sauce sprinkled with herbs and spices. Served with rice or mashed potatoes your visit here wouldn’t be complete without trying this best seller.
For me though the best way to enjoy Osso Buco is with a heapful serving of mashed potatoes served alongside vegetables. The thick flavorful sauce goes so well with the subtle flavors of the mashed potatoes –-the latter balancing out the former’s rather strong flavor.
Pizzas here are cooked the way it should be—toppings smothered with cheese sitting atop thin crust pizza. Pizza Arrabiatta (P425) for instance features a fine fusion of fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, salami and Italian sausage.
The menu also offers kebabs, gyros, a large selection of entrees including arni kleftiko (Greek lamb casserole), coq au vin classic French chicken dish), and grilled platter of seafood’s among others that you can order for P650 (single serving). They also offer a few Indian dishes and desserts like the classic Italian dessert: Panacotta (P175) and Baklava (P175) (filo pastry with walnuts and honey). You can also take your taste buds back to Italy and order a scoop of Gelato (P90 per scoop) after your meal.
Chef Mervyn Whitfield is the man behind Sophia’s. The Chef who has served the palates of many world famous people chose to bring his style of cooking to the Philippines when he settled here with his family in 1991.