Mangiamo is Italian for “let’s eat”, which is so close to the Kapampangan’s, mangantamo, or the Iloko’s mangantayon.
This is the name of the newest Italian restaurant in town, Mangiamo Ristorante and Pizzeria at the Giraffe Boutique Hotel along Arellano St. near The Mansion.
Manager Richard Caragdag said they are the only pizzeria with some 23 kinds of pizzas divided into uno, due, tre, or one, two, three selections that are definitely made with authentic imported Italian ingredients and made by an Italian chef.
Sampling the Mangiamo, the specialty of the house, this pizza was brick oven baked, so it seemed with freshly made pizza dough. Unlike the others, this had a thin, soft crust that puffed on the edges.
This was basted with what looked like chunky dried tomato sauce, spread with scrambled egg, ham, mozarella, truffle oil, and sprinkled with ground pepper, then topped with asparagus and parmigiano reggiano.
This is an unusual treat, as it does not conform with other pizzas that you will encounter because the asparagus is not a regular item to one. The crust is almost invisible when you bite into it and savor the mixed flavors of the ham and truffle oil. The scrambled egg is unusual too. Topped with Tabasco sauce, the spicy tang blends well with the savory mix.
Spaghetti al cartoccio was a surprise inside a swan shaped foil presented with the tongs that formed the wings.
Caragdag said this was twice cooked to enhance the seafood flavors with the spaghetti noodles. Doing the honors of cutting through the back of the swan, the innards revealed the lightly sauteed shrimps, mussels, and squid in tomato sauce and fresh market tomatoes.
He said that they used the ordinary market tomatoes to temper the pungent scent of seafood and enhance the sweetness of the fresh catch. He personally does the purchase of these goods, he says. The olive oil adds flavor to this great pasta dish.
Spaghetti carbonara was a wonderful change to the familiar fare in most eating places. This is egg based and not creamy, according to Caragdag.
Indeed, the simple sauce with crispy fried Italian thick bacon was heaven. This is actually a sausage of sorts that is fried. The bacon was the salt with the parmesan topping for the egg yolk that made the sauce of the noodles.
Undeniably, the taste of yolk from a soft boiled egg is what comes across. Freshly crushed pepper corns made this meal excellent.
As appetizer to this feast, we got French bread and a dip of olive oil and balsamic vinegar while we waited. Caragdag allowed us to try the free coffee that taxi drivers or passersby and diners could have for free. He said this was their hospitable way of sharing as they support the coffee farmers of Benguet by purchasing local coffee beans. The twist in their coffee is the cinnamon powder that they brew with it with. Indeed, the coffee was a pleasant mix of flavors with a tinge of cinnamon.
Our unanimous favorite was the homemade gelato or vanilla ice cream placed in layers of dark chocolate drizzled with dark fudge and topped with crunchy toasted coffee beans.
I am unsure if cayenne was used to spice up this dessert that is another Mangiamo special. The mix of textures is an experience as that you relish. Coffee beans crunched like peanuts with the creamy ice cream and chocolate syrup with bitter sheets of dark chocolate. Caragdag said that this is sold in tubs for those who want to enjoy it at home.
This filling lunch treat was truly Italian. To warn the Filipino taste buds, desserts are sweet but the food is not.
Simply savor the flavors of the meats and condiments that are European. Mangiamo!