Grande Torino is a new casual dining restaurant in Kapitolyo, Pasig offering Italian cuisine. Grande Torino takes pride in using high quality Italian ingredients, cooked the Italian way, and made affordable so that every Filipino family can enjoy a genuine Italian dining experience.
MORE: Best Restaurants in Kapitolyo 2014
Filipinos and Italians share the same dining culture that is centered in the family. Like Filipinos, Italians like to eat at home. Dinner time is mostly spent with the members of the family. And like us, they also love to dine out with friends and family.
Grande Torino offers a dining place suitable for families and friends. The use of wood on the wall, warm lights and dark furniture gives a cozy atmosphere ideal for casual dining and encourages conversation over great Italian food and coffee. Italian music from the owners' personal play list is also playing at the background to complete the Italian dining experience. The cabin-like atmosphere inside the restaurant transports you to the northern Italian city of Turin, the city where the name of the restaurant got its name, Torino is the Italian word for Turin.
During our visit, we chanced upon the owners has a quick chat with them about their restaurant. The owners, and Italian-Filipina couple, are very hands-on when it comes to managing the restaurant. The husband is mostly in charge of the bar and the kitchen, while the wife is in charge of preparing espresso beverages and interacting with guests. According to the owners, majority of the ingredients they use, including the pasta, cheeses, herbs, spices, sauce bases, sausages, even flour are imported from Italy. This is the only way they can ensure the authenticity of the taste of their dishes. Of course, some ingredients has to be locally sources, especially the fresh ingredients like vegetables and meat.
I also got the chance to brush up my Italian (yes I speak some Italian which I learned for two years in college). The owners walked us through their menu explaining each and every section of it. I noticed that some of the items on the menu sounded Italian, but aren't really Italian, as I know it. The owners confirmed that some of the menu items are written in Piedmontese, the language spoken in Turin in the northern Italian region of Piedmont. It's the Italian region that is closest to France so a lot of French influences made it into the language and cuisine of Turin.
And so we started with pizza and we chose the Margherita (P325.00). No other pizza can be more Italian than the Margherita as it bears the three colors of the Italian flag. The green comes from the basil leaves, red comes from the tomatoes, and white from the mozzarella cheese. It is also a very basic pizza, and we always assess how good a pizzeria's or ristorante's pizzas are by testing their Margherita.
Grande Torino makes Romana-style pizzas that are typically thin and crisp. The pizza dough is made of wheat flour from Italy. They use high quality tomatoes that remain compact after baking. The mozzarella is melted evenly while the basil has a vibrant dark green color that isn't burnt. The pizza has fragrant aroma and by tradition, it should be consumed right after it comes out of the oven. You could really taste the high quality mozzarella used in the pizza, it has a deep and rich flavor, savory to a certain extent. The tomatoes has the right balance of acidity and a very mild sweet aftertaste. The crust has a light crisp but is moist and tender to the bite. The outer crust has a golden finish and is crispier.
After the pizza, we also tried some of their pasta dishes. Deciding what you'll have starts with the selection of your prefered pasta. Choices include spaghetti, bucatini, linguine, penne rigate, fusilli and farfalle. Next, you have to choose the pasta sauce which can be tomato, oil or cream based. above are the choices as seen from their menu.
Edgar chose the Spaghetti all'Amatriciana (P290.00). Edgar wanted a meaty tomato based pasta and the owners recommended the all'Amatriciana. Main ingredients of the sauce, as stated on the menu, are tomatoes, guanciale, chili, pecorino and white wine. It's the pride of the Italian region of Lazio from where the recipe originated. The sauce gets its distinct flavor from the guanciale, said the owners. It's a type of bacon they said. But upon further research, we learned from Wikipedia that guanciale is basically cured pork cheeks. The spices used in the curing process are infused into the sauce, resulting to a flavorful, aromatic and rich tomato based pasta sauce. Edgar loved it and so did I!
|Fusilli alle Vongole|
I on the other hand wanted a seafood pasta, and I instantly spotted on the menu alle Vongole. The Fusilli alle Vongole (P250.00). Talking about vongole, I remember this funny story back in college when were discussing about cucina italiana (Italian cuisine) in one of our Italian classes. Our lady professor from Italy has a list of some of the most common ingredients used in cooking pasta, one of which is vongole. Vongola (plural: vongole) is the Italian word for clam. And so the professor asked one of our classmates, "Che cosa sono le vongole?" asking her to describe what vongole are. Everyone was expecting an explanation in Italian, she simply replied halaan. It was so funny especially when we saw the facial expression of la professoressa being clueless what halaan is. And so we explained that halaan is the translation of vongole in Tagalog. For our friends in Visayas and Mindanao, vongole are called imbao in Cebuano.
|Fusilli alle Vongole|
If you are looking for a quick snack or sandwich for lunch, you can try their Panini or grilled sandwiches. We recommend the Panini Pordoi (P325.00) which uses Italian speck or a type of prosciutto/Italian ham with a smokey taste, and gorgonzola or Italian blue cheese. While the bread is made locally, the speck and gorgonzola are all from Italy. The Italian ham and blue cheese really made a good combination. The serving size is also big enough to make one person full. We had this panini sliced into two so Edgar and I can share it.
Lastly, we had Tiramisu (P190.00) for dessert. Grande Torino makes traditional tiramisu made of ladyfingers dipped in Italian coffee and flavored with authentic mascarpone cheese from Italy, and topped with high quality cocoa powder. It's a piece of Italy in every bite of this dessert. You can taste the stark flavor of the coffee and the creamy mascarpone that envelopes your palate. What a way to end our Italian lunch!
Grande Torino is absolutely one of the best Italian restaurants in Metro Manila we ever dined in. It's not the commercial type of Italian restaurants you see in malls, and that is exactly how the owners want to position their restaurant. What is also notable is the affordability of their dishes. They really made authentic Italian dining really affordable for Filipino families. A true value-for-money Italian dining in Kapitolyo. Here is their complete menu:
59 West Capitol Drive
Kapitolyo, 1608 Pasig City
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, 10:00am to 12:00mn
Contact Number: 09184363796
How to Get to Grande Torino in Kapitolyo, Pasig
From Pasig & C5: Follow the green line on the map. From C5 northbound, take the Bagong Ilog exit and make a u-turn under the flyover. On C5 southbound, take Bagong Ilog service road, make a right turn to Pasig Blvd. Turn left onto Shaw Blvd and drive until you reach the Kapitolyo Oval. Enter Kapitolyo gate beside Petron gas station. Go straight along West Capitol Drive (don't turn left to East Capitol Drive) and cross the intersection. Grande Torino is on the left side of the road at the corner of Stella Maris Street. There are plenty of parking spaces along West Capitol Drive.
From Makati, EDSA & Boni: Follow the red line on the map. From EDSA northbound there are two possible ways. First you can turn right to Pioneer Street. If you are coming from Boni, just cross the EDSA-Boni underpass onto Pioneer street. Drive straight until you reach United Street. Turn right onto United Street to enter Kapitolyo and turn right onto West Capitol Drive. Alternatively, you can turn right at United Street where EDSA Central and Greenfield are located. This is the street before you reach Shaw Blvd. From United Street drive straight and cross Pioneer Street to enter Kapitolyo. Finally, turn right onto West Capitol Drive and follow the green line. Grande Torino is on the left side of the road at the corner of Stella Maris Street. There are plenty of parking spaces along West Capitol Drive.
From Mandaluyong, San Juan & Shaw Blvd: Follow the blue line on the map. From Shaw Blvd, take the service road and cross EDSA, then turn right onto EDSA Central Road. Then turn left onto United Street.. Alternatively, you can take the EDSA-Shaw flyover and turn right onto Sheridan Street, then turn left onto United Street. From Shaw Blvd, you can also turn right onto Pioneer Street then left onto United Street. From United Street, just follow the red line until you reach West Capitol Drive. Turn right to West Capitol Drive and follow the green line. Grande Torino is on the left side of the road at the corner of Stella Maris Street. There are plenty of parking spaces along West Capitol Drive.
From Quezon City, Greenhills, Ortigas Avenue & EDSA Southbound: Follow the orange line on the map. If you are coming from Greenhills, cross EDSA going to Ortigas Center. If you are coming from QC take the EDSA-Rosario flyover, turning left to Origas Avenue. From Ortigas Avenue, turn right to ADB Avenue. Continue driving until San Miguel Avenue. Drive until you reach Shaw Blvd. At Shaw Blvd, you can either go straight to Sheridan Street (blue line) then turn left to United Street (red line). From United Street, drive straight until West Capitol Drive. Turn right to West Capitol Drive and follow the green line. Grande Torino is on the left side of the road at the corner of Stella Maris Street. There are plenty of parking spaces along West Capitol Drive.
From Cainta & Ortigas Avenue Extesion: Follow the yellow line on the map. From Ortigas Avenue, turn left to Meralco Avenue and continue driving until your reach Shaw Blvd. It's not allowed to turn left to Shaw Blvd, so you will have to turn right and then turn left to Pioneer Street (blue line). On Pioneer Street, turn left onto United Street (red line) and continue driving until West Capitol Drive. Turn right onto West Capitol drive and follow the green line. Grande Torino is on the left side of the road at the corner of Stella Maris Street. There are plenty of parking spaces along West Capitol Drive.
Disclaimer: Grande Torino gave us complimentary pizza and coffee. The rest of the dishes featured in this article are paid for by pinasmuna.com. Opinion on their food are ours and are based on personal taste.