Roughly two months ago, I read a blog entry about how Amici di Don Bosco has been bought by a private individual and is not run by the Don Bosco brothers anymore. This brought me and my friends great amounts of grief. We loved Amici and its happy cafeteria-style ambiance. We loved the delicious, reasonably priced food, and the people who’d joke with you as they took your orders. It was a happy lunch respite from work during busy days. We were quick to judge that it would soon turn into a soulless chain joint. Initial reports pointed to it being bought by a large locally owned fast food joint; later reports clarified that it was bought by the current owner as a private individual and not as a representative of said fast food.
Just last week, I decided to try eating at Amici again. Know what readers? Dispel your fears. Amici is just as good as the Amici di Don Bosco of old.
Of course, changes are inevitable. Allaying our fears though, the changes were more service rather than menu oriented. Operating hours are extended, from 10am to 10pm on weekdays, and 10am to 11pm on weekends. They’re even open on Sundays now. Parking at nearby Waltermart is now free for diners. An area that used to be dedicated to pasta was renovated to hold more seats. Still, prices are roughly the same, and the old order at the counter system is still in place. Plus, a lot of the old familiar faces are still there, manning the counters and serving dishes with cheery smiles.
Out of all the pasta dishes I’ve tried at Amici, my favorite has always been their Cannelloni Agli Spinaci (PhP165). A creamy medley of spinach, tomato sauce, bÃ©chamel, and an assortment of cheeses, this dish features rich, creamy flavors against the dense, yet tender bite of the spinach filling. It’s as good as I remember and remains my personal favorite. To accompany the cannelloni, they have a slice of baguette, dabbed with a bit of aromatic pesto.
Another bestseller of theirs (it has three thumbs ups on the menu) is the Pasta Montanara (PhP165). It has homemade spinach fusilli, Italian sausage, pepperoni and salami, and drizzled-on cheese. It tasted good, but honestly, I don’t remember much since the Cannelloni outshines everything for me.
When eating at Amici, it’s always best to bring friends along. Why? So you can have someone to split the pizza with! Crisp and ultra-thin, Amici Pizza (PhP250) is one of the texturally best pizzas you can get in the city. We ordered the Al Quattro Formaggi (Four Cheese) because I usually don’t like all sorts of stuff on my pizza. As expected, it was good. Even the meat loving boyfriend agreed that it tasted delicious despite the absence of meat. The occasional blue cheese bits added an interesting bite to the normal mozzarella-ey cheesiness.
We had one scoop each, all from the bravissimo line (PhP45). I didn’t even know they had distinctions when it came to their gelato, but it appears they do. Or maybe it’s one of the changes, that’s why I never noticed before? Some of the simpler flavors like cheese, chocolate marble and corn are classified classico (PhP40). These are the Chocolate with nuts, Sorbetto al Limone (Lemon Sorbet) and Pistachio. The chocolate with nuts and pistachio were predictably good. Since my companions were ordering old stand-bys, I decided to get a flavor I haven’t tried before, hence the lemony choice. Refreshing, lemony, and omgsourness! It’s good, yes, but honestly, I had a hard time finishing my one scoop. Mental note, next time, go with your instincts and get the Strawberry.
We ended up pleasantly full and very content. Regardless of who runs it now, Amici is still good, still satisfying, and is still the stuff happy days are made of.
Amici is located along Pasay Road, almost at the corner of Pasong Tamo in Makati. It’s between the Don Bosco Church and Merriam Webster.