Al Dente — Welcome to Manila!


Al Dente (ahl DEHN-teh) “Firm to the bite.” Term referring to the proper degree of doneness for pasta or risotto, denoting that it should still be somewhat chewy, neither hard nor mushy.

Join me in welcoming Al Dente to Manila! If you have been to Iloilo, Al Dente is the first genuine Italian restaurant in Iloilo located at Sarabia Manor Convention Center along Gen. Luna street. This is Chef Pauline’s baby and you should read this article first before proceeding: Chef Pauline: Pauline Banusing’s culinary skills and enterprising spirit liven up Iloilo’s restaurant scene. She owns a number of restaurant in Iloilo including Citrus Global Bistro, Maki Japanese Restaurant, and Villa Regalla Seafood Restaurant in Villa Beach (head to head with Tatoy’s and Breakthrough). So, most likely if you are in Iloilo, Chef Pauline’s restaurants would have welcomed you to that lovely city. Now, it is our turn to give her a warm welcome to Manila 🙂

I love their pizza because of their famous biscuit-like pizza crust which makes it unique and interesting. The crust is sweet that blends very well with their right choices of toppings. I love the Formaggio which is their 5 cheese equivalent with ricotta, mozzarella, feta, blue cheese (I love this), and parmesan cheese. The pasta is very good as well and delivered to its promised of “al dente” cooking. Although my wife and I debated whether the Lasagna should also be cooked in al dente style or it should be softer. Pizza and pasta are their core items in the menu and if you venture in the salad and fish department, I should warn you that they are not fresh (yet — I do hope they improve on this).

The ambiance is like bistro style with both air conditioned area and al fresco dining places. I found it weird that it is located in the Silver Auto Mall area where you have a view of the parked cars in the background. The silver auto mall would also be the home of Forest Bistro, Baguio’s famous bistro place. This is one alternative place you can dine if you are in the Tiendesitas or SM Hypermarket, Ortigas. Or if you are like me, looking for a place to eat with ample parking slots, good food, and still relatively small crowd (I’m sure not for long).

Here is a snap shot of the al dente ambiance. My son loved the pizza crust biscuits 🙂 I’m glad that they have a baby/ booster seat which means that they would like to cater to families. And maybe a changing station is in the works.

Pizza biscuit crust as an appetizer. Here is the Al Dente menu:

appetizers, soup, and salad
pasta and panini
pizza and meats
chicken, seafood and dessert

Al Dente Chef’s Fresh Salad (P95+). Fresh Garden Salad with Italian Dressing

I have to disagree with the fresh description. Soggy is the more appropriate word.

Macadamia Crusted Seabass with Vegetable Lasagna (P275+). Fillet of seabass lightly crusted with macadamia nuts and served with baked vegetable lasagna.

My wife asked me, is this the one which was supposedly with macadamia nuts? We both agree that the seabass was not fresh. As for the lasagna, I liked it while my wife just gave it an OK thumbs up.

Pizza Assorted (P300+). Four Assorted toppings of:

1. Formaggio (P250+). Herbed flavored marinara sauce baked with melted italian cheeses — ricotta, mozzarella, feta, blue cheese and parmesan cheese. (My Favorite!)
2. Godfather’s (P280+). Lean bacon, pepperoni, italian sausage, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, olives and mozzarella cheese.
3. Pepperoni, Mushroom and Sausage Plaza (P250). Slices of pepperoni italian sausage, and mushrooms on top of tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.
4. Chicken Barbecue (P225+). Generous chicken strips with home made barbecue sauce, mozzarella cheese and onions.

Aidan loves the pizza biscuit crust. You should try this out, very unique!

Death by Chocolate (118+). This dessert was decent and delicious. It tasted like Polly’s and we were wondering if it was the same. When we asked, the owner said that they bake their own cakes.

Eat-like-no-one-is-watching Aidan shot.

We have one confession to make. Aidan blew out all the candles outside and this is his new hobby 🙂

Al Dente

Ground Floor, Silver City Auto Mall
(in front of Super SM Hypermarket, Ortigas)
Frontera Verde, Pasig City
+632 706-0870.


17 thoughts on “Al Dente — Welcome to Manila!

  1. hi anton, is this the same as the al dente restaurant that used to be in greenbelt makati circa… 1980ish??? = ) we used to eat there a lot, ’cause my family’s vegetarian (limited choices for vegs. that time)- but they closed that place down due to the whole greenbelt renovation. so this is good news ’cause my dad loves that place. thanks anton!

  2. Hi s_by. That also reminds me of those restos in greenbelt like flavors&spices and la primavera. Those were really great places to eat. I wonder why they never opened again…sigh…

  3. Great, great news! Al Dente is one of my must-visit restos in Iloilo. (Together with Peppy Thai, Breakthrough). They have a great (was it barbecue?) chicken pizza that I dream of every now and then. I hope the food in the branch here’s as good as those in Iloilo!

  4. Hi Anton, my family and I were in Iloilo last summer and we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of food at al dente’s. In fact, it became our default dining place during our visit. Nice to see that they have retained the very reasonable pricing. It’s a shame though that the seafood was not as fresh per your account because all the seafood dishes we had there were excellent. Hope they can fix this going forward. Early Christmas greetings to you and your family. Cheers!

  5. hi anton – as regards the first post, this isn’t the same al dente cafe in what is now park square. the old al dente was across the magnolia ice cream house in Quad and served mean pasta. 🙂 Merry merry Christmas to you all.

  6. hi anton!
    i know pauline personally she’s a friend of our family. she and my cousin both own maki. as for myself i have been eating in al dente since i could remember. i brought friends here from manila visiting iloilo to eat there and other famous restos. glad to see a kababayans business finally opening up here in manila. thanks for the heads up!

  7. Thanks for the recommendation! My girlfriends and I had lunch there today for our Christmas get together. My kids loved their pizza and I enjoyed the Linguini with Creamy Pesto and Shrimps. I’m definitely going back!

  8. Hi Anton!
    I’ve been to aldente and it was quite a treat. I liked the chicken pizzaiola and the creamy pesto. Their desserts looked yummy, too bad i only had the chance to sample death by chocolate.
    Their service was just ok – except for the trainee who kept saying “hindi ko po alam kasi trainee lang ako” for every question I asked. haha
    Thanks for the review!

  9. Dear friends,
    Thank you for all your comments and we will improve the quality of our cuisine. Check out F&B Magazine Feb 2007 Issue. Hope you will continue to support al dente and let us know if there is anything you want us to add in our menu.

  10. i tried this resto because i read about it here. we didn’t like it. my whole family was disappointed. the pizza crust tasted stale and the toppings were like the toppings in pizza hut. and please don’t get me started on the pasta. i ordered the spaghetti with the salmon and vodka sauce. i got little flakes of salmon and NO vodka sauce. It tasted like bland carbonara. I would not eat here again. A word of caution: DO NOT TRY!

  11. had lunch in this restaurant today. well…
    the salad was nothing extraordinary and so was the pasta that they recommended. the mango that was with the salad was not fresh.
    i will not really recommend this place to anyone.
    they should improve
    the only nice thing about the place is that the service was good.

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