ARIA Mania in Manila?

Aria Cucina Italiana in Manila!

ARIA was the talk of the town when it first opened in D’Mall Boracay in 2003. Foodies raved about its homemade pasta and wood-fire oven pizzas (see:ย Top5 Bora Restos!, and What’s New in Boracay in 2010?). After 9 years, it finally opened its doors in Manila. ๐Ÿ™‚

We’re curious to know if it would create the same buzz among foodies amidst really good Italian restaurants in the metro. Cyma Boracay’s expansion to Manila was very successful, setting up shop in various malls.

As for Aria, it decided to expand to a super high-end mall with relatively higher prices–will it click? Will we see Aria Mania in Manila?

Bonifacio High Street Central Restaurants:

Aria Cucina Italiana in Manila!
Aria Cucina Italiana Menu:ย Appetizers | Soups & Salads | Pasta | Ravioli, Risotto, Gnocchi | Wood Fire Open Baked | Meat, Seafood, and Chicken | Vegetarian and Side Dishes | Dessert | Juices, Beer, Sodas | Cocktails, Shooters, Coffee

Aria is known for having tasteful interiors. Designed by Anton Mendoza, its BHS Central branch exudes a nice, beach-homey vibe that is not too intimidating.

I particularly love the Kenneth Cobonpue’s See You See Me Divider, which provides a textured net-like effect that breaks down the stiffness of the interiors.

Aria Cucina Italiana in Manila!
The art is playful, interesting and open to personal interpretation.

Aria Cucina Italiana in Manila!
โ˜…ย Quatro Formaggi (P525 +10% service charge). Topped with four different cheeses (pecorino, feta, parmesan and mozzarella).

We loved this pizza — it was cooked just right with few burn marks. Plus, the pizza itself was crispy on the edges but chewy on the inside. Aria’s pizzas are priced within the P400-P600 range.

I particularly enjoy simple pizza (with just cheese on it), and the boys seem to have inherited this quirk too. They don’t like toppings on their pizza. ๐Ÿ™‚

Aria Cucina Italiana in Manila!
We are still figuring out different tactics on how to control super-hyper boys (ages 7, 4 and 2) when eating in restaurants. They adore bread, so we had to order pizza first to keep them happy.

We’ve tried offering them a promise of Timezone playtime in exchange for good behavior, and handing over the iPhone to play with as our last resort. We also engage them in conversation, which works for Aidan, and teaching them how to eat food properly.

Any other tips or suggestions from experienced parents of 3 boys?

Aria Cucina Italiana in Manila!
โ˜…ย Insalata di salmone affumicato e rucola (P410 +10% service charge). Mixed greens and organic arugula topped with smoked salmon in a balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Aria’s salads are always a joy to have, with their different flavors complemented by a touch of lemon. You can’t go wrong with this combination of fresh greens, arugula and salmon.

Aria Cucina Italiana in Manila!
Ravioli di branzino (P390 +10% service charge). Homemade ravioli stuffed with seafood in a tomato-based sauce.

We usually like the pasta dishes in Aria because one can taste the homemade goodness in every bite.

However, in this case, I think we made a mistake in ordering this ravioli because the seafood had a bland, dry taste. We realized our error when we smelled the fragrant truffle from theย Homemade tagliatelle with white truffle, asparagus and parma ham at the next table.
ย Aria Cucina Italiana in Manila!
Costicine di agnello (P980 +10% service charge). Oven-baked lamb cutlet with garlic and rosemary, served with roasted potatoes.

The lamb was not cooked well at all. We specified medium-well, but we got thick, uncooked fat portions of the lamb, with drippings of blood and not a very appetizing presentation. (But I guess that’s what you can expect when you eat in a restaurant during its soft opening period.)

Better stick with the pizzas, pasta and salad when you eat in Aria for now.

Aria Cucina Italiana in Manila!
Another good thing about Aria, that’s been translated well in its Manila branch, is its down-to-earth, welcoming service. It’s not as snooty as you would expect from a high-end restaurant. It’s just like the service one would find at a neighborhood Italian cafe.

Aria Cucina Italiana in Manila!
Overall, we loved the wood-fire oven-baked pizza, homemade pasta, fresh Mediterrean-inspired salads and the accommodating service. They do bring back nice memories of Boracay (but in a Manila setting). Budget around P700 per person if you plan to dine here.

ARIA Cucina Italiana
The best Italian restaurant in Boracay is now in Manila!
7th Ave. corner 29th St. South,ย 
Bonifacio High Street Central,ย 
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Phone: +63 917 519-5368
Facebook: Aria Cucina Italiana
Twitter: @ariacucina

Bonifacio High Street Central Restaurants:


Live an Awesome Life,

Contact me: a
nton@diaz.phย iphone

Full Disclosure: Nothing to disclose. We paid for our meals. We are not connected with the owners or the organizations promoting Aria Cucina Italiana.

P.S. There are better pizza options in Bonifacio Global City, like Caffe Puccini in the Fort Strip, but I guess people like eating in restaurants not just for good food, but also to be seen eating good food in a nice restaurant.

P.P.S. I’m trying to experiment with iPhonenography, and some of the photos used in this post were taken with an iPhone (versus Canon). It seems like the iPhone will replace point-and-shoot cameras very soon. Can you distinguish the difference? Let me know if you have tips on taking pictures using the iPhone.

25 thoughts on “ARIA Mania in Manila?

  1. Cyma, and now Aria. Looks like there really is a market demand for this ๐Ÿ™‚
    I’m waiting for Manana from Boracay to come join the party. I think we need more Mexican food places in the Metro ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Aria’s food in Boracay slowly deteriorated through the years. Its really sad since i really liked it when it first opened. I hope they can bring the quality of the first years of Aria in Boracay to their new place in BGC.

  3. I agree with Ray! Bring in Manana please and True Food! Hehehe. Thanks for sharing this, I love the pizza and pasta in Aria although last time I was there late last year the salads were a little sad and the pizza was not what I remembered. Will have to check this out soon!

  4. Hi Anton…just like you I’m a father of 3 boys ages 11, 8 and 2…I’ve been through that situation before when we eat in restos. Super hyper talaga. We changed our techniques, instead of going to the mall in the afternoon, where the kids are probably tired playing at home the whole morning, we then reversed our schedule.
    We now usually go to malls before they open and when the kids are still fresh and active (not tired) and we’ll let them choose what they want to do or what they want to buy in exchange that they’ll behave come lunchtime.
    Voila! We’ve been doing that for 6 years now!

  5. Re: your P.P.S., I cannot seriously believe an iPhone can match your Canon P&S in terms of image quality. In convenience, certainly… you’ll always have your phone with you, but that’s about as far as this comparison will go. The sensor & DIGIC processor of your P&S is way more reliable in image capture and JPEG compression than an iPhone or any cel for that matter. And YES, it is easy to tell the shots you took on your phone vs your Canon. Anton, pls do your readers a favor by capturing & posting your experiences with a real camera.

  6. Hi I dined in Aria last night and the 2 pastas (ravioli and tratuffo) that we ordered lacked in flavor that we had to send it back (and they were initially charging us for it). The pizza was good, but youre right you can find better tasting pizzas in other places.
    Service was…lets say…disappointing. So many servers but so little brain cell(sorry i had to say it i was really disappointed). i think being on “soft opening” shouldnt be an excuse for mediocre food and crappy service. for diners out there “soft opening” or “on dry run” is another term for “dont eat here , were practicing”.
    PS..good thing you didnt order the tartuffo..NO TASTE !!!

  7. Hello Anton, thank you for featuring us on your blog. We appreciate the time you took to write about us, and we apologize that you and your readers were disappointed with the food and service at our restaurant.
    We strive to give our customers outstanding customer service at all times however meeting everyone’s expectations during a soft launch can be quite challenging.
    Thank you for your feedback and please be advised that we’ve acted on the issues enumerated. We hope to see you again soon at Aria Cucina Italiana and do let us know if there’s anything else we can help you with.

  8. I really love Italian food specially the pasta. The mouthwatering pizza are looks so yummy. That’s why when it comes to restaurant’s I’ll always choose those specialties are pasta like Aria.

  9. Manana is barely alive in Boracay. I wanted to eat there on my last trip (Christmas 2011) but it was dim and empty except for the crew idly chatting with each other.

  10. I tried Aria last Sunday and i was majorly disappointed. The pizza was so-so. The crust was okay but the cheese was just salty … Not cheesy ๐Ÿ™
    Good thing you didn’t order the truffle pasta. It didn’t taste good. Bland and blah.
    The carbonara? My 3 year old son liked it. Maybe because it tasted like milk? Sayang talaga.
    And they serve powdered iced tea … Sigh.
    For the price, they should make serving size bigger.
    Hype Lang at Ito. Sayang naman. They are located in a nice place pa naman. They better up their game … I seriously wanted to eat pasta in figaro (yum!) on my way back to the parking lot.

  11. Wow! I am a pizza lover and I love this pizza, very unique for me and I’m sure my kids will also love that.

  12. Anton,
    I love reading your blogs, I will be there in Phil in December As I promised I will cook for you :). My style is Italian/New American with Mediterrean Influence. Will I be able to cook at your house? I lived with my aunt when I am in Pinas and the kitchen is not good haha, or do you have any place where I can cook. I will pay for the expense, I agree with the post that The Lamb had a lot of fat and doesnt look right :(. Im Planning to cook 5 things for you and you can bring few friends of yours as well. here’s the menu I can think of as of right now.
    Appetizer : Mussels/Shrimps/Green Chili basil Brodetto/Grilled Bread
    Salad: Arugula/Beet Carppacio/GoatCheese/Toasted Hazelnut/Sherry Balsamic Vin
    Pasta: Pork Belly/Manila Clams/Chili Broth/Linguini
    Main: Short rib/Horseradish Mashed Potato/Braised Cabbage/Creme Fraiche/Jus
    Dessert: Apple Fritter/Bourbon Caramel Sauce/Apple Puree/Honey Sour cream.
    I’ll change it or ill see but for now thats my menu for u hehe. it should be balance. salty/sweet/peppery/savory/sour/umami
    See you later this year

  13. Tried the tagliatelle with white truffle and Parma ham, it was the worst I’ve tasted. Very bland. The lamb was very tough as well. Experienced very bad service wherein the waiters would pretend to not see us call for them. Needless to say, we won’t be going back.

  14. dined at aria in boracay last year. the service was really bad… and judging by how long they have stayed opened in boracay. They should already know when a lot of people is coming. waited for 30 mins for food that lacked taste! had to season it with a lot of salt and pepper. Made me realize that boracay wasnt the place it used to be.Just a beach you’d want to be seen. Masabi lang. Just like Aria. a watered down version of what i was…

  15. hi Anton im a mother of 3 boys (ahia is turning 8 this june,dhia just celebrated his 5th bday and sioti is turning 4 on aug 8(bday is 8-8-8 ๐Ÿ™‚ ) i admire you and your wife cause i see that you dont have a yaya,we couldnt handle my 3 boys,i always need my yayas to help us,i find them really playful and sometimes naughty ๐Ÿ™‚ whenever we eat,they need ipad/iphone so they will behave properly ๐Ÿ™

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