Lunch at Bellini’s Italian Restaurant

ravioli tartufo

Jane and I wanted Mila to try Bellini’s Italian restaurant which is actually within walking distance from where she lives. What? She lives so near yet she’s never been to Bellini’s? Shocking!

I think everyone knows about Bellini’s, a restaurant tucked in a corner of Cubao expo. If you’re reading this and you’ve never been there read on. It’s time for you to go.

Bellini's

Bellini's-1

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The interiors of the place can only be described as kitschy. There are  paintings of well known places in Italy on the walls, ceilings and every available surface in the restaurant.
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3d replica of the the Coliseum
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names of the proprietors on the walls
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ceiling murals
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This is the owner signor Roberto Bellini and one of his Italian speaking waiters. Signor Bellini doesn’t speak English so well so he taught his waiters to speak  Italian.
Roberto Bellini

I think this is the only restaurant in Manila with a bell on each table for you to call your waiter.
bell
ring my bell!

breadsticks
breadsticks

The waiter rolled out this cart filled with different antipasti.
antipasti
antipasti selection

antipasti

antipasti

Signor Bellini insisted we try this fish marinated in olive oil and spices. It was a very mild and tasty dish.
antipasti

I was on a no-carb diet so I asked Signor Bellini for his recommendations. Since Jane and Mila don’t know the terms “carbs and diet” I ordered this spinach ravioli in tartufo sauce for them. And since I love tartufo or truffles I couldn’t resist trying one ravioli. Well I had to taste it to write about it, right?

It was heavenly! The scent of the truffle oil was heady and the sauce was rich and creamy yet not cloyingly. The mild ham & spinach filling was the perfect vessel for the super tasty mushroom & truffle oil sauce. You must order this dish. MUST!
ravioli tartufo
ravioli tartufo (truffle sauce) P280

I would never order beef or pork in an Italian restaurant. I prefer to be surrounded  with pasta, risotto and pizza. But this pesky no-carb diet forced me to ask for their meat specialties.

The steak in pepper sauce was actually good. The meat was tender and the sauce was just right. It was a small serving though. It’s actually 1 1/2 portion size of meat if you’re on a diet. But for 3 people sharing it was too small.
grilled tenderloin steak in pepper sauce
grilled tenderloin steak in pepper sauce P390

We actually liked the pork steak more. It was simply marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper and then grilled. It was incredibly tender and juicy. The pork was about the same size as the steak. Small.
pork steak
pork steak P300

The pizza had a nice thin crispy crust. It was good but not the best pizza I’ve tried. Yes I had a slice. All for my blog. sigh.
pizza w: parma ham & arugula
pizza w/ parma ham & arugula P280/small

We weren’t quite full after the ravioli, steak, pork steak and pizza so we asked the waiter what else we order. My 2 friends are skinny but they CAN eat. The waiter recommended the sea bass al forno. Since everything he recommended was good so far we went ahead and ordered the fish. Al forno means “from the oven” and the sea bass was baked inside foil.
sea bass al forno

sea bass al forno-1

Local sea bass is called apahap. I’ve never consciously had this fish before.  I say consciously because I don’t normally ask what kind of fish I’m eating.

The first bite of fish had me closing my eyes and swearing words I cannot write here. It was the best fish I’ve ever eaten! The texture of the fish was meaty yet so smooth and succulent. The simple sauce of olive oil, tomatoes, olives and herbs was just fabulous with the fish. There was a sour component to the dish and we were debating whether it was lemon juice or vinegar. Whatever it was it was just perfect. If I could eat this dish everyday I would gladly forgo meat. I’m serious. It’s that goooooooood!
sea bass al forno-2
sea bass al forno P700

The fish put our tummies over the top. We were very, very full after sucking every morsel of the fish leaving just the head and tail on the plate. But we still wanted to try their desserts. We’ve already tried their wonderful orange cake which Mila incidentally gave me before.

We tried their un-pc named Obama cake which was a dense, warm chocolate cake topped with whipped cream, caramel and chocolate sauces. It was just ok but it was quite expensive for a small slice. I still prefer their orange cake.
obama cake
obama cake P200

The panna cotta was just ordinary. It was literally plain heavy cream with gelatin. No flavorings at all.
panna cotta
panna cotta P120

Complimentary small glasses of their homemade sweet wine were given to us after our meal. It was way too sweet for me considering I love sweet wine.
sweet wine

So now you understand why a kitschy looking restaurant in a corner of Cubao has lasted for 11 years when most glitzy restaurants close within a year. Yes, it’s not cheap, you have to look for the place if you’re not familiar with Cubao, you might have a hard time parking, the ambiance won’t impress your date but I guarantee you will love the food. Well as long as you order the ravioli tartufo and sea bass al forno.m

I’m sure they have a lot of other good dishes in the menu but I will definitely order those two dishes when I go back. And when I do I’ll make sure I’m not on a no-carb diet and I will polish off that ravioli all by myself. No sharing please!
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Bellini’s Italian Restaurant
Roberto & Ma. Luisa Bellini
Cubao Expo, Gen. Romulo Ave., 
Cubao, Quezon City
Tel: 913-2550

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