My family and I decided to go Italian for our lunch, so we headed to the 2nd floor of Alabang Town Center and walked right into Amici. The set-up of the place is a cross between a canteen and a restaurant. Booths were lined up to the right, while tables and chairs were situated at the left side. You can see a big water fountain in a corner with clean glasses arranged on one side, just a bit more sophisticated than those of food courts, but a canteen fountain just the same.
It used to be that Amici was a semi self-service resto when it first opened in ATC. You line up in front of the counter, choose your meal and pay for it, then find a table and wait for them to serve you your fare. Lately though, waiters now attend to your orders directly at your table.
The story of how Amici first started is published in their menu for diners to be able to understand and appreciate the food they offer. It started as a canteen that aimed to serve good dishes to the employees of Don Bosco Printing Press. From coffee and gelato, they then served wood-fire oven baked pizzas and homemade pastas, and eventually catered to the students of Don Bosco. News of good Italian cuisine served in a canteen setting spread all over Metro Manila, and Amici would find itself packed daily with people from all walks of life. And thus, the story continues with their branches in ATC, Greenhills, SM City North EDSA, Tomas Morato, Ayala Triangle Gardens and SM Megamall.
I asked the waiter what pasta dish he would recommend, and he suggested the Linguine Fantastico Pasta (P270). It has prosciutto, stewed tomatoes, olives and garlic. I'm not an olives fan though so I had them removed. To say that the pasta was tomatoey is a bit of an understatement. I love tomatoes but this one had me yearning for some white sauce, if only to forget the acidic taste even for a few minutes. The prosciutto was lump after lump of salty ham, and the garlic slices were a bit bigger than I would have wanted.
The Risotto di Maiale Croccante (P275) I liked very much. It's crispy pork strips topped over caramelized onion flavored risotto. I love the creaminess of the risotto and the sweetness of the caramelized onions as it gives a nice balance to the pork's seasoning. I could finish off the whole plate in spite of it being a heavy dish.
The Riso al Salto con Zuppa di Pesce (P295) is a seafood chowder and saffron flavored risotto. Though the fried outer layer of the risotto gave it texture, it still lacked flavor. The clams and mussels were nothing out of the ordinary and as far as I know, chowder is supposed to be a thick soup, and this wasn't at all.
For pizza, we chose the Tutta Carne (P340) which had italian sausage, ham and pepperoni. As always, you could never go wrong with an all meat pizza. The sauce was a bit tomatoey but in a good way this time since the sweetness of the ham meshes well with it. The crust was thin and crispy, and the cheese had that gooey texture which is always nice.
I loved the Pollo Arrostito (P280) which is baked rosemary half chicken served with vegetables. The chicken was so tender and juicy, with the rosemary giving it an aromatic flavor. It was too big a portion for me though; it can be shared between 2 persons.
Caramia is Amici's brand name for its gelatos.
The display case boasts of different flavored gelato like pistachio, Nocciola (hazelnut), tiramisu, sans rival and Guianduia (choco hazelnut). Aside from gelato, they have sorbetto in mango, lychee and coconut flavor. I'll give you a heads up though. Don't rely on the menu's picture as the actual item served to you. In the menu, they show 2 scoops of sorbetto in a high stemmed dessert glass, but the actual dessert served is just one scoop in a small plastic cup. So that's P75 for a very small scoop of sorbetto, quite pricey I must say.
Their gelato cakes I have yet to try, but they all look scrumptious though. Just looking at the cakes and reading the flavors like Choco Sans Rival, Merry Berries, Mango Sans Rival, Spumoni Surprise (a combination of strawberry, pistachio and chocolate), Banana Blast (banana, strawberry and chocolate), Mango Symphony, Choco Tartufo, and Peach Walnut Passion is enough to make you forget any diet you may have.