When a gas station becomes a gourmet destination: Va Bene Pasta Deli


A small restaurant unassumingly tucked away at the second floor of a gas station located along EDSA, Va Bene Pasta Deli is one proof that a good restaurant, regardless of its price point, can make its location a prime destination. The place is packed with people who presumably planned ahead to come and eat here, displaying a refreshing consciousness and a growing refinement of taste – these are locals who are hungry to be more than the casual strollers choosing from chain restaurants in shopping malls.

With a companion, I split an order of pan roasted foie gras with organic arugula and caramelized apples in balsamic honey reduction (Php 700). The restaurant nicely halved it for us, served and styled on two separate plates. The foie gras was as expected and this is a good thing. With an intense luxury item such as this, the less interference the better. The pan roasted foie gras was smooth and graceful to the tongue, its richness assuaged by fresh greens that had been drizzled with the sweet taste of its dressing. Most impressive were the refreshing bites of thin slices of apples, which were not only caramelized but crisped on the sides, lending a pleasant contrasting texture to the dish.

Va Bene Pasta Deli's ricotta pumpkin ravioli with sage, lemon and Italian sausage in veal reduction (Php 370)

My main consisted of ricotta pumpkin ravioli with sage, lemon and Italian sausage in veal reduction (Php 370). It was a brilliant combination of creamy ricotta cheese smoothly blended with pumpkin flesh that had been pocketed and sealed in orbits of fresh pasta sheets. The ravioli sits moistly on a dark and the slightest shallow pool of a most intense and flavorful sauce. The latter has peppery sage, bright lemon and rumpled small pieces of earthy Italian sausage, its distinct taste mixing with the concentration of tender young veal.

Although perhaps one of the true gems of Va Bene Pasta Deli must surely be the service. Carol Veronesi, who owns the restaurant together with Va Bene Pasta Deli chef Massimo Veronesi, is a gracious hostess on the floor. Her presence ensures that the restaurant maintains a high standard of quality and service. Their servers are well-trained, particularly a most attentive Ehmz (and hopefully I remembered the name right) who goes out of his way to make sure your dining experience is as pleasant as possible.

It is hopeful that despite the high demand to eat at this restaurant that the owners resist opening another branch. With success, many unique and small restaurants succumb to temptation to expand, create branches or sell once the brand has been built. The quality of food and service almost always suffers, if even ever so slightly, for this. Besides, the charm of the restaurant is in its small size and the intimacy and considerateness to which you are being attended to for your meal. While word of the restaurant has surely been spreading, its placement in a gas station gives it that element of “hidden discovery,” no matter how already famous it is, that gives one a strangely self-satisfactory (even slightly smug) feeling of adventure. No fast food or convenience food runs here, Va Bene Pasta Deli is surely one of the destinations on the Manila gourmet map.

MENU for delivery below. There are more items for their dine-in menu. (The following is typed from their brochure which I obtained from the restaurant. Please call them directly in their number below. Deliveries may be ordered through 2121212 or check out www.quickdelivery.ph) You may also buy fresh pastas from them at their counter to cook at home. They also do events and catering. 

Antipasti & Salad
Arugula with roasted onions and mangoes with balsamico and parmesan cheese (Php 360)
Stuffed portobello with spinach, gruyere cheese & mixed lettuce (Php 380)
Pan roasted foie gras with organic arugula and caremlized apples in balsamic honey reduction (Php 700)
Buffalo mozzarella with tomatoes, capers, anchovies and mixed lettuce in balsamic honey reduction (Php 310)

Soup
Mushrooms soup (mixed mushrooms) with truffle oil (Php 250)
Toscana soup with pancetta, maltagliati pasta and basil pesto (Php 165)

Pasta
Ricotta pumpkin ravioli with sage, lemon and Italian sausage in veal reduction (Php 370)
Prawns capellacci in prawn bisque, fresh tomatoes and basil (Php 380)
Potato gnocchi with four-cheese sauce, fresh arugula and wild nuts (Php 310)
Black ink home made spaghetti with seafood marinara (Php 350)
Organic eggs tagliolini with portobello mushrooms, white wine cream sauce and truffle oil (Php 360)
Rolled spinach canelloni with smoked ham and light tomato cream sauce (Php 300)

Pizza al Taglio
Massimo pizza with tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh Portobello mushrooms, capers and arugula salad (Php 100/slice; Php 800/whole)
Salamino pizza with tomatoes, mozzarella, chorizo and basil (Php 90/slice; Php 720/whole)
Trentina pizza with tomatoes, mozzarella, gorgonzola cheese and arugula salad (Php 95/slice; Php 760/whole)

Dolci
Panna cotta pudding topped with marinated mangoes (Php 140)
Homemade profiterolles with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream (Php 140)
Semifreddo of orange with chocolate sauce and caramelized wild nuts (Php 180)
Iformaggi assorted cheese platter with honey and apples (Php 295)

Va Bene Pasta Deli
2nd Floor Petron Gas Station
EDSA corner Pasay Road
Dasmarinas, Makati City
*landmark: across Dusit Hotel on the EDSA side
Telefax No. (632) 556-9442/ (632) 904-6063
Cellular No. (63) 917-3456869
vabenepastadeli@yahoo.com
Open Monday-Saturday 10:30 am – 9:30 pm
Reservations highly recommended 

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