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Cantina Sicilianita along Shaw Blvd. Mandaluyong City

Monday, November 25, 2013
It was a quick visit, an unplanned one. I could have let go of the idea of trying some dishes at Cantina Sicilianita but since I was already in the area, there was no point of not giving in. I have heard a lot about the goodness of authentic Italian cuisine that Cantina Sicilianita located along Shaw Blvd. in Mandaluyong City serves and I have meant to visit them since.While I wished to visit this quaint Italian cafe in the company of several friends, I deemed the unplanned visit was just testing the water.

Cantina Sicilianita which is located in one spot as Rex Bookstore along Shaw Blvd. holds to promise to serve authentic Italian cuisine particularly that of Sicily.

The location is small but therein lies its charm. Peppered with trinkets and decorations that exudes an Italian cafe vibe to it, Cantina Sicilianita's boasts of blown up photos of Sicily plastered on one side of the wall. These photos held together by a wooden frame give an illusion of windows overlooking views of Sicily. The place is relatively small, but comfortable enough to have a decent meal.

The menu is kept into a minimum compared to other Italian restaurants which I have been to that boasts of extensive selections. Not really a big deal, especially if you can find comfort in the fact that each of the dish are given enough attention.

There are roughly eight pasta dishes on the menu and their Pasta Al Salmone Affumicato (Php200) sounded too enticing not to notice so I went for it. It is essentially a linguini in cream sauce with salmon bits and some spices. I guess I have set the bar too high for my expectations because when I tasted the pasta, I find it a tad bland for my taste. Yes, there were bits of salmon, but not enough to leave a lasting impression.

I have deep affinity for risotto dishes, hence upon learning that they do serve Italian Rice with Meat Sauce they called Arancini (Php160), I knew I should go for it. Three golden brown balls of safron risotto stuffed with pancetta ragu, Arancini is known as an antipasti or appetizers but can be a meal in itself, provided your appetite is nowhere near hefty.

I find this dish decent enough, not really mind blowing. The contrasting texture brought about by the slightly crisp covering against the soft and slightly creamy risotto was pleasant to the palate. Flavor-wise, I've had better.

The two dishes provided me with a less than stellar experience but the redeeming factor came when Cannoli Siciliana (Php150/2pcs) was served for a meal ender. The cannoli pastry gave off that crisp texture sturdy enough to hold the cream cheese filling with crushed pistachio nuts. Not too sweet nor too tangy. It struck the right balance that I wish to have in my cannoli. 

I have tried decent numbers of cannolis before, that includes the one made by chef Anna Olson, but I must say that Cantina Sicilianita's rendition is the best I have had by far. 

I would like to think that aside from the cannolis, perhaps I have ordered the wrong items on the menu. Or I guess, it's just one of those days, I am not sure. I've known several foodie friends who took a great liking at Cantina Sicilianita but my experience with the food dictates otherwise. The service was impeccably friendly and fast, the prices are very affordable. So I guess yeah, it could be just one of those days. Perhaps I could revisit them and try those dishes recommended by friends. And oh, an order or two of those great tasting cannolis wouldn't hurt as well either. 

How about you dear readers? have you been to Cantina Sicilianita already? I would appreciate if you could recommend dishes I may try on my next visit.

Cantina Sicilianita

548 Shaw Boulevard, Facilities Center Building,
Mandaluyong City
Contact No.: (02) 570-2905
Facebook: CantinaSicilianita
Twitter: @sicilianita
Operating Hours: Monday to Saturday 
10am to 9pm

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