Somewhere between the two home depots in the Ortigas area is a row of restaurants. Some are familiar names, other’s aren’t. We were hunting for lighting accessories yesterday and, after going around the stores in the first home depot, we realized we were hungry. No wonder — it was almost dinner time. Food first before the second depot. There weren’t too many choices; most of the restaurants looked more like watering holes (okay, there is a nearby auto place too selling second-hand cars so I suppose that the male-oriented eateries shouldn’t be surprising). There was Dencio’s (too boring already) and right beside it was a place called Carlo’s Pizza.
We chose Carlo’s Pizza primarily because the specialty and the atmosphere were both family friendly (the girls were with us). We hadn’t heard of it before but we’re never averse to trying new places so we went in. It was generally a good meal. No fast food fare. The food is prepared only upon order so everything was hot. But some items were good, some so-so and others not worth ordering again.
The onion rings were fine — crisp and surprisingly not too greasy. However, they were served with plain mayo instead of sour cream with garlic and I was a bit disappointed. The French fries were better, newly cooked and without that recycled oil taste. But they were served plain and we had to ask for ketchup.
Older daughter Sam ordered Kiddie Spaghetti. She offered me a forkful and it was good.
Husband Speedy ordered the fettucine with Alfredo sauce. Also good. After tasting both pasta dishes, I fully expected my cannelloni to be just as satisfying. I was disappointed.
For starters, Speedy was already done with his fettucine by the time the cannelloni was served. Secondly, the meat filling tasted too much like it came straight out of a can. Younger daughter Alex’s baked mac was served even later and only after we followed up on her order twice.
The biggest disappointment was the slice of toasted French bread that came with the pasta. One bite told the whole story — it was stained with margarine, not butter. And not just any margarine but the kind that leaves an aftertaste. Like Star Margarine and Dari Creme. And because Alex did not want her toast, I was obliged to eat it, bad margarine and all.
The hands-down winner was the pizza. Thin crusted and practically greaseless. The crust leaves a toasted flour taste rather than the greasy taste that characterizes pizza from American chains like Pizza Hut and Domino’s. Newly baked, the cheese was soft and gooey and the chicken strips were cooked through but still moist. Considering how many of the other customers were there for take-out pizza, I suppose we’re not the only ones who found the pizza to be quite lovely.
Of course, there are very few restaurants where all the items in the menu are sure-fire winners. But since Carlo’s Pizza essentially serves good food (even the mix-and-match of items in the menu is good), perhaps, a little improvement here and there can make the customer’s dining experience more memorable.