Caruso Ristorante Italiano: The home of Alba Truffles in Manila
Street history: Nicanor Garcia Street is historically known as Calle Reposo or Reposo Street. This area in Makati may look simple, but is actually a home to a number of notable art galleries, interior design stores, and fine dining restaurants that's usually frequented by Manila's rich and famous.
This iconic prized ingredient comes directly from the lush soils in Alba, Italy arrived to our dining plates in Manila, Philippines. No digging required.
We're simply not referring to the specks of truffle that you'll find in pasta and pizza sauces. The pandemic isn't stopping restaurant owner and native Italian Emilio Mina from giving the people what they want - freshly grated truffles on top of your plate of homemade Tagliolini, Eggs cooked Piedmont style with asparagus or Veal Carpaccio. Enjoy these with a bottle of Barbera d' Alba wine (a favorite of The Pope) and you're definitely in for an Italian gastronomic experience that's like being transported to the clear blue seas and fresh breeze of the Amalfi Coast.
Get your curious palates (and your wallets ready) because Caruso is the place that you seek.
Truffles are much appreciated with their distinct aroma and taste. With a history going back to the times of the pioneers of European civilization, the Sumerians, Etruscans and Greeks celebrate its taste. Ancient Roman poet Giovenale even said that the origin of truffles comes from Jupiter's lightning that's thrown off near oak trees. Jupiter, or Giove was God of the Romans and famous for having many lovers, which is also why truffles are considered to have aphrodisiac qualities.
Even with considered value they were abandoned for a time during the Middle Ages, and were even said to be harmful and called as 'fruit of the devil'. And yet, during the Renaissance period in Europe, these infamous tubers became an exclusive part of banquets for the noble men and ambassadors. The most notable truffles can be found in Alba, in the Piedmont region in northern Italy.
Fast forward to the day when we can dine in again, Caruso takes you on a ride to what I think is already a historic place where some of the best, greatest, famous (and infamous) people have gathered to enjoy days and nights full of songs, music and food. Like a setting in a classic Hollywood movie, the restaurant displays classic Italian icons in art and music. Modern influences abound as well, with pictures of Emilio rubbing shoulders with Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, or Filipino Christmas crooner Jose Mari Chan, who also is a very good friend and frequent guest at the restaurant.
We can sell truffles the all year: there's White Truffle, the best from Alba from October to January; Bianchetto Alba Truffle from January to April; and Black Truffle from April to October. - Emilio Mina
But with fluctuating decisions on dine in policies with the current pandemic, good thing that Caruso also offers takeouts and delivery too. Watch our exclusive virtual walking tour inside Caruso and feast your eyes on how these truffles are to be enjoyed.
Trivia: you don't shave some truffles and leave the rest behind. They tend to get rubbery in a matter of minutes, so it's suggested that an entire truffle is to be used and consumed right away.
White truffles also bear a different aroma,
taste and feel compared to truffle oil or black truffles. It's definitely a one-of-kind experience.
We should also note that Caruso is more than just truffles. The food itself is honest Italian fare, with not much difference than getting a plate of pasta, pizza or a slab of bistecca when you're traveling across Europe. And we mean this in a really good way!
Honorable mentions include their smashing pizza selection (kids used to have pizza making classes pre-COVID), antipasti platter with fresh Italian sausage, Bistecca alla Florentina, and the creamiest Panna Cotta and the dreamiest, most delicious Tiramisu that you can ever find in Manila. EVER.
Other favorites include the Lemon Butter Scallopine, Porcini Mushroom Soup, their homemade pastas (try their Tagliatelle!) and the best quality Risotto that you can find - available in Milanese style (with saffron); squid ink; porcini; and asparagus with parmesan.
We were lucky enough to be able to try some light and oh so buttery cookies which is actually a recipe created by from Emilio's mother.
Dining with Emilio, we were able to see how he loves the Philippines so much despite the country's flaws and disappointments within the government and sometimes its citizens. He spent many years perfecting his family's recipes, passing it on to local chefs and making sure that the quality and the taste that he was familiar to is met. Much of Caruso's staff still continues to support Emilio in his cause, having to work for as long as seven to ten years. And this dedication is highly reflected on the food that they serve, the wine that they pour, and the people who keep coming back for more.
Caruso Ristorante Italiano is open for any occassion. Can't wait to try their truffles? Make a reservation and take our word for it.
Mondays to Sundays
Lunch 11:30 to 2:30PM
Dine in and Take out Menu:
210, Nicanor Garcia Street, Bel Air, Makati, 1209 Metro Manila
Safe Dining Protocols:
-Observes social distancing
-Tables are disinfected
Price Range (as of March 2021)
Bianchetto Alba Truffles - Php950 per gram
Bistecca alla Florentina (steak) - Php7650
Homemade Tagliolini - price upon request
Tiramisu - Php470
Panna Cotta - Php430
Pizza Salsiccia - Php795
Smart Casual to Formal
Side parking available.
No pets allowed