ILOILO | A Very Al Dente Dinner

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Al Dente Ristorante in Iloilo City

With no budget for fancy restaurants, my culinary trips to Iloilo City usually consists of nothing more than carinderia fares, bowls of La Paz batchoy and the usual tusok-tusok streetfood. So I almost choked with surprise then that on my last outing to the city, I, together with other travel bloggers, was invited to try out the upper-class cuisine of Iloilo City at the Al Dente Ristorante Italiano.

Al Dente Ristorante in Iloilo City

According to Merriam-Webster’s, al dente is a dish that’s cooked just enough to retain a somewhat firm texture.

Alright alright, I know most 90s kids know what the word means from a TV commercial from yesteryears. The term originates from Italy and refers mostly to pasta dishes, so I’m thinking we must be having Italian tonight.


Al Dente Ristorante in Iloilo City

Al Dente Ristorante Italiano, cited as one of the top restaurants in Iloilo City, is located at the ground floor of the luxurious Sarabia Manor Hotel along Gen. Luna. It’s been serving a fusion of Italian-Mediterranean dishes for almost a decade and a half now.

Its interior is elegantly simple with its polished concrete floor complemented by tasteful black leather chairs and wood-top tables. Wine-racks line its walls which gave me an I-cannot-possibly-afford-to-eat-here feeling.


Al Dente Ristorante in Iloilo City

After dropping our huge backpacks off one corner of the restaurant and settling down on a long table, the dishes started to pour in one after another.

The restaurant is managed by Chef Pauline Gorriceta Banusing and every plate laid on our table looked delicious; margherita pizza, lengua callos, baby back ribs, marinara pasta, mahi-mahi fillet, and beef salpicao.


Al Dente Ristorante in Iloilo City

I took a few bites of the callos and the baby back ribs and stayed permanently away from them. Not that they suck, but I’m just not a fan of those dishes. The back ribs by the way’s quite good (again, coming from a non-fan), especially the mashed potato that comes along with it.


Al Dente Ristorante in Iloilo City

Everyone’s seemed to be staying away from Al Dente’s beef salpicaoprobably due to its not-so-enticing presentation, but once I tried it, I loved every bits of it. It’s garlicky and salty, just the way I like my dishes.

Some actually found it to be too salty, but its flavor sits just right on my palate.

Al Dente Ristorante in Iloilo City

But the real winner of the night for me was Al Dente’s margherita pizza. If I were to make a consensus with my companions, I’d bet this would also top the voting—judging how fast it went from being at the table to its absolute disappearance.

Besides the perfectly crispy crust, its flavor was spot on—not too sour but not overpoweringly cheesy either.

Al Dente Ristorante in Iloilo City

Overall, my not-so-ordinary-by-my-standards dinner at Iloilo City that night was quite excellent. Everything was cooked just right, very Al Dente indeed eh? I’m not usually used to such swanky restos, but with enough push, I think I can really get used to this. Well, okay, not really, lol.

Al Dente Ristorante Italiano Iloilo
Address: Sarabia Manor Hotel & Convention Centre, Gen. Luna Street, Iloilo City
Contact Number: (033) 336-7813
Opening Hours: 10:00AM to 10:00PM, Daily
GPS Coordinates Map: 10.699139, 122.556917


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