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I remember the first time someone told me about Va Bene, I thought it was really funny there was this authentic Italian restaurant right by the gas station outside my village. I’m so used to thinking of convenience stores and the standard fast food joint when nourishment and gas come up in the same thought bubble. I mean, I did get a 1.5 liter bottle of Coke just three days ago when I loaded a full tank at Shell.

Va Bene Pasta
When you get to this particular Petron station, you’ll find that the commercial establishments are aplenty. There’s your standard convenience joint, a coffee shop, a yogurt place, cake shops, a ham store, a shoe repair shop, some fast food joints, a doctor’s office and lastly, Va Bene Pasta Deli, which arguably boasts some of the best pasta dishes in Makati.

Va Bene Pasta
I was there at lunch on a weekday and was greeted with a lot of empty tables. To me, this isn’t a bad sign, it just means I’ll probably get faster, better service. The space is small and the walls are adorned with numerous awards Va Bene’s received throughout its lifespan.

Va Bene Pasta
My childhood friend, Alex was here for work from Singapore and I hadn’t seen her for months so it was nice to catch up. I picked Va Bene not knowing that she stopped eating white carbs so that day had to be an exception.

Va Bene Pasta
For starters, we were served some bruschetta. This is a freebie everyone gets after ordering. This simple appetizer consists of bread, fresh tomatoes, garlic, basil olive oil, and parmesan. It gets pretty addictive once you start eating it but because it tastes so fresh and light, you end up finishing it all and not feeling very full afterwards. This is a good thing assuming you have a big appetite and a full pasta order awaiting.

Va Bene Pasta
What sets Va Bene apart from other restaurants is that they make their own fresh pasta daily. The restaurant is run by Chef Massimo Veronesi who was the chef of Mi Piace Italian at the Peninsula for 5 years before starting Va Bene. Alex had the Blank Ink Tagliolini (Php 390) with seafood marinara in light tomato cream sauce. Despite breaking some diet restrictions, Alex was really happy with this dish. The servings were generous, there was enough pasta, sauce and seafood to fill her up. I managed to have a bite of this and thought it was excellent. I think the squid ink pasta gives the marinara a bolder seafood flavor.

Va Bene Pasta
Here’s what I always get: Organic Eggs Tagliolini (Php 390) with portobello mushrooms, white wine cream sauce and truffle oil. It’s basically my go-to truffle pasta. Whenever I’m craving that, this is the only place I want to eat it. Noodles are al dente, the cream sauce and mushrooms are a predictably safe albeit winning combo for comfort. It isn’t doused in truffle oil but the general whiff and subtle aftertaste is there. If you only need to try one dish there, it’s this.

I know a lot of people who are fond of their ravioli dishes but generally, if pasta’s what you’re looking for it’s really hard to order anything wrong at Va Bene. The only real issue I have with this place is that parking is so terribly difficult so hitch a ride with someone or commute so that doesn’t need to be a problem. If you’re looking for authentic Italian food on a fairly decent budget, Va Bene gives a bang for your buck.

Va Bene Pasta Deli
2/F Petron Gas Station, EDSA
Dasmariñas Village – North, Makati
(02) 556-9442

Right before I left for the US (which was about a month ago), Brothers Burger held an press event to introduce their fried chicken wings. And to basically just be nice and feed the hungry bloggers. In internet time, this post is way overdue but I felt like writing it anyway because the Jose brothers were great and really, Brothers is about to get an update you guys won’t even recognize.

Brothers Burger

Chicken Wings (Php 219) were new on the menu and when you order this, you have a choice of getting either Butter Parmesan or Barbecue. This being a tasting session, I tried both. I found that the Butter Parmesan wings did have the rich taste of butter but I didn’t like that the batter overpowered the meat because it was too thick. The guys next to me at the table seemed to like this best.

Brothers Burger
I really did enjoy the Barbecue wings though, the glaze so sharp and American it reminded me of baby back ribs. I’d pick this up in a heartbeat. Orders come with 6 wings each.

Brothers Burger
Next up, the Lettuce Wrapped Burger (Php 185) dubbed thee Breadless Burger is kind of a secret special thing they serve that isn’t on the menu. It’s for the kind of folks who either count calories, don’t like carbs very much or just want to get the most out of their meat by just eating the meat. Wrapped entirely by lettuce, this is rather messy but ultimately rewarding.

Brothers Burger
Just like your average joe of a burger, this one has onions, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese and a nice thick burger patty– minus the guilt. It’s served with a fresh cilantro cream dip that adds a full herby kick to the mix.

Brothers Burger
I was really, really happy when they said we were having the Lamb Burger and Onion Rings (Php 380) because this is my absolute favorite thing to order from them. And I’ve been having this since forever, I even introduced Carina to it. Yup, lamb + pesto + feta cheese makes the awesomest burger in the world. I also think they have the best real onion rings in the country. I hate fake onion rings, they’re so obvious and bad. Brothers serves the real deal, big onions with batter that sticks to them properly fried to perfection. Apologies for the hard-sell but I’ve really been enjoying this burger this for ages.

Brothers Burger
Petron Gas Station
EDSA corner Arnaiz Avenue,
Dasmariñas Village,
Makati City
Tel. 5501276 (this branch delivers)

Other branches are Convergys Ayala, WestGate Alabang, Alimall, Paseo de Magallanes, Hobbies of Asia, Roxas Blvd, MeralcoAvenue, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Greenhills, Trinoma, Bonifacio High Street, Regis Center Katipunan, The Hub Greenfield District, RCBC Plaza, 2Ecom Mall of Asia, Nuvali, Ayala Technohub Baguio and Mile-Hi Baguio.

DISCLAIMER: I was invited to this event by Brothers Burger and Buensalido & Associates which means I didn’t pay for my food. All opinions are honest and mine though so that should count.