I’ve had the pleasure of growing up with the Italiannis experience ever since I was 11 years old – the first time I celebrated my birthday at their first branch in Makati.
After eating a myriad of pasta and desserts (that was the first time I tasted creme brulee), everyone at the table was stuffed.
I remember how my Dad almost fainted when he saw our tab, though – a whopping P11,000 for his 11-year-old daughter.
Since then, Italiannis has been a venue for special occasions because it is one of those restaurants where you can expect good food in hefty servings and a quiet, relaxed atmosphere that vaguely suggests you have to behave well.
I’ve celebrated about 9 birthdays there (5 of them my own), 2 graduations, a farewell party, a post-work celebratory dinner, and a binge lunch when my Mom was depressed and wanted to get cheered up by Portobello mushrooms.
Now, it’s taken on the status of high-class Italian carinderia. It’s gotten a rowdier crowd through the years – maybe because it’s always full (accessibility for the rich and middle class lang) – and their buffets at certain outlets serve shoddy food at times.
Anyway, for my brother’s birthday and graduation dinner with close friends and family, we chose Italiannis at Bonifacio High Street again. We were sandwiched between two long tables of rival soccer players from international schools.
Imagine having to eat and have decent conversation with your typhoon-affected relatives while hearing one Jakarta Dragon stuff an entire chicken breast into her mouth in one go and the giggling/ shouting that came with that.
First up, Sicilian Chicken Salad:
Last but not the least is a special treat given to birthday celebrants at Italianni’s. On my 11th birthday, I got 3 scoops of vanilla ice cream topped with caramel syrup in a big bowl. Then they sang me a happy birthday. The next years it was either a slice of cake or my favorite desserts of all time: creme brulee and panna cotta. On my 19th birthday, an Italianni’s waiter at SM Megamall gave me a macho dance. It was strange.
My brother got this frozen New York Cheesecake with strawberry puree (on the house) and a rowdy song from the staff. It was a nice ending to a full meal.