Trattoria Poggio Antico in McKinley Hill, Taguig City, has all the marks of an Italian restaurant. The name itself is a giveaway—it’s Italian for “restaurant on an old hill”—as are the checkered tablecloths and bottles of wine stored in wood racks on their sides. All that’s missing is an Italian chef-patron.
If you drop by for lunch or dinner, however, you’re more likely to spot Filipino businessman and restaurant owner Roland M. Lorilla checking on the day to day operations. After all, his house is located just across the street.
Lorilla’s love affair with all things Italian started over 25 years ago when he worked for a company that supplied other companies in Italy.
“I would go to Italy for business and I really liked it, the food, the scenery.”
He was able to share his interests with his family many years later when he took them to Tuscany for three weeks.
“Every day we ate at a different restaurant, and no matter whether it was a hole-in-the-wall or a really fancy place, the food was always excellent,” Lorilla said.
When the opportunity to open his own restaurant presented itself, he took it. Of course, it had to be an Italian restaurant because “it was part of my bucket list.”
Staff trained by Italian chef
To make sure that the food was authentic, he tapped chef Gino Martinelli who trained Lorilla’s chefs on how to prepare Italian standards like melon and prosciutto, arugula salad as well as pizzas and pastas.
One pasta we sampled was the hands-down favorite that afternoon, and might end up your favorite as well. The “green pasta,” as one of our companions called it, is actually Tagliatelle with prosciutto and truffle oil (P445). It smelled, looked and tasted delicious.
Lorilla is particularly proud of the beef served at Trattoria because he says it is quality US beef seasoned only with salt and pepper and grilled to the customer’s preference. True enough,
the beef has become of the resto’s bestsellers; the bigger portion served with roasted potatoes and a side salad priced at around P1,600 is good for two people.
The average check is P700 without wine and P1,000 with wine.
No scrimping here
Asked what sets them apart from other Italian restaurants offering practically the same menu, Lorilla said they do not scrimp on authentic Italian ingredients like the flour used for the pizza, the rice used for the risotto, and the canned tomatoes, cheeses and sausages.
“Of course, the seafood we use is local as are most of the vegetables, but we make it a point to market every day so we know what is freshest, newest, and in season,” he said.
Trattoria Poggio Antico is at G/F Tuscany, McKinley Hill, Taguig City. Call 5511962 or 0939-9377196.
PHOTOS BY RAOUL J. CHEE KEE
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