Yes, I don’t make plans for Valentine’s Day dinner. Not because I am the Valentine’s Day Scrooge or because I have no love life, it’s because I don’t want to be a participant in the horrible traffic that happens every February 14. However, I had an unexpected errand to do which required me to drive from Ortigas to Mckinley Hill in Taguig at, you guessed it, the evening rush hour of this popular day.
Toni & Sergio Gastro Italiano
Address: Ground Floor, Venice Grand Canal, McKinley Hill, Taguig City, Philippines
Operating Hours: Open daily from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Facebook Account: https://www.facebook.com/Toni-Sergio-Gastro-Italiano-192831124408907/
Contact Number: +63 2 776 4657
So, after getting off from work at 7 PM and after driving more than an hour, I reached the place and was over with my errand at around 9 PM. By this time, I already had a “growling” tummy. I called a friend earlier who worked in the area to join me for dinner and to help me look for a good restaurant inside Venice Piazza. After scanning the restaurants, we ended up at “Toni & Sergio Gastro Italiano“. I got excited because, I love Italian food. So, enter we did.
I knew it was a “toxic” day (being Valentine’s Day) for anyone in the restaurant industry and it goes without saying that I should expect a lousy service because the waiters and the kitchen staff are all tired. So, I didn’t mind the fact that we escorted ourselves to a table.
The brick oven is visible when you enter and it is not for display purposes only. It is fully functional.
The resto has interesting vintage pictures of the owner…
…and the Malaga tiles, as well as the tables and chairs are enough to set the mood.
There was a server who gave us the menu and then left thereafter. I didn’t feel disappointed that there was no “Good evening, Sir” or “Happy Valentine’s Day, Sir”. Like what I said, I was aware of the situation. When we were ready to order, we called him and after taking our orders and reconfirming it with us, he informed us that it would take 30-45 minutes for our food to be served. I said, “huh? Why so long?”. I ordered soup, prawns and chicken which didn’t require much time to cook. He replied in an emotionless face and tone “Hindi po ba kayo nasabihan na matatagalan ang pagluto?”. I answered with a surprised look “Hindi po.” – because we escorted ourselves to the table, remember?
Nonetheless, I agreed to wait rather than look for another resto which will require me to spend more minutes. I am FAMISHED already. Besides, I love Toni & Sergio’s food. So, we just engaged ourselves with discussions about life and current events to while away the time. After about 40 minutes, the food started to come…
Truffle Cream Soup – PHP 150.00
I love mushrooms – I really do. I love their earthy flavor especially cremini and shiitake. Of course I didn’t expect this soup to have actual truffles because if it did, then the price wouldn’t be P170. The Truffle Oil made wonders already. The aroma of the soup, the consistency and the texture was absolutely delicious. However, where was the bread mentioned in the menu? I didn’t ask for it anymore. I didn’t want to add stress to Mr. Server.
Cacciucco Soup – PHP 265.00
In their menu, it says “Caciucco”. Anyway, Toni & Sergio’s version of “Cacciucco” is seafood cooked in a slightly spiced tomato soup (not canned). The mussels, prawn, clams and tender young squid were good. The squid was not rubbery – thank God. Again, in the menu, it was suppose to come with slices of bread but there was none. By the way, if the soup looked like it was partially consumed, well, it was. We were so hungry that we forgot to take pictures before we “attacked” the soup….sorry!
Parma Cordon Bleu – PHP 450.00
First, I liked the idea that they used jamon Serrano instead of prosciutto as ingredient for the salty flavor of the sauce. Jamon Serrano really has that strong, distinct and rich salty taste. The chicken fillets were tender. Eaten with rice it was pure pleasure. Molto Delizioso!
Prawns in Garlic – PHP 400.00
For me, food like prawns, should be cooked to highlight their very own flavor and not be overshadowed by the taste of heavy sauces and creams. I love grilled or steamed prawns. I found this very simple dish on Toni & Sergio’s menu and ordered it because it sounded so uncomplicated: prawns sauteed in garlic confit with garlic chips, chorizo and olives. It was really good.
Mr. Server was probably tired. I have been a hotelier for more than 25 years handling departments like Public Relations, Marketing Communications and Customer Service in three 5-Star hotels and one 4-star hotel. Entertaining press people and VIP’s is part of my job. I know what good service is, what an isolated case is and I also know how to be considerate and forgiving. I was too tired and hungry that night and all I wanted to do was to leave Mr. Server alone, and just enjoy the good food of Toni & Sergio.
Now, will we recommend Toni & Sergio to you? But of course we will! ALL of us have our bad days. ALL OF US. Valentine’s Day to us hoteliers are “red light” days which means: high alert status so beware. Still, we at EAT’S a Small World want you to enjoy their delicious food but don’t go on a day where something is being celebrated. This “suggestion” goes for other restaurants and occasions as well. It was my fault that I did not look for the slices of bread so don’t be like me. You may ask for it politely. 🙂
This review is the opinion of the author based on actual experience. The establishment may have changed in terms of ownership, prices, decor, service, food preparation and food presentation after the posting of this review. This is not meant to influence the reader’s decision. Thank you.