CONGRATULATIONS TO KAREN ANG! You won the P2000 GC to Aria Cucina Manila! Aria Cucina Italiana

I’ve been planning to go 3 for 3 for my Boracay/Labor Day tradition, but since I’m planning on doing a little bit more traveling this year, and people’s schedules don’t seem to click, the closest I’m going to get to my Boracay tradition is a visit at Aria Cucina Italia, newly opened at Bonifacio High Street Extension.

Aria Cucina Italiana opened its sliding doors in D’Mall in Boracay, and now, after several years, they decided to open up shop in Manila. Good for us foodies looking for a new Italian restaurant to try that is both chic and relaxed at the same time. The interiors are bright and airy, save for the indigenous looking artwork on the walls.

I love the Kenneth Cobonpue woven paper divider, which gives a sense of division from one dining area to another while keeping the openness intact.

I noticed while eating that the temperature at the restaurant was a bit on the tepid side, probably due to the wood-burning oven where they cook their infamous pizzas. I’m sure if they can fix that with a little bit of clear-glass to insulate the heat within the kitchen.

Gran Misto Aria

A vegetarian mix of tomatoes and mozzarella cheese, grilled bell pepper salad, eggplant mash. and deep fried zucchini, served with focaccia bread.

The grilled bell pepper salad was light and grilled beautifully, the eggplant mash was a bit bland. Plus, I’m slightly allergic to eggplant, so I didn’t really care for it. Why I still try it is beyond me.

The tomatoes & mozzarella was refreshing, but would have preferred riper tomatoes as it was a bit tasteless. I wish the mozzarella slices were fresh and not the cured versions.

But my favorite antipasto was the deep fried zucchini, which was smokey and had a tinge of anchovy brininess to it. This was the best of the lot.

Rotolino Marchigiano

Aria’s wood-fire oven baked pizza, stuffed with tomato sauce, mushrooms ham and mozzarella, and rolled for dexterity’s sake. What an ingenious and handy way to get the best of everything. I love the gooey texture from the cheese, which reminds me of a Hot Pocket. Kids would absolutely enjoy this dish.

Insalata Cocomero, Rucola e Pinoli

A refreshingly light salad of organic arugula, fresh watermelon, feta cheese and pine nuts in a balsamic vinaigrette dressing. It looks very sparse, but the flavors are bright and robust. The pine nuts lends a creamy compliment to the feta cheese, while the watermelon’s sweetness bring’s the vinaigrette’s flavors to a light balance. This is a perfect salad if you plan to have a heavy primi and secondi plate.

Spaghetti Marinara

A favorite seafood pasta of the Mediterranean coast. Mussels, shrimp, clams and squid in a classic tomato sauce.

Pizza al Metro

No meal is complete in Aria without some of their pizza coming out of their wood-burning oven. If you’re a large party, the Pizza al Metro is a great way to try a variety of their pizza combinations.

Hawaiiana

Normally, I think Hawaiian pizzas are a joke, but something about Aria’s version appealed to me. I think it’s the fresh pineapple chunks that did it for me.

Capricciosa

Artichokes, ham, olives and fresh tomatoes. If the ham were prosciutto crudo, it would have tasted just like Naumachia’s in Rome.

Rucola e Pinoli

For those that want a lighter pizza, the arugula and pine nuts make this pizza a fresher option.

Risotto con Porcini, Mantecato al Mascarpone

Risotto with porcini mushrooms, whipped with mascarpone and aged Parmesan cheese. The arborio is cooked to a perfect al dente, and the porcini flavors make this meatless risotto robust and meaty in its own rite. Add extra Parmesan for an extra kick.

Salmone al Pepe Verde

Fresh salmon fillet served with creamy green pepper sauce. Let me tell you, even if the salmon was slightly cooked, the sauce did it for me. The SAUCE! Wow! It was succinct, peppery and bursting with flavor. Although salmon is already a rich and fatty fish, the richness of the pepper sauce just highlighted the beautiful layers of fat on the salmon. Must order!

Gamberoni all Greca

A popular Greek dish of prawns, sauteed in an aromatic tomato salsa, feta cheese, and herbs. Ok, if the salmon’s pepper sauce earned a WOW with our table, the prawn’s aromatic tomato salsa earned a ‘slow clap’. Aromatic, indeed. Bursting with bright flavors of tomatoes and herbs, the sauce could have been part of a pasta dish. All that was missing was some fresh linguine. ToT’s favorite flavors from Aria by far.

Zuppa Inglese

A classic layered Italian dessert with a hint of alchermes and garnished with savoiardi. For those that want a bit of liquer with their dessert, this light pudding dessert is for you.

But if you want to go all out, as you already did all throughout the meal, I’d recommend the Chocolate Mousse. White and milk chocolate mousses layered with crushed hazelnuts and topped with cocoa powder.

Take my word for it when I tell you to leave room for dessert.

Aria Cucina in Boracay is known for pizzas and people-watching. You can transport back to the islands with their laid-back location and sharing-encouraged dishes. This time, no need for shaky flights to Boracay, you can now enjoy Aria in Manila.

Aria Cucina Italiana Manila

Unit NEUG 205, East Superblock,

30th St cor 7th St., Bonifacio High Street Central

Bonifacio Global City

Follow them on Twitter and Facebook

I can’t wait for ToT-ers to try out Aria Cucina themselves, so I’m giving away a P2000 E-Gift Certificate for Aria Cucina Italiana to one lucky (and obedient) commenter!

*PLEASE READ CAREFULLY*

Only followers of Trip or Treats are eligible to win.  Hit “” in that cute little box over on the right hand side menu.

1. You MUST  like the Trip Or Treats and Aria Cucina Facebook Page (if posting this on FB)
2. Comment on this post with your complete name and email address. (Remember to be a follower!)
3. Copy this link: http://wp.me/p20k2c-YJ
4. You can get up to FOUR  chances to win by including any or all (why not!?) of the following on your comment. Each link/tweet/FB/blog is equal to one entry!
  • Copy the link above and paste it on your FB page  as a link saying: “I want to win P2000 GC to @Aria Cucina Italiana from @Trip or Treats ” MAKE SURE you tag Trip or Treats (@Triportreats) and Aria (@ariacucinaitaliana),  add the link http://wp.me/p20k2c-YJ as a link in YOUR STATUS MESSAGE. Make your post public and  Paste the FB permalink on your comment.
  • Post this Goodie Giveaway link on your blog (Blogspot, Multiply, WordPress, Tumblr, site, personal), Or “Link to this post” at the bottom of this page, and include the link to your site on your comment! Each post is a chance to win!
  • Tweet “I want to win the P2000 GC to @AriaCucina #GoodieGiveaway from @triportreats http://wp.me/p20k2c-YJ” and make sure you follow me on Twitter, as well as Aria’s Twitter, then paste the tweet link on your comment.
Comments will be accepted til February 26, 2012, and I will post the winner in the comment form as well as inform winner via email on the 27th of February. I will also email the  winner so make sure the email address you post is valid. Only Philippine Residents are eligible to join.
Ready. Set COMMENT!