The Armchair Critic

(Pretending to know everything)

4/03/2009

C' Italian Dining

Posted by Lee i.

I had always wanted to write about one of my favorite restaurants but I kept putting it off, mainly because I get cravings whenever I look at the photos I took. Since it's located about two hours from where I live, it's not too easy to satisfy these cravings. I don't have the luxury of pretending I was naglilihi (pregnant with unusual midnight cravings which should be indulged or else...) and I do have to rely on The Artist for transportation. Now, even while he is a fan of Chef Chris, you can't always count on him to indulge my every whim. That's what 11 years of marriage and not naglilihi get you. But today, I am excited to share this restaurant with you because I know that tomorrow my cravings will be more than satisfied.

I still remember exactly when The Artist and I "discovered" C' Italian in Angeles City - January 16, 2005. I had a reunion with high school friends and The Artist and I decided to stay overnight in Clark. We decided to forgo our usual sisig ni Aling Lucing sa riles and eat somewhere smoke-free and air-conditioned for a change. I had read about an exciting new Italian restaurant in Angeles but didn't take note of the name (duh!) I assumed that the hotel where we were staying would know of the restaurant. Unfortunately, the receptionist couldn't even recommend us to a dining venue outside of their own coffee shop (double duh!) So DH and I decided to just cruise along the perimeter of Clark Air Base, hoping to spot the place. Minutes into our ride, we saw the sign "Italian" looming like a beacon in front of us, we just took the chance that it was the right place. Since we were tired and hungry, and The Artist was getting testy, I swear I almost heard a chorus sing, "Allelujah!"

When we walked in, we were immediately struck by the cozy feeling of the interiors. (It was quite small back then, they had since expanded.) The menu offered extensive (and expensive) choices. Now, as you may know, The Artist is quite particular about his pasta. He doesn't like paying for food that he himself could cook quite well at home. Now, since we weren't sure if this was the place I read good reviews about, he was quite hesitant to order - especially when nothing in the menu appealed to him. He finally settled for the seafood pasta, but with very specific instructions to the wait staff for "olive oil and just a hint of tomatoes, etc., etc." He basically ordered something that was not in the menu!

A few minutes later, this not-so-tall foreign looking guy, who could only be the chef, came striding out of the kitchen. I warned The Artist, "Hala ka, hayan na yung chef. Lagot ka!" Chef Chris turned out to be a very friendly fellow. He just wanted to confirm The Artist's instructions for himself. The Artist described what he wanted and Chef Chris got it perfectly. When The Artist tasted his pasta, he had nothing but praises for the Chef. And so that was how we met jovial uber-talented Chef Chris. Every time we visit C, The Artist would order the same dish, still not on the menu, and Chef Chris would know exactly who it was for.

Indeed, the pasta dishes at C are a gustatory delight. But, C has something else to offer that is not found in other restaurants. We didn't have this the first time, but since then, countless visits after (sometimes twice a week), we've tried all the 10 or so versions. Only at C will you find the panizza - a novel way of eating pizza, guaranteed to have you licking your fingers and smacking your lips for more.

How to Eat a Panizza

The panizza is a thin pizza that you eat with fresh arugula leaves and alfalfa sprouts.

Make sure there's enough fresh arugula leaves and alfalfa sprouts for everyone. If you need more, just ask.

Enjoy the anticipation of tasting one of the best pizzas in the world.

It's okay to use your hands. Go ahead, do it.

Cut a long strip and top it with fresh arugula.

Roll it...

Roll it...

It may look like lumpia to you, but wait 'til you taste it.

Tastes like heaven. Enjoy!

I am getting too hungry now to think of words to describe the C dining experience so I will just let my photos do the talking.

Freshly-baked breads to chew on while waiting for your meal.

My favorite appetizer - slabs of deep-fried mozarella with lots of
mushrooms and fresh tomatoes.

A healthy plate of salad is always a good idea.

His favorite: Seafood Pasta Ali Oli. C' Italian does not scrimp on
ingredients
so you definitely get fresh sea food that tastes like the sea.

Pasta with artichoke hearts

Their risotto is good enough for two persons. You can ask them to
split the servings which we did here.

Love that pesto dip and iced tea to chase it down.

If you don't want the iced tea, they have a fine selection of wines.

Four years already, and we still keep going back, each time discovering something new and confirming to ourselves that the last meal we had at C was not just a gastronomic dream.

Sometime in November, Chef Chris "took a break" and I don't know it it was psychological or the quality was affected, but I swear, the panizza didn't taste the same. We were ecstatic that after two weeks we received a text message from Chef Chris saying that he was back. So will we! Because when you eat at C, you will really hear heavenly voices singing, "Hallelujah!"

C' Italian Fine Italian Dining
1210 Don Juico Avenue
Angeles City
Open daily 11:30 am - 12 midnight
For reservations: (045) 892-4059

7 comments:

Mei Ann Guerrero said...

Hi Lee,

I'm reading this entry at 8:30 AM while drinking my tea and a piece of banana (diet kuno)! The pictures look so yummy and the way you decribe the panizza ... oh my, I can't wait for lunch! Well, there goes my diet again. Cheers!

Alby said...

Lee, C Italian is definitely in my list of fave restaurants too. :D And the Panizza! Heavenly! Everything I've tried there, so far, has been very satisfying. Too bad it's 2 hours away. Otherwise, we'll probably be eating there more often.

bjay said...

I'd go back in a heartbeat. thanks for introducing c'italian to me :)

Anonymous said...

hi... if you love the panizza of C' Italian so much, you may try focaccia's version of it at a.venue mall along makati avenue... you'll deffinitely love it too... not to mention that its very light on the wallet :)... pizza ranges from 260 to 380pesos... and the pastas are so yummy too... ;)

jotan23 said...

Focaccia in A.Venue Makati is also serving Panizzas :)
http://jotan23.blogspot.com/2010/01/focaccia-italian-restaurant-slice-of.html

Anonymous said...

Hi, we tried C and the panizza was really yummy! Super yummy! We ordered the steak medium but it came quite well done and dry though.

I don't know but when my titas went to C, the chef yelled at them to "go, go, go away" because it was full. That isn't so nice right?

Still, the panizza is yum-o to the max. Just maybe, the chef isn't all that great.

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