Long before the Don Bosco Salesians sold it, we have been dropping by for their yummy and affordable gelato 🍦and pasta 🍝dishes. Simply called “Amici”, it was more like your neighborhood cafeteria. You get your tray, line up, and point to the dish you like. The “turo turo” concept was not lost in this cafeteria then run and managed by the Salesian priests. You can order a bowl of sinigang 🍵or dinuguan to share with a friend, or try the Italian “longganiza” or sausages, or the roast chicken. My favorite then was their roast turkey. Oh yes, they had turkey! Whenever I needed my turkey fix, I get it here without having to buy the whole bird.
From a simple neighborhood cafeteria, they started selling gelato, then pasta, then pizza. Thanks to the Italian priest managing the place in the early days, my Italian favorites couldn’t be more Italian! The cafeteria set-up meant diners get their own utensils, glasses and pitchers of water. One also orders soda by the liter, to share among friends around the table. The condiments section even included chili flakes, olive oil and Parmesan cheese ….. but not for long.
Delish. Not pricey. Where else can you order authentic gelato for P35 a scoop? Or pizza for P240? My favorite aglio olio was then selling for only P115 a plate with ample dollops of Parmesan flakes. You bet more diners came. The lines grew longer. The diners extended beyond the pack of noontime mass goers in the nearby Don Bosco Church. ⛪The gelato line up counted more flavors. More cakes 🍰adorned the display cabinets.
The Salesians may have been surprised about Amici’s instant success. And running a dining place is truly not within their mission. Sold to the same group which used to own Red Ribbon, the place is now called Cara Mia. But to “old timers” like me, it would still be Amici. The place has since abandoned the cafeteria set-up, introduced more Italain dishes, AND UPPED THE PRICES. That’s the sad part. My gelato is now double the original price. And the pasta and pizza now sell for at least 50% more. Service is far better though. And the place is dolled up and looks much neater. They even have branches too. Plus you can phone in your orders for home delivery.
After being away for some time, I longed for comfort food and found many here. In fact, I dropped in twice in 3 days and ordered the same stuff. Creatures of habit? Perhaps. but judging by the new desserts line-up, I’m sure to pick up new favorites ☺
Amici or Cara Mia is right within the Don Bosco compound near the Church. Entrance via Arnaiz Road (Pasay Road) near the corner of Chino Roces (Pasong Tamo Street). You can park behind the dining place by entering the gate to the Don Bosco Printing Press (between Amici and the gate to the church) or you can park at Waltermart at the corner and just walk to Amici. There is a branch in Ayala Triangle but I much prefer this original place 😊