23 October 2006

the casanova that failed to live up to his name

I had heard some buzz about the Gran Caffe Casanova Ristorante Italiano, which promised fine dining under the stars and a breathtaking view of the metropolis. It sounded lovely enough, so I jumped at the chance for al fresco dining at a spot that wasn't as crowded and noisy as most restaurants.

The disappointment started to sink in the moment I got there. The pictures I had seen of the restaurant showed what looked like a small, romantic garden with a charming little fountain. Apparently. that picture was the best part -- the rest of the garden was just an area enclosed and separated from the Starbucks next door by some potted plants with christmas lights.

There was no one waiting at the entrance to seat customers, so we wandered into the restaurant and stood awkwardly in the middle before a waiter took notice. He then proceeded to hand us worn-out menus with water stains on them. The choices looked impressive enough, offering freshly-made pasta and pizza dough, although it was a bit on the expensive side at PhP350 up for the dishes. Perhaps the poor service and shabby menus would be redeemed by the food.

We ordered pasta (I forgot which, since the first two I ordered were not available and I finally had to settle for what the waiter recommended) and the Quattro Stagioni pizza, which combines four of their pizzas in one. The pasta is okay, although I've tasted better. The pizza disappointed me completely -- the crust was slightly rubbery and suspiciously tasted like the frozen pizza crusts you can buy from supermarkets, and there were so few toppings I might as well have ordered a plain cheese pizza.

Call me fussy, but there really was nothing fine dining about the place except for the price. Even the table setting -- for a self-proclaimed fine dining place -- was a fork, a knife, and a single paper towel. Mas madami pang tissue sa Jollibee. I guess I would have been more forgiving if they hadn't actually promised "fine dining under the stars" on those tacky paper placemats -- they aimed for the stars, but fell short of expectations.

If you're up for real Italian cuisine, there are so many places that serve waaaaaay better pastas and pizzas at waaaaaay lower prices. Greenwich Pizza, for example. (Okay, I'm being mean here. :P I'm just pissed I had to pay PhP600.00 for a lousy dinner.)

*The Gran Caffè Casanova Ristorante Italiano is located at The Clubhouse, Corinthian Hills, Temple Drive, Quezon City. Open from 11 am – 12 midnight (Monday-Sunday). (632) 638-2989 / 632- 7617