Thursday, October 10, 2013

Gotti's: Unassuming, affordable and good Italian food

I have always wanted to write about this restaurant after discovering their Sundried Tomato Pesto. This quaint restaurant tucked inside SM Bicutan has earned its share of patrons even with its limited seating capacity of less than twenty five chairs orbiting their six tables. Quite unassuming too with the absence of checkered tablecloths or bread baskets or Pavarotti piped-in music, a staple in some Italian restaurants, Here there are only plain marble tabletops, plastic chairs and an attentive staff.

You go here for the food. And for me, I go here for their sundried tomato pesto. Because I have turned to healthy eating recently because I wanted to lose some weight before I reach forty next year. Lately, I have begun to appreciate restaurants that are offering vegetarian menus that are not tasteless or vapid because let’s face it losing weight can be an uphill battle so discovering healthy yet tasty food like the ones offered at Gotti’s can aid in the sometimes frustrating quest for that ideal weight whatever that may be J

I have been to Gotti’s a couple of times before but it was only that week after my third day of straight Zumba class that I decided to write a blog post about it since I was going to “reward” myself by getting some carbs for lunch J

I ordered lemonade for drinks and it was refreshing as always. It was not steeped in generous amount of sugar as some lemonade are nor was it the powdered kind. The slight sourness of the lemon was still there tempered well by their thoughtful addition of the right amount of sugar.

Then I had the Bruschetta, my favorite Italian appetizer. The tomatoes were chopped in cubes and topped on bread with slivers of basil and bits of garlic. It was a crunchy delight with the tomatoes having been seasoned well and the bits of garlic giving it a little zing  As always, tomatoes, basil on bread drizzled in olive oil is always a gustatory treat to me.

Then my favorite, their Sundried Tomato Pesto. To think this pasta only had spaghetti noodles, tomato sauce which I assume was made with real stewed tomatoes, plus a smattering of sun-dried tomatoes and slivers of basil. That’s it. Yet, the mélange of flavors flavor despite its simple ingredients is what makes this pasta unforgettable.

You have the spaghetti noodles as base and the thick tomato sauce as top coating, a sauce that isn’t too sour. It is the first flavor that touches your tongue then comes the sundried tomatoes, the rogue ingredient that brings its brand of quirkiness, giving you this tang of sweetness as you bite into it. Meanwhile, the slivers of basil rounds it up by adding a fresh and fragrant quality into the mixture, creating a gustatory masterpiece in your palate. Simple, yes, satisfying, definitely. Their personal order is good enough for two. However, if you like it a lot or really hungry, you can finish the whole plate like I did J There goes my calories burned in Zumba J

It has become my husband’s favorite too after I brought home some on his birthday. He, who loves spaghetti and meatballs or spaghetti with corned beef or spaghetti with sausages or hotdogs. Go figure.

Maybe I’m getting older. The appeal of elaborate pasta toppings is not that appealing to me anymore. Or maybe I’m just being a purist at this age. Loving food with simple ingredients but great flavor. Like appreciating the simple strum of an acoustic guitar versus the shriek of an electric one. Maybe I appreciate the depth of flavors more than the variety of it.

I would have stopped with the pasta but why miss another good thing, maybe there’s something I have yet to discover here. So I asked for the menu and perused it for dessert. A crepe would have been nice but I wanted something I haven’t tried before. Their Tartufo Nero would have been interesting, a gelato made from pure Italian dark chocolate with a brandied cherry core according to the menu but I was a bit full so I opted for the gelato ball and ordered the tiramisu flavor.

I’m glad I did. It was a fitting finale for a satisfying, healthy meal. A touch of coffee in your ice cream, not too creamy nor too saccharine but restrained, like a sophisticated lady at the end of the day, ending the date with a sweet smile.

Sometimes, the unforgettable ones are the most unassuming. Like food. It’s easy to lump Gotti’s as one of the garden variety Italian restaurants around but surprisingly they’re not. There is a careful selection and preparation of the menu, one that makes you think that the owners must really like Italian food. Italian food tweaked to appeal to the Filipino gastronome and made affordable too. I’m glad I ordered their sundried tomato pasta, that unassuming vegetarian pasta on their menu because it was an enjoyable treat after a tiring day J

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