L'Incontro Ristorante Italiano

Mediterranean cravings
By Earl D.C. Bracamonte

Since its inception, L'Incontro Ristorante Italiano has been an expression of the Italian spirit coming together in different styles and experiences. Located in a quaint neighborhood along Makati's Bel Air 2 district, the intimate dining place is far from boxed mall spaces and the all too familiar “rooms with chairs” interior décor that we often see in most food outlets. Visually welcoming, L'Incontro offers casual table settings with an elegant air of warmth and lightheartedness without projecting a stiff and formal feel to it.
You'd easily get the feeling that this is one dining place that people would enjoy coming back to. Their new expanded menu is likewise a creative presentation that seamlessly combines traditional principles with insightful culinary adventure; inspired by the diverse history of the Italian cuisine throughout its various regions.
The new and spruced-up L'Incontro Ristorante Italiano is a passion project of Tina Pamintuan. Having bought the restaurant in March of last year from its Italian owner, she fashioned the decade-old familiar spot with fresh ideas and classic concepts.
“We aim to educate by recreating an environment inspired by the Italian dining table experience so you can re-live how Italians enjoy their food and drink. Our sampling menu and pairings of choice wine and craft beers invite serious and casual tasting events. Our selections promise to be unintimidating and fun to experience. We bring to the table classic and modern dishes and how these have evolved from the many family kitchens to restaurants around the world. What you get is straight-forward food, excellent flavors, quality ingredients, select wine at reasonable prices, personalized service and always progessing to discover new ways to serve our diners better,” shared the lovely restaurateur.
Start your gastronomic journey with Peach Bellini as aperitif. Usually enjoyed as an appetizer before a large meal, you may also opt for other kinds like Campari, Cinzano, Aperol, Spritz or Vermouth. And while waiting for your first course, pass around plates of Asparagus straws with pomodoro picante, a dip from blended tomato, basil and onion; as well as Dolce gnocchi gorgonzola, that's white potato with gorgonzola sauce.
For antipasto, try their Caprese salad with Italian prosecco and savor the Feta cheese sandwiched in tomatoes and basil with balsamic vinaigrette. For 'primo' or first course, check out their Crespella with tartufo sauce, a delectably prepared truffle sauce. This dish goes well with Kendell Jackson Camelot Chardonnay, a special cuvee (Vino Spumante Brut) from California's 2005 season.
For 'secondo' or main course, take your pick from either fish or red meat. There's the Seabass al sale that's simply cooked in rock salt yet tastes divine. Steak lovers would delight in their hearty plate of Beef tagliata con rucola and porcini mushroom sauce, a prime-grade US tenderloin that's sourced locally and served with crepe smothered in mozzarella and mushroom sauce. Both dishes meld perfectly with the red vintage Carmenere Cabernet Reserva.
For 'contorno' or side dish, sample their plate combo of arugula salad, onion gratin and rosemary potatoes. And for first dessert of 'Formaggio e fruitta' or cheese & fruits, savor their medley of Caramelizeed Brie, Parmigiano Reggiano and cheese log, the latter a pate of local cheeses. This pairs very well with Spain's Natalie Sweet Syrah, a 2007 sweet wine variety.
And as an alternative to your coffee and dessert, I suggest you go for their Affugato, an espresso with hazelnut gelato and Amareto. It's a swell way to close your meal with the melding of cold and hot fluids.
And to finally cap your meal, their Limoncello is tops as digestif. But you may also opt for other digestives as grappa or sambuca.
“We also take pride in our carefully selected private dining staff who are highly accomplished in their own craft. You can depend on them to enhance your dining experience with their food knowledge and expertise,” Tina added.
L'Incontro has, through the years, proven to be truly a meeting place for the rustic and epicure alike; especially with those having proclivities with concoctions from the Mediterranean. Experience the difference yourselves.
Diners can simply call their reservations through tel. nos. 899-0638; 899-0642 and/or 899-0634. You may also send an email at Lincontromanila@gmail.com or browse their Web site www.Lincontro.ph for more information.

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