Monday, February 13, 2017

Tavolata Restaurant: Italian Gastronomy in Mandaue City (Cebu)

Tavolata. Italian for "table". Lunch. Getting there was tricky because not a lot of people from central Cebu City would make their way to Mandaue City just for a leisurely lunch. The 4th taxi I flagged finally had an idea, but even his knowledge was sketchy at best. It was like driving from Makati to Las Pinas for a meal. It doesn’t help that Cebu’s traffic has mimicked Manila. 

I hopped in. Told him it’s where I’d meet friends, because having lunch alone in a strange place draws more questions. “Layo ng kainan nyo, sir,” he said, then started talking about a neighbour who got shot by tandem bikers. I refuse to get roped into that conversation. Not right now or I’d get upset. As if that wasn't enough, the Black-Eyed Peas were singing on the radio: "People killing, people dying; children hurt, and then they're cryin'." Pang-asar. Can we change stations please?

Tavolata is the Abaca group’s latest up-market restaurant, serving Italian cuisine. For two years, I’ve had Maya Restaurant (which serves Mexican) in my mind, but is yet to make it there. Same issue: the relative distance from Cebu City. Beqaa, that serves Mediterranean and middle eastern cuisine, is just next door. The restaurant didn’t even have a sign visible in daytime.

I loved the design, which makes use of available light filtering into every crevice of the joint; very energy efficient. In the evening, the interior lighting makes its magic.

At 11 AM, I was the only customer. So I was treated warmly by a chatty waitress. I was tentative at first. I thought of their sea bass putanesca (P900, like Anzani's) or a risotto. Gnocchi pomodoro with gorgonzola walnut (P495) sounded inviting too. Eventually, I got around to ordering Pappardelle pasta that has veal ragu, wild mushrooms and parmesan at P600. Soup for the day was creamy water cress with pancetta at P200. My mind drew blank. My friend Chiqui would have explained to me every single ingredient, the cono girl that she is (and violently refuse the reference). But I’m better with eating than pedantically knowing the nature of the ingredients enumerated in the menu. I am cool with that. 

Tavolata Restaurant is located near Gaisano Country Mall so you'll probably take the AS Fortuna Road to get there. Along the way, you'll pass through Oakridge Business Park in Banilad so you'll know you're close by. Address: 880 AS Fortuna corner Remedio in the Design Center of Cebu Complex in Mandaue City, Cebu. Telephone number (032) 505-6211, It opens at 11:30 AM, closes at 2:30 PM; reopens at 5:30 PM to 10 PM. Taxi from Fuente Osmena will probably take 40 minutes or so, but with traffic, good luck. 

This is the Eye in the Sky!

Pappardelle pasta has veal ragu, wild mushrooms and parmesan.

Creamy water cress soup with pancetta.


Ragu - In Italian cooking, it refers to a sauce typically made with ground meat, onion, tomato puree and red wine, and served with pasta.

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