JUST 45-minutes away from Summit Tacloban sits an Italian restaurant atop a hill with a gorgeous view of the San Juanico Bridge.
Pasqualino’s is Cathy Anover-Bonavitacola and her Italian-American husband, Joseph’s second restaurant after Giuseppe’s, the 26-year-old Tacloban haunt famed for its handmade pasta and wood-fired brick oven pizza.
Pasqualino’s is open four days a week (Tuesday to Friday) and can seat 200 people. Because of its location in Santa Rita, Samar, one has to take a private car uphill towards the Roman-style restaurant with white walls, a pool, and various Italian sculptures.
“We opened a few months after (typhoon) Yolanda and we thought we weren’t going to recover,” Ms. Anover-Bonavitacola told reporters over dinner.
She said that the supertyphoon, which devastated much of Eastern Visayas in 2013, brought them “back to zero” as they had no insurance. But rebuild they did and she said that she thinks the province — Tacloban, in particular — came back stronger than before Yolanda hit.
“The storm put us on the map,” she said.
Pasqualino’s, named after her son, Pasqual (much like Giuseppe’s was named after her other son) offers Italian dishes, from antipasto like Antipasto Italiano (P1,000) which comes with homemade flatbread, Italian deli meats and cheeses, to pizzas like salami and cheese (P400).
For dinner, Ms. Anover-Bonavitacola served the media a sampler of their pasta Amatriciana (new menu item) and pasta with prosciutto and porcini mushroom (P595) and a combination of their meat and seafood platters (each at P1,300).
The pasta Amatriciana — well-balanced and hearty dish — features a tomato-based sauce with guanciale (pig’s jowl) and Parmesan cheese. The pasta with prosciutto and porcini mushroom had a cream-based sauce and fusilli pasta. While both dishes featured well-seasoned sauces, the star is undoubtedly the pasta itself as it’s cooked, perfectly al dente, and is said to be freshly made from Giuseppe’s. — Zsarlene B. Chua