PHL franchise of Singaporean restaurant prides itself on serving authentic Italian food

THE RICH texture of Italian food brings comfort to many, and for new Bonifacio Global City (BGC) restaurant Casa Italia, it tries to go all out in presenting authentic Italian food with very little fuss and all of the character.
During its Dec. 10 opening, the restaurant served guests beef lasagna, pizza, chicken cannelloni, fish with a tomato-based sauce, and a roasted chicken with potatoes, studded with spices. Most of the dishes were very filling and tasted familiar, punctuated by piquant notes that professed the dishes to be as closely Italian as possible. Highlights downstairs include long pizza and gelato counters.

Casa Italia is a restaurant concept based in Singapore, with 13 branches there. While its logo says that it has been around since the 1960s, it actually opened in 2010 — but its recipes come from the Italian-born founder’s great-grandmother in Italy, who had once operated a smallgelateria (ice cream shop) said Jay Tan, chief executive officer of Waterwoods Group, which has the Casa Italia franchise in the Philippines.

He said the pizza is made by a fellow who had served pizza to the likes of Madonna and U2. “We’re as authentic as you can get,” said Mr. Tan. Their coffee, he pointed out, is meticulously sourced, using only 100% Arabica beans from Honduras, Guatemala, and Brazil, and nowhere else.

The restaurant in BGC is its first outside Singapore, said Mr. Tan, although it plans to open other branches within the Southeast Asian region. A second branch in the Philippines is being planned in SM North EDSA.

In Singapore, its offerings are limited to gelato and panini, but in the Philippines, it has pasta dishes and main courses. Mr. Tan said that almost all of the ingredients are imported (“98%”), and even the furniture comes from Italy. “The only thing not Italian here is our heart: we’re Filipino,” said Mr. Tan.

Since he prides himself on the authenticity of his Italian restaurant franchise, he was asked how hard it is to find an authentic Italian restaurant in Manila. “Name one,” he answered slyly. “It’s hard. Usually, when you think of authentic Italian food… it’s expensive… I wouldn’t go there on a regular basis.”

Casa Italia’s offerings can start at a little above P100 (gelato) or a little above P200 for the main courses. “I want everyone to say, ‘I’m going to go back here,’” he said. “Ayoko iyong, ‘Ay,pupunta ako doon like once in two months lang kasi ang mahal (I don’t want people saying that they’ll come here once in two months because it’s expensive).” — JLG source:

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