The Charm of Trattoria Poggio Antico

Hidden down the far end of the Tuscany food strip in McKinley Hill is Trattoria Poggio Antico, a charming restaurant serving authentic Tuscan cuisine. From the outside you can see wine bottles doubling as decors, red and white table cloths, and matching centerpieces -- the cheery colors inviting you in. I am inescapably drawn towards Italian places with a rustic appeal like Bellini’s and Balducci -- so naturally I had to yank my friends by the hair to convince them to eat here.

The chef’s bliss was painted all over his face when we entered—it was as if we were the first customers for the day. Actually, I had a strong feeling we indeed were. Trattoria Poggio Antico is located at the farthest end of the street—if you’re coming from the Venice Piazza—so it doesn’t surprise me that not many people know that such a restaurant even exists. Fortunately I love walking around and checking out new places, so I stumbled upon Poggio Antico.

We settled down and, as usual, whenever I’m in an Italian resto, I couldn’t decide what to order. I did see the word “tartufo” from the menu, and if Popeye is to Spinach, then Pepe is to tartufo (or truffle). I let my friends pick other pasta dishes and asked the server for his pizza recommendation; he ended up suggesting four flavors so we decided to get them all, LOL!

To start, we were served some complimentary focaccia bread with tomato salsa and pesto dips. It came in a cute little basket alongside several bread sticks, similar to Bellini’s but softer and crumbly.

(Digression: I'd like to think my photos aren't normally this bad, but when we dined in Trattoria Poggio Antico, all I had was my camera phone. My deepest apologies to the crappy quality of the pictures.)

While waiting for our food, the server brought down our red wine, a Fuente del Ritmo Tempranillo which the chef recommended when we asked for a reasonably priced but good wine. My friends don’t like wine too much, so imagine my elation when I realized I could drink half the bottle!

A few minutes later, our pasta dishes arrived. First up: the Spaghetti alla Bolognese. This classic Italian dish is so simple yet certain to delight any pasta lover. Poggio Antico’s version, albeit delicious, is unremarkable. I don’t know how to transform something this meek and modest into a grandiosity, but once in a while you encounter something so good and you just know, you simply know.

Spaghetti alla Bolognese, P240
Raising the bar a notch higher was the Spaghetti alla Pescatora: an assortment of seafood tossed into a bed of spaghetti in tomato sauce. Shrimps, clams, and squids rendered the slightly spicy dish an interesting flavor. On the other hand, tomato-and-basil devotees like me would definitely love the Penne al Pomodoro Fresco con Basilico. It’s basically penne pasta with a sauce comprised of cherry tomatoes and fresh basil—margherita pizza in noodle form. I have yet to see a bigger tomato-and-basil addict like me!

Spaghetti all Pescatora, P280
Penne al Pomodoro Fresco con Basilico, P220
The truffle pasta came last, and, as if to say “save the best for last”, Poggio Antico’s Tagliatelle con Prosicutto e Tartufo totally blew us away. To be fair, I have actually never met a truffle dish I didn’t like, but Poggio Antico’s execution rivaled everything else I have tried—aggressively, keen on winning the top spot! And while it wasn’t able to steal the prize from Bellini’s, Poggio Antico is a tough contender—in fact, for me, a second placer.

Tagliatelle con Prosciutto e Tartufo, P420
In Trattoria Poggio Antico, they make sure your pizzas are freshly baked, so we were allowed to order two whole pizzas composed of four different flavors. Needless to say, the Margherita wasn’t missed, and this variant certainly delivered all the classic Italian goodness I was craving for. The Quattro Formaggi didn’t fall behind, with its stunning medley of parmesan, gorgonzola, ricotta, and mozzarella. I loved the Salmone pizza, a simple pie topped with smoked salmon and arugula. My least favorite was the Arrabiatta, a pizza made with pomodoro sauce and Italian sausage, but come to think of it, even this one was so good!

Margherita, P190 (half) and Quattro Formaggi, P275 (half)
I loved the thin, crispy crust of their pizzas, which were also not too oily. They made you feel like eating a slice more than your usual limit, without that bloated feeling.

Salmone, P205 (half) and Arrabbiata, P240 (half)
Sadly, we never tried a single dessert. We were all so delighted with the carbo-load we just had that we immediately asked for the bill after gulping down our last drops of wine. The good thing is, I work within the vicinity, so I’m already devising a devious plan to drag people over there again. Trattoria Poggio Antico was a pleasure to visit and I can’t wait to go back to sample more.

Trattoria Poggio Antico
Tuscany Estates, Upper McKinley Road, McKinley Hill, Taguig City
(02) 551-1962
Budget: PhP300-500/head
Menu: Click here

Where is your go-to place for authentic Italian food?

pepe samson

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