We arrived at the The District at a little past 12:30pm, much earlier than what we had expected. Nevertheless, as you can imagine, after our land, sea and air trip, we were absolutely famished. We were extremely disappointed because Air Asia's in-flight meals weren't applicable to the Kalibo flight, because it was just around an hour. Rina and I deliberately didn't eat breakfast in anticipation for our meal in the sky, and instead we ended up with a small bag of peanuts.
When we arrived, Naomi of The District Boracay informed us that we had a meal waiting for us at Carsuso Ristorante Italiano as soon as we settled in our room.
Just what I was looking for.. An authentic Italian meal to fill up my empty stomach!!
Caruso is the charming Italian restaurant that is housed within the walls of The District Boracay. During the daytime, customers are confined within the minimalist, yet elegant area located at the ground floor of the hotel, but during the evenings, the crowd spills out on to the beach, where you may enjoy your authentic Italian meal by the beautiful shores of Boracay.
If the name Caruso sounds familiar (and not because you were a fan of CIS: Miami), it's because there's a Caruso Ristorante Italiano along Reposo street in Makati.
Caruso is the brainchild of Mr. Dario Gardini, an Italian national that brought the flavors of his home land to the Philippines. Mr. Gardini's vision for bringing an authentic Italian dining experience to our shores included flying in the necessary ingredients from Italy when needed.
As soon as we walked in, the aroma of the different food being brought our got our tummies rumbling.. even Baby Rain was ready for action!!
We started off by snacking on their free bread they give out to start the meal.. I'm not sure what it was, but I believe it was focaccia? I was happy to hear that the bread was baked in house as well. It was soft, with the inside still warm, and a great way to keep the hunger pangs at bay.
We kicked off the real meal with the Rotolino di Funghi Porcini Dell' Ossola (P430). Porcini Mushrooms, in a rich, cream sauce, stuffed into a crepe then breaded, and fried to a golden crisp. There was a tasty earthiness to the Porcini that melded harmoniously with the cream sauce, making this an absolute winner.
Afterwards, they brought out a combination of their Margherita and Calabrese Pizza. The Margherita (Medium 10' P320 Large 16' P460), seems simple at first glance, but the rich flavors of Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil shined brightly. Laid out on perfectly baked, crisp crust.
The Calabrese (Medium 10' P360 Large 16' P550) over more of the same italian classic goodness, but with a little bit of a kick. Fresh Tomato sauce, Mozzarella, olives, and bell peppers formed a delicious base for this pizza, while slices of spicy salami adds gentle touches of heat that magnificently balances out the flavors.
Glancing at the menu and seeing the extensive selection of pasta dishes to choose from, I felt I would go inside I were made to choose just one. Thankfully, I didn't have to, as Caruso decided to bring out a sampler platter of some of their favorites. Thankfully, they remembered that I couldn't eat dishes heavy on the tomato, as all the dishes they brought out were creamed based.. just the way I like it hehe...
Let me begin by telling you that Caruso's pasta itself is absolutely delicious. Regardless of the type of pasta you order, you can be rest assured that you'll be enjoying handmade pasta noodles, cooked to a perfect al dente.
I began by digging into the Homemade Garganelli in Porcini Mushroom Sauce (P420). This had a similar flavor to the earlier Rotolino di Funghi Porcini Dell' Ossola that I had for my starters. The delectable Porcini Mushrooms bathed in its cream sauce worked beautifully with the pasta itself.
The next one we tried was the Tagliatelle with Truffle cream and Parma Ham, which turned out to be the favorite among the sampler. I tend to lean towards pasta cream sauces that give off subtle, yet pronounced flavors, as opposed to the explosive flavors of tomato. This one was the epitome of just that. The truffle cream hit all the right notes on my taste buds, as if knowing when to assert its flavors, and instinctively knowing when to pull back, leaving your palate with no choice but to demand for another forkful.
The pasta was then blanketed by a thin slice of Parma ham, and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese, offering a sharpness to work perfectly with the cream sauce.
Rina's favorite among the pasta dishes, was the Ravioloni with Spinach, Ricotta, Cheese, Butter and Sage (P420). Ever since we visited Mama Lou's and she got a taste of their Ravioli Epinard, Rina has been looking for a ravioli dish that could wow her the same way. Which is why she was happy to discover Caruso's Raviolini. The wrap itself was clearly glazed in a butter sauce with an infusion of sage for a little fragrance. When sliced open, the hand made raviolini revealed that it was packed with a generous helping of a Spinach-Ricotta mixture.
MAIN COURSE - MEAT
Though the pastas can be heavy enough to serve as your main course, you should nonetheless not miss out on Caruso's Entrees, namely the Scallopine D Vitello in Salsa Di limone (P690). This was thin slices of incredibly tender Veal, bathed in a thin lemon sauce that accentuated the natural flavors of the meat. No joke.. the veal simply melted in your mouth with every bite, and the acid from the lemon sauce complimented it beautifully. Heavy eaters might not be satisfied with the portions, but if coupled with a pasta, it should be just right.
Caruso also makes their own Gelato (P190). Rina loved their Chocolate flavor, as it had touches of dark chocolate, mixed with just the right amount of sweetness.
I was extremely intrigued when I saw Caruso's Panna Cotta (P250) in the menu, and even more so when it was placed in front of me. With its amber hue and drizzling of caramel, it seemed closer to a leche flan or Tocino Del Cielo than it did Panna Cotta.
But frankly, after one bite, I decided that they could call it anything they wanted and I wouldn't care.. It was absolutely delicious. The Panna Cotta itself had a delicate smoothness that seemed devoid of any bubbles within it. The milky creaminess and caramel sauce was a harmonious fusion of flavors, and the toasted nuts sprinkled on top was a nice touch.
Even Baby Rain Loved the Gelato.. Meaning more Panna Cotta for me!
If you're looking for an authentic Italian dining experience at the Island of Boracay, one would be hard pressed to find a place better than Caruso Ristorante Italiano. Definitely one of the must visit restaurants when enjoying a stay at the island paradise, especially at THE DISTRICT BORACAY!