Contrary to my past Boracay visits where I normally fill up the entire day with non-stop resto-hopping, this time I had all my meals at Don Vito Ristorante Italiano, the in-house restarant of Boracay Mandarin Island Hotel, which gave me a very pleasant experience that I believe deserves an entire blog post on its own.
Let me share with you a short food journal of my recent Boracay trip:
Day 1 - Lunch
As soon as we got to the island of Boracay and proceeded to Boracay Mandarin Island Hotel to check-in, lunch was ready for us. We sat at the outside seating where we got a good view of the beach and the people passing by. Don't you just love people-watching on such a lazy, sunshine-y day? :)
Our meal began with the Papaya Shrimp Boat (Php. 350) which reminds me of our Chinese Shrimp Salad. The only difference is this one is not overly coated in cream making it a lighter alternative and the mix of papaya balls made this dish very refreshing. I love the plump juicy shrimps too!
Our appetizer was followed by two types of salads. The Caesar Salad (Php. 300) seems to be everyone's favorite as it had a generous serving of chicken strips and croutons on top of a bed of crisp lettuce with their homemade caesar dressing.
I, on the other hand, enjoyed the Chef Salad (Php. 275). A simple salad that consists of garden greens, swiss cheese, sweet ham, carrots, cucumbers, sliced boiled eggs and a saucer of Thousand Island at the side. It's a salad that can be easily made at home but why go through the hassle when you can enjoy it here at Don Vito?
I love pasta thus I was excited to try the two out of three pasta dishes available for lunch that day. First was the Linguini-Carbonara (Php. 320) which was a plate of al dente egg noodle pasta tossed in their special garlic and shallots cream sauce and topped with double smoked bacon, green onions and lots of cheese. This is something kids will definitely enjoy as I remember my younger cousins ordering carbonara at any chance they get. I guess they just love anything creamy and sweet. :)
Paul and I had to skip the Spaghetti with Meatballs as we sadly are abstaining from beef at the moment. Meanwhile, the third pasta came last but I was still able to try a small portion of it. Fettucini Don Vito (Php. 330), the only pasta dish that's named after the restaurant, is a mix of sun-dried tomatoes, sliced mushrooms, and chicken breast. The sauce is actually a combination of tomato and cream which is great for those who can't decide which type of pasta sauce to get. I'm definitely going back to Don Vito for this!
Together with our pasta dish, we also had three types of pizza that day. Talk about carbo-overload! Then again, I highly suggest that you throw your diet out of the window while in Boracay. There's just so much food to enjoy in this island!
Our three pizza were a good mix to appease the meat-lovers, vegetarians and seafood fans in the group. The Don Vito's Special (Php. 430 / Php. 350) was the house specialty and was filled with a wide-array of cold cuts and meats. I wasn't able to try this but according to Paul it was really good and the flavor was well-balanced. Not too sour nor too salty or sweet.
The reason why I wasn't able to try the first pizza was because I was so happy munching on the Giardinera (Php. 410/ Php. 330). Don Vito's very own vegetarian pizza with grilled eggplant, asparagus, bell pepper, zucchini, onions and tomatoes as toppings. Who would have thought that veggies and taste this good. It was, in fact, the tastiest pizza I've had among the
The last pizza was the Islander's Pizza (Php. 435 / Php. 350). Paul's favorite as he loves anything with pineapples. This is their version of the regular Hawaiian Pizza made special with shrimps, a mix of mozzarella and romano cheese, basil leaves and oregano. Yummy!
What a feast we had for our first meal! This made me all the more excited for the succeeding meals that we'll have by Don Vito. To cap off our delicious lunch, we each had two scoops of our chosen gelato. Don Vito is actually known of their gelato as kids and their family would walk all the way to the restaurant to buy some gelato before heading out to the beach. I chose Ferrero which had a very strong hazelnut taste exactly how my favorite Ferrero Rocher chocolate tastes like.
Day 1 - Dinner
After enjoying our massage treatment at Mandarin Spa, we headed to the Ambassador's Suite where a special dinner set-up was waiting for us.
It's amazing that the hotel can actually arrange special dinners or help you hold small parties in your hotel room and the food can actually be catered by Don Vito Ristorante Italiano! Talk about feeling right at home in Boracay.
This was a more formal setting compared to our lunch earlier that day. Our meal began with a couple of freshly baked breads made by the Chef of Don Vito. I love the cheese roll which is a soft fluffy bread filled with...cheese!
The soup served to my companions was Boracay Island Harvest Chowder (Php. 100) but since I can't take certain shellfish and corn, I had to sit out on this one and the owner was kind enough to offer me any other soup on the menu. I went for the Cream of Mushroom (Php. 80) which was good and creamy. Indeed, I finished my soup down to the last drop.
For starters, the rest of the group enjoyed their Rock Oyster Supremo (Php. 250) which Paul said was fresh and well-baked with cheese and herbs.
I, on the other hand, had a head start on the Shrimp Cocktail (Php. 250), which had those juicy plump shrimps similar to our lunch appetizer earlier. Imagine around 13 chilled and crisp shrimps carefully lined up around a cocktail glass that holds the special marinara dipping sauce. It was dee-li-cious!!! I can probably have one whole order for myself! :) Definitely a must-try when dining at Don Vito Ristorante Italiano!
For our main dish, we had the Parmesan Crusted Sword Fish (Php. 295) which was also good. Tender fish fillet baked with parmesan crusted top. I love the crunchy topping as it gave a good contrast to the soft and tender fish underneath.
The highlight of the evening though was the Jumpo Prawns Neptune (Php. 450) where we each got one HUGE piece each. I've always been eyeing those jumbo prawns everytime I'm in Boracay but I've never gotten the chance to try them. Imagine how excited I was when I saw that it was part of our menu that evening. Delicious prawn meat sauteed in butter, shallot and young coconut shredded and encased back into the original prawn shell. It was a feast not only for our eyes but definitely for our taste buds too. I loved this so much that I found myself craving for it days after my wonderful Boracay trip.
For dessert, we had the Tiramisu ala Don Vito (Php. 150). I noticed that they really like adding their name into their specialty dishes. I normally do not like tiramisu but I couldn't pass up the change to enjoy this pretty coffee dessert while joking around with my companions. It wasn't too bitter as this was my common complain with mediocre Tiramisus out there. Instead, I enjoyed the sponge-like cake soak in sweet, bold flavor coffee and covered in lady finger cookies.
Day 2 - Breakfast
If there's one meal that I always look forward to when traveling then it would definitely be breakfast. I really love breakfast buffets! This actually shapes my impression of the hotel that we're living in. In my past visits, I haven't been satisfied with the breakfast meals prepared in other resorts. In fact, I always end up heading over to Real Coffee which I think serves one of the best omelets in the island.
Waking up just in time for breakfast, Paul, Richard and I headed down to Don Vito where the rest of the group were already having their second of third rounds on the buffet table. What I initially noticed though was that the chafing dishes were well-replenished. Impressive!
They have a mix of Filipino and Western breakfast options. Of course I tried the Potato Gratin, the Pancit Bihon (rice noodles), some garlic rice and ham on my first round. Yes, I know...carbo-loading again. :p I love the Potato Gratin, I actually went back to get more on my 2nd round.
While enjoying our breakfast, the server asked me if I'd like to order anything from the Egg Station. It was only then that I realized that located near the Pizza-making area is the Egg Station. Here, they can prepare all types of egg dish depending on your preference. I went for the omelet with everything inside.
I also was able to try the Arroz Caldo (Filipino congee) which was delicious too.
Don Vito Ristorante Italiano accepts walk-ins and for only Php. 350 per head, you get to partake in this delicious breakfast feast! I'm definitely having my daily breakfast in Boracay here at Don Vito!
Day 2 - Lunch: Our LAST meal :(
After spending some leisure time at the pool and fixing our luggage to prepare for our check-out, Paul and I, once again were the last to arrive at our lunch table. It was a good thing that the group just had their salad and appetizer and we can still catch up as the main dishes were about to be served.
For our appetizer, we had Mozzarella Sticks which were yummy. Our first main dish was the Grilled Island Herb Chicken (Php. 295) which was a juicy piece of boneless chicken specially marinated with a mix of thyme, basil and tarragon. It's served with their homemade mushroom gravy sauce and a mix of veggies.
Another main dish was the Il Wahoo Lemon (Php. 295). It's grilled tanigue fish served with lemon butter sauce. Meloy and I loved the lemon butter sauce that I didn't just drizzle this over the fish but over our steamed veggies too! Yum!
For dessert, we had the Spiced Pineapple which was an interesting creation of sweet baked pineapple with spices and topped with creamy creme brulee. To be honest, I was a bit hesitant to try this but after hearing raves all around the table, I took a deep breath and dug in. I love how well the pineapple complements the sweet creme brulee. Needless to say, my plate was sparkling clean in just a few minutes.
It was definitely the shortest Boracay trip that I've had but one of the most relaxing and gastronomically satisfying. I enjoyed every single meal at Don Vito and this is actually one of the many reasons that will make me go back to Boracay Mandarin Island Hotel on my next visit.
*photo credits: Paul Ang
Boracay Mandarin Island Hotel is located at Station 2, Beachfront, Balabag, Boracay Island, Aklan, Philippines. Contact them at +632 5675672 / +632 5671750 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Like their Official Facebook Page!