Life is Good

LOOK: An Authentic Italian Trattoria in the Suburbs of Manila That's Worth the Trip

Matteo Guidicelli and his family-run Da Gianni in Alabang is the perfect place for dinner with family and friends.

Fresh porcini mushrooms flown in from Italy served with homemade tagliatelli. Wet-aged rib-eye steak from Argentina from the grill. Short ribs slow-cooked for eight hours in the oven. Best of all, authentic Italian warmth and conviviality.

We spent a wonderful Sunday night dinner with the Guidicelli family at Da Gianni, their lovely neighborhood restaurant in Alabang.

Matteo Guidicelli, who read out the evening specials and kept our wine glasses filled with Chianti, explained that the restaurant was named after his Nonno Gianni, who relocated from Venice to Cebu to be a doting grandfather after Matteo was born.

Vintage photos of Gianni line the walls of the room, which gives the feel of a family dining room, lit by a chandelier made from bottles of vino.

Gianluca Guidicelli runs the kitchen, preparing the dishes he grew up with as a child in Venice. They bring back happy family memories.

Matteo Guidicelli, Paolo Guidicelli, Gianluca Guidicelli, Glenna Fernan Guidicelli

Pizza is served on a crisp thin crust the Venetian way.

Homemade ravioli is stuffed with burrata, ricotta, and truffle paste and topped with a mushroom cream sauce and Parmigiano.

Risotto caprese with burrata

Homemade tagliatelle with fresh mushrooms flown in from Europe

Short ribs slow-cooked for eight hours

Grass-fed, 21-day wet-aged rib-eye steak from Argentina

Roast turkey marinated overnight in olive oil and garlic


A dessert version of Ferrero Rocher with dense chocolate and crisps

Lemon cheesecake

What Gianluca calls a chocolate nest

A photo of Brigitte Bardot hangs in the washroom. Matteo says his Nonno Gianni always had photos of Bardot in his bathrooms.  

Throw in some Chianti and limoncello, and lots of stories and laughter, and it is the perfect evening at Da Gianni.

Donikko Fernan, Pisha VillaAbrille, Glenna Guidicelli, Gianluca Guidicelli, Nicole Chien, Lea Salonga, GR Rodis, Yvette Fernandez, Rob Chien, Matteo Guidicelli, and Paolo Guidicelli. 

Rob Chien, Paolo Guidicelli, and Matteo Guidicelli.

Nicole Chien, Lea Salonga, and GR Rodis. 

The family-friendly neighborhood restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Life is good.

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Yvette Fernandez
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