Dining

Celebrity Chef Salvatore Cuomo Opens Second Manila Restaurant

The new café is the exclusive home to Cuomo’s famous handcrafted pan pizza, a variation not found at the more formal restaurant.
IMAGE KAI HUANG
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Japanese-Italian chef Salvatore Cuomo opens his second restaurant in the Philippines, this time at The Podium.

A celebrity chef with a collection of Italian dining concepts in and around Asia, including Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Shanghai, and Manila, Cuomo takes great joy in bringing his happy place to the Philippines, where his family is now based. Having worked all over Asia and Europe, he believes Filipinos and Italians have intertwined cultures and share the same palate.

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Chef Salvatore Cuomo
Photo by KAI HUANG.

The first Salvatore Cuomo Restaurant and Bar opened three years ago in Bonifacio Global City. A more casual establishment than its predecessor, the new Salvatore Cuomo Café at The Podium is a simpler all-day dining option that manages to serve a full range of starters, pastas, and specialty entrees.

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Photo by KAI HUANG.

As in all of his restaurants, the authentic Neapolitan pizza is the café’s signature dish, baked on site in wood fire brick ovens. The new café will also be the exclusive home to Cuomo’s famous handcrafted pan pizza, a variation not found at the more formal restaurant.

The handsome and comfortable dining room designed by the Milan-based Tomaso Piantini is a high-ceilinged space adorned with textures from natural elements of brick and wood, and highlighted with lush greenery throughout. The warm and stylish atmosphere is a contrast to the bright and busy shopping center the cafe inhabits and offers a welcoming respite for its diners.

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Inside the new Salvatore Cuomo Cafe.
Photo by KAI HUANG.

The menu is straightforward and easy to navigate. While any of the Neapolitan pizzas are an excellent choice, our vote is cast for the four cheese pizza drizzled with honey. The salsiccia, or Italian sausage, mushroom, and smoked cheese pizza would be a close second. From the special pan pizza selection, the clear winner is the affumicato pan pizza topped with smoked sausage, chicken and ribs, mozzarella and grana padano cheese, and onion leeks.

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Photo by KAI HUANG.

Photo by KAI HUANG.

Other must-orders on the menu include the fried arancini made with rice, provolone, and tomato sauce, fried zeppole dough served “taokyaki style” with octopus, bonito flakes, and mayonnaise, a hearty  and cheesy eggplant parmigiana (also available on the pan pizza), and a fresh and flavorful tri-color tomato salad tossed with onions and walnuts  that is dressed in olive oil and doused with balsamic vinegar.

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Tomato salad tossed with onions and walnuts dressed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Photo by KAI HUANG.

Eggplant Parmigiana
Photo by KAI HUANG.

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Appetizer sampler platter.
Photo by KAI HUANG.

The pasta offerings are varied and plentiful. The spaghetti with Italian sausage, spinach, white wine, and pecorino cheese is a favorite as is the special baked lasagna.

Spaghetti with Italian sausage, spinach, white wine, and pecorino cheese.
Photo by KAI HUANG.

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The classic lasagna.
Photo by KAI HUANG.

Raw vegetables with Bagna Cauda
Photo by KAI HUANG.

Cuomo has also worked on a few meat dishes exclusive to the café. A familiar porchetta is sliced thinly and served with roasted vegetables. The succulent sous vide pork ribs on the bone are finger-licking good and are accompanied by buttered potatoes. Desserts, such as the house tiramisu, a Sicilian cannoli, and zuppa inglese, can be enjoyed all-day at the in-house Italian coffee bar. 

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Pork ribs on the bone served with buttered potatoes
Photo by KAI HUANG.

Porchetta served with roasted vegetables.
Photo by KAI HUANG.

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House tiramisu and Zuppa Inglese
Photo by KAI HUANG.

Sicilian cannoli.
Photo by KAI HUANG.

Salvatore Cuomo Café will be open from 7 a.m. all the way into the late evening and will cater to the area’s evening supper crowd. Ground floor, the Poidum Mall, Julia Vargas Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig

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Alicia Colby Sy
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