After about 2 years telling everybody who he is, the Pasta King finally opened the doors of a restaurant in Dumaguete City. I went there with my family to try if I can get real Italian kitchen in Dumaguete. Well, it was the first try and all I can say, it has not a lot to do with Italian kitchen. If Italian kitchen would taste like that, it would certainly NOT be very famous in the world. However, we are in a restaurant in Dumaguete and one needs to reduce the expectations quite a lot.
What is the Pasta King
I am not sure what the designer of the restaurant had in mind. Pasta King comes across like a kind of good canteen. An open kitchen with a lot of pre-cooked stuff in stainless steel trays, some cakes and ice-cream in a display-cooler and a lot of pictures of Hollywood Starts in mega-size on the wall. All of them dead…
One just can hope that the food of the Pasta King was not the reason for their passing.
Well, all together not much Italian there, including the waitresses in bright yellow T-shirts… obviously an old tradition I missed in my 2 years I working and traveling all over Italy. However, they were very friendly and we were seated and handed over the menu.
Menu of Pasta King
For an Italian place, the menu is a bit small and the dish-verity quite limited. However, we ordered 5 different dishes for 2 kids and 2 adults. Risotto, Finger Licking Chicken, BBQ baby ribs, Italian Burger, Spaghetti.
Our experience at Pasta King
While there was no really bad tasting dish (other than the Tiramisu), there was also none we would return for.
The Spaghetti Bolognese which my boy had was OK but under seasoned, which was a trademark of all dishes we ordered.
The Risotto was too dry, but OK as side dish with 4 small slices of “Italian” sausage, which were fine, but tasted like that standard stuff one can buy as an “Italian Sausage” made in the Philippines at the local Supermarket. Knowing the price of them, the 4 thin slices and a cup of rice were not overly exciting. As a side dish “Yes” as risotto “NO”.
BBQ Ribs were small and quite tasteless. Without the BBQ sauce, it could have been anything, we could not make out any distinctive taste of the ribs.
The Finger Licking Chicken were also bland, but I figured out where the name comes from. I had two tiny pieces of chicken with a Quadzillion of bones. So after you have a bite, you need to put your fingers in the mouth and search for all that tiny bones. That might look for the Pasta King like Finger Licking, but it is certainly just trying to get all that little bones that one does not swallow them. (you need to click on the picture to magnify it and find the 2 tiny chicken pieces).
The Italian Burger patty was pretty delicious and nothing to complain about. Here I talk about the patty itself. Wonderful crispy, the outside and super juicy inside, perfect seasoned, good size, a real delight. Here the influence of the Pasta King’s German partner who made a career in the US with his burger restaurants is clearly to tastes.
Side dishes were 3 times exactly the same, where the BBQ sauce won’t make it to the top 5 BBQ sauces in Dumaguete on my list and as you can see on the picture it was very oily. The potatoes were too raw. Our waitress tried to explain that this is Italian style, well it isn’t, they were raw in the center, which has nothing to do with blanched or “al dente”.
All 5 main dishes had that cut spring onions sprinkled over it which I consider a bit monotonous considering the wonderful variety typical for Italian kitchen. All 5 main dishes were on the bland side.
We ordered additional tiramisu and a cake for desert. The tiramisu was an insult to the name itself. There was no fluffiness to it at all, I tiny sweet blotch of sweetness way too solid with biscuits around it. However, consistency, taste, presentation a total fail.
The cake was really good, perfect consistency moist not too sweet icing, probably the highlight of the meal with the burger patty. I wonder if it was actually made by Pasta King or bought from one of the shops in Dumaguete.
Summary of our Pasta King visit
Pasta King in Dumaguete has a more the feeling of a canteen in an airport than an Italian restaurant. Food was OK with a lot of room for improvement, staff friendly and attentive. Interesting that my family’s favorites (cake and burger patty) are obviously not made under the influence of the Italian owner.
Prices are basically OK, if some improvement direction Italian freshness and originality , herbs and presentation happens. After the first visit it is not much more than standard-canteen food. It surely will be popular with some of the locals as they are attracted by people claiming they are celebrities and the lacking experience will drag them into the place. But let’s be honest, to take the sugar and sweetness out of a sauce and don’t cook everything to death makes a different taste to the local dishes, but does not make it Italian kitchen by any means.
Quite some people I talked to, which are familiar with Italian food from their own experience, are rather disappointed as of now, but most will give it a second try.
Same here… It is definitely worth a second try. I understand that it needs a little bit to get things run smoothly. As of now, I would call it Pasta OJT (On Job Training) with potential towards Pasta Prince… Pasta King might be a title old and outdated like the pictures of dead people on the wall.
no garlic bread was a huge disappointment with no relief in sight….my third visit and the beer still not properly cold[no one listening]…..food ok having chosen carefully…the serving staff were the highlight…prices kinda acceptable….
Been there done that,
I agree, not bad for the Philippines, but original Italian as a Rolex in Uni Tops. That Italian guy Adriadico (spelling) is ridiculous.
I won’t go there when he is around, a total pathetic creature!
The writer has a reputation trashing restaurants in Dumaguete. He is not credible.
to Joe Peters: I did not try the bread, but heard about it’s “fame”
to Terry Pilciano: hard words, not that I disagree, though
Seems I am not the only one who thinks Pasta OJT is nothing special…. of course he might impress some locals and Americans who would not find Italy on a map, but talk like they have any idea about italian food.
Isn’t it funny that you never see him cooking for the dead people on his posters, but only standing like a fan next to all that people? Also funny that his “self-written” wikipedia site disappeared. same as the sub-page from his website where is stated that he did some cooking in american supermarkets. Or do you mean the few faked entries on wedding-organizer and caterer websites.
He did nothing the last 40 years (and probably in his entire life) which is half-way impressive, his cooking is certainly not… and now he is in Dumaguete and hopes the locals believe all that faked stories… good for him. I wish him nothing bad, but Italian Kitchen ??? …
to Glenn, you hit the nail on the head and confirm my paragraph about locals and knowledge about Italian food.I believe actually that he is not cheap for that kind of food he serves and the ingredients he uses, but I guess I need to look more after my money than you.
to Johnson: wasn’t that noisy when we were there, but it was afternoon and not really full. I fully agree with the canteen (as you can read above) and the tiny chicken full of bones. I am actually glad you confirmed my observation, (see picture above with that tiny 2 pieces and 75% of it bones and micro-bones).
However and again, his concept works and it is a nice addition to the options in Dumaguete, that still does not change my opinion about guys telling faked stories and pretenders trying to sell food as something it simply isn’t…
My experience with Pasta King is very different from what you cited. I don’t know, but I just find their food really addicting! I love their fettuccine con polo–nothing like it! And their juices are terrific, serving is very generous—I’ll keep going back to Pasta King not only because of its scrumptious food but also because the prices are very customer-friendly.
I guess you are typical local Pinoy and have not much of a clue about Italian food.
You get cheap precooked stuff simmering in the pots for hours.
Taking average local pasta without sweetness combine it with that pathetic Italian guy and you have Pasta King as a result.
Buy the 10 peso more expensive pasta at local supermarkets and don’t use the sweet local sauce, some fresh herbs and your result outranks that guy by far.
My girlfriend had the burgersteak last time, and yes it was really good, maybe best in town.
As of pricing, they are ok for what they serve. maybe a few peso too high.
At the end of the day a OK addition Dumaguete but nothing special and surely not much original Italian.
i was quiet excited when a friend told us that there will b italian reataurant gonna open soon wich is he pasta king,but very disapointed after we try it,the spaghetti was too sour i think its just full of tomatoes and its also salty that after i ate it i need to drink more than a half liter of water,also my daughter order a finger licking chicken and they serve her a 2 very tiny pieces of chicken and when she start eating it she complain that its full of tiny bones and when i check it its realy no flesh but all bones,and its quiet dangerous to eat,even for adults,so what more with kids,the ribs not much taste and also dnt look like ribs coz its all big bones.
The restaurant also sound like a market,i think thats the noisiest restaurant we been in dumaguete,our daughter have to cover her ears coz shes getting irritated with the noise,so do we.Icant recomend it as a place to eat,its just like a big canteen or fastfood that they just preaheating the sauce or pasta,theres a lot of improvement for this PASTA KING
sounds like somebody doesn’t want a new guy in town to me…. Andreino’s food RULES!!!
100% agree. I was there a couple of days ago and being one of the locals that do not really know my Italian food I was still kinda insulted when I learned that there catch phrase is “NO MORE SWEET PASTA OR SPAGHETTI IN DUMAGUETE”. I mean is it really that sweet? I admit that I kinda liked the food maybe because it was different from what I was used to and I am typically open minded when it comes to food and how our cultural differences in taste affects our food. But, I’m an avid watcher of Discovery’s TLC and I started thinking about Italian cooking shows I’ve seen and I’m pretty sure if I had tasted those dishes I’ve seen on TV it would not have been as sour as Pasta King’s . And sure enough “Kitchen Boss” came on TV… so here’s my chance to see how the Italian Boss cooks his spaghetti with “Maranara Sauce” (the same sauce I had with my pasta at pasta king) as opposed to the Pasta “King” himself. Sure enough the Italian Boss used SUGAR just about the same amount that I would use if I was cooking spaghetti myself. Now what does that say about the pasta king’s sour pasta? Oh and I recalled stories I’ve heard and read about Filipinos who become successful Italian Chefs because of the similarities in taste. So I agree about Pasta OJT but Pasta “King”? Definitely NOT.
The Italian is definitely annoying; ar McD anyway. So why would I want sit in his business? I haven’t.
He reminds me of that tv show where the Hell’s Kitchen guy goes in to save a failing restaurant, and first thing he does is get rid of someone in the front that is killing business.
A friend who knows the owner of the building PK is in very well, said he doubts PK will last another year.
The owner of the building told me he already has inquiry about renting their after PK is out of business.