A Warm Hug in a Bowl
by Mia Recto

If there’s anything that warms the soul like a hug from mom, it’s a bowl of spaghetti bolognese. When I was a kid and would come home from a long day at school, my weariness would fade away the second I saw a steaming bowl full of it on the table. It was what mom would whip up whenever I was hungry, and today it’s my go-to dish when I cook (or order-in) for myself.

One of the amazing things about bolognese is that you can have it any time of the day, and it will always put a smile on your face. Whether it’s a lazy Sunday afternoon sitting under the sun, or a busy weeknight reviewing for midterm finals, it hits the right notes every time.

Bolognese is my reference point to assess whether an Italian (or Italian-inspired) restaurant is good. While there’s nothing quite like mom’s (or mine), there are a number of notable versions around town, and each one is good in their own way depending on the mood and occasion. Here’s my list of the ones worth checking out, along with some suggested bottles of Bombvinos to enjoy with them.

1. For an Easy Meal: Poco Deli

Poco Deli is perfect for those days when you want a hearty bowl of bolognese but don’t want to cook. For the spaghetti bolognese, expect a good amount of al dente noodles with a mouth-watering sauce that was seemingly slow cooked for hours.

Savor this pasta with the No Es Pituko Cabernet Franc — a classic red to pair a classic rendition. The floral notes of the wine bring out the flavors of fresh basil in the sauce.

2. For Date Night: Caruso Ristorante Italiano

Caruso Ristorante Italiano serves classic takes of beloved Italian dishes, and anyone who tries their bolognese will instantly taste the quality of the meat and tomatoes used for the sauce. The rich sauce and perfectly cooked noodles create a symphony of flavor in your mouth. I recall once seeing an entire family order a bowl of bolognese each and thinking to myself, “fair”.

This authentic bolognese would no doubt pair best with an authentic Italian red wine — the Voltumna Querciolo. This earthy and voluptuous Tuscan red with its deep notes of red fruits will do justice to the fresh, high quality ingredients used in the dish.

3. For Sunday Family Day: Va Bene

Va Bene Pasta Deli’s servings are huge, which make it perfect for family meals. They also stand to be the only spot in Manila that makes their pasta in-house. Their bolognese is served with al dente tagliatelle noodles, which makes the dish seem like it was cooked by an Italian Nonna trying to impress her hungry grandkids.

This hearty bolognese would go well with the Konpira Maru Over and Over— an approachable and pleasing red that will match the crowd-pleasing abilities of this dish.

4. For BFF Get Togethers: Prologue, Aruga Rockwell

I might be biased, but the best thing on Prologue’s menu is their Australian Wagyu Beef Bolognese. Everyone I know who eats here in a group orders it for the table because it’s a no-brainer dopamine hit. I suspect the use of Wagyu beef probably has something to do with it.

Hit your pleasure centers even further by pairing this dish with one of our favorite rosés, the Villa Calicantus Chiar’otto Rosato. The brightness of the Italian rosato will cut through the richness of this indulgent bolognese, resetting your palate to take another bite as if it was your first.

5. For Errands Day: Mama Lou’s Italian Kitchen

Mama Lou’s offers the best spaghetti bolognese that you can find almost anywhere. No matter what mall you’re in, you can trust that their version will satisfy your cravings. The meat-sauce-to-noodle ratio is notable, and the taste-to-price ratio is a steal.

An easy-going pasta calls for an equally easy-going red, so pair this with the Roter Mulatschak for juicy and casual good time.

Think we missed anything? Where’s your go-to spaghetti bolognese spot? Show us yours on IG by tagging us @bombvinos.

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