July 24, 2012

Il Piccino Trattoria & Gastronomia- A Secret Romantic Date Place in San Juan

Il Piccino is a hidden restaurant tucked in the heart of San Juan that gives personal dining experience to its customers and guests. 

If you are not familiar with the place, you wouldn't even thought that there's a hidden gem inside this ancestral home of Chef Natalia Moran

Looking for the perfect date place that creates an intimate and romantic mood? Then Il Piccino is the  perfect setting for you and your special someone.

Dining is by-reservation only so it is advisable to call at least one day ahead. They are open for dinner during Fridays and Saturdays but can also accommodate reservation any day of the week as long as a group reservation of 6-20 persons is made. 

After our reservation, they sent us their set menus for the month so we could choose which set we would like to have. 

Their set menu could also be found on their Facebook Page.

To sample a variety of their menu selections, we decided to choose two different sets from their menu. 
We chose Il Menu Calabria (P1008) and Il Menu Siena (P896).

Upon entering the place, you will be warmly welcomed by someone in chef's jacket as she leads you to your seats.

Christmas lights illuminate the place while several plants gave a relaxing and enchanting vibe of an alfresco dining experience. 

Complimentary warm bread with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Parmesan cheese were initially served on the table while waiting for our courses to start. 

Small dividers were placed in between tables to create a quiet ambiance that is conducive to private conversations. I guess it helped to prevent overhearing conversations across the tables in the area.

Our pre-ordered food started to arrive and we were served with the courses one by one. Our server was very attentive all throughout the night as she sees to it that we were finished with the present course before she brings out the succeeding dish.

Pate di Fegato on Bruschetta (Il Menu Siena)

For appetizers we had two pieces of liver paté with tomatoes and onions on bruschetta. The paté was very rich and creamy that goes well with the soft bread underneath. I would prefer if the bread would be a bit toasted though. 

Insalata Mista Mediterraneo (Il Menu Calabria)

For the other appetizer, it was a Mediterranean mixed salad in vinaigrette dressing consisting of tomatoes, romaine lettuce, onions, mango cubes, alfafa sprouts, capers, olives, cheese and ground candied nuts. 

Beef Tortellini Ravioli (Ravioli of the Day) (Il Menu Siena)

The next course for Il Menu Siena is Il Piccino's Ravioli of the Day- Beef Tortellini Ravioli. A specialty of the chef that could also be bought in Connie's Kitchen in New Manila and Echomarket in Serendra.

The ravioli was very satisfying and filling at the same time. Each pasta was stuffed with pure ground beef and paired with a savory tomato-based sauce with mixed herbs and spices.

Risotto Funghi Con Tartufo (Il Menu Calabria)

As for Il Menu Cambria, we were served with Mushroom Risotto with Truffle. I love this dish! You can actually smell the truffle coupled with the earthy taste of the shiitake mushrooms. The risotto was very creamy and cooked to al dente. It wasn't too mushy and still had a resistance to the bite at the center.

Fish Fillet ala Cacciatore (Il Menu Calabria)

An additional item for the Il Menu Calabria is the Fish Fillet ala Cacciatore-tender and flaky fish fillet with tomato salsa sauce topped with alfafa sprouts. This was so good I wish I could have more of it!

Melon Granita (Il Menu Calabria)

This Melon Granita is also part of the Il Menu Calabria. A great palate cleanser that is icy and refreshing  to the taste buds. The granita is coarser than the usual sorbet but we love it just the same. 

Australian Lamb Chops (Off the Grill) (Il Menu Siena)

Our Off the Grill main course for Il Siena is this huge rack of Australian Lamb Chop in Rosemary gravy with roasted vegetables and Parmesan whipped potatoes. 

This order was so worth the price of the menu. The lamb was not gamey at all and the meat was tender with just the right amount of fat to keep it moist and juicy.

Ordering the lamb chops for off the grill choices in Il Picinno is highly recommended. I would definitely order this again on our next visit.

Chicken Schnitzel w/ Pan Gravy, Parmesan Whipped Potatoes and Roasted Vegetables

Main course for Il Menu Calabria is a choice between Pork or Chicken Schnitzel. We got the latter since we both love chicken and I guess it was the healthier choice. Also served with Parmesan whipped potatoes and roasted veggies, the chicken fillet was breaded and fried to perfection with just a little amount of gravy.

Although there's nothing really special about the chicken schnitzel, I love the crispy breading outside with the chicken fillet being tender and juicy inside.  

After all the dishes that we've tried, we still managed to save room for dessert. 

Our desserts were supposed to be Profiteroles with Chocolate Sauce and Spicy Chocolate Trifle but due to certain reasons, we were ask to choose among Mango Panna Cotta, Tiramisu and Fried Struffoli.

We decided to opt for Tiramisu and Mango Panna Cotta


In visiting Il Piccino, getting their Tiramisu is a must! I love the soft layers of chilled tiramisu dusted with cocoa powder on top. It was not too sweet and the layers were moist and creamy. 

Mango Panna Cotta

The Mango Panna Cota was on the other hand creamy, rich and milky. I found this a little milky sweet for my liking but the fresh slices of mangoes helped to bring out a fruity and pleasant taste.

The place is quite hard to find if you don't have the exact address as it doesn't have any signboard outside.

Here's a photo of the gate that hides the quaint and cozy restaurant where you will be dining. 

Il Piccino is definitely a place for the perfect date night of casual talks or intimate conversations. Even family gatherings are most welcome to be held at this quaint ancestral home, with prior reservation of course. Chef Natalia's dishes and creations are truly satisfying and worth the prices of their menu. Surely this won't be out last visit at Il Piccino.

Il Piccino Trattoria
162 Alfonso XIII Street,
San Juan City
For reservations: 964-8034, 0917-829-1900