Archive for category Prego

L’Opera Group Launches Prego at City of Dreams

A new brand of Italian cuisine opens. Comes now Prego, from the L’Opera Group, which owns and operates L’opera Ristorante, awarded by the “Ospitalita’ Italiana – Ristoranti Italiani nel Mondo” for its authentic Italian cuisine and Balducci Ristorante.

Located on the second floor of the newly opened City of Dreams, Prego is the only Italian restaurant in the casino complex invited to set up at the site.


PregoChef Paolo Nesi
Chef Paolo Nesi, sommelier and educator, says Prego carries the spirit of the L’Opera group, where “the restaurant is our home, the staff is our family, and the client our guests” but with a more contemporary vibe to suit the clientele of its host.

Here, they also maintain the feel of a L’Opera restaurant, meaning they try to remain approachable and easy.  They try to make everybody feel comfortable.  They maintain the atmosphere of a traditional Italian restaurant, a mom and pop operations kind.

Chef Paolo adds though, “We don’t want to consider our restaurants as part of a chain.  We are different independent restaurants.  But, the link with them is the utmost care on food quality.”

This is the first casino-based restaurant opened by Chef Paolo, who has already introduced 26 restaurants in six different countries, including Bangkok, Thailand and Laos.  The casino’s 24-hour operation was a main consideration in designing the restaurant.

The 290 square meter restaurant has put together different dining experiences. There is a bar area for those who wants some booze.  There is a lounge where guests can go for coffee and dessert.  They also offer sofa seating for families and groups.  Of course, the restaurant’s main feature is its main dining area that serves some of the best Italian cuisine in the country

Chef Paolo adds though that outside seating will soon be available.  This will specially serve the passersby, those who want to have coffee or beer, which something familiar in a piazza or Italian cities.

But, what is certain to draw food lovers to Prego is its food.

“The food here is a younger version of what is served in L’Opera and Balducci. They are more colorful, lighter and not necessarily from Tuscany, but all over Italy.”

Among its bestsellers is the wood fire oven cooked pizza, which is fast becoming the restaurant’s centerpiece.  On this, Chef Paolo says, “I am not scared to say that Prego Pizza is definitely one of the best in the country.”

Prego Pizza serves typical Tuscan style pizzas made with imported wheat flour and semolina.  Prego pizzas are leavened over many hours so the dough that come out are much lighter and easy to digest.  These are also crispy on the outside and soft in the inside.  The crust is also neither thin nor pan.  It is right smack in between.

Guests rave over Pizza Con Burrata E Pachino, which has tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and fresh burrata cheese airflown from Italy.  Burrata is Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream that is flavorful and has a soft texture.

Pizza Con Burrata E Pachino

Chef Paolo also adds that they only use fresh mozzarela, which is different in taste and quality from mozzarela blocks.  “When fresh mozzarela melts, the liquid is white.  The other one melts like oil.”

Another total delight is its seafood palate, the Gran Mistro di Antipasti Mare per Due, which comes with carpacio of octopus with caper sauce on top of urugula; seafood salad made with prawn, mussels, baby clams and squid marinated by olive oil, parsley, white wine and lemon; and fresh salmon marinated with sugar and salt in house for two days, which cooks the salmon.

“This appetizer totally tickles the senses with the sweetness of the prawn, acidity of the sauce, saltiness of the capers, a little bit of smokey-ness, umami of the salmon and a little bit of bitterness of the urugula.  So, you go through all the senses” explains Chef Paolo.

Another dish the restaurant is proud of is the Granchio Fresco alla Veneziana, which is steamed fresh crabmeat Venetian style, flown daily from Roxas City, with fresh lemon cream dressing, served in a crabshell for that fun and colorful look.

Granchio Fresco alla Veneziana

For pasta lovers, Chef Paolo recommends the Maccheroni alla Calabrese, which is macherroni with fresh ricotta, eggplant and pine nuts in tomato sauce.  The pasta is made in Graniano, which is where some of the best pasta in Italy comes from.

Maccheroni alla Calabrese

“They use special wheat and boiling takes 25 minutes.  Once it is cooked, it will never go soft.  Here at Prego, pasta is always al dente” says Chef Paolo.

Aside from their signature dishes, Chef Paolo also gives special mention to their bar creations.  Soon, Prego will also introduce molecular mixology, which is a relatively new concept here in the Philippines.

Molecular mixology uses equipment and techniques that allow greater variety of flavors and different ways of presenting like gels, powders or foams.

To wrap up, Chef Paolo offers this promise.  “Whatever you get is authentic Italian.  We don’t compromise on the recipe.  If we feel some of the recipes do not match the palette of Filipinos, we don’t compromise it.  We don’t change it.  We introduce other recipes.”

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