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Daniele's Casa Mia: Authentic Italian Cuisine

Updated on April 17, 2014
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Mona writes a column for Enrich Magazine which is distributed in five countries. She is interested in learning as she writes.

The cover of the Feb. 2014 issue of Cook Magazine. My article was featured here and in Business Mirror.
The cover of the Feb. 2014 issue of Cook Magazine. My article was featured here and in Business Mirror. | Source

First page of my article in Cook

Cook Magazine
Cook Magazine | Source

My original article was published in Cook Magazine, as well as in Business Mirror. The latter has an online version, so I can't feature my original article here. However, I can use my photos and can also write a totally different piece, which is what I'm doing now.

Here's the cover of the Feb. issue of Cook, where my article was featured.

Ties to the Philippines

Daniele's mother was a Filipina. She was the first wife of his father, Roberto Bellini, who runs two restaurants, one in Cubao and another in Marikina. Daniele's mother died in 1984, when he was 16 years old.

Daniele's first job was as a paparazzo in Italy. He started when he was 13, and he learned the trade from his father. His father was very proud of the fact that Daniele could take good quality photos. At the same time, Daniele was very resourceful as a paparazzo and broke many scoops, including the first story about Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman's adopted children.

My column is called Southern Bell, and I review restaurants in the south, which is my part of town.
My column is called Southern Bell, and I review restaurants in the south, which is my part of town. | Source

Visits to The Philippines

Daniele grew up in Italy, but he visited the Philippines twice before he and his father settled down here. Both times, Daniele and his father were on assignment to photograph the late President Cory Aquino.

In the Philippines his father fell in love with another Filipina who was then working in Malacanang (The Philippine's White House). He married her and this led to the Bellinis' digging their roots in this country. Daniele has a Filipina fiancee.

L-R Danniele Bellini, the writer, and her husband Ed Gonzalez
L-R Danniele Bellini, the writer, and her husband Ed Gonzalez | Source

A Classy Version of the Filipino Jeepney

The interiors of Daniele's Casa Mia remind me of a classy version of the Filipino jeepney. In the photo above, there is this lovely depiction of the leaning tower of Pisa, which is Daniele's hometown. To the right you will see samples of his photos as a paparazzo.

I asked my husband to hide my big arms with his hand. I think he did a pretty good job of it, but there is still the issue of my fat thighs that are pushing my leggings to its fullest width possible. Life.

Collisseum ruins in Italy
Collisseum ruins in Italy | Source
For obvious reasons, included here is a painting of  paparazzi.
For obvious reasons, included here is a painting of paparazzi. | Source

Food We Recommend

I would highly recommend the ff. dishes from Daniele Casa Mia:

gnocchi, four cheese
gnocchi, four cheese | Source

My favorite pasta is the four cheese gnocchi. It is definitely a five star meal, and it is very filling. You will truly have no regrets if you order this.

How do you like your spaghetti?

See results
Pizza
Pizza | Source

Pizza

We tried the ham and cheese pizza and the four cheese pizza. In general, I really prefer the pizzas to the pastas (except for the delicious gnocchi, and my daughter gave high marks for the ravioli).

If you order the biggest pizza it can fill up four tummies and you may have to take home what is left of it. An alternative is to get two medium pizzas which are equivalent to the big pizza. Casa Mia serves 75 different pizzas and they often ask you if you want it tweaked in any way. The pizzas are made over a wood burning stove, and the restaurant makes its own dough and pasta.

tomato soup
tomato soup | Source

I am a soup nazi. Most soups are pretty predictable and not outstanding, mainly because, I suppose, they are supposed to just be appetizers for the main meal. However, I look for outstanding soup. It is very, very hard to find a resto in the Philippines that serves tomato soup. it's even harder to find GOOD tomato soup in the Philippines. But Daniele Casa Mia has excellent tomato soup. i love soup that leaves a lingering taste long after you've had it. That is what the tomato soup is like at Casa Mia.

Four cheese pizza. Fabulous.
Four cheese pizza. Fabulous. | Source
Ravioli
Ravioli | Source

My daughter and her Italian boyfriend rated the ravioli as a five-star dish. Luca, my daughter's boyfriend, is a pizza chef in a restaurant in Australia and a great cook as well. I guess Italians recognize the real deal when they taste it.

Direk Sockie Fernandez makes a toast with her red wine.
Direk Sockie Fernandez makes a toast with her red wine. | Source

When I review a restaurant, I always make sure that I pay my own bill and go there a number of times before asking for an interview. During the interview I don't mind the owner treating me to some of their food, because it is a chance to see what the resto owner recommends. I actually went to Daniele Casa Mia four times before interviewing him. He has a solid menu, and I'm recommending the dishes that I or a trusted friend or relative personally tried and loved.

My friend, Sockie Fernandez is a director of commercials. She has also done indie films, one of which qualified as an exhibition at the Cannes Film Festival, and another won an award at an Australian Children's Film Festival. We tried the red wine and it is truly delicious and highly recommended. It goes well with the pizza.

Port wine
Port wine | Source

Afterwards, you can expect a free taste of their home made port wine. I noticed that the alcohol content varies depending on what you order. Because we had wine, the alcohol content was low. But at another time, when I went with my sisters, daughter and nephews, the alcohol content was higher, I guess because we hadn't ordered wine that day.

I highly recommend their pate which goes with their own, home made bread. You really must try it. It is a very delicious and a rather filling appetizer. I have yet to try their truffles, but definitely I plan to go back there for it.

Wood fire oven
Wood fire oven | Source

Since Daniele is a paparazzo, I handed him my mickey mouse camera and asked if he'd like to shoot the oven for the article. He actually directed the shot as well as took it, telling the waitress how to pose and choosing the angle he wanted to shoot from. The food is made over a wood burning oven.

Daniele and his staff.
Daniele and his staff. | Source
My article in Cook Mag
My article in Cook Mag | Source
Entrance to Daniele Casa Mia
Entrance to Daniele Casa Mia | Source

Gossip runs rampant in my part of town. I had heard from a neighbor that President Aquino has gone to Daniele's restaurant. So, I asked Daniele if the rumor was true, and he said, "Yes." He said that PNoy came with a large group of people.

I asked Daniele if he paparazzied him, and Daniele laughed and said, "No, no."

Son of the Father

Daniele's Casa Mia is the third Bellini restaurant (the other two are located in Cubao and Marikina), and the first restaurant to be situated in the South. It is very much like the first Bellini that father and son opened in Cubao. Here is a video of that first restaurant, which was featured on local television.

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    • grand old lady profile image
      Author

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 2 years ago from Philippines

      We seem to have the same taste in food, Vespawoolf. If you ever get here, call me so I can treat you to Danielle:).

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 2 years ago from Peru, South America

      If I´m ever in the Philippines, I will definitely try Casa Mia! I like the sounds of the 4 cheese gnocchi, the pizza and the delicious tomato soup. Thank you for sharing your experience!

    • grand old lady profile image
      Author

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 2 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Olog! If you're in our part of town you should really go here. The food is terrific and the prices are friendly. And truly, it is like a slice of Italy.

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

      This story is interesting. It looks like a little slice of Italy in the Philippines.

    • grand old lady profile image
      Author

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 2 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you Lady Fiddler, and I hope you had a good sleep!

    • LadyFiddler profile image

      Joanna Chandler 2 years ago from On planet Earth

      Good night grand old lady , interesting hub and lovely pics to illustrate your writing.

      Thanks for sharing ;)

    • grand old lady profile image
      Author

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 3 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you Suzanne Day. What I love about Hub pages is that I can use all my photos. When the article comes out in a magazine only a few photos can be used. Also, I get to add more personal information that wasn't used in the article. Maybe because it feels more like I am with family here in Hub pages.

    • Suzanne Day profile image

      Suzanne Day 3 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      I think the ravioli looks pretty good and this hub is making me hungry for Italian food! I enjoyed your review and I like that you've already been published and saw fit to share the information online with us. Voted interesting.

    • grand old lady profile image
      Author

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 3 years ago from Philippines

      Alexadry, if there were a way to send you a virtual, REAL gnocchi from Daniele I would. It would be so worth the experience of tasting it.

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 3 years ago from USA

      A nice read and congrats for being published! I am of Italian descent and miss Italian food, and those dishes look so good! I so badly want a dish of gnocchi now. Voted up!

    • grand old lady profile image
      Author

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 3 years ago from Philippines

      Wow, that's a take two and very encouraging, Eddy. Thank you!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      Mmm a definite for me to vote up and share.

      Great work.

      Eddy.

    • grand old lady profile image
      Author

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 3 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you Flourish Anyway:). I think what you would like most is that it's cheap if you are earning in dollars. For two pizzas, (so big we took home half of both pizzas), a glass of wine each (for my friend and I) plus the free port we paid about P1,300 pesos, equal to about 30 dollars. You should consider visiting the Philippines. You would feel like a millionaire here.

      Ms Dora, Thank you. I wish there were a way to send you a pizza through Hub Pages.

      DDE, Thanks for your kind words. Wish we could taste food from pictures, the way it was possible in Harry Potter. Maybe someday:).

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Fantastic photos and so beautifully presented. The food look so good and a great achievement.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thank you for introducing Daniele, his home and his cuisine. It's like paying him visit. All that's left is to taste the food. Thank you.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Congratulations on your article being published. This review made me wish Casa Mia was local so I could try it!

    • grand old lady profile image
      Author

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 3 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you Billybuc, well, Daniele is famous but I personally love Hub Pages because I get to meet people like you who are the real deal. You are a great writer and you overflow with wisdom and true principles and ethics in writing. So I truly enjoy the pearls of meditation that come from from moments with Bill. They are quiet and meaningful, thoughtful moments.

      Thank you Faith Reaper. I love your hubs, too, especially your DIY hubs and gardening hubs. I have to read lots more from you because maybe if I do, I will finally win the elusive Green Thumb.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Great restaurant review! The food looks amazing and delicious, especially the pizzas. I love Italian, but authentic Italian is amazing!!!

      Thank you for sharing your experience at Daniele's Casa Mia. Congrats on your article being published in Cook magazine.

      Up and more, pinning and tweeting

      Blessings,

      Faith Reaper

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well bravo my friend. Well done getting published and a fine review it is. I love knowing famous people. :)

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