April 3, 2008

Great food. But the experience? Not worth it!

I was a fan of Amici from the moment I was introduced to the place. For me the idea of a school cafeteria run by Italian priests who cook very good pasta was very charming. Hmm, I think I had an image of a bunch of Friar Tucks (who looked like the ones in the Disney cartoon) tossing dough to make pizza or rolling fine strips to make spaghetti. So when I heard the restaurant was purchased by Red Ribbon I knew major changes were going to happen. Of course how can a big fast food chain resist not sucking out the charm and commercializing a brother? It was only a matter of time before Amici was going to be another Sbarro (ugh) or Chef D'Angelo (eww). And after eating in the Morato branch last month, I think I'm almost right.

Amici in Morato looks like a fast food restaurant and feels like one but it doesn't promise fast food service. Imagine entering into a McDonalds outlet and discovering that it has suddenly become semi self-service. I don't know what the management was thinking but the charm and experience of a school cafeteria setting certainly does not translate into bright plastic lights, supposedly nice furnishings and a service crew with uniform. I can sum up my first 20 mins there in one word: CHAOS! Disorganized tables and chairs blocking the freezer for ice and shelf for glasses, patrons fighting for utensils and plates, very unclear queuing system, out-of-stock items on the menu...it was pretty bad. Pretty awful for first time patrons too because there are no instructions on how to place orders and if you're not familiar with the set-up, you'll think you've entered a very expensive carenderia.

If its a consolation, the food still tastes great though. But the ambiance makes you forget you're supposed to be eating something tasty. Obviously this is one place I do not recommend. If you must, eat at the original Don Bosco branch. But better hurry. It won't be long before they start renovating the place.

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