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In the Central Business District, mainstream fast food restaurants are the first place that comes to mind to grab a quick bite. But there’s a quaint, yet classy joint that has caught our radar, which serves exquisite, yet affordable food at the same quick pace. We’re talking about Cucinino, located at the third floor of Porta Vaga Mall.

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For more than a handful of years, Cucinino has gained quite a rep for its delectable yet inexpensive dishes. Recently, it was renovated and given a white, rustic edgy aesthetic for better ambiance, to make you forget that you’re dining in the middle of the mall.

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Cucinino’s menu is a refreshing break from the usual fried chicken, burgers, and other oily foods that never run out from fast food joints. The dishes are made from scratch and cost even less than that fried chicken combo meal from -insert popular fast food joint here- 😉

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A lot of people come for the pasta, and if you haven’t tried dining here yet, we highly recommend the Triple Treat (PHP 105) so you can try three of their pasta variations at once! The pastas are Aglio Olio, Pomodoro, and Pesto. On the side are pieces of breadsticks which has a slightly sweet taste. We found the Pesto pasta to be our favorite among the three for its taste which is distinctively Cucinino.

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Another audience favorite is the Full Combo (PHP 100), which consists of slabs of grilled chicken, slices garlic basic toast. and a hefty serving of a pasta of your choice. Pictured above is a white sauce pasta, which made a good contrast to the salty, smokey grilled chicken. We found this meal to be quite heavy and perfect for a lunch date.

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If you want to add a nutritious side dish to your entree or if you can live on one salad for a whole meal, the Cucinino Salad (PHP 89) is the way to go. The crisp greens are packed with flavor from the olives, simple vinaigrette, and shreds of grilled chicken, all topped off with cheese. Though, it had too many onions for our personal taste, so you might want to take a small breath mint after indulging in this healthy dish 😉

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If pasta isn’t on your cravings list at the moment, they also serve a variety of sandwiches or panini to try. We could tell that their grilled chicken truly is something to look forward to because they also have a sandwich that features it. The Grilled Chicken Panini (PHP 65) is made even more flavorful by what seems to be a combination of tomato sauce and pesto, which automatically deserves a thumbs up from us.

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While the dishes don’t have drinks that come with it, they do have an adequate selection of hot and cold drinks to choose from. Their iced tea, four seasons, and orange mango juice are priced at PHP 25 a glass.

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In a world of busy beeping streets and countless hurried footsteps, Cucinino is an oasis of must-try dishes. It goes to show that good food doesn’t have to be hard to find nor even cost an arm and a leg.

If you find yourself in the Central Business District or fancy a stroll at Porta Vaga Mall, take a stop at Cucinino at the third floor, open during mall hours.


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