Casa Italia Cafe: Italian Comfort Food & Gelato at SM The Block

Being a northie, it's no surprise that SM North EDSA and TriNoma have already become my second home. Throughout the years though, I've gone a little bored with the restaurants and shops housed in these malls. Blame my monthly, sometimes even weekly, trips to this part of town. However, SM North EDSA The Block has recently been revamped, and there are more and newer joints opening shop -- one of which is Casa Italia Cafe.

Casa Italia Cafe SM North EDSA

Casa Italia is a Singaporean franchise which prides itself as a modern day interpretation of the traditional Italian bar offering handcrafted premium gelato, specialty coffee and all-day dining Italian comfort food, with the addition of beer and wine. With close to 20 outlets within Singapore, Casa Italia has now expanded to international locations. And late last year, it has finally arrived in the Philippines with its first store opening at Burgos Circle in BGC, followed by this second branch at the lower ground floor of SM North EDSA The Block.

Casa Italia Cafe SM North
Casa Italia Cafe SM North The Block

I haven't had the chance yet to visit the Casa Italia Cafe at BGC. But at the SM North EDSA The Block branch, I can definitely tell that the place is Instagram-worthy. It's cozy, rustic, spacious and oozing with a warm and quirky personality. Good thing they also offer free wifi so guests can easily share their Instagrammable moments.

The Gelato


Although Casa Italia is a legit cafe now, it first originated as a gelato parlour back in 2010. And when you check out the cafe, it would undoubtedly be impossible to miss their scrumptious gelato display.

Casa Italia Cafe Gelato Flavors
Casa Italia Cafe Gelato Flavors
Casa Italia Gelato Menu

They usually rotate their gelato offerings, but these are the available ones during my visit. They also have seasonal flavors like avocado, green mango, guyabano and pineapple, specially-concocted for this summer.

Guyabano Gelato (P130 Piccolo, P195 Medio, P265 Grande)
✓ Guyabano Gelato
Green Mango, Ube, Roasted Rice, and Choco Chili Gelato
✓ Casa Italia Gelato

I got to sample a few of their gelato variants, and I've been hooked! Their guyabano and pineapple gelatos were very true to flavor, as well as their green mango which was both light, refreshing and cringe-inducingly tart.

They also have other unique flavors like their ube gelato which tastes nothing like the sweet halaya or ube ice cream we've been accustomed to. Instead, it was more reminiscent of taro -- creamy, earthy and elegantly subtle. The roasted rice flavor was an interesting gelato variant too, with notes of slightly bitter, mostly earthy roasted-ness. And there's also a sure crowd-pleaser -- the choco chili which tastes of rich and deep chocolate with a slight kick of spice.

Limoncello and White Velvet (P195 Single Shot, P245 Double Shot)
✓ Limoncello and ✓ White Velvet
Liquorato
Liquorato (P195 Single Shot; P245 Double Shot)

If it's a different kind of kick you're after, they also have their line of Liquorato or liquor-infused gelato. You can opt for single or double shots for their two-scoop gelato serving depending on your tolerance to alcohol. Among the six variants, we got to try two -- the light, sweet and tart Il Limone-infused raspberry gelato, as well as the smooth, slightly bitter and sweet almond-y Amaretto-infused white chocolate gelato.

What's New?


I also had the chance to sample their new items. From rice meals to sweet treats, there's something new to add excitement to Casa Italia's menu.

Pumpkin Soup (P150)
Cream of Pumpkin Soup (P150)
A hearty and creamy pumpkin soup sprinkled with bacon bits
Italian Baked Chicken (P330)
✓ Italian Baked Chicken (P330)
Oven-baked chicken with pomodoro sauce and mozzarella, served with rice
Hickory Pork Belly (P430)
✓ Pork Belly with Hickory BBQ Sauce (P430)
Slow-cooked pork belly glazed with hickory sauce, served with rice
Sole Fillet with Lemon Pepper Cream Sauce (P450)
Sole Fillet with Lemon Pepper Cream (P450)
Oven-baked sole fish fillet with creamy lemon pepper sauce, served with rice
Nutella Gelatonini (P99)
Nutella Gelatonini (P99)
Generous scoops of Nutella gelato sandwiched in freshly grilled pandolce

Apart from the nutella one, they also have a savory variant -- Ham & Cheese Gelatonini which I've yet to try, but seems very promising. It's made from the cafe's bestselling formaggi (cream cheese and cheddar cheese) gelato and portions of smoked ham sandwiched in between grilled buns of pandolce (Italian sweet bread).

Sunny Daydream (P560)
Sunny Day Dream (P560 Good for Sharing)
Apple-peach cobbler topped with whipped cream and gelato
(mango, melon and rasp/strawberry)
Midnight Surprise (P430)
✓ Midnight Surprise (P430 Good for Sharing)
Choco lava cake topped with crunchy cookie bits and gelato
(nutella, raspberry and white chocolate/banana)

These two bigger, good-for-sharing desserts are definitely sinful, but very pleasurable. The gelato flavors I noted above were the usual they serve with them, but I think you can request if you prefer other flavors to go with your apple-peach cobbler or choco lava cake.

Italian Comfort Food


I've already visited Casa Italia at SM The Block a total of three times now. And apart from the newer items, I've also got a taste of their older menu staples from my past visits.

Bolognese (P230)
Bolognese (P245)
Casa Italia meat-based tomato sauce
Carbonara (P250)
Carbonara (P265)
Classic cream-based sauce with strips of bacon

Although these items were pretty okay, I didn't find them to be anything special. Personally, I think it's a good move that Casa Italia Cafe introduced new dishes, as they were far more satisfying taste and portion-wise.

The Drinks


Being a gelateria, it's ingenious of Casa Italia to have thought of offering drinks infused with their gelato.

Avocado Gelato Frappe (P180 Medio; P190 Grande)
✓ Avocado Gelato Frappe
Gelato Frappe (P180 Medio; P190 Grande)
Frappe (P180 Medio; P190 Grande)

  • Gelatoccino - coffee-based frappe
  • Gelato Frappe - creamy dairy-based beverage with 32 flavors to choose from
  • Gelato Slush - refreshing fruit-based blended beverage made with gelato sorbet
  • Yogurt Smoothie - healthy option for quenching your thirst

Among the gelato frappes served, I chose to have the avocado, and it was one of the best decisions I made at Casa Italia! Every sip was very reminiscent of real avocados, but a wee bit sweeter. Definitely deserving of two thumbs up!

Latte and Mocha
Latte (P115 Piccolo; P125 Medio; P140 Grande)

During one of my previous visits, I also got to try their coffee. I can't seem to remember much about it though, so another visit for their micro-roasted coffee OTTO is in order.

Casa Italia Cafe Menu
Click photo to enlarge menu
This is the old menu. Will update this soon.

THE VERDICT

During my very first visit, I remember Casa Italia having issues with serving time of food and drinks. However, upon my succeeding trips, they have managed to churn out orders in no time. And coupled with the staff's consistent friendliness, courteousness and product knowledge, plus the place's ambiance, it's not hard to be charmed by Casa Italia Cafe.

Food can range from decent to good. But personally, I find the true superstar at Casa Italia their gelato offerings. From the plain gelatos, to their liquor-infused ones, and even up to their frappes, Casa Italia might just have become my favorite gelateria! #bestgelatoever

Taste 4/5
Ambiance - 4.5/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 3/5
Overall Value - 4/5


Casa Italia Cafe, SM North EDSA The Block
GF (Hypermarket level) The Block, SM North EDSA,
Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
(02) 246-9069 ext 948
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