A hidden oasis

Manila, Philippines – The iconic SM Megamall is a structure that people associate with ultimate convenience. Apart from offering several floors of shopping, dining and entertainment, it’s also a one-stop shop for those errands that never seem to get crossed off your to-do list, like renewing your driver’s license, getting yearly health and dental check-ups, even sorting out your banking affairs, then hopping on the MRT once you’re done. Indeed if you build it, they will come, and so came the bustling crowds that are as identifiable as Megamall itself. In that rush to get everything done before that movie you bought tickets for starts, all while making your way through a packed escalator, you might feel that you just want to stop and take a break. But being able to relax right in the middle of a busy crowd? Indeed, when SM Megamall proclaimed that they’ve got it all for you, they left no stone unturned.
This is exactly what the Team Supreme found out when we invaded the Mega Atrium at SM Megamall, an area that appears suddenly like mirage for mall goers who need a bit of respite, yet disguises itself as a blur in the corners of the eyes of determined shoppers hopping from one store to another. Truly, once you finally take notice of it, you’ll realize that it’s been there all along, waiting for you to enter. Located right in the heart of SM Megamall, literally in between Mega A and Mega B, the Atrium has a bright, yet intimate feel about it, despite the fact that it houses nearly 100 stores and restaurants.
Some of us, like Chief Supremo Tim Yap, were dropped right off at the Mega Atrium Lobby, which is located in the center of the mall facing J. Vargas Avenue. Once in the lobby, all he had to do was take the elevator and be whisked away, crowd-free, to meet the team for lunch at Yabu. If it’s your chauffeur’s day off, valet service is also an option at a P100 flat rate. Like those who drove their own cars, you’ll be pleased to know that the Mega Carpark C opened last month and offers direct access to the middle of Megamall at only a P45 flat parking rate. That’s right, no more lugging your purchases from one end of the mall to the other just to get to Mega Carpark A or B.

All five floors of the Mega Atrium at SM Megamall offers a balanced selection of shops and restaurants.
In fact, you don’t even need to lug your shopping bags at all because there is the luxury of sending your purchases to the Package Pick-Up Counter. The service is totally free. Simply shop at the participating stores, fill out a form to have your items sent to the Package Pick-Up Counter, then fetch them when you’re all shopped-out with your claim stub. If you urgently need to send out an important e-mail to your boss, worry not because there is free wireless Internet available in the entire SM Megamall.
And finally, when every aspect of yourself has been satisfied physically, head up to the fifth floor of the Atrium where you can find the beautifully spacious Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord. Capping off a full day of shopping and dining with a moment of silence before heading home is a great way to end a well-rounded Mega Atrium experience.
Turn to the next pages to see how TeamSupreme spent the day at the Mega Atrium at SM Megamall!

Amici

Amici satisfies the most discriminating tastes with authentic Italian dishes, offering Italy’s finest and using the freshest ingredients. Sadly, authentic comes with the price of newcomers thinking that it is expensive, but Amici believes that quality food does not require a hefty price tag and its back story proves just that.

Amici di Don Bosco began in 1994 when a Salesian priest opened a turo-turo canteen to serve the Don Bosco Printing Press employees. The canteen served Italian coffee and gelato, later introducing wood-fire oven-baked pizzas and homemade pasta. Word got around and Don Bosco students began flocking to the canteen, followed by visitors from all walks of life: from celebrities and socialites to housewives and blue-collar workers. Realizing that business was not their specialty, the Salesian priests sold the business to Iboy Pinga and Danny Moran, the founders of Red Ribbon.

Amici is known for its pastas, pizzas, and the dessert obsession du jour, gelato. The pizza choices are diverse, from the classic Margherita and Napoletana to specialized pizzas, such as the seafood-based Frutti di Mare, the meat-only Tutta Carne, and the cheesy Al Quattro Formaggi. Pizzas cost roughly P300 to P400 and are good to share. First-timers must try the Chorizo e Spinaci, one of their specialties. The pastas are just as varied, from tomato-based, cream-based, to olive oil-based. The must-try is the Spaghetti ai Tesori del Mare, a spicy dish with chili oil and the Linguine al Proscuitto e Tartuffo, a dish with two kinds of mushrooms.

Equally renowned is Caramia, Amici’s gelateria. It offers cakes and gelato, a healthier alternative to ice cream. Compared to ice cream, gelato has less fat and is richer and creamier. It comes in many flavors such as pistachio, sans rival, and cioccolato and costs P75 a scoop. Slices of cake range from P65 to P125, with the Di Lusso as one of their newer offerings, a combination of pistachio, chocolate, and strawberry gelato wrapped in chocolate and has a crushed graham crust.

Dining at Amici may sound sinful, but true to its religious roots, its core value is sharing. Not only is eating more pleasurable with loved ones, an order of select dishes called Tuloy Speciali will give P10 to the Tuloy Foundation, a non-profit organization in Alabang to help street children. At Amici, it’s all about eating good and doing good!

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Amici is located on the 4/F Mega Atrium, SM Megamall and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. For reservations, call 636-1341.

Gotti’s Ristorante

Tucked away in the fourth floor of the Mega Atrium at SM Megamall is one of its best-kept secrets: Gotti’s Ristorante. An Italian restaurant by trade, its interiors promise a taste of Italy: lots of wood and brick, subtle lighting, and posters of Italians and their dishes. Even though its name evokes Italy, it references one of the most infamous mobsters ever, John Gotti, who is also known for his epicurean tastes.
Lovers of Italian food appreciate what Gotti’s has to offer. That’s because the pizzas and pastas are authentic, something owners Eileen and Manuel Gonzales and John Erich and Malou Taca have mastered over the years. The idea began when Eileen was working in an Italian restaurant in New York. She felt that “it would be right” to offer thin-crust pizza in the Philippines, so in 2002, she opened Pizzeria Pronto with her husband and the Tacas in SM Bicutan. It wasn’t until 2008 when they changed names and decided to expand to SM Mall of Asia and the Mega Atrium at SM Megamall after studying their products.
The joint is known for its pizza and pasta, but what separates Gotti’s from the rest are the secret recipes, their affordable prices and heaping servings. Pastas come in single and to-share servings, with prices ranging from P200 for single servings to P300 for groups of two to three. The must-try, or “most wanted” is the Frutti di Mare, a seafood-based pasta in rich marinara sauce. Other pasta dishes not to be missed are the garlic shrimp in white wine and the creamy basil bacon. One interesting pasta dish is the Pasta ala Vodka, a pomodoro cream sauce dish with chili and the alcoholic drink.
An Italian meal wouldn’t be complete without its pizza offerings and Gotti’s doesn’t come short. For P260 to P360 per 12-inch pie, customers will have a taste of Italy with its oven-baked thin crust. The classics are there but the stars are the Four Seasons, Mi Mama’s Quattro Formaggi, and the Contadina, a pizza with prosciutto, grilled eggplant, and freshly grated Parmigiano Romano.
Highly recommended for dessert is the decadent Tartufo Nero, a pure dark chocolate gelato with a brandied cherry core, capping off a delicious Italian meal. Gotti and his mob crew have reached our shores and might soon be the Philippines’ most wanted.
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Gotti’s Ristorante is located on the 4/F Mega Atrium, SM Megamall and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. For reservations, call 634-0348.

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