Is Panizza a Philippine Phenomenon? Mona Lisa Ristorante, Alabang

New Yorkers are arrogant about pizza, and with reason. We do have the best pizza you’ll ever find outside of Italy. See? Okay, I would rephrase that to say that New Yorkers are arrogant about a particular kind of pizza, the coal-oven thin crust variety, not to be confused with Chicago’s deep dish or a hearty thick crust elsewhere. But ours is still the best. 🙂

(Read DJ’s take on Grimaldi’s, Patsy’s, DiFara’s, Rome’s Pizzeria Da Baffeto, and Sint Maarten’s La Fregate.  I do love my slice!)

And so when a friend said the pizza at this restaurant in Manila was good, I was skeptical and nearly rolled my eyes. Good pizza? Surely you don’t know who you’re talking to. But wait, there was a twist. It wasn’t just pizza but PANIZZA, a supposed combination of pizza and panini, that made me even more suspicious. You must be kidding me. I knew I had to try this bipolar pie.

Rolled up panizza. The richness of the cheese combined with the crunch of the crust is the perfect accompaniment to the freshness of the greens inside.

Google it. No such listings for Panizza exist other than family trees for that Italian last name and restaurant listings from the Philippines. Is panizza truly a Filipino phenomenon? Why hasn’t anyone thought of it elsewhere? Some entrepreneurial spirit needs to read this and rock New York with panizza because it was so, so good!

Mona Lisa Ristorante’s door reads “Authentic Italian Cuisine”

Mona Lisa’s service was excellent. Its staff was knowledgeable and quick, and we were personally visited by the restaurant’s owner who offered his special hot sauce blends for us to try.

A starter salad fortunately wasn’t drowned in dressing as is typical in Filipino restaurants.

The rectangular pizza is served along with a plate of alfalfa sprouts and arugula.

Thin and crispy, just how I like it.

The greens are place on top of the pizza strip.

Dressing or sauce of choice is added. I splashed it with some hot sauce, of course.

Think of it as a salad pizza turned into a wrap. It’s hard to imagine, so you really just need to try it!

Rolling, rolling, rolling a panizza…

The richness of the cheese combined with the crunch of the crust is the perfect accompaniment to the freshness of the greens inside the roll. Crunch, cream, greens. Yum.

I wish I could find a place nearby that served this. Hello New York! I thought you had everything!

An additional belly buster followed: tagliatelle in truffle and mushroom sauce.

What’s my conclusion? As a 10-year New Yorker, I cannot betray my enhanced palate and show anything less than pride for New York pizza. But hey, we don’t have panizza in New York, and I’m not sure if we ever will. Is it considered a travesty to the fine art of pizza-making? I bet it would have a market other than rowdy Filipinos. Someone lay out the cash and build it quickly. I will come!

For now I’m going to have to make it at home.


Mona Lisa Ristorante

The Commerce Center,
2nd Floor Commerce Ave.,
Alabang, Muntinlupa, Philippines
011 63 2 556 0708

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2 thoughts on “Is Panizza a Philippine Phenomenon? Mona Lisa Ristorante, Alabang

  1. Pingback: Homemade Panizza | DopamineJunkie.org

  2. Pingback: Lucali Pizza, Brooklyn | DopamineJunkie.org

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