Balducci: The best? I didn’t think so
It’s been quite awhile. I apologize for the delay. I was busy with my regular job, writing work, bazaar-ing and traveling around. Yep, I might be Superman’s sister. Though I hope not ‘cause I really find Superman hot. Haha
I recently came back from Taipei. Foodtrip! Wait for my succeeding posts in the next few weeks. It’s all Taipei! In the meantime, let Balducci Ristorante take the spotlight.
After me and my friend Erika applied for a Taiwan visa, we we’re so excited to finally grab some good ol’ Italian. Balducci Ristorante was located in Serendra and with the market, I expected more on dishes.
Outside, we were greeted with a “The Best Italian Restaurant according to…. blah blah.” Exciting!
After placing our orders, we received our complementary appetizers: Foccacia bread with dips of butter, tomatoes and liver spread. The bread and the dips were good. My hopes were still high.
Our salad came. We ordered Greca salad (P 250). Served with lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, feta cheese, olives, oregano and potatoes. It was lightly tossed with vinaigrette. It was okay; fresh but I’m not singing any praises. I kept thinking of the salad we had at Cyma. This salad was bland. The vinaigrette added some usual sourness but there’s a saltiness in the salad that was out of place. I’m wishing our pizza was better.
Pizza: Siciliana-Pomodoro, Mozzarella, Melanzane, Salsicce (P400). Made with mozzarella, tomatoes, capers, anchovies and Italian sausage. It sounded good. I was thinking a Puttanesca-like pizza. I was wrong. It was too salty; the anchovies and capers were too overpowering. I was disappointed. The pizza looked awesome; thin and crispy as it should be but the taste? UGH.
Our voucher of 50% only included a salad, pizza and dessert. I was thinking of ordering a pasta to give Balducci a chance but decided against it. If ever, you ordered some pasta and found it tasty, leave a comment; let me know.
Tiramisu (P250). No Savoiardi biscuits but most restaurants in Manila don’t have Savoiardi (lady fingers) on their Tiramisu so I let that slide. I just hoped the mascarpone mixture was good. NEWSFLASH: It wasn’t. Too much whipped cream, too bland. I hated this Tiramisu. Honestly, I like UCC’s Tiramisu better.
I was seeing red already from all the bland and tasteless food. I was ready to pack up, pay the bill and just leave. Maybe eat some cake after.
Total damage: P900
With Little Black Book discount: P490.18 (includes service charge)
Me and my friend paid around 245 each which was fine but otherwise, on a regular day without a coupon, I won’t even step foot in here. Expensive and bland food. You wouldn’t want to expensively pay for that, would you?
Mona Lisa Ristorante: Authentic Italian in the South
There’s a difference between an Italian themed and an Authentic Italian restaurant. If they claim they’re authentic, then they should deliver. Mona Lisa Ristorante did just that.
The fine dining restaurant sports an old world ambiance with a gracious staff wearing Mona Lisa ties. Found it cute, actually. The above photo I took from the restaurants Facebook account because I forgot to take a picture of the entrance. I was so excited to eat the food. My friend, aware that I’m such a pasta girl, knows exactly where to take me for dinner.
Now, let’s just go straight to the food?
They first served our complementary bread.
It’s just your usual baguette cuts served with dips: marinara (tomatoes), butter and pesto (in olive oil).
They served our Panizze next. It’s cut into strips and served with Arugula and Alfalfa sprouts. You roll the strip up with the greens. We had our panizze in two flavors. Charged half for each: Mona Lisa Special (P355) and Miguelli Calabrese (P415).
We are such a noob taking pictures. We unceremoniously took pictures and just enjoyed the food. Very delicious if I should say so myself. All I remember was just how busy I was stuffing rolls in my mouth. The toppings are just how I remember my girlfriend A would like it. It wasn’t busy and over-the-top; simple, understated and just delish! Don’t be shy to eat it with your hands. It’s meant for that.
We had our pasta next: Penne Arrabiata (P475). I asked our server if she could change our pasta from penne to fettuccini. Penne would be the smaller ones. I like my pasta long. The pasta was exquisite. Cooked perfectly. Al dente but tender and soft. I’m betting the pasta was fresh. Can anybody do a second?
Arrabbiata means angry in Italian so I’m expecting the sauce to be a little spicy. It was cooked with garlic, olives, tomatoes and olive oil; parsley sprinkled on top. Yum! It wasn’t spicy but we were served pepperoncini (chili flakes) so I guess we have to make it spicy ourselves? Nevertheless, I enjoyed it.
Despite our full stomachs, I would love some sweets for dessert. I’m glad my friend humored me ‘cause I’m such a sweet tooth! I wouldn’t get anything but your classic Tiramisu (P320).
I’m happy with the choice. The coffee-soaked and cocoa-topped dessert was just delightful. They don’t have the Savoiardi biscuits (ladyfingers) but I haven’t eaten a Tiramisu with those (except at home). The stick-O on top we didn’t care for and just dug in the cake itself. The server told us it’s good for one person. It’s fairly large so I think you can share. But that’s just me.
Best Italian so far (besides girlfriend A’s house and mine HAHA!). If you’re around Alabang, make sure to drop by.
Mona Lisa Ristorante
The Commerce Center, 2nd Floor Commerce Ave., Alabang, Muntinlupa