Cornucopia

Table Conversation: Manila’s Best Pizza

By franco on 1 May, 2008

Fiori Di Zucca from Cibo
Fiori Di Zucca from Cibo: Mozzarella, Squash Flowers and Anchovies

Pinoys are Pizza crazy.

From a chain or a high-end Italian eatery, we just can’t get enough of this flat (sometimes), round (sometimes), oven-baked bread covered in toppings ranging from the traditional (tomatoes, cheeses and herbs ) to absurd (pineapple, cottage cheese and fish roe). Deep dish, thin or think crust. Neopolitan, Sicilian or Lazio. Caruso, Cibo or Shakey’s. It really doesn’t matter when or where from. We just love our pizza.

So here is the question. When you want a pizza, who do you call, where do you go and what do you order?

Mariko says:

I love Shakey’s Pepperoni crunch on a thin crust (if I wanted a thick crust, I would order a sandwich!). With extra crunch, please!

I’ve only tried it once, but I also think the Milan Pizza at California Pizza Kitchen is delicious. Thin crust with Italian sausage, wild mushrooms, caramelized onions, Fontina, Mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese, and fresh basil.

Margaux Salcedo says:

For a chain restaurant, I like Brooklyn Pizza and for a stand alone, Puccini.

I always order a four or five cheese or whatever’s closest to it. Except at Shakey’s where I order the garlic and cheese.

Monchu says:

I’d have to go with Yellow Cab and Cantinetta.

At Yellow Cab, I like the everything on it. But usually, I just order the four cheese with extra cheese and anchovies. And yes, I can finish one pizza, and two cans of coke in one sitting. At Cantinetta, I like four cheese. So, it’s basically the same order.

Chef Marco Legasto of Purple Feet says:

Carruso along Reposo Street (aka. Nicanor Garcia) is good. They have a wood fire oven and its run by an Italian. I always find a freshly made pie from Brooklyn Pizza great.

Stich says:

Brooklyn Pizza for huge, NY style Pizzas. And with a variant named “Porko”, c’mon! How can I resist?

I still like A Venetto for cheap pizzas. They aren’t the best out there, but they’ve been consistent in terms of providing value for money.

Sharlene Tan, associate food editor of Yummy says:

I love California Pizza Kitchen. My favorites are the White Pizza–a five cheese pizza (made with Mozzarella, Fontina, Ricotta, Parmesan and Pecorino Romano cheeses) with sauteed spinach and applewood smoked bacon, and the Vegetarian Pizza with Japanese Eggplant. I always get them in honey wheat dough just to make me less guilty about the calories.

As for restaurants, I always go to Cafe Caruso in Reposo, Makati for their four-flavors-in-one pizza (have to check what it is called exactly). I make sure to include the Quattro Formaggi and Prosciutto with Mushrooms in my choices.

Christine of Ramblings of A Gypsy Soul says:

I judge a pizza by it’s crust (this is really 50% of a pizza), it’s gotta be good enough to eat on its own, and the freshness or quality (and not quantity) of it’s ingredients. I’m not much of a ‘everything-on-it’ kinda gal. Having said that, I do have my favorites in the city.

In the chain pizza category , well that’s a tough one, I have 3 favorites (Magoo’s Joey’s Special, Yellow Cab’s Roasted Garlic and Shrimp & Brooklyn Pizza’s White Pizza) and I love them equally. But if I were forced to choose just one then I’d go with Brooklyn Pizza’s white pizza. It has no tomato sauce, just good quality cheeses which I believe are mozzarella, ricotta and parmesan. The crust is crisp yet chewy and.. ohhhh the cheese! It’s truly heaven on a pie for cheese lovers like me. If you haven’t already tried it, please don’t take my word for it and go have some now!

Pizza from a stand alone restaurant, hmmm. Do panizzas count? Because I am absolutely smitten with the Panizzas of C’ Italian Dining in Angeles City. The panizza is Chef Chris’ own unique creation. It’s basically a thin-crusted rectangular pizza with choice toppings (there are about a dozen combinations) sliced into strips. You take a strip, top it with arugula and alfalfa sprouts, drizzle with pesto (or not, your choice) then roll it up, and prepare to be blown away!

Many thanks to Stich, Margaux, Christine, Chef Marco and Sharlene

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  • MAY 2, 2008 2:24 PM

    Sakai said...

    from a certified pizza freak
    Cafe Caruso still ranks no.1 in manila
    outside the metro its C Italian dining in Angeles

  • MAY 3, 2008 12:50 AM

    Sakai said...

    for quezon city residents- Taste of LA
    for Paranaque resident- Chi's Brick Oven Kitchen in BF homes

  • MAY 3, 2008 1:21 AM

    wysgal said...

    I love Magoos' Vegetarian Pizza.

  • MAY 3, 2008 2:05 AM

    the husband said...

    Nice list! Our current favorite pizza place is Brooklyn.
    Hi Sakai! Where exactly is Chi's Brick Oven Kitchen in BF? Thanks!

  • MAY 3, 2008 2:19 PM

    u8mypinkcookies said...

    my faves:

    ~Sbarro (white pizza)
    ~Yellow Cab (NY Finest)
    ~Brooklyn Pizza (white pizza/ Porko)
    ~CPK (sicilian/ original bbq chicken pizza)
    ~Pizza Hut (bacon cheeseburger/ meatlovers)
    ~ Greenwich (ham & cheese)

    *burp* :D

  • MAY 3, 2008 3:37 PM

    Anonymous said...

    Where do you think Brooklyn got the idea for their White Pizza? Their owner used to frequent Festival Mall and pirated workers there.

  • MAY 4, 2008 2:50 AM

    fran =) said...

    my top 3 pizza picks would have to be Amici's, Brooklyn (white pizza) and Cibo Ü

  • MAY 4, 2008 5:34 PM

    katrina said...

    What a beautiful pizza that is in the photo! The first time I tried Cibo's pizza, I enjoyed it a lot. But the next time I did, it was undercooked and soggy. I hope that was just on off day.

    I'm a pizza addict (like I always say, it's one of my basic food groups), so I have many favorites. Some are: C's panizza, Amici's Quattro Formaggi, Brooklyn's White Pizza, Yellow Cab, Shakey's, Amo Roma (so sad the Makati branch closed), and most recently, I loved the Truffle pizza of Cafe Ysabel (unlikely source, eh?) and the interestingly topped pizzas at the Italian resto in Tagaytay Highlands -- crust wasn't crunchy enough, but they don't scrimp on the quality or quantity of toppings. Long gone and sorely missed are Domino's Chicken Java and Jugno's Tandoori Chicken pizzas. (Clearly, I'm no purist! Though I agree that pineapples are abominable on pizza.)

  • MAY 4, 2008 5:36 PM

    katrina said...

    I also like the Pinoy Pizza trend -- kesong puti, tuyo, longganisang Lucban, red egg, etc. Cascada has a good one, as I recall.

  • MAY 5, 2008 2:16 AM

    christine said...

    Katrina, I love Amo Roma's pizza too, and if the Alabang branch hadn't been moved to Tagaytay, that's what I would have offered up instead of the panizza. I want to try that truffle pizza of Cafe Ysabel now!

  • MAY 5, 2008 2:24 AM

    Franco said...

    Hi Sakai,

    Taste of LA? Really?!

    Hi Wysgal,

    I miss Magoo's Pizza. They have really fallen off the radar.

    Hi Husband,

    Thanks. The first time I tried Brooklyn, I didn't like it too much. Found it a bit soggy. But after this list, I think I'm reconsidering my first impression. :)

    Hi u8mypickcookies,

    Pizza Fan? :)

    Hi Anon,

    Honestly, the idea of a white pizza aka no tomato sauce, is not even a new or original idea. Nothing new under the sun. :)

    Hi fran,

    Strangely, no one mentioned Amici's. Until you. Hmmm. Makes one wonder why...

    Hi Katrina,

    As much as I love the traditional pizza myself, I sometimes like tucking into new creations pizza joints place on their menus. But never fruit, especially pineapple. Try the Pizza at Lime 88. Think you might find it interesting.

  • MAY 5, 2008 2:29 AM

    Sakai said...

    yup franco- taste of LA, try the spinach bacon pizza or the lamb pizza, will post abt it within the week or two.
    the husband: Chi's brick oven kitchen is in Aguirre street inside BF homes. check out my post for pictures and prices.

  • MAY 5, 2008 2:57 AM

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  • MAY 5, 2008 3:46 AM

    PAM said...

    Pizza! Yum! Yum! Don't forget Bravo's pizzas!!! I forget my favorite variant, but it keeps true to its promise on the menu of melting in the mouth.

  • MAY 6, 2008 12:18 AM

    Sakai said...

    hi franco, heres the post
    http://restauranthopping.blogspot.com/2008/05/taste-of-la-cafe-171-roces-ave-cor.html

  • MAY 6, 2008 10:06 AM

    Franco said...

    Hi Nena,

    Just want to say thanks again for helping out with this post.

    Hi again Sakai,

    Thanks for the recommendation. Have not been to Taste of LA in over a decade. I didn't think it was still around.:)

    Hi Pam,

    Nice to hear from you. :) I haven't been to Bravo. What do you order?

  • MAY 7, 2008 11:59 AM

    mtan said...

    Im a thin crust fan, can't do the thick crust unless it's clearly a Chicago deep dish pizza (which means being stuck in wintery windy city in need of sustenance). Locally, my go to pizza is the cheese and garlic thin crust of Shakey's, but I love the four cheese of Yellow Cab, the white pizza at Brooklyn, and Amici. I guess I'm a cheesehead when it comes to pizzas. No pineapple please!
    Among the Cibo pizzas I've tried the one you photographed, and also the one with chicharon!

  • MAY 7, 2008 12:05 PM

    Anonymous said...

    Yes, I know that a "white" pizza is not new. What is interesting is the ingredient that they are using to make it white. Very few restaurants (especially fast food restos) will actually use ricotta because of its price. It's the replacement ingredient that's important.

    They were only able to get that by pirating people.

    I'm only getting annoyed because they get credited for a stolen recipe.

  • MAY 8, 2008 2:13 AM

    Franco said...

    Hi Mila,

    I was surprised that Shakey's didn't come up more. :( I guess it's a generation thing. I was raised on Shakey's garlic and cheese.On thin crust, of course. :)

  • MAY 8, 2008 4:16 AM

    canDIshhh said...

    The best Pizza I've tried would be that of Amoroma's! They're so malasa! Next would be the Cesar Salad Pizza of Al Dente!

    As for the fast food pizza I'd go for Brooklyn Pizza! Kinda sawa with Yellow Cab already.

    I love thin crusted pizzas!!

  • MAY 12, 2008 8:50 AM

    Bong said...

    I have yet to find a "favorite", thanks for your suggestions! :)

  • MAY 13, 2008 8:00 AM

    Issh said...

    Gosh my ultimate go-to pizza has got to be the garlic and cheese thin crust of Shakey's.

    I agree with some of the comments here. I like the pizzas at Bravo, they're quite good especially the one with Italian sausage. The Brooklyn white pizza is good but can be oily.

    Now I must try the pizza at Cafe Caruso. :)

  • MAY 15, 2008 2:56 AM

    u8mypinkcookies said...

    when in Boracay, try ARIA! love their pizza (and pasta too!!) ;D

  • MAY 15, 2008 3:28 AM

    Franco said...

    Hi candishh. A cesar salad pizza? Sounds interesting.

    Hi bong. Keep looking. :) But really when it comes to pizza, who can anyone have just one favorite?

    Hi issh. Planning to try Bravo soon. I do strong recommend trying Caruso as soon as possible.

    Hi u8mypinkcookies. I have eaten at Aria. And I agree. Having a delicious pizza facing a beautiful beach is hard to beat.

  • MAY 23, 2008 1:58 PM

    cathy said...

    My standard for pizza raised a lot after coming back from Napoli, the birthplace of pizza. I also have a lot of Italian friends now who are very firm in their opinion of what is good or bad pizza. It rubs off somehow. Now, I just make my own...

    Cheers!
    cathy

  • MAY 26, 2008 8:47 AM

    Anonymous said...

    yup, lime 88 streetstyle pizza is really good!

  • JULY 7, 2008 8:19 AM

    chinkee said...

    Funny how I've never tried Brooklyn Pizza, being a self-proclaimed pizza lover. I do love Shakey's thin crust and Yellow Cab for those late-night cravings, but the best pizzas in the city so far would be Caruso's pizzas (in Metro Manila, at least). One thing I had recently which I haven't tasted in a really long time is the Gorgonzola Pizza at Il Ponticello. I forgot how good it is!

  • AUGUST 22, 2008 9:05 AM

    Anonymous said...

    Not a lot of people know this place, but if you like authentic tangy thin crust pizzas...

    Trio at the fort is the place to be.

    Paparazzi no longer serves pizza.

    Bravo has been in decline in terms of its pizza consistency/quality.

    Pazzo tastes dry/terrible and so does Cibo.

    Shakey's is the next best thin crust pizza, though you have to dine in for it to taste great, delivery just kills the pizza quality.

    For medium to thick crusts:

    Domino's with lots of extra tomato sauce is the best!

    Sbarro when the sauce mix for the day is correct

    Brooklyn and yellow cab are just too oily

  • JUNE 5, 2010 2:14 AM

    labby said...

    hello guys thank you for all the list you've shared here. my friends and I tried all of the list here but nothing compared to AMOROMA PIZZA in tagaytay. cooked in wooden brick oven...DELICIOUSLY PERFECT! you should try it. highly suggested pizza 5-cheese & pizza prosciutto. if you cannot choose any, they have a small sized 5 topping pizza that you can try 5 different toppings. would you believe the owner it self with her sister is the one preparing it in front of you. we are all amazed with them. staff are very accommodating and all food are so good you'll never regret driving all the way in tagaytay, you'll be satisfied.

  • JUNE 11, 2010 9:02 AM

    Celeste said...

    In my opinion, the top three Italian-style pizza restaurants in Metro Manila are:

    1. Amici
    2. Balducci
    3. Caffe Puccini

    Pizza Express was the best but it's not around anymore.

    The best American-style pizza can be found at Italian Job Pizzeria on Timog Avenue. It's better than those of Italianni's, Pizza Hut, Shakey's, or Sbarro. It's also better than those of restaurants that have closed down their Manila branches, such as: Domino's, Little Caesars, Numero Uno, Pizza Inn, Round Table Pizza, and Volare.

  • OCTOBER 26, 2014 5:47 PM

    Palma said...

    The best pizzerie in Metro Manila not yet mentioned here are: Aria, Cantinetta, Stella Wood-fired Bistro, Pagliacci, and Dolce Vita.

  • NOVEMBER 9, 2014 9:04 PM

    ann said...

    Motorino, Bianca's Cafe and Vinotek, L'Incontro, Trattoria Poggio Antico, Pastelleria La Nuova, Bellini's. US-style: Steveston, Bigoli (this used to be Fazoli), El Buono, 5th Avenue Pizza Company, Sicilian Pizza, NYPD, The Sicilian Express.

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