Restaurant Review: Mona Lisa Ristorante at SM Aura Premier
Published on October 21, 2014
Because having dinner dates on Thursday nights has become quite a habit for us, Joie decided to purchase an online deal from Deal Grocer which we could use on our next gastronomic trip. She availed of a PHP1000-worth of food voucher for Mona Lisa Ristorante for only PHP600. We decided to redeem this at SM Aura Premier because the next choice is its Alabang branch! Haha!
Joie checked out some online reviews regarding Mona Lisa’s food. It yielded a mixture of positive and negative reviews. But as I always say, taste is subjective so what may be delicious for me may not be the same for other people. Joie also took charge of calling the restaurant for reservation. (Puro na lang siya. Wala akong kwentang friend! Wala akong ginawa maliban sa lumamon. Bwaha!) I didn’t think it was necessary because the place was just half full during our visit. But it was indicated in the deal that prior reservation should be made so we just obliged. It was nice though because they really reserved the couch seats for us.
I was so hungry so I didn’t get the chance to take photos of the restaurant. But it’s cozy and quite elegant with paintings hanging on the wall and a giant chandelier that welcomes the guests. Mona Lisa is also everywhere - from the paintings to the neck ties of the waiters. =)
From all the reviews that Joie read, every positive feedback directs to Mona Lisa’s panizza. Guests have the option to get half orders of the panizza. We got two half orders so we could taste two varieties at the same time. It took us a while to choose among the panizza choices so I suggested that we get Mona Lisa Speciale and Miguelito Speciale.
Me: Eto na lang may mga SPECIALE. Special daw e!
Joie: Ang talino mo, girl!
The Mona Lisa Speciale has buttered shrimps, herbs, mozzarella cheese and provolone cheese. Miguelito Speciale is topped with salami, ham, artichokes and sundried tomatoes. Well, both didn’t disappoint. The panizza was sooooo good! Even my husband, who is not fond of Italian food, liked it very much. I love sundried tomatoes as they always bring that perfect sweet and tangy mixture to any dish. The crust was cooked perfectly making it so easy to roll. I could taste all the cheesy goodness in both the Mona Lisa Speciale and Miguelito Speciale. It is served with arugula and Alfalfa. The Alfalfa gives that unique earthy flavor, while the arugulas are peppery and slightly bitter. Ok, I can probably go on and on describing their panizza. But it all boils down to one thing: It’s very delicious! (Tip: If you like to spice things up, put Parmesan cheese, chili flakes and chili oil, all of which are present in every table at Mona Lisa.)
I love eating pasta dishes whether it’s cream-based or tomato-based. But my favorite has always been those pasta dishes with creamed tomato sauce. It’s as if you are getting the best of both a cream-based and a tomato-based dish. This is why I fell in love with Mona Lisa’s Rigatoni Al Forno Alla Calabrese. (Whew! The name of this dish is quite a mouthful. In case you plan to visit, do yourself a favor and just point at the menu. Nyaha!)
Jeff was nearly begging us if we could get risotto. I actually laughed and asked him why we are spending for a glamorized version of lugaw. Haha! But because we knew that he wanted it so badly, we gave in and let him choose among the risotto choices. He settled with Risotto Alla Pescatore.
It has a generous serving of mussels, clams, squids and shrimps. I initially didn’t like it, probably because it was my first time to eat risotto. My taste buds are probably not accustomed to something as sosyal as risotto. Pang lugaw lang talaga siguro ako. Haha! But I learned to appreciate it. It has tomato sauce and a lot of cherry tomatoes, so I find it a bit too sour for my liking. But I found a trick! I added more Parmesan cheese to tame the acidity of the risotto. (I am watching too much Food Network shows so I know that they put Parmesan cheese in risotto. Haha!) And guess what? It actually worked! =)
Food at Mona Lisa Ristorante is a bit pricey so the PHP400 we saved meant so much to us. Mga kuripot na tunay! Haha! We should have bought two vouchers because our bill shot up to PHP2000. Sayang! But I actually didn’t mind paying extra because the food was great. Service was also very fast and efficient. The waiters kept on refilling our glasses with service water even before we ask for it. =)
Mona Lisa Ristorante
Level 5 SM Aura Premier
McKinley Parkway, Bonifacio Global City,