Mona Lisa Ristorante is a new casual dining restaurant at the fifth floor of SM Aura Premier in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. They are the only Italian restaurant in SM Aura Premier, and they specialize in Southern Italian cuisine, taking inspiration from the rich culinary traditions of Calabria, Naples and Sicily. Following the huge success of their first branch in Filinvest Alabang, they brought their authentic Italian cooking up north to central Metro Manila.
The restaurant features a modern and homey interior. Italian food revolves around the family, says Chef Belle Grandinetti, President and CEO of Mona Lisa Ristorante. That is why we chose this homey interior design for Mona Lisa Ristorante, she added. Prints of famous Italian paintings also adorn the walls and the ceiling of Mona Lisa Ristorante, with classy chandeliers giving the area a bright and warm feel. The use of dark wood and brick walls add a cozy atmosphere to the restaurant.
Edgar and I tried some of Mona Lisa Ristorante's best-selling pasta dishes. I ordered the Pollo Pizzimente (rigatoni alla crema di funghi porcini con olio al tartufo, pollo, asparagi e broccoli). Procini mushrooms trace a long tradition in Italian cooking and its naturally creamy taste makes it an excellent base for a cream sauce. Broccoli and asparagus are two classic Mediterranean vegetables that well represent Southern Italy. The mixture of cream of porcini mushroom, truffle oil, chicken, asparagus and broccoli result to an earthy-creamy pasta dish. The rigatoni were cooked to al dente perfection, while the asparagus and broccoli were kept their crunchiness. The chicken chunks were tender and moist. It's a simple dish but it's so good.
|Grilled Salsiccia Rigatoni Porcini|
Edgar had the Grilled Salsiccia Rigatoni Porcini (rigatoni alla crema di parmiggiano e funghi porcini con olio al tartufo e salsoccia alla griglia). Adding Parmesan cheese to the cream of procini mushroom sauce makes its creamier and more flavorful. For this pasta dish, Chef Belle used grilled salsiccia (Italian sausage) which she makes herself using imported Italian fennel seeds and other spices. The grilled salsiccia adds a meaty- spicy dimension to the cream base. The al dente rigatoni and the generous amount of grilled salsiccia makes this pasta dish a satisfying one.
|Italian Cheesecake, Cannoli, Pannacotta|
Finally, we tried some of their desserts. We had the Italian Cheesecake which is made of Ricotta cheese which makes this dessert lighter and healthier compared to the New York Cheesecake which uses cream cheese. The Cannoli is a classic Sicilian dessert consisting of a crusty shell filled with ricotta cheese. The tips were dipped in dark chocolate and chopped pistachios. Cannoli are traditionally eaten and enjoyed as a finger food. Their Pannacotta is unlike most pannacotta you will find in Manila. Mona Lisa Ristorante's pannacotta is full-bodied and has a velvety texture. Chef Belle shared that their pannacotta is the favorite dessert of Senator Pia Cayetano, a best friend and food trip buddy to Chef Belle.
Authentic Italian food is simple yet the taste is exquisite. The same is true with Mona Liza Ristorante. Chef Belle and her husband play a hands-on role in their restaurant's daily operations. They have personal connection to their cooking, resulting to food that comes from the heart and tastes that is pleasing to the soul. It is no wonder that we found authentic Italian dining that is rich in tradition and history. We will surely be back to try Chef Belle's other creations such as her risotto, pizza, gnocchi, vongole and tiramisu.
Mona Lisa Ristorante
Level 5, SM Aura Premier, Taguig City
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday 10:00am to 11:00pm
Contact Number: 403-6834
Disclaimer: Dishes featured in this article were provided by Mona Lisa Ristorante for photoshoot and food sampling purposes only. Opinion on their food remains ours and are based on our personal taste.