304 V. Cruz Street, San Juan City
Open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Tuesday to Friday, Sunday); 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Saturday)
(SPOT.ph) If there was anything good that came out of the pandemic, it would have to be the numerous small businesses that people started out of their homes. With everyone stuck at home due to ever-changing quarantine restrictions, many came up with creative business ideas such as selling home-cooked food or freshly baked goods. One such business that found success in the midst of the pandemic is Gianetto Pizzeria, which has now opened its very first brick-and-mortar restaurant right in San Juan City.
When in San Juan, drop by this pizza shop for pies with Filipino flair:
Started by Jack Isanan and Lesley Ngo during the Enhanced Community Quarantine, Gianetto’s originally didn’t serve pizza, but rather home-cooked meals for their condo community. But since Isanan took a pizza- and pasta-making course back in 2016, they decided to shift to offering Italian classics with their own spin.
Gianetto’s quickly gained a social media following thanks to their no-frills approach to pizza–fresh, homemade dough topped with simple ingredients. Famous fans include social media influencers, celebrities, and even local chefs. This strong social media presence is what pushed the owners to open up their very own restaurant.
Gianetto’s first physical location seems to adhere to the same philosophy that they have when it comes to their pizzas—that it's best to keep things simple.
The interiors of the restaurant are clearly industrial inspired, with concrete walls and exposed brick, but it also exudes a warm and welcoming vibe. Natural light comes in through the form of a wide window at the front and there’s plenty of greenery, thanks to the fake plants that are displayed on one wall of the restaurant.
Neon signs are also scattered throughout the place with cute sayings like “All you need is love and pizza,” and “Pizza is my love language,” perfect if you want to snap a quick Instagram story or picture. The restaurant also features an open kitchen where you can watch your food being made.
But of course, opening a full service restaurant also means having to expand their menu beyond just pizza and pasta. They’ve added appetizers, soups, mains, and even cocktails to their offerings. Veggie lovers will also be pleased to know that there are more vegetarian-friendly options on their menu.
One veggie option that they’ve added is the Sweet Onion Canapé (P320). This appetizer is composed of crusty toast topped with cream cheese, caramelized onion, alfalfa sprouts, and a balsamic vinegar glaze. It’s sweet, creamy, and tart—almost like an elevated version of a certain bread-themed snack from our childhood. It’s best paired with their Roasted Pumpkin Soup (P150), a rich and creamy broth that features just the right amount of sweetness from the pumpkin.
Another welcome addition to the menu is the Salmon Risotto (P675), which features perfectly cooked rice in a rich tomato broth. This creamy risotto pairs wonderfully with the salmon, which is seasoned simply with salt and pepper and comes with super crispy skin, resulting in a nice contrast of textures.
The stars of the table, however, still have to be their pizzas, which you can now have straight out of the oven.
Gianetto’s makes their pizza dough from scratch, resulting in a crust that’s light and airy yet crispy. These are then baked in a stone oven, which gives the crust a nice toasted flavor with just the right amount of chew. It serves as the perfect base for the toppings, which range from classic pepperoni and cheese to more distinctly Filipino toppings like skinless longganisa and even taba ng talangka or crab fat.
Their signature Eats Me Spinach (P599) is a bestseller for a reason. Topped with generous amounts of mozzarella, spinach and cream cheese, it’s a pie that’s the right amount of rich and creamy—almost as if you’ve topped your favorite spinach dip on top of light, airy pita bread.
Filipino flavors play a huge role on their pizza menu too, with pizzas like Lesley’s Favorite (P530), which is named after Ngo, and the Wasapeneen Buddy (P599), a rollup pizza served with arugula and alfalfa sprouts.
Lesley’s Favorite is a sweet and salty pie, topped with skinless longganisa and fresh kesong puti, while the Wasapeneen Buddy is a seafood lover’s dream, featuring toppings like taba ng talangka and shrimp. The pizza’s rich, umami flavor is nicely balanced with a drizzle of sweet honey and earthy arugula and alfalfa sprouts.
Also not to be missed is their Spinach Ravioli (P450). Made with homemade pasta, these are stuffed with generous amounts of spinach filling and are coated in sweet tomato sauce. It serves as a nice light contrast to the rest of the restaurant’s menu.
Looking for the perfect dessert to cap off your meal? Make sure to get a slice of their Tiramisu (P300) which comes off as light and not too sweet, thanks to a strong coffee base.
Gianetto’s also has Happy Hour every Tuesday to Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. Must-try cocktails have to be the Calamansi Basil (P345), a Filipino take on the classic mojito with its citrusy and refreshing flavor, and the Whiskey Smash (P360), a sweet and much more stronger concoction—perfect for those who know how to handle their alcohol.
Gianetto will continue to offer their pizzas up for delivery, but if you’re looking to try something new from their menu or simply want to get a taste of their pizza fresh out of the oven, a visit to their first physical restaurant is very much worth the drive to San Juan.
Photos by Kit Singson