The original panizza place sticks to classics and wins!
C'Italian Dining is proof that straightforward is good so long as your food is great.
G/F L’Ermitage Apartments, 115 L.P. Leviste Street corner Toledo Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
(SPOT.ph) Destination dining places setting up shop in Manila is always a comforting thought, if only for the fact that one doesn’t have to travel far and long (given today’s traffic situation) for good grub. With a branch installed in Salcedo Village, Pampanga-based C’Italian Dining is telling its loyal customers to stay put; they’ll bring the food to you. That is, their range of specialty panizzas (pizzas so thin-crust that you eat them like roll-ups), meats, and many more.
C’Italian Dining’s Salcedo Village branch is a more intimate take on the original (which, by the way, has relocated to the Clark Freeport Zone), best known for its cobbled walls adorned with art, ornate fixtures, and elegant dining spaces. But the C’Italian experience is incomplete without a quick look at their collection of signed plates—a validation of those who have been on the same gastronomic pursuit as you.
At the outset, the setting may intimidate just a bit. C’Italian is located on the ground floor of a relatively upscale residence right across Jaime C. Velasquez Park. It’s not exactly accessible by public transport, but trust us on this: When you find the quiet restaurant amidst the bustle of busy Makati, know you’re in only for the best things.
“We don’t want people to think we’re a fine-dining restaurant, because we’re not,” co-owner Roselynn Sison says. “We want to blast that misconception because we actually offer authentic Italian food at affordable prices. It’s a place for everyone.” C’Italian is co-owned by several other partners including Rey and Ed Pineda (hailing from the family that managed the first branch), Rodney Yu, Gino de la Pena, Zuriel Zaragoza, Steven Tagle, Atty. Raji Mendoza, and Paolo Tolentino.
Their portions are big enough to share under normal circumstances or can be consumed alone for serious cases ravenousness. “We came up with smaller portions of our dishes here at Salcedo, for those who come in for a quick lunch,” Roselynn shares. “But the quality is not compromised.”
Every meal here starts off with a helping of some warm, freshly baked bread. C’Italian has mastered the balance of a crisp exterior and chewy core in their breads, which are quite heavenly when dipped in their special mix of olive oil, pesto, and Parmesan cheese.
Slowly transition to any of their panizzas right after: the Jando (P270/Solo, P500/La Famiglia) or the Karmichael (P320/Solo, P590/La Famiglia). The former is an airy, salty variant consisting of salami slices, toasted garlic bits, and sundried tomatoes. The latter, meanwhile, is a more savory option, suited for those who appreciate a dense contrast of bitter and salty flavors. Regardless of choice, the best way to enjoy each panizza slice is to toss a few strands of arugula and alfalfa on the cheese-laden bed, season with some chili flakes or pepper, before finally hand-rolling it and digging in.
Ingredients used in these panizzas may be minimal, almost basic even, but C’Italian has a way of working its magic. “It’s the dough,” Roselynn says. “Nobody can replicate our dough.” For added flavor, their panizzas be taken with any of their Italian sodas. Have your pick from flavors including lemon, cherry, apricot, and more.
Bistecca Alla C' Angus Beef Flank Steak
Complement your panizza with slices of their Bistecca Alla C’ Angus Beef Flank Steak (P1,790/half, P3,490/whole), or marinated beef strips served with black pepper, garlic, caramelized onions, roasted potatoes, and baked pumpkin slices.
“Flank steak is usually tough,” Rose explains. “But since we try to make it as tender as possible, people keep coming back for this dish.” To fully appreciate the meat, have it cooked to medium to medium well, slide each slice over some red wine reduction, and complement each bite with a small portion of broccoli. Each slice leaves a slightly roasted, lavish aftertaste, the kind that best suits a sip of, well, some more wine.
Slow Roasted Lamb Ribs
Their Slow Roasted Lamb Ribs In Aromatic Spice Rub (P1,390) is as divine. The meat, served with red wine reduction, caramelized onion, roasted potatoes, and rapini, falls off the bone quite effortlessly. Normally, fans of lamb would have theirs with some mint sauce, but C’Italian’s take says, “The meat will suffice.”
Linguine Al Tartufo E Prosciutto
Fans of truffle pasta are similarly in for something special: the Linguine Al Tartufo E Proscuitto (P390/Solo, P740/La Famiglia) is extremely light and creamy, the kind of dish you’d easily consume in a flash.
Best with coffee: Tiramisu
If you still have room, end your journey with coffee and some A+ dolce. C’Italian proves it can go beyond its savory specialties, since it can very well be a contender for some excellent Lemon Cheese Cake (P230) or Tiramisu (P210). As these cakes are baked fresh daily and served in limited quantities each day, this goes without saying: you better make a run for it.
Photos by Hans Fausto