Get a Taste of Italy: Italian Cafes and Restaurants in the South

By: Martin Luigi Lagustan
Get a Taste of Italy Italian Cafes and Restaurants in the South

Italian restaurants and cafes are all over the country, but it can be difficult to find a place that’s authentic and oozing with richness in culture. Regardless of what you are looking for, be it a quiet ambiance for working, a homey vibe where your family can eat, or you just want to try out new restaurants in the South, we’ve got you covered. 

photo of a pizza

Here are eight of the best Italian cafes and restaurants that offer authentic food and the atmosphere of Italy.

1. Nonna’s Pasta & Pizzeria

Nonna’s prides itself as one of the most innovative restaurants in terms of pizza and pasta. They combine rustic and modern together, so they can offer more playful and contemporary Italian cuisine to their customers. Everything is made from scratch, using fresh and high-quality ingredients—all while providing a comfortable, homey ambiance in their restaurants.

“Nonna” is the Italian word for “grandmother,” which is how it feels when you taste their food. It is like your cool grandma made your favorite dish. The goal is to give you the nostalgic feeling of dining with your family.

They offer a wide variety of pizzas and pasta. From classic dishes like Neapolitan, risotto, and zuppe. However, one of their best sellers is the Spaghetti Arrabiata. It is a popular dish that has arrabbiata sauce made from chili, sun-dried tomatoes, and oregano.

The arrabbiata pasta also goes well with Nonna’s Special— pizza with basil cream, Pomodoro sauce, burrata, and mozzarella. Finish that off with one of their best-selling desserts, the Lemon Meringue Sandwich, which is literally a lemon cream meringue sandwich.

If you find yourself looking for a house and lot in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, don’t hesitate to go on a lunch date at Solenad 3 and visit this restaurant. They also have a branch at Robinson’s Galleria, Ortigas.

You can check out their Facebook page or website for more information.

Mamma Vita

photo from facebook.com/mammavitarestaurant

2. Mamma Vita Restaurant

Mamma Vita Restaurant is an authentic Italian restaurant located in one of Laguna’s emerging cities, Biñan City. Founded by an Italian chef, Mamma Vita serves authentic pizzas, homemade pasta as well as roasted meats and seafood. Their menu doesn’t only stop at serving dishes, coffee and wine are also available there. 

Using a wood fire oven for making their scrumptious and mouth-watering dishes and opting to cook in a traditional Italian way, their quest for authenticity gives their diners the out-of-country experience of being in an authentic Italian restaurant while being inside the tropical country of the Philippines. 

The pizzas include but are not limited to, Margherita pizza, Quattro Formaggi, Biancaneve, Rossona, All meat pizza, and more. While their pasta includes Bucatini Amatriciana, Penne Arrabiata, Classic Italian Carbonara, Linguine Tunna, Fusilli Quattro Formaggi, etc. Pork Belly Steak, Wurstel Pork, and Oven Baked Salmon make up some of their “main” dishes. 

Found inside the city of Biñan, it is located right along the Old National Highway or the Manila South Road inside Umbria Mall. If you live inside a house and lot for sale in Sta Rosa Laguna, Mamma Vita restaurant is only a few minutes away. They are also located near the South Luzon Express Way and at the exit of the Cavite-Laguna Expressway, which makes it easier for diners to experience their food. 

They are open from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm on weekdays; 12:00nn to 9:00 pm on weekends. You can check their Facebook and Instagram for more information. 

3. Da Gianni Cucina Italiana Manila

Da Gianni is owned by Filipino-Italian celebrity Matteo Guidicelli, in partnership with his cousin and close friends. The restaurant serves as a tribute to his late grandfather, Gianni, who lived in Cebu in the 80s. However, in his stay at that time, he failed to find authentic Italian food, so he decided to start cooking his own.

Italian cuisine, after all, is all about cooking food from scratch to provide the best quality of food for their families. So, don’t be surprised to see that their pasta is made from scratch. From their ravioli to their pappardelle, tortellini, and tagliatelle, you can expect to get pasta made fresh every day.

Their menu is quite extensive, from the usual pasta and pizzas, to insalate, risotto, and even steak. To start, you can try their Gorgonzola Salad—fresh greens with parmigiano and prosciutto di parma. We also recommend that you try one of their best-selling pizzas, the Quattro Formaggi, which is a four-cheese pizza with truffle paste.

You can find Da Gianni at WestGate Center in Alabang, Muntinlupa. Check out their Facebook and Instagram for more information. They have a 4.5-star review on Zomato, so this restaurant is definitely a must-try.

Roma cafe

4. Roma Cafe

Roma Cafe is the brainchild of Manny Villar, as he wanted to provide the relaxing ambience of Italy to the South. The restaurant aims to provide its customers with a safe space to unwind or work a little away from home.

The café is inspired by Rome, Italy, which matches the place’s entire design. From their rustic exterior to the lively design of its interior, this café definitely deserves a place in your Instagram feed.

Their design is then paired with an Italian menu—all catering to every meal of the day. Of course, they offer freshly brewed coffee, but also frappes, artisan tea, and smoothies. You can pair your morning coffee with their breakfast menu, which boasts Chorizo Florentine, Speck Benedict, and Pacetta & Eggs.

Come for lunch, you can try their pasta. We recommend the Red Pepper & Chorizo and Chicken Bruschetta Fusilli. If you are tired of the usual pasta and pizza pair, check out their main entree. Their Chicken Truffle Gratin and Maple Glazed Brisket will surely excite your taste buds.

Planning to stay for dinner? You can wine and dine with your date with their Vino & Formaggio menu. They have a lot of wines to choose from, including classic red, white, and sparkling. Of course, wine’s at its best when paired with deli and cheese, which they also offer in their menu.

After your trip in looking for a house for rent in Cavite, you can visit Roma Cafe at Niog Road corner Molino Boulevard in Bacoor. Check out their Facebook and Instagram for more information.

5. Mama Lou’s Italian Kitchen

Mama Lou’s is famous for its rich and flavorful comfort food. Every dish will make you feel like you are in an Italian home. They bring authentic Italian food with a home-cooked feel, ranging from zuppe, Insalate, antipasti, and, of course, pizza and pasta.

Their menu is very extensive. They feature their Pizza Tabarnes, Chicken Parmigiana, Quattro Fomaggi, Seafood Olio, and Poutine. However, if it is your first time, we highly recommend their Truffle Mac and Cheese. You can also check out their Mama Lou’s Special—balsamic cream, arugula, tomato, prosciutto, and mango— for bright flavors that will tickle your taste buds.

If you want to try other dishes, they have a wide variety of choices for you. Their mains are exceptionally delicious, especially their Marbled Ribeye Steak. You can also try healthier options, like their Pan Seared Salmon Fillet and Tuna Belly.

For hearty dishes, check out their Chicken Piccata, Ribeye Salpicao, Chicken Parmigiana, and, of course, you’ll never go wrong with a classic risotto. Overall, You can expect all of their dishes to taste like “mother’s love.”

Mama Lou’s main branch is in BF International Village, Las Piñas. However, if you have a house and lot in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, you should visit their branch in Nuvali. They also have branches in UP Town Center, Evia, Ayala Malls the 30th, Circuit Makati, Vertis North, Feliz, North Exchange, and Manila Bay.

Visit their website, Facebook, or Instagram for more info.

San Marco Cafe

6. San Marco

San Marco is a pretty new café located in Evia Lifestyle Center, Las Piñas. However, it is a subsidiary of the Coffee Project, so you can expect Instagram-worthy ambience both inside and outside the café—but more Italian-inspired. This café is perfect if you want to work in a large, spacious area and stay for long hours. Their menu is built to make you stay the entire day, from breakfast to dinner.

Just like the cafe’s design, the menu is also Italian. If you find yourself in this beautiful cafe, you can try their Cafe Monachella to start. Of course, all of their coffees are freshly brewed, and they go really well with the Brownie a la Mode if you want to stimulate your sweet tooth.

If you are craving for pizza, try out their Rustic Margherita Pizza—tomato sauce, garlic, mozzarella, and fresh basil. Pair that with something out of the ordinary, the Black Smoked Pasta, which is a squid ink spaghetti, topped with shrimp, parmesan cheese, and garlic bread.

They also adopted Roma Cafe’s wine and dine menu, but their wine list is a little less extensive compared to Roma. You can also pair that with their deli and cheese platters. Still, you can enjoy the vibe of Italy and a simple wine night out with your friends or special someone in San Marco.

You can visit their Facebook and Instagram for more details.

7. Amare La Cucina

If we’re talking about the essence of family in Italian cuisine, it can’t get any more familial than Amare La Cucina. Founded by Edmark Bustos, the restaurant offers soulful Italian foods that are made using traditional practices.

Other pizza joints have become more and more American, and modern-style fusion has gained popularity. Meanwhile, Amare keeps everything simple, offering classic pasta and hand-tossed, wood-fired brick oven-cooked pizzas to their customers. You can rest assured that the taste is nothing less than authentic Italian cuisine.

If you find yourself in one of their branches, you can go safe and try out their Pepperoni, Margherita, or Hawaiian pizzas. However, if you want your taste buds to explore further from your safe zone, check out their hearty Wagyu Meatball Pizza, Foie Gras Pizza, or Ragu Bolognese.

Their pastas, however, are far from common. Even their carbonara is made with an Italian recipe—egg, bacon, parsley, and grated parmigiano reggiano. We do recommend that you try their Ragu Bolognese— bacon, ground beef, Italian sausage, topped with fresh parmigiano reggiano. If you want something a little out of the ordinary, check out the Pesto Alla Genovese—pasta with hand-cut fries, rosemary, olive oil, and parmesan cheese.

Now, the specials. We mentioned that Amare is a very family-oriented restaurant because some dishes in the menu are named after the owner’s siblings. Alvin’s Pizza is a simple dish, made with mozzarella, bacon, homemade basil sauce, and parmigiano reggiano. Meanwhile, Marianne’s Special is a vegetable salad with sun-dried tomatoes, arugula leaves, and caramelized walnuts.

While the restaurant is originally located in Baguio, they have now expanded down south away from the city of Baguio. You can enjoy their food at Tagaytay Highlands and in Naic, Cavite. If you have a house and lot in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, you can visit them at Paseo, Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

You can visit their website, Facebook, and Instagram for more info.

8. Casetta Del Divino Zelo

Established in 2012 by an Italian nun, Sister Mary Isabella Carlone, Casetta Del Divino Zelo is a restaurant managed by the nuns of the Daughters of Divine Zeal. Sister Isabella passed on her knowledge for cooking and baking to the sisters to support the congregation’s projects.

Today, the Daughters of Divine Zeal preserved the authenticity of their learnings by using Italian ingredients that are freshly grown in their garden. They also maintained traditional Italian practices in making their pizza and pasta, all of which are homemade.

When you get there, don’t hesitate to try their bestsellers: Ravioli, Lasagna, and Marinara. Their Ravioli is bursting with flavors of fresh ingredients, as almost all of it is made from scratch—even the cheese. The Lasagna is always perfectly cooked and filled with meat and sauce in every bite. Meanwhile, their Marinara is just as perfect and generously flavored with seafood and olive oil.

Aside from its pasta, Casetta is known for its traditional, brick oven-baked pizzas. Their Prosciutto is one of their best sellers, but don’t hesitate to try out new flavors, like Pomodoro, Verdura, Salsiccia, and SemiFreddo.

As for desserts, you can never go wrong with their best-selling, thick-sliced Tiramisu. If you want to be more Italian, you can try the Crostata—baked pineapple and mango tart. Pair these sweet delights with a cup of their hot coffee and you are good to go.

Meanwhile, the ambiance of the place is also something to be noted. You can take a break from eating and just lounge where you sit because their al fresco dining area is surrounded by trees and nature.

One downside to this peaceful Italian restaurant is they’re only open on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, from 10 AM to 7 PM. You can visit them at Silang, Cavite or check out their Facebook for more info.

Photo of Citta Italia Amenities

Authentic Italian Food for the Soul

Overall, each of the selections we provided is guaranteed to give you an authentic taste of Italian food. Be it for yourself, your friends, or your family, we’re sure they will love the hearty, homey feeling that Italian food and restaurants offer their customers. After all, Italian cuisine itself is family-centered.

Just like here at Crown Asia, we value your future plans for your family. You want them to be in a safer and cleaner environment, which is why we only offer the best-gated communities for you. If you want to live in Cavite or Laguna, or near Evia Lifestyle Center, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Related Blog: Experience Italy in the South of Metro Manila

Related Blog