By Trish Zamora

No Italian restaurant is safe when my friends and I are around.

We visited Joey Pepperoni at the DBP-Makati to take advantage of their Pizza All-You-Can Promo. Since we all love great Italian food, I thought this was the best way to catch up with each other.

We ordered both the Mushroom Pepperoni and Ham and Bacon with bottomless iced tea. We also included a plate of Mozzarella Sticks and Pesto Pasta. About ten minutes after taking our order, the servers arrived with our food.

The pizzas were thin crust and stuffed with toppings, just the way we liked it. The Mushroom Pepperoni pizza was a great combination of vegetables and meat but I found the Ham and Bacon too oily.

The Mozzarella sticks were thick and filling, unlike the others I've tasted. The pasta, however, lacked taste.

Overall, we enjoyed our dinner and the talk we had.

Price Range: Php100 - Php500


By: Trish Zamora
My sister knows me too well: she knows that the only reason why I would accompany her to U.P. to get her diploma is if food was involved. And she promised me Italian food in a quaint little restaurant a ways off the main campus if I go with her in the middle of the day.

With one hand carrying her diploma and the other holding the door open for me, my sister introduced me to a favorite restaurant among U.P. students: Friuli Trattoria.

The Area

When she said "quaint", she meant quaint. The restaurant -- sorry -- trattoria is cozy but inviting. The inside was small, consisting of a counter and three tables that seats four people each. The decor was simple with attractive photos on the wall. Wide windows give a good view of the quiet street.

We sat inside the restaurant because of the air conditioner, but if you want alfresco dining, you can always make use of the tables outside.

Affordable Italian Food

One thing I can say about their menu: they have an expansive pizza list. They have a variety of vegetarian pizza and meat pizza, which is something that you don't ordinarily see in Italian restaurants. However, their pasta menu is ordinary and nothing stood out.

Since we are starving that day, we decided to skip appetizers and just went ahead with the main course. Our tuna carbonara was surprising as we didn't know that it was spicy. Other than that observation, the pasta was ordinary.

The margherita pizza we ordered was better than the pasta. The crust was cooked perfectly and it has a generous amount of toppings. However, nothing about its taste stood out.

'Not as good as before.'

My sister was quite disappointed with the food. She used to frequent Friuli when she was still a student and she said that the food now was 'not as good as before.' 

Since it was my first time there, I wouldn't know what the food tasted like before. I do know, however, that sampling Friuli's fare was pleasant enough, but lacked that oompth factor.

Friuli Trattoria is located at 79A Maginhawa Street, U.P. Village, Quezon City.

Price Range: Php100-300
By: Trish Zamora

As a pizza and pasta lover, it was an automatic decision to try out Papa John's as soon as they opened in Megamall.

The Decor

Photos of food are always inviting and Papa John's makes good use of them. Large photos cover their walls, which accentuate their dedication to fresh ingredients. The lighting is warm and cozy and it goes well with their high-backed booths and square tables.

The Service

The Papa John's staff is well trained. They give helpful suggestions regarding their daily specials and food choices, giving me and my companion a demonstration of their exceptional customer service.

What We Ordered

If you want to have small nibbles before your pizza, they have a list of tasty and mouthwatering appetizers. They have soups, salads, and luscious cheese sticks to get you started. They also have side dishes of calzones, fried chicken, and onion rings.

Their pasta menu, on the other hand, leaves a lot to be desired. The serving size was small and their pasta flavors are common. It's not bad nor good - it's mediocre.

Papa John's pizzas are something worth trying. Moist and filled with toppings, their crust retain their crispiness even after some time. An expansive pizza list gives you more choices than the regular cheese, meat, and vegan toppings. They also cater to people who like spicy pizzas. Their Texas Heat and Spicy Italian Meatball pizzas add just the right amount of spice to liven up your appetite.

Must-Try Items

In all of the restaurants I visit, I always have my must-try items. These items slowly become favorites and the restaurant can expect me to buy them again. For Papa John's my must-try items are their mozzarella sticks and Italian Sodas.

Presented on a wooden platter, their mozzarella sticks are served straight from the oven. Unlike in other restaurants, Papa John's mozzarella sticks are good enough for a group of three. They are generously filled with mozzarella cheese and baked to perfection.

First time I've heard of an Italian soda was when my companion and I first ate at Papa John's. Their Italian sodas are composed of a clear soda, a generous serving of syrup at the bottom of the glass, a thick slice of lemon, and a red cherry. This combination is sweet, fizzy, and ultimately refreshing.

All in all, it's a delightful experience. And in my book, that's a good enough reason to go back.

Price Range: 200-500 per person