How Gino’s differs from the other pizza joints here is that it serves Napoletana-style pizza2. There are actually a lot of guidelines to this, which includes the type of tomatoes you use, where you source your mozzarella cheese, thickness of crust, etc. If we’re going strictly by how Gino’s follows these guidelines, of course it’s not gonna stack up to the real thing. But we’re not doing that.
Basically, there are 3 things separate Gino’s from the other pizza places. The crust, the cheese, and… OK, 2 things then.
I had been craving for pizza because I had just watched the Naples episode of No Reservations3. First is the Pizza Margherita. It’s just your simple pizza with tomato sauce and a basil leaf so it’s a really benchmark how good a pizza is.
The best pizzas are made with wood-fire ovens heated for more than half a day. The next best thing is the brick oven pizza! It really makes a difference because you get that burnt and charred flavor with your crust (vs. a bland crust, which you tend to leave behind). In my book, Gino’s pizzas shoots up to near the top of the list if we’re just talking about crust. Some slices ended up with more crust than sauce and topping so it was good the crust wasn’t bland. Basil was also nice, and I heard that they grow their own basil leaves.
Now, the cheese used really differentiates a Gino’s pizza from all others. Instead of the traditional Mozzarella, they use Kesong Puti, which is a native Filipino cheese that’s on the salty side. It comes from carabao, which should closely resemble mozzarella (which comes from buffalo). Kesong puti gives the pizza a different kick, but I’m still a mozzarella guy. I love the gooey feel of it more than the small bits of salty cheese that I got.
I also ordered a Calabrese pizza which came with basil and Salami Calabrese. This was spectacular. Love the cured spicy meat with the basil and tomato sauce.
You can’t go wrong with the Buffalo Chicken either. It’s a tad bit spicy, but just bursting with flavor.
If you’re not a pizza kind of person, first of all, we can’t be friends. Second, you can go for their (limited) pasta dishes. We tried the Pesto Ravioli and the Pappardelle Bolognese. Let me save you the time: they’re not very good so stick to the pizzas.
They used to have this awesome chili oil made from the Bird’s Eye chili, some garlic, and oil. But I have no idea why they took it out.
For dessert, they have a Nutella Pizza, which sounds really interesting. We were too full to order that, though4.
Overall, great pizza! 12″ pizzas can be consumed by 1 person, maybe 25. Really good ingredients and really packing in flavor. My only complaints are the Katipunan traffic, the lack of parking space, and something else… But I’m nitpicking. If they could just switch to mozzarella cheese…