Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Restaurant Review: Ki Won Korean Restaurant and C' Italian Dining (Pampanga))

The best-selling panizza
We were now on the fourth day of our 5-day Lakbay Norte 2 media tour and we all woke up at Clark Star Hotel expecting to have our breakfast at the hotel or so we thought.  Instead, we were all whisked on our special Victory Liner media tour bus for a food trip, first, to Ki Won Korean Restaurant in Angeles City as guests of owner Mr. James Park of the Korean Business Association in Central Luzon and Mr. Hyung Gyo Han, member of United Korean Community Association of the Philippines.  Here, we partook of a very filling Korean noodle dish.  We thought that was the end of our "food trip."  How wrong we were.  Back in our bus, we next brought to C' Italian Dining at the Clark Special Economic Zone where we were joined by Greater Clark Visitors Bureau (GCVB) representatives Ms. Joy Cruz and Mr. Marc Nepomuceno.  Here, we were welcomed by Swiss-Italian Chef Chris Locher.  Chris  came to the Philippines a decade ago, first working for the Reyeses of the Plaza Restaurant before deciding to go on his own, opening C' Italian Dining in Clark in 2005.  The restaurant has now grown to be one of the best in the city and in the Philippines and was voted, for two years, as the best restaurant by Philippine Tatler.  During weekends, the place is packed with guests, some coming all the way from Manila.  Getting a reservation beforehand is highly recommended.
The author with Chef Chris Locher
For our media group, the charming and amiable Chris prepared for us his best seller and original creation called panizza (sold here at PhP580). This sumptuous rectangular-shaped, ultra thin crust pizza, topped with alfalfa sprouts and arugula leaves, is sliced into thin strips and rolled first like Japanese maki (as demonstrated by our colleague Ivan ManDy) before being eaten. The arugula leaves had a very peppery taste and the savory crust and the mixture of the ingredients (five different cheeses, slices of seafood, herbs, meat toppings, etc.) were perfect. Chris also whips up great pasta sauces. The crusty Italian bread, made with creamy and soft dough and made fresh with a dash of parsley oil, is baked every day. This we dipped in freshly made pesto.  One panizza order serves 3 to 4 persons.  The fresh ingredients are either flown in (through Clark) or homegrown.  Dining here proved to a gastronomical experience. The restaurant has an al fresco dining area at the back with a replica of the Venus de Milo statue among some palms.
Ki Won Korean Restaurant: Friendship Highway (Korea Town), Angeles City, Pampanga.  Tel: (045) 893-2096.
C' Italian Dining: 1210 Don Juico Ave. (Friendship Rd.), Clarkview, Malabanas, Clark, Pampanga.  Tel: (045) 892-4059 and 892-6993. Mobile number: (0917) 726-4992.  E-mail: Website:  Open Mondays, 6 PM-11 PM, and Tuesdays-Sundays, 11 AM-11 PM.

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