When looking for authentic Italian pizza in Dongguan, it is understandable that you might be skeptical of a joint opened by a local. We’ve all heard stories of ketchup used in lieu of tomato sauce and other such disasters. However, finding myself down in Liaobu, and hungry to boot, I decided to try such a place and it all worked out rather well.
Born locally, owner Davi spent several years working in pizzerias throughout Italy, learning the secrets of the trade. Wanting to bring his love for Italian food back home, Davi opened up his first location in Houjie a little over a year ago and has since opened three more. His most recent is on the 3rd floor of Dynacity Mall, just opening its doors last month. But it was the Liaobu location which fed me.
To say the atmosphere is eclectic would be an understatement. The furnishings have a slight industrial feel, with cast iron lamps, exposed brickwork, and metal railings abound. Art varies from a mural of the Colosseum to 1940’s cars, and old children’s bicycles protruding from the walls. Don’t forget the cans of ketchup on shelves and life rafts strung beneath the bar. I’m not sure who the interior designer was, but he was sure having fun. Decorations aside, nearly every table in Nonna’s was full, which we took as a good sign.
Top marks go to the crust. Having always been a fan of thick American crusts, I found myself being swayed to the dark side. They were light and fluffy, still maintaining substance with a thin crispy shell. Perfect. The Italian Proscuitto and Naples pizzas were delectable, cheesy and saucy, with fresh quality toppings to rival any of bar street’s offerings. The rest of the food was also a success. For those craving western foods, the basil sausage was juicy and flavorful, chicken wings sweet with a hint of spice (though a tad overpriced), the salad crisp and refreshing. Those preferring local flavors try the chicken skewers (cartilage filled), or the Taiwan Mango and Bacon Egg pizzas (reminiscent of a Chinese McMuffin). Such combos seem a clever business move and nod to the owner’s heritage and life experience.
Prices aren’t too bad either. You can get a 12 inch half and half pizza, chicken skewers or a salad, and two lemon cokes, all for 99 Yuan-a fair price indeed. You can also upgrade to either Holland Kroon cheese or a durian crust for an additional 16 RMB, and a blueberry juice for 10. For a tasty pizza, give Nonna’s a try, you might just be surprised.
Find the restaurant here.