A Trip to Italy on Koh Phangan at Monnalisa Thong Sala

20 Feb 2017

Monnalisa Restaurant in Haad Rin has been well established for nearly ten years now. With a loyal customer base and a solid reputation for their homemade Italian food it’s no surprise that people were asking them to open another branch in the centre of the island, Thong Sala.

And so, owners Marco and Tony decided it was time for a second restaurant, they came to the people and found the perfect spot on the artisan lane of Krung Thai Bank Street and Monnalisa number two is settled at its second home…

Hi Marco, so how was the new year for you at Monnalisa?

Here at our new restaurant it was busy as we still did not have enough staff, we were very busy! Now we have more staff so it’s better for us. Haad Rin has been busy too, January is always a good month.

Tell us about this new place...

We offer the same feeling and now start to get new customers and people who already know our Italian pizza and food, people talk when it is good and we still only use Italian products.

Does Tony’s wife still make all of the food herself?

Yes she makes it here and in Haad Rin, it’s run like a laboratory!

Did you build the pizza oven here?

Yes as we only make Italian pizza with the Italian system.

What’s the Italian system?

The oven, and the stone comes from Italy. Every morning the chef comes in and makes the dough for the next day as it needs a minimum of 24 hours rest, the dough needs to be good. After 24 to 48 hours it’s best. We use just natural ingredients, flour, olive oil and yeast.

The tomatos are only Italian and we use Italian mozzarella. When you’re in Monnalisa Restaurant you’re not in Thailand you are in Italy! The ingredients are more expensive but it’s important.

How long does it take to cook a pizza in the Italian oven?
One minute and a half to cook so in 3 minutes it’s always ready. You only need 3 to 5 minutes.

Do you like this street?
Yes, it’s a tattoo shop street so it’s nice and I think everybody knows this street and many people walk down it.

I hope more people come, all the restaurants here work well and we all make good food, there is a nice vibe, nice people and good neighbours.

Would you say you have the best pizzas in Thong Sala now?

We think but we don't say! We don't want to be ‘the best’...

And does Tony’s wife still enjoy to cook here?

She enjoys it yes, she comes every single day. She takes a lot of pride and love in the food, I don’t know how she does it, she’s always been like this!

As promised the moment had come for us to taste Monnalisa’s pizza fresh from the ‘Italian system’, it arrived on a thick wooden pizza board hot and fresh but mostly very appetising!

We went for a simple salami pizza, all of the produce is Italian so you can rest assured in a simple dish that honours its ingredients.

The base is beautifully soft yet not soggy, perfectly cooked with just a slight crisp that holds the toppings as a splendid partner.

The mozzarella is generous but does not overtake, each aspect of this pizza works with each other and if you like a little spice then the chilli oil is a must add friend.

Phanganist Volunteer Feena had the pleasure of joining us to Monnalisa and she adds;

"I haven't had Italian since I left home 11 weeks ago so it was such a treat to try this incredible authentic Italian food, Gratzi!"

As with all great restaurants which are comfortable and proud with the food they serve there is not too much on the menu although you will still find yourself deliberating over what to have!

The fresh pasta is served ‘al dente’ as it should be and you can choose from an assortment of freshly prepared toppings which are lovingly made each and every single day.

Monnalisa in Thong Sala gives you a taste of Italy without leaving the comfort of Koh Phangan, it’s famous pizzas and pasta will cure you of that Italian craving and it’s a lovely spot to chill out with a nice glass of wine on this lovely crafty quiet street in the heart of Koh Phangan.