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High-end Italian joint Atto Primo a class act
By Patsy Yang

Atto Primo is bringing a slice of Italian drama to the Bund dining scene.

With its name meaning “first act,” the spacious restaurant at Five on the Bund features three unique dining areas inspired by Italian theater.
The “sonetto” area features balcony seating overlooking the Bund. The more intimate “drama” corner is decorated with traditional Italian masks suspend- ed from the ceiling, while in “satira” diners can immerse themselves in an artistic cooking performance with views into the restaurant’s exposed kitchen.

“Atto Primo is meant to be a pure and genuine Italian spot on the Bund, where people can enjoy the Italian conviviality of staying around the table and enjoy- ing the Italian lifestyle, while forgetting for a while the fast-paced city life,” said Gianluca Serafin, chef patron of Atto Primo.

Serafin started his career as head chef in 1996 at Badrutt’s Palace Hotel in St Moritz, Switzerland. He moved to Shanghai to join the award-winning Italian restaurant Palladio at the Ritz Carlton in 2009.

Atto Primo marks his latest adventure in Shanghai’s crowded food and bever- age scene.

“Competition in this particular spot is very high, but I do believe that wherever there is risk there is always a hidden potential somehow,’’ Serafin said.

The newly-opened restaurant of- fers a full range of authentic cuisine from across Italy, including traditional seafood and olive-oil based dishes from the south, as well as richer meat- and cream-based dishes from the north.

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“It often happens that I cook very sim- ple, original recipes ... foods that bring my memories back to my hometown. Simple food, great flavors, combinations of humble ingredients are always the base for a good result,” the chef said.

One notable appetizer is the mixed bean salad with finely sliced red onion and raw tuna (88 yuan/US$13.8). This refreshing and protein-packed appetizer derives from the simple communal sal- ads which often appear on Italian family tables during summertime.

Another recommended starter is the Tuscan chicken liver terrine (88 yuan), also known as Tuscan crostini. This staple of Tuscon dining can be found at trattoria’s across the region, as well as local homes during meal time.

“It may not be a dish with divine presentation, but like most traditional Tuscan dishes, the focus is on the flavor. One bite and its rustic, humble appear- ance won’t matter,” Serafin said.

A highlight of the pasta section is the meat-stuffed Piedmont-style agnolotti, veal jus and black truffle sauce (168 yuan). Similar to ravioli, agnolotti is a type of stuffed pasta common to the region of Piedmont. At Atto Primo, the filling is made with beef, veal and pork braised for at least six hours and then mixed with eggs, Parmesan cheese and spinach.

“The soft pillowy cushion of each filled pasta pocket is texturally sublime and a personal triumph for me,” Serafin explained.

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Average per person: 350 yuanTel: 6328-0271

Address: 2/F, Five on the Bund, 20 Guangdong Rd

Opening hours: 11:30am-2:30pm, 6pm-10:30pm, bar open until midnight 

Customer Service: (86-21) 52920164