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Penne to pizza, it’s all here
By Yoyo He and Zhang Yang

More than any other type of cuisine, Italian food is universally loved. From penne arrabbiata to prosciutto pizza, one can’t go far wrong. Looking for authentic Italian food but don’t want the expense of traveling all the way to Italy? Actually, a diverse range of Italian cuisine is showcased at some of the best restaurants in town. The question is, have you tried, or even heard of, them all? The Shanghai Daily is here to help you to discover the best of them!

Provincial cuisine meets modern style

Va Bene is a modern Italian restaurant that blends contemporary style with classic influence. It offers authentic provincial cuisine prepared from only the finest quality imported ingredients, such as fresh French fine de claires oysters, live lobsters flown from Clearwater, Canada, and the most authentic, heart-melting Tiramisu. All are bound to satisfy every bit of your taste buds. “Beauty in Black” is the new concept for Va Bene which was renovated in April to bring the freshest, modern Italian dining experience to customers.

Full range of goodness for savvy diners

Gaia:2 is a casual restaurant guaranteed to impress the savviest of diners with a delightful experience, whether for lunch, tea, drinks or dinner. It offers contemporary Italian cuisine from a spit-fire rotisserie and stone-oven. The menu items include the organic range in “the garden and the yard,” to the daily “pasta factory” items, passing by the succulent meat selection of “the butchery”, to the freshest ingredients of “the seafood shop,” and leading all the way to the fragrant varieties of “the bakery.”And then, dessert.

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Food delicious and prices right at pizzeria

This Italian pizzeria and wine restaurant offers delicious food and fantastic wine for relaxed prices. Be sure not to miss out on the wellseasoned beef carpaccio starter that comes with deliciously fresh, chopped tomato and oil-dressed bread. If you’re not feeling like pasta, the wood-fired baked pizza that has a thin crust with the right level of crispiness is a good bet. The shrimp and zucchini pasta is another quality delivery from the kitchen.

Ancient style gets full-bodied treatment

The Da Marco restaurant presents a full-bodied Italian style, from the ingredients to the décor, and accurately depicts the rich flavors of its home-grown cuisine. Marco, the Italian chef, patron and owner, has an inborn sensitivity and passion for food and perfect recall of original flavors. The location attracts a regular flow of clients and at night it seems that all Shanghai has gathered in this lively place to sample adaptations of the original ancient flavors.

Family-style cuisine on The Bund

The two-story Gondola Italian Restaurant is one of the most popular dining outlets near the Bund. Its fresh, authentic Italian food served family-style includes a big range from salads and soup to homemade pizzas and pastas. The chef comes from Palma, city of ham and cheese, so there is a north central Italian style to the food. Many ingredients are imported from Italy. Popular with local office workers, lunch deals are priced at 48 yuan (US$7.45), 68 yuan and 88 yuan. Recommended dinner dishes include cold cuts platter (138 yuan), seafood soup (88 yuan) and risotto cooked with porcini mushrooms (88 yuan). Dinner costs from 150 to 200 yuan per person.


Proud chef uses the best produce in dishes

Chef Bombana of 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana loves Italy and often uses his dishes and recipes to talk about his country. The restaurant is on the 6th floor of a historic building at 169 Yuanmingyuan Road which offers a sweeping view of Huangpu River. Chef Bombana also loves to try ingredients and materials from around the world but every bite of his food smacks of Italy.

Fresh ingredients add flavor to the classics

Velluto offers traditional Italian fare prepared by chef Bardi Damiano in an open kitchen eatery on the 3rd floor of a building a few floors down from the Peace Hotel. Classic dishes such as pasta, risotto, pizza, fish and prime rib are on the menu but there’s also antipasti, cold cuts, salads, cheeses and desserts. Velluto prefers to use fresh ingredients and natural elements to present food in its original flavor. The decor on the walls creates a visual sensory experience through combining cold and warm colors. Velluto is a family-friendly restaurant: kids aged up to six eat for free, and beyond that to 12 years eat at half the cost.

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