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Briccocafé has been serving both sides of the river for years now, and we recently headed to the off-Huaihai Lu branch to try their new menu. We were pleasantly surprised.

The space is something of a hybrid. Downstairs feels half café, half Feidan. Upstairs is a dining area with an open kitchen. The menu is all business though. We started with a generous board of Italian cold cuts (RMB68), whose sleek slices of ham and salami were let down slightly by a bland mortadella and distinctly canned black olives. A prosciutto and mozzarella plate (RMB58) offered thin tranches of crudo alongside a soft creamy cheese that would have made the mozzarella and avocado lady on Wulumuqi Lu jealous. The panzanella salad (RMB38), however, suffered without the beefy, juicy Tuscan tomatoes you’ll find in other cities.

Having heard good things about the pizzas, we tried an action-packed capricciosa (RMB78) topped with ham, mushrooms, black olives, eggs and artichokes and a simple crudo and rucola (RMB88) with parma-style ham and rocket. Both were prepared exactly as pizza should be–well-balanced with perfectly thin crusts and olive oil generously sprinkled on top.

The main event, however, was the tortelloni ricotta e barbabietola (RMB78), a ravioli of epic proportions. Each hand-crafted parcel was stuffed with a vivid-pink filling of beetroot and ricotta and cooked al dente. Served with sage and butter, the flavors combine wonderfully.

By contrast, the homemade potato gnocchi with tomato and mozzarella sauce (RMB78) was overcooked and as dense as dark matter. We were entirely full in two mouthfuls and had no room for dessert. It’s a wonder the two dishes came from the same kitchen. But for quick, honest Italian food in Shanghai, Briccocafe is worthy of a visit.

  • Briccocafe
  • 021 6387-9188

  • 158 Chengdu Nan Lu, near Huaihai [map]

  • Italian
  • ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
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