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The slightly run-down mall at 818 Nanjing Xi Lu doesn’t look like it would have a pretty good modern Italian restaurant up on the fifth floor, but there actually is.

It has all the trappings of a standard mall establishment: staff who’re not sure what’s on the menu, seating at close quarters and dishes that all come at the same time. What works though is the food, and in a city of a million sub-standard Italian restaurants we’re happy to have proceedings balanced this way.

The insalata Caprese (RMB48) features juicy balls of buffalo mozzarella, peppery rocket and fine cherry tomatoes. The mixed meats selection (RMB78) is a fine array of prosciutto, mortadella and salami, which goes well with the apparently bottomless basket of fluffy baguette slices and olive oil.

We barely had a chance to draw breath and contemplate quite how tasty the appetizers were before the mains arrived. Completely unashamed, we took the rare chance to order a Hawaiian pizza (RMB78) topped with ham, mozzarella and fresh pineapple. It’s not going to win best-in-class but it’s large and round with a very thin crust, just the way we like it.

Pascasa’s key offerings are their freshly made pastas. They offer a handful of different varieties made daily. Confident of the meal so far, we chose the most curious sounding, the dried turbot with a plump, black, pod-like capunti pasta (RMB128). Topped with orange ribbons of dried fish, it’s salty and certainly an acquired taste. We were on the fence.

With everything arriving at the same time, we were done almost 20 minutes after we’d started. But, kicking back with a couple of crisp Singha beers (RMB32), we ended the meal happy.

  • Pascasa
  • 021 6052-1980

  • 5/F, 818 Nanjing Xi Lu (near Wujiang Lu) [map]
  • 上海市南京西路818号818广场5楼(近吴江路)

  • Italian
  • ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
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