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The NoFuP (north of Fuxing Park) area is becoming quite the hotbed of dining activities. Urban Diner is a new addition to the scene, offering a decent selection of quasi-Italian cuisine in a relaxed space that doubles as a café by day.

The restaurant is in an opportune location on the relatively sedate corner of Nanchang Lu and Yandang Lu. Their petite terrace is great for sitting out and watching the world go by. Inside is a visually impressive bar, cut from the current rustic trend of reclaimed wood and clean lines.

Urban Diner’s menu also emulates current styles but overlooks some important details. A Caprese salad (RMB78) of tomato and mozzarella lacks the much-needed presence of basil. The same goes for an ultimately forgettable plate of deep fried calamari (RMB78), featuring tender circles of squid that seem too large to be real.

Almost straight from the book of modern-day food trends, there are also traces of Latin American influence. A “tortilla pizza” (RMB68) topped with prosciutto and loaded with stringy cheese and a rich tomato base, feels a little simple.

For mains, a half rack of BBQ pork ribs (RMB128) hits the spot straight off the bat. We had to get over the concept of it being served alongside roasted tomatoes topped with mashed potatoes. However, the sweet and sticky hickory sauce forced complete forgiveness. At this price, it feels a touch on the costly side. A meagre portion of white wine and seafood risotto (RMB98) also wasn’t enough of a masterpiece for the ticket.

Finishing up with an odd plate of grilled prawns (RMB168), butterflied and loaded with cheese, made us return to our feeling of Urban Diner's mixed message of style over content. Perhaps this restaurant is more fitting for a snack and one of their deliciously fresh smoothies (RMB45) rather than a full meal.

  • Urban Diner
  • 021 3366-5018

  • Unit 1-03, 99 Yandang Lu (near Nanchang Lu) [map]
  • 上海市雁荡路99号1-03 (近南昌路)

  • Italian
  • ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
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