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Xintiandi is not the first spot that comes to mind for a strong artisanal concept, creative independent partnership and delicious food. It’s almost ironic that as one of Shanghai’s most familiar evening destinations, it might only be the location keeping Bottega from being an excellent restaurant.

The concept and partnership comes from the brainchild of Sololatte’s Kyeong Joo Lee and Madison’s Austin Hu. Together they’ve concocted a mozzarella, pizza and pasta bar with an abundance of intrigue and flavor.

Lee’s mozzarella-based offerings are unashamedly delicious, especially the burrata (RMB108), a firm orb-like bulb of cheese that is almost liquid-soft at the center. It's the dairy lover’s equivalent to a chocolate lava cake. And drizzled with oil and black pepper, the dish is unrivalled in sophisticated savory luxuriousness. Balls of mozzarella and strings of stracciatella round out the cheese trifecta. Served with prosciutto (RMB52) or salami (RMB48), they’re equally decadent.

Hu’s collaboration starts with his homemade pork kimchi, the star of Bottega’s signature Coreana pizza (RMB138). His well-spun dough, soggy base and balanced toppings shine through, while maintaining the kimchi's tangy punch and powerful flavors. The lardo pizza (RMB128) is topped with slivers of anchovy and fat, and surprisingly complex considering how minimal each slice is.

However, at RMB100+ for a plate-sized pizza or small pasta portion, the cost-reward balance feels skewed. A meal for two, plus atmospherically-high priced bottled beers, can push the final bill past RMB600.

A bustling terrace and slightly too-stark interior were all perhaps paying a little too much Xintiandi tax. It's kind of a shame. With a concept this strong, why not keep it off the main drag like a local secret. We’ll come searching, we promise.

  • Bottega
  • 021 6352-7791

  • Unit 2B, Bldg. 22, Xintiandi, 181 Taicang Lu [map]
  • 太仓路181弄新天地北里22号楼2B铺 (近黄陂南路)

  • Italian
  • ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
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