It’s surprising that Shanghai is filled with tons of Italian cuisine options. It wasn’t until after our trip to Italy this year that I became more intrigued by Italian food. My husband and I decided to check out the newly opened restaurant Scarpetta on a weekday. We hadn’t heard too much about it since it was so new but read a few good reviews online so we wanted to check it out for ourselves.
Scarpetta is located about 2 blocks south of Xintiandi. We first spotted Scarpetta from the red awning and chalk board easel outside. The restaurant was cozy with a cute entrance as if you’re entering someone’s home. At first glance, the food menu looked delicious! It was definitely hard to decide.
For the antipasti we wanted to try the Calamari but it was sold out so we went with our second choice – Funghi con Polenta: Creamy polenta, caramelized wild mushrooms, balsamic reduction, parmesan crisp.
The presentation was very appealing. I love anything in a jar! Feels so rustic! I loved that you could see the layers of the polenta with mushrooms through the jar and the balsamic is on the side to drizzle to your own taste. The parmesan crisp was light and all the flavors melded well together. However, maybe a crostini could serve as a stronger vessel other than the crisp since we ended up eating it off our plates with a fork. Because of that I could have seen this dish work as a side as well.
Next, the Pizza! We ordered the Salsiccia for our primo which was: House-made sausage, mozzarella, mushrooms, red onions, Parmigiano-Reggiano, spicy tomato sauce. Salsiccia means sausage in Italian and is typically made with pure pork with fennel and spicy chilli or black pepper and garlic. The toppings on this pizza were delicious. The crust is where I feel there is some room for debate. Crust is personal preference I think. Some people like thin, some people like deep dish, some people like sourdough. For me, this crust tasted a bit like naan bread. It was bubbly on the ends but chewy and dense in the middle. I like a more airy crust.
Instead of choosing a secondo or main course we opted to try one of the pastas. We ordered the Spaghetti alla Carbonara, a classic Italian pasta known for being peasant food. This particular dish was a miss for me at Scarpetta. Carbonara is made from bacon, egg and pasta. When serving such a simple dish such as carbonara I feel that it’s important to use the best ingredients because you really want the flavors to stand out. To me this dish lacked flavor and the pasta didn’t taste fresh or housemade.
The star of the evening was definitely the dessert! We had the Panna Cotta alla Vaniglia e Lavanda: Lavender & imported vanilla bean panna cotta, fresh fruit, fresh mint. This light and creamy custard was perfectly made and the hint of lavender and vanilla flavor really came through. I loved the cute specks of vanilla you could see throughout. It was served on a chilled plate, a perfect ending to a hearty meal on a summer evening. I will definitely be trying to recreate this at home!
We visited Scarpetta during their soft opening. It definitely has some potential. The service was good, ambiance cozy and unpretentious. Business was already booming on a weekday (which is rare in Shanghai). Scarpetta could be your next neighborhood trattoria.
Scarpetta Trattoria | No.33 Mengzi Road Shanghai China 200023 | +86 0 21 3376 8223