Italian Food in Shanghai: Piccolo

[ Now Closed ]

Tiny Italian cafe on Anfu Lu

Piccolo is a casual café/bar on Anfu Lu brought to you by the team behind Gemma. The cozy hole-in-the-wall has only six indoor seats but serves up food that’s big on flavor and already wildly popular with Shanghai’s Italian expats.

Expect the same quality ingredients and house-made deliciousness found at big sister, Gemma. The small menu of toothpicked snacks is perfect for eating standing up with a drink in one hand. We loved the ascolane (RMB35) of olives stuffed with pork and deep-fried. The baccalá (RMB70) is a tasty bowl of blended, salted cod served on triangles of fried polenta.

We also tried the summery panzanella salad (RMB55), a fresh mix of tomato, cucumber, red onion, bell pepper, basil and olives tossed in a simple vinaigrette and topped with creamy stracciatella cheese and croutons.

The New York (RMB55), a grilled sausage and peperonata (sautéed sweet peppers) panini served on warm toasty bread was more fulfilling. The small crock of gnocchi (RMB55), potato dumplings, sausage and mushrooms in an earthy truffle-scented cream sauce, is deceivingly filling. Our only gripe was that the gnocchi were overcooked, making them a tad gluey.

Other carbs included the classic spaghetti and meatballs (RMB55), which were a hit with succulent mounds of well-seasoned meat. Meanwhile, the wine and cocktail list offers only the essentials, but with all drinks priced at RMB45 and under, their daily buy-one-get-one happy hour (6-8pm) is nothing short of a steal.

Piccolo is an all-day dining destination, ideal for a quick espresso (RMB15), lunch (from RMB48), dinner (roughly RMB150 including wine) and late night dining. Drinks were refilled quickly, food came out at a reasonable pace and the Italian manager treated us like family. The convenient location also makes it perfect for a pre-dinner aperitivo or snack en route to another destination, though this charming place will be hard to leave. We can’t wait to come back for another dose of Italian hospitality.

Where: 322 Anfu Lu (near Wukang Lu)

Tel: 3356-9858

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