This little trattoria did so well in its first year that the banker-turned-restaurateur John Liu quickly expanded to 60 seats, and then took his expertise and moved it next door to open the French bistro Coquille. Scarpetta is his baby, however, and the bright-and-casual feel of this cozy trattoria make it a welcome atmosphere for families as well as couples — and a welcome addition to a Shanghai fine dining scene that can sometimes feel overrun with kitschy glam or cavernous Bund-view spaces. Liu designed the original menu and most of his creations are still on offer, although a one-star Michelin chef from San Francisco now helms the kitchen. The carpaccio is fresh, although the calamari fritti one night was "fishy" and the squid ink aioli amplified that. The pizza — try the "salsiccia" with its chunks of spicy sausage — is among the best in town, with a few airy bubbles of char arising from a light, flaky crust. The slow-roasted pork rib is also a crowd favorite and the serving is enough for two to share as a main. For dessert, the panna cotta and the tiramisu are fresh and flavorful. Scarpetta is intimate and the service is attentive, although prices notched in a touch higher than you'd expect for a place that's a little bit off-the-beaten-fine-dining path. However, Xintiandi is not far away and the place was full on a weekday — Scarpetta will keep people coming back even among what's now a very competitive Italian restaurant scene in Shanghai.
33 Mengzi Lu, Huangpu District
Our Rating Neighborhood Mengzi Lu near Madang Lu, south of Xintiandi Hours 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Transportation Metro: Madang Road Phone 21 3376 8223 Prices 500+ rmb per person Cuisine Type Italian Web site Scarpetta
Map33 Mengzi Lu, Huangpu District Shanghai
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.