380 Huangpi Nan Lu,
Pizza Express is otherwise known as Pizza Marzano here in Shanghai. Pretty confusing, since their table umbrellas have Pizza Express on them, but their signboard and menu say Pizza Marzano. They’re located in ritzy Xintiandi, and are a total haven for expats. The first time I went with a friend, and the second with Chris and Mum and Dad (who are in town visiting to celebrate my birthday tomorrow – YAY!!!) and both times, every table was an expat. It’s not hard to see why – so far, I haven’t found a better pizza in the city.
The restaurant is airy and glass-panelled, but it’s best to sit outside under the trees and along the sidewalk. After all, you come to Xintiandi partly to people watch, right? ;) The service is outstanding – really attentive, they speak English, and they’re very friendly. As Dad said, “I don’t feel we’re in Shanghai. It feels like we’re in Australia.” Too true.
The only downside is that the prices are VERY expensive for pizza. They only come in one size, which is only just enough to fill you (if you don’t have a big appetite), and cost about 100元 (USD$15). You basically need to add an appetizer and dessert in order to be full, which effectively doubles the price, resulting in a very expensive meal for China standards.
Price aside, the food was excellent. The salad (not pictured) came with fresh chunks of mozzerella and lots of sliced avocados, though I do wish dressing came on the side (I always forget to request this!). It was excellent and the soft warm dough balls that came on the side were satisfying.
I was a big fan of the stuffed mushrooms with dough balls. It sounded a bit strange but they pulled it off well. Juicy stuffed mushrooms accompanined by those divine little dough balls. Yum!
Their pizzas are, frankly, superb. Thin, tasty crust, and delicious incredients. They should be far far larger for the prices charged, though. My favorite is the mushroom and truffle pizza, which has the delightfully intense flavours of mushrooms and truffle oil, lots of garlic and fresh rosemary sprigs. Fantastic!!
The mushroom and truffle pasta was very very well received. Pasta cooked perfectly al dente, with creamy (but not too heavy) sauce and the strong flavour of truffle. They seriously skimped on the mushrooms though – a shame because otherwise, the pasta was divine.
And of course, the desserts. Their Banoffee pie (not pictured) looked incredibly enticing on the menu, but turned out to be a flat thin base and some bananas on top, with a drizzle of liqueur. It was good, but just wasn’t as impressive in real life as it sounded on the menu – and it was very tiny and expensive for what you get. However, their Tiramisu was outstanding!!! My favourite by far and the best tiramisu I’ve had so far in Shanghai. Rich delicate cream folded between layers of soft sponge, the tiramisu is soft and moist and absolutely incredible. I could eat this one all day, every day :)
I love Pizza Marzano and will definitely be back. My only wish is that prices were dropped by 30% to match their serving sizes, then this would have received a full 5 stars.
Chic interior at Pizza Marzano
Stuffed mushrooms and dough balls
Spicy American Hot pizza
Mushroom truffle and peking duck (half and half) pizza
Tiramisu – heavenly