When we first learned that a depot called Italian Kitchen had sprouted up in Metro City’s Food Republic, we weren’t exactly chomping at the bit to check it out. What could it possibly be besides another diluted Italian concept to join the ranks of the phoned-in ethnic restaurants seemingly endemic to mall food courts worldwide? Fortunately, we were wide of the mark.
Italian Kitchen was set up by Canadian brothers Lee And Stu as a place where you could eat the delicious and affordable comfort food that you’d find at an American/Canadian pizza and pasta corner-shop, and it succeeds.
The pizza by the slice, of which we tried the Meat Lover (21RMB), presents a lush meadow of cheese, toppings, and grease, and really hits the spot for us New Yorkers feeling at sea in an all too pizza-less Shanghai. Our only complaint was that our crust was too pillowy and absent of that brawny crunch we love.
The pastas pull their weight as well, and we’re recommending the penne with split meatballs (31RMB), which looks like a dish you’d find at an American school cafeteria, but tastes as if it was executed by veteran Italian chefs. The fact that the pastas are fired up on the spot and not ladled out of steel receptacles like at many food court spots is another plus.
The only element missing from this classic pasta-pizza setting is the stocky, aproned owner with fire-hydrant forearms, who would squash your head like a soggy baozi if you criticized his pizza. Instead, manning the shop are the two Canadian brothers themselves, who are as down-to-earth and accessible as their food.
Italian Kitchen is a reasonably priced and non-pretentious pizza and pasta joint that knows its identity, and unlike most food court restaurants, actually has one. Check it out.
P.S. They deliver if you live within 3 km of Metro City.
Italian Kitchen – Metro City, Food Republic, 6/F, 1111 Zhaojiabang Lu, near Caoxi Bei Lu (肇家浜路1111号, 近漕溪北路). Tel: 138-1633-5777. Hours: 10am-10pm, daily.
See a complete list of our reviews here.
Benjamin Cost is Shanghaiist’s Food Editor. Email tips, recommendations, and news updates on Shanghai’s dining scene to [email protected].