With its glossy black booths, white counter-tops, and sun-washed interior, Fat Mama’s decor may remind you of an art museum cafe, but there’s nothing generic about its fare. This newly-opened trattoria in Jing’an sources many of its ingredients locally, including organic chickens from a farm in Pudong, and veg from wet markets. When we first walked in, founder Stefan Lange was futzing over a head of cilantro that he’d bought at a vendor down the street. In fact, menu items change often depending on what’s seasonal or even available that day.
Pizzas are only available at dinner (5:30), and the only pizzas that are featured everyday are the cigna (50RMB), palvarotti (60RMB), scotti (60RMB), and caruso (80RMB). Often the chef will whip up a pizza from the best of what’s lying around, kinda like your typical sweat-pantsed college night-walker, but minus the gummy bear and chicken chow-mein sprinkled result. On the night I went, I enjoyed an improvised meatball and onion pizza (60RMB) with a crispy crust thinner than a saltine cracker, and as keen as a katana. Whisk the pizza to someone like a frisbee and you’ll likely decapitate them.
But the crust was also sturdy enough so that when lifted, the weight of the toppings didn’t cause the parcel to flop forward, delivering a landslide of meat and cheese into our laps. And the ingredients harbored the deliciousness you’d expect of seasonal/local ingredients hand-selected by the owner daily; the only letdown being that they were a bit sparse, and not quite that densely-packed oasis of toppings and cheese we love. You can do a little better with the caruso, a slice evenly populated with goat cheese, leek, garlic, and bacon, and arguably the best pizza I’ve had since I’ve been here. All pizzas are fairly economical at 50-90RMB for a 12-14 inch thin crust pizza.
Lunch items and drinks
Lunch items are also dictated by ingredient availability, the only constant being some kind of sandwich, and a pasta (40-60RMB). The pasta comes with a soup and slice of cake; a special seemingly on loan from Applebees, but we’ll let it slide if the pastas and sandwiches are anything like the pizzas. Drinks entail a healthy selection of wines and beers, including our native Brooklyn Lager and IPA (40RMB)!
Had the Cityweekend pizza tournament taken place a couple weeks later we could easily see Fat Mama in the finals or even snagging the crown. Also, in a world dominated by pizzas so big you could use them as heli-pads, it’s nice to see an agreeably-priced, neapolitan-style pizza for a change – at a place called “Fat Mama” no less. We’ll be back soon to try a sandwich or pasta.
Fat Mama – 1000 Changping Lu, near Yanping Lu (昌平路1000号, 近延平路). Tel: 138-1733-0263. Hours: 8:30am-11pm Mon-Fri, 5pm-midnight Saturday.
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].