It’s 4pm and your stomach’s snarling because you ate an early lunch but can’t pig out now as a friend invited you to all-you-can-eat Teppanyaki at 7:30. You need something cheap, quick, and small but filling so you think Potaci, a small Italian cafe serving a selection of small pizza squares. Unfortunately, they didn’t quite massage the spot for us.
Stools, counter-tops, and white walls and floors like your neighborhood sub shop, except with full sit-down service. Waitstaff are sincere, cordial, and thorough in their menu explanation; a major departure from the sulky servers seemingly endemic to Western cafes in Shanghai.
Potaci features a fairly stock selection of pizzas – pepperoni (23RMB), cheese (23RMB), ham and pineapple (29RMB) etc. – with some exceptions such as the salmon pizza (29RMB) and tuna and olive pizza (25RMB). For the most part, the flavors were present but the compositions screwy. The pepperoni tasted appropriately crisp, oily, and spicy, yet threatened to be consumed by the mire of cheese and flabby inch-thick crust underneath.
The salmon and zucchini pizza’s overly doughy crust was slightly less noticeable, if only because of the heaping toppings, which crowded it like shipwreck survivors on their last life raft, to the point that some slid off the sides when we picked up the parsel. Fortunately, the other pizzas boasted an appropriate amount of toppings, but still succumbed to that darn crust.
In fact, the best crust is found on the bruschetta from the sides menu (12RMB), a toasted baguette slab topped with pepperoni and blue cheese that crunches like a giant crouton, satisfying both belly and ears.
Rinse the pizza grease with a choice of sodas (10RMB), beers (10-20RMB), and wines by the bottle, including Red Chianti (150RMB) and White Pinot Grigio (130RMB).
An inspired concept but a slightly bungled delivery. Head to Italian Kitchen for quick, affordable pizza done right.
Potaci – 117 Chengdu Bei Lu, near Dagu Lu (成都北路117号, 近大沽路). Tel: 139-1855-2802. 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].