Always up for fresh Italian joints, which appear to be shooting up faster than bamboo around Shanghai lately, we checked out Luccio’s, a family-run spot in Xintiandi.
While technically in Xintiandi, Luccio’s lies in the quiet gloom of Danshui Lu outside the high-voltage window displays and lobotomized traditional architecture that constitute Xintiandi’s heart. This makes it a good brow-wiping retreat from the shopping stampede, and lends it a personal feel – you can have a heart-to-heart with a friend or enjoy a quiet night out with the wife/husband. An attentive but non-intrusive waitstaff (including some family members), and blue wall paneling help enhance the mood. Our only fear is that Luccio’s might be too secluded to draw in any real business as there were an abundance of empty seats the night we went – a troubling sign for a place that opened its doors over a month ago.
Standard lineup of pastas, pizzas, and chops, all of which have great potential that’s handicapped by some amateurish elements.
Our linguine alle vongole featured sea-spray-fresh, aggressively briny clams, which unfortunately provided the only salt in the dish – a first for sodium-centric Shanghai. Not quite enough bang for our 76RMB.
They were out of the lamb rack (150RMB) on the night we went, so we opted for the Argentinian steak (160RMB), a tender beef slab dressed with greens and parmesan cheese flakes. The beef was everything we hoped for – spurtingly-juicy, gristle-free, and actually medium rare with a rosy-band traversing the middle, and not just a slightly pink tint on a medium steak like at most places. It would’ve been ideal except for the fact that the cheese and unseasoned greens were heaped so generously on the steak we felt like we needed a leaf blower to find the thing!
A decent selection of wines includes an Il Caretto Bianco for a steal (150RMB/bottle) and some reds priced from 138-285RMB/bottle.
Luccio’s offers a quiet (perhaps too quiet) respite from the shenanigans of Xintiandi, but the food feels like a promising rough draft, a Da Vinci unveiled before it’s completion.
Luccio’s – 240-242 Danshui Lu, Near Fuzing Zhong Lu, Huangpu district (黄浦区淡水路240-242号, 近复兴中路). Tel: (0)21-5352-0587. Hours: 11am-10:30pm Tue-Sun.
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].