Finding decent Italian food in Nanjing is not always easy. Too many Chinese owned restaurants offering “spaghetti” covered in a sauce that bares an uncanny resemblance to ketchup. Like all great foods, Italian food requires a delicate balance of flavors only possible with years of experience and freshest ingredients. Given that Rome is 8,885 km away those two things can be tricky to find, but luckily Nanjing offers a three great Italian restaurants.
1) Jack’s Place
While Jack’s isn’t a fully Italian restaurant, it does offer a selection of pastas (25-30 RMB) and pizzas (45+ RMB). It is conveniently located next to Nanjing University on Shanghai road, and its low prices make it a tempting choice.
The quantity of food for the price was generous, but the quality varies greatly. One night my wife and I thought we had discovered the finest pizza in Nanjing. The crust was crispy and it was piled with pepperoni and garlic. A few days later we brought one of our expat friends for what turned out to be an incredibly disappointing meal.
Despite the number of foreign customers, the staff does not speak very good English. This can result in not getting what you ordered. In my experience, they did correct the mistake, which doesn’t always happen in Chinese run restaurants, so this was just a minor inconvenience. The overall atmosphere was pleasant enough, and seemed suitable for a quiet evening meal.
Jack’s PlaceView In Map
Add: 160 Shanghai Lu, Gulou District, Nanjing
Tel: 025 8420 6485
2) Pisa Pizza
Pisa Pizza has only been open for a few months now, and is located near Wutaishan Beizhan on Shanghai Lu. The owner is a Chinese chef who spent many summers in Italy, and his expertise shows. He even installed a real brick oven to make better pizzas, which are easily the most authentic in town, and start at just 40 RMB.
The menu also includes a variety of pastas and salads. The lasagna here was a reasonable portion for the price, but it seemed to be lacking something - balance. The dish was almost entirely cheese, which I would generally appreciate in China, but it overwhelmed the acidity of the tomato sauce, and even made the noodles hard to find. The Caesar salad also had great potential, but the lettuce wasn’t very crisp on the day I tried it.
However, this restaurant truly stands out for amazing Italian style pizza; thin crispy crust, fresh rich cheeses, and a wide variety of toppings. Perhaps best of all is the price, with the pizza margherita starting at just 40 RMB.
Pisa PizzaView In Map
Add: 81-8 Shanghai Lu, Gulou District, Nanjing
Tel: 1580 517 7575
3) Me@ting Point
This restaurant opened up in late 2010 under the Italian chef, Serafino. Me@ting point is also located near the Wutaishan Beizhan bus stop on Shanghai Lu, just a few doors away from Pisa Pizza. Their newly expanded menu includes a wide variety of pastas, pizzas, salads and entrées, all authentic and delicious. Dishes start at 70+ RMB, but the portions are quite large. One friend ordered the chicken salad, and was convinced that she had received a family sized portion of greens. The lasagna here is wonderful, with a great balance of the slightly sour tomato sauce and the creaminess of the cheese.
Serafino is a bit of a character and the food is much better when he is there to supervise in the kitchen. The quality here ranges from good to great, just don’t expect the food to be exactly the same every time you come.
The restaurant can also be quite noisy, but the local artwork helps save the ambiance.
Me@ting PointView In Map
Add: 81 Shanghai Lu, Gulou District, Nanjing
Tel: 1351 251 0170
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Keywords: Italian food Nanjing pizza pasta Nanjing foreign eating Nanjing
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