Anyone who takes pizza seriously should make a beeline for Bottega. The queue to get into the space can take up to 45 minutes over weekends because it makes perhaps the best Neapolitan-style pizzas in Shanghai.
And its authenticity and dedication have been recognized by industry authorities – Bottega is the only pizzeria in China and one of the only 15 pizzerias globally to receive a Three Slices rating from Italian culinary authority Gambreo Rosso – in 2021 and 2022. It was crowned Best Pizzeria in Asia Pacific in 2021 and runner-up in 2022 by 50TopPizza, the world's premier guide to the best pizzerias in the world.
Bottega's fame isn't a secret to Beijing since 2014 when it opened its first location in Sanlitun yet the team has been eyeing opportunities beyond the Chinese capital. Bottega's first outlet in Shanghai at K. Wah Center on Xiangyang Road N., opened recently, is ultra cool.
The dining space is attractive with a hip vibe – eye-catching photography, fun graphics, ceilings decorated with disco balls, a corner of respectful remembrance of Diego Maradona (the Argentinian football icon who is revered by Neapolitans as the savior of their city, having played and delivered the Italian Serie A title for the hometown club Napoli), plates made in Naples and many more details to be noted.
The 3-ton brick pizza oven customized in Naples occupies the center of the open kitchen, churning out exceptional pies at a breathless pace. A cool wine cellar, a long bar for Italian-inspired cocktails, a DJ booth and a spacious dining room make it a perfect lunch stop, a proper dinner or a late-night spot in this downtown neighborhood. Plus, it is pet-friendly in and out.
The stars of Bottega are undoubtedly the Neapolitan pizzas plus assorted gourmet creations. To make a true Neapolitan pizza, a strict set of guidelines must be followed. The dough must be made with "00" flour and fresh yeast, the sauce has to use San Marzano tomatoes from Mount Vesuvius and the cheese must be mozzarella from Campania.
Co-founder and chef Paolo Salvo went to source the freshest imported Italian ingredients, from the Stagioni "00" flour, crushed San Marzano tomatoes and fresh mozzarella all the way to creamy Bufala Mozzarella and Italian cured meats. The 24-hour fermentation pizza dough is fired in the specially built 3-ton Neapolitan brick oven and the pizza only takes 60-70 seconds to cook at temperatures of 450 degrees Celsius.
Making pizza is an art, and Salvo, coming from a three-generation pizza-making family in Naples, has gotten it down to a science. No matter which pizza (all 12-inch) you choose, your taste buds will thank you for the flavorful bites. The Bottega, Montanara and Mortazza are especially memorable and even beautiful to look at. Look at those charred black spots around the crust also known as "leoparding," the true mark of an authentic Neapolitan pizza.
Bottega also offers calzones, a selection of deep-fried Neapolitan treats, pastas and mains. It's a place one could come back every week to try out delicious but different pizzas and plates.
If you go:
Opening hours: 11am-midnight
Average price: 180 yuan
Address: 101B, 1/F, K. Wah Center, 108 Xiangyang Rd N.