Ignore the songs playing and focus on the food
A classic menu of Italian favourites, prepared by a well-trained team of chefs, await those who don’t get overwhelmed by the first two floors of Piazza Italia or don’t go mad while ‘That’s Amore’ and Italian pop music blare from the speakers. Try to ignore the impersonal shopping mall feel of the space and instead focus on the rich and full-bodied flavours on the plate.
The Capesante arrosto (75RMB), scallops that come seasoned with lemon and dill, are grilled until they melt on the tongue. The Tartare di Manzo (70RMB), a heaping portion of beef tartar drizzled with Balsamic reduction, has an unexpected bite and crunch thanks to its capers and cucumbers. The sheer volume of soft meat loses its appeal after the first few bites, so it’s best shared.
Noone is likely to want to share the ricotta and spinach ravioli with black truffle sauce (150RMB), however. Perfectly al dente pasta surrounds the cheesy filling for a dish that hits that home-goodness sweet spot bite after bite. Thankfully, the chefs chose a simple butter base so as to avoid overwhelming the palate, and the generous truffle cuts (hence the hefty price tag) add a sharp bitterness to the mix. The red snapper fillet (155RMB), cooked expertly with sun-dried tomatoes, chervil and fennel, is less delicate but hits all the right notes.
All in all, the food is safe and delivered with certainty, but it’s a shame the space is so cold. Keep your eyes from straying toward the unevenly-hung faux Cubist paintings on the bland cream-coloured wall, and focus instead on the dishes at hand. It’s all about the food here.
Boscolo Piazza Italia, 89 Jianguo Lu (with front entrance on Dawang Lu, north of Shin Kong Place), Chaoyang district (5200 8080). Open 10am-10pm daily. Meal for two around 600RMB. 朝阳区建国路89号