Shanghai's Good, Great and Greatest Pizzas

By Sophie Steiner, March 11, 2023

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Shanghai's favorite carb (okay, possibly second only to noodles) is pizza – the holy trinity in which dough, sauce and cheese meet and melt in perfect harmony.

And Shanghai has no shortage of offerings – from bubbled up, charred-edges on Neapolitan pies to New York slices ideal for rolling like a taco; from hefty interspersed layers of sauce, cheese and meat stacked 15cm-high as Chicago deep dish to puffy foccacia-like square servings of Detroit pizza. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

There's tavern style, Sicilian pizza, baked and fried calzones, and stuffed crust. There's white pizza, Cali pizza, Greek pizza and Roman slices. 

DSC01411.jpgImage by Sophie Steiner/That's

Pizza is up there as one of the most unifying and polarizing of iconic worldly foods, and the interminable debate over Shanghai's best pizza is an apples-to-oranges situation – one we can't bring ourselves to take sides in.

However, we will share where we've been crushing a slice or two lately (ok, fine... an entire pie) plus the award-worthy aspect that differentiates each from the pack.


Making the leap from Beijing, Neapolitan pizza and pasta joint Bottega landed last month in the old Beef & Liberty spot in the KWah Center on Xiangyang Lu.

As one would expect from a Napolitan restaurant, pizza is the star of the show – and not just by local standards; Bottega has received a slew of accolades over the years from international culinary authorities.

This is owed to the fact that they’ve been pumping out their pizzas using the same 36-48-hour fermented, 80% hydration dough recipe that’s been passed down for three generations in the Salvo family – dating back to Nonno Salvo, who owned a pizzeria in Naples back in 1928. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

The Bottega (RMB139) – the restaurant’s namesake pizza – embodies Neapolitan food culture in one bite. 

We're talking salt-cured anchovies, roasted cherry tomatoes, a generous sprinkling of mozzarella and an entire, glorious globule of gooey burrata plopped right in the middle.

The chef suggests slicing the ball o’cheese open and slathering it across every centimeter of surface area; a creamy balance to the anchovy’s briny salinity. 

Award-Winning Aspect: Best Neapolitan Flavors

Bottega, 1/F, 101B, K.WAH CENTRE, 108 Xiangyang Bei Lu, by Huaihai Zhong Lu 襄阳北路108号101B嘉华中心1楼, 近淮海中路


Shanghai’s most successful all-in-one sports bar, Cages is renowned for all things live sports viewing and playing, but the food on offer is nothing to dismiss.

Cages serves up our go-to fix for elevated American pub grub cravings, with everything from stacked burgers and sandwiches to grilled meat platters, to arguably Shanghai's best chicken wings, and so much more. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

A mainstay on the sprawling menu, Cages also offers handcrafted pizzas made to order with a number of options – from the Meatballer (RMB108) to Pepperoni (RMB108) to Supreme (RMB128) to Ultimate Cheese (RMB88) and loads more besides.

(And, of course, don't forget their monthly deep dish Chicago-style pizza – available by pre-order only, once a month.)

But, the fairest of them all is the carb-heavy, stomach liner known as the Pepperoni Pan Pizza (RMB128), a deep pan-toasted crust, topped heavily with cheese, pepperoni and more sauce.

The fluffy crust is reminiscent of an airy foccacia, with crunchy edges contrasted against the stretchiest, goopy cheese. 

Award-Winning Aspect: Best Pan Pizza

Cages Jing'an, 3/F, Jing'an Sports Center, 428 Jiangning Lu, by Wuding Lu 江宁路428号静安体育中心3楼, 近武定路.

Cages Huangpu, B1, 788 Zhongshan Nan Yi Lu, by Nanbei Gaojia 中山南一路788号B1楼,近南北高架路.


D.O.C. offers Italian specialties deemed exquisite by the legally binding, namesake term: Denominazione di Origine Controllata.

In plain English, this translates to artisanal Italian foods grown in a specified region using defined methods and meeting high quality standards (think Champagne labels, but with more fingertip kissing and rolling Rs).

These ingredients, stamped with Italy’s seal of approval, are inevitably turned into tasty dishes. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

D.O.C. uses Neapolitan pizza flour, plus their imported-from-Naples pizza oven for a noteworthy crust compared to others around the city. The toasted outside hugs a pillowy soft, bready inside, making you momentarily forget about the actual toppings.

Just momentarily.

For there are oh-so-many to choose from, with a menu sporting 20+ options. Our favorite new world pizza is the Cinderella (RMB145) with its tender chunks of roasted pumpkin contrasted against salty feta and and toasted pine nuts. 

Award-Winning Aspect: Most Creative Pizza Toppings

D.O.C. Gastronomia Italiana, 392 Dagu Lu, by Chengdu Bei Lu 大沽路392号, 近成都北路.


Regardless of time of day, hunger level, occasion or reason, a freshly warmed slice is always a great choice, and that choice objectively leans Homeslice – there's just no contest.

That's because owner and operator Nat Alexander has been serving up consistently delicious New York style pies out of multiple venues across the city for nearly seven years. 

With an ever-rotating selection of chef specials and seasonal pizzas, plus the lineup of eight original pizzas that stay on the menu forever (and ever and ever), there is no way to get bored; some quick, back-of-the-napkin math reveals that Homeslice has launched around 100 specialty pizzas over the years... and counting.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

So how can we pick a favorite?

Well, we will try. For the ultimate cheesiness, the Supa Dupa Cheese Pizza (RMB30/slice, RMB150/16”, RMB240/20”) is pure cheese overload –  a hyperbole of a pizza, if you will.

This pie sees not one, not two, not three, but five – count 'em – kinds of cheese smothering a tomato sauce base: they've got Italian fontina, house-made ricotta, provolone piccante, mozzarella and parmesan, all culminating in an equal parts godly and gluttonous slice. 

And the best part is, Homeslice has got delivery down to science (as one would expect considering that the OG waimai guy was the pizza delivery man), with each slicing tasting just as good in the comfort of your own home as it does in-store. 

Award-Winning Aspect: Best New York Style Slice


Homeslice Pizza Shankang Li, 358 Kangding Lu, Bldg 3, Unit 103, by Shaanxi Bei Lu 康定路358号3幢103室.

Homeslice Xujiahui, B1, Nanyang 1931 Mall, 111 Yude Lu, by Wending Lu 裕德路111号南洋1931商场B1, 近文定路.

Homeslice Found 158, 158 Julu Lu, by Ruijin Yi Lu 地址  巨鹿路158号,近瑞金一路.


Homeslice Longyang Lu, 2233 Longyang Lu, by Fangdian Lu 龙阳路2233号, 近芳甸路.

Homeslice Weifang Lu,  98 Weifang Xi LuRoad 潍坊西路98号

Il Teatro 

Il Teatro is a modern Italian restaurant in the heart of Xintiandi by CVL Restaurant Group. The entire second floor is designed to resemble a theater experience, one that plays into the restaurant’s name, and its motto: “Food is the theater of life.”

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Pizza is a key focus of the menu, one that is all about traditional Italian dishes. There currently are 10 pizza classics, of which we suggest the spicy Diavola (RMB89).

The dough ferments for 12 hours before it’s baked at 400 degrees in an Italian-imported Moretti Forni pizza oven. Loaded with thinly shaved salami that scorches and curls at the edge for a satisfying crunch, the pie is also topped with black olives, red onion and a liberal sprinkling of mozzarella.

Award-Winning Aspect: Best Family-Friendly Pizza

See a listing for Il Teatro.

Italo Trattoria 

After some COVID-related ups and downs, Italo Trattoria has made sure to maintain that same beloved neighborhood Osteria feel through it all, bringing on a new consulting chef, Fabio Camilloni (previously of Seve) for his take on Italian classics.

Chef Fabio has overhauled the previous menu with about 75% new dishes that span all of Italy for a pan-Italian comfort eats-focused lineup. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

For the first time, Italo Trattoria is now also offering pizzas – well 9-inch personal pizzas brought up from Funkadeli – ideal for group sharing when you want to try many dishes.

Opt for the more traditional offerings like Bufala (RMB88), a simple pie with buffalo mozzarella, tomato sauce and basil; or the Piccante (RMB88), with spicy salami and mozzarella.

Or, spring for one of their more creative selections like the Tartufo e Burrata (RMB118) with black truffle paté. 

Award-Winning Aspect: Most Crushable Late-Night Pizza

Italo Trattoria, 2/F, 291 Fumin Lu, by Changle Lu 富民路291号悟锦世纪大厦2楼, 近长乐路.

La Baracca

La Baracca, brought to us by The Camel Group, is an Italian osteria on cafe-lined Yongkang Lu. And, just like your neighborhood European cafe, they offer everything from grab-and-go pastries and Yunnan-sourced coffee beverages in the morning to a full menu of pizzas, charcuterie boards and antipastos for lunch and dinner.

The straightforward menu leans Italian/Italian-American with no major surprises, but we are never not in the mood for cheese and Italian meat atop carbs in all forms – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

At this point, pizza shops in Shanghai are a dime a dozen, but a legit calzone, that is hard to find... unless you come to La Baracca.

The Vegetarian Calzone (RMB88) is stuffed with broccoli, mozzarella and bechamel sauce. It's everything you want out of a calzone and then some; a hoagie-sized pocket of doughy bread bursting at the seams with molten lava cheese, ideal for smearing with tangy red sauce.

And for the carnivores, of course, there's the Salami Calzone (RMB88).

Award-Winning Aspect: Kick-ass Calzone

La Baracca, 43 Yongkang Lu, by Jiashan Lu 永康路43号,近嘉善路.


A Napoli native, Francesco Nevola is the head pizza chef of Shanghai’s Mammamia, and comes from a long line of bakers.

One so long, in fact, that it dates all the way back to the first pizza every made in the royal palace of Capodimonte – a pizza whose crust was baked using the flour supplied by Francesco’s great-great grandfather.

Safe to say, Francesco's blood runs red with tomato sauce, his skin sprinkled with flour, his heart laden with cheese. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Mammamia serves up globally-certified traditional Napoli pizza – a highly regulated professional qualification that includes a controlled list of ingredients, licensed cooking equipment and an accredited chef.

Like most pizza restaurants in Naples, the menu hosts a laundry list of more than 30 options, but Francesco stands firm on only including traditionally Neapolitan toppings – you won't find pineapple, eggs or the like... so don't ask

In that same vein, our must-order is the classic Margherita (RMB78), whose greatness eclipses its everyday ingredients.

What can we say, it's pure Neapolitan pizza – exactly as the pizza gods intended it to be. 

Award-Winning Aspect: Most Authentic Napoli Pizza

See a listing for Mammamia


Gregarious Giampaolo de Santis (ZozzoPorcellino) is living out his dream of opening a casual neighborhood Italian hangout plus alimentari supermarket – an all-purpose mini shop where everything is made from scratch.

Its name is Roma, and it is located on Kangding Lu, offering a range of dishes that take diners on a journey through Italy. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

When in Rome, get the Pizza "alla Pala" (RMB278) an oval-shaped pie spread across a long wooden pallet board.

The dough is made with a higher water to flour ratio (80% hydration) before rising for 48 hours – just like at Zozzo – resulting in an airier, crustier base. Ideal for sharing, diners can choose their three toppings from any of the menu's pizza options.

We opted for a classic – the Margherita – followed by a not-so classic – Pumpkin Cream and Pancetta – and the Delicata – a tomato passata base scattered with stringy stracciatella cheese, Parma ham and fresh rocket.

Pick your poison; you can't go wrong.

Award-Winning Aspect: Best Roman-Style Pizza

Roma, 1004-1006 Kangding Lu, by Yanping Lu 康定路1004-1006号,近延平路.


As one of Shanghai’s longest standing Italian restaurants, Scarpetta holds its status as a culinary institution.

While the venue hugs the line of fine dining, it does still offer a smattering of luxury-focused pizzas, ones that don't follow a particular 'style,' but rather are an amalgamation of versions from Italy and California; the crust is noticeably crispy, airy and light.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

You don't "pop by" Scarpetta for a pizza to-go or a standard pepperoni pie, but rather indulge in flavor experience of baby clams, bechamel, confit garlic, pancetta and lemon rind as the Clam & Garlic (RMB188).

Or – for an extra serving of opulence – the Truffle & Cream Pizza (RMB268), a truffle-lovers wet dream; truffle oil and shaved truffle are generously spread across the pizza’s entire surface, while a base of stracciatella cheese, crème fraiche and parmesan cream sauce serve as a counterpart to the crispy, light crust. Cured egg yolk slivers and fresh thyme add both texture and a pop of color. 

Award-Winning Aspect: Most Luxurious Toppings

See a listing for Scarpetta.

Zup Pizza Bar

Following numerous popups around the city, Zup Pizza Bar, the brainchild of Chicago born and raised Wayne Hou and partner Lee Tseng (Liquid LaundryBoxing Cat), opened in the middle of pandemic – takeout mode – in August of 2022 to popular acclaim, offering tavern-style pizzas for the first time ever to the Shanghai pizza-loving masses.

The crust is the true mark of pizza craft. At its best, tavern style pizza defies the laws of physics with both crunch and flavor in such a small density of bread; the crust is not just crisp, but complex, with its own personality that can’t be found in any other pizza across the globe.

And the process to make said crust at Zup is a scientifically calculated method – a multifaceted math equation and labor of love that sounds like something only Bill Nye the Science Guy could cook up.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Redolent of the new school style of Detroit pizza squares in their plentiful excess, the Grand Fenneli (RMB118) is heaving with toppings, yet the sturdy crust can handle it (unlike its floppy New York counterpart that requires a fold and bite-like-a-taco situation).

The sausage is in a league of its own – fatty, spiced heavily with fennel and finished with herbs. But the sauce is tried and true Italian American ‘red sauce’ – cooked down, caramelizing and spread to the edge of that divine dough. 

Award-Winning Aspect: Best Tavern Pizza

See a lisitng for Zup Pizza Bar.

Not Enough Carbs for Ya?


Check out oodles of noodles in our Shanghai Pasta A-Z by clicking the link below...

READ MORE: Oodles of Noodles: A Shanghai Pasta A-Z List

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[Cover image by Sophie Steiner/That's]

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