Il Teatro is a new Italian restaurant concept situated in Xintiandi. With a casual yet classy vibe, it boasts an outdoor terrace, bright and comfortable first floor, and a more fine-dining feel upstairs.
Il Teatro sees traditional Italian – salads, pizzas, pastas – and an ample grilled selection. The food is all very good looking, yet unpretentious, with generous portions and a decent price point, especially given its location in the heart of Xintiandi.
A good way to get the measure of an Italian joint is to order the Parma Ham and Burrata (RMB118). Freshly shaved, salty ham, creamy stracciatella and arugula with a nice sticky balsamic dressing. You can't go wrong with this one.
Our first foray into the grill section came with the Polpo Alla Griglia (RMB198). Resting on pureed green peas, the octopus tentacle is nicely charred, the outer crunch giving way to the satisfying chew of the cephalopod.
With a crispy crust and bready base, the Pizza Prosciotto & Funghi (RMB92) is a crowd pleaser across the board; we could see the pizzas going down a treat with the families around us on our lunchtime visit.
Cranking up the carb indulgence levels was the Black Truffle & Porcini Cream Pasta (RMB85) – a poached organic egg sits atop noodles soaking in an sauce speckled by shaved black truffle and pancetta chips.
It Teatro also does a mean steak, including three Angus options – rib-eye, tenderloin and striploin. We went for the Angus Rib-eye (RMB398) – perfectly cooked medium rare, the breed's natural marbling is utilized to perfection for a juicy hunk of meat bursting with flavor, amplified by the rock salt options and paired with a tangy pepper sauce.
The meat was perfectly complimented by some seriously cruchy veg, and The Green Salad (RMB72). This plate has it all: avocado, spinach, arugula, green peas, asparagus, cucumber, kidney beans, lentils and romanesco broccoli – that intriguing looking bud that takes the form of a naturally approximating fractal. Also known as Roman cauliflower, it has a firmer texture and delicate, nutty flavor.
The specialty dessert at Il Teatro is their Signature Tiramisu (RMB58). Billed as "the creamiest tiramisu in Xintiandi," it'll have you scraping the savoiardi on the bottom of the glass to get every last gloop of goodness.
Given the locale and generous portions, Il Teatro boasts a more than reasonable price point, and the food is top notch. We can see this place becoming a firm Xintiandi favorite.
It also functions as a cafe you can pop into for a coffee and traditional Italian pastry, such as the cream-filled Maritozzo (RMB22) below.
With peak terrace season upon us, what better spot to enjoy a cappuccino, sweet delicacy and do a spot of people watching?
Who's Going: Hungry Xintiandi shoppers and sightseers, families, anyone looking for a taste of Italian
Good For: Families, gatherings, people watching, taking a load off after a shop and filling up on carbs
Il Teatro, Xintiandi, No. 19, Lane 181 Taicang Lu, by Huangpi Nan Lu 地址 太仓路181弄16号, 近黄陂南路.
[All images by That's]