Il Teatro: Casual, Classy Italian in the Heart of Xintiandi

By That's Shanghai, January 31, 2023

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The Place

Il Teatro is a modern Italian restaurant in the heart of Xintiandi by CVL Restaurant Group. With a casual yet classy vibe, it offers guests a sunny, pet-friendly outdoor terrace; bright and comfortable first floor plus café; private event space on the second floor – host to many a wine dinner for 30-40 guests; and a fine-dining atmosphere upstairs with seating for 100 people. 



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.”

Every time we’ve walked past, there’s been a lengthy line, with eager diners ready to enjoy a taste of Italy. 

Plus, with peak terrace season just around the corner, what better spot to enjoy a cappuccino, pastry and some people watching?

The Food

Il Teatro is all about traditional Italian – antipasta, pizzas, pasta and an ample grilled selection with imported cuts of beef.


Starters span everything from oysters to cheese and meat plates, from grilled and fried seafood to Venetian Style Beef Carpaccio alla Cipriani (RMB118) – thinly sliced beef resting on a bed of arugula, sprinkled with pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, fried capers and crackly parmesan crisps. 


There are also ample opportunities to get your vegetables in – our favorite being the Sedano & Mela Verde (RMB66) – a refreshing and crunchy salad of celery, green apple, walnut and shaved ribbons of fennel tossed in a bright vinaigrette with pomelo. 


A top-rated item on Dianping, the Roasted Chicken (RMB88) is tender with crispy skin, served alongside roasted baby potatoes, a fresh arugula salad, chicken jus and creamy tartar sauce for dipping. 


With grilled options from Europe, the USA and Japan, steak is a must for every table. We opted for the thick-cut European Black Angus Tenderloin (RMB338), expertly cooked to medium rare with a superbly crusted char that gives way to a juicy center. 


The kitchen also presents diners with eight traditional handmade pastas, like Rigatoni al Pomodoro e Burrata (RMB78) and Black Truffle & Porcini Cream Bucatini (RMB85)

We went for the Pappardelle with Beef Cheeks Bolognese (RMB89) – handmade flat noodles tossed with slow-cooked and fat-pleated beef cheek, a warming beef ragu and freshly grated parmesan. 


Pizza is another key focus, with crisp dough that ferments for 12 hours before it’s baked at 400 degrees in an Italian-imported Moretti Forni pizza oven.

There currently are 10 pizza classics, of which we suggest the spicy Diavola (RMB89). Loaded with thinly shaved salami that crisps at the edges, the pie is also topped with black olives, red onion and a liberal sprinkling of mozzarella.


We strongly advise saving extra room for the traditional Italian desserts, handmade and prepared daily in the café downstairs.

Expect a lineup of bombolone cream or Nutella-filled donuts, cannolis, tiramisu, fresh-baked focaccia, an assortment of cakes and the Maritozzo (RMB22) – a cream-filled fluffy brioche-style bun sprinkled with powdered sugar that originated in a patisserie in Rome. 


Aside from food, Il Teatro hosts an impressive lineup of over 100 wines, with wine by the glass starting at RMB50.

Being an Italian restaurant, diners can also enjoy aperitivos and digestifs, like a bubbly Negroni Spritz (RMB68) or a tart Limoncello Martini (RMB78)

The Vibe

Given the locale and generous portions, Il Teatro boasts a more than reasonable price point, drawing in visitors of all ages and walks of life from the Xintiandi area.


Price: RMB100-300

Who's Going: Hungry Xintiandi shoppers, 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 steak and other Italian eats

Il Teatro, Xintiandi, No. 19, Lane 181 Taicang Lu, by Huangpi Nan Lu 太仓路181弄16号, 近黄陂南路.

[All images by Sophie Steiner/That's]

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