Pici, a fresh pasta bar via Hong Kong, Soi Thai for Thai street food, and Ember for beef omakase.

Pici – Italian via Hong Kong

Address: B2/F, Jing’an Kerry Center, 1515 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Tongren Lu 静安嘉里中心B2层, 南京西路1515号, 近铜仁路
Tel: 62376668
Hours: 10am-2:30pm, 5:30pm-9pm

Pici, an Italian restaurant and pasta bar in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.

Pici is a fresh pasta bar located in the newly refurbished basement food zone of the Jing An Kerry Center. It’s a popular fast-casual chain via Hong Kong, backed by the Pirata Group. This is the brand’s 7th location and first outpost in Shanghai.

Pici, an Italian restaurant and pasta bar in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Pici, an Italian restaurant and pasta bar in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.

Connected to Pici is The Pizza Project, one of Pirata Group’s newer concepts. You can dine and order from either place.

Pici, an Italian restaurant and pasta bar in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.

Pici corporate chef Andrea Viglione came from Hong Kong to see it through, and it’s working fabulously. The menu is simple and straightforward, and the pastas are terrific.

Fresh, hand-rolled pastas are cut at the marble bar counter.

Pici, an Italian restaurant and pasta bar in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Table bread
Meatballs at Pici, an Italian restaurant and pasta bar in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Homemade Meatballs (¥78/three) – Pork and beef meatballs with tomato sauce and a generous amount of shaved parmesan.
Lasagna at Pici, an Italian restaurant and pasta bar in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Lasagna Classica (¥98) – Beef ragu, bechamel, parmesan.
Pasta at Pici, an Italian restaurant and pasta bar in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Pappardelle Beef Cheek (¥88) – Slow-cooked beef cheek ragu with onion, carrot, and celery with buttery ribbons of pasta.
Pasta at Pici, an Italian restaurant and pasta bar in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Orecchiette ‘Nduja (¥118) – Crumbed Italian sauce, spicy ‘nduja, and cherry tomatoes. Excellently chewy orecchiette.
Pasta at Pici, an Italian restaurant and pasta bar in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Pici “Cacio e Pepe” (¥88) – Gummy noodles coated in pecorino cheese and dusted with fresh cracked black pepper. One of two vegetarian pastas on the menu.
Pizza at Pici, an Italian restaurant and pasta bar in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
‘Nduja Pizza (¥88) – Spicy salami, smoked scamorza, tomato sauce, and fior di latte cheese. The pizza dough is like a cross between a pinsa (Roman-style) and a Neapolitan, fluffy but not too thick.
Tiramisu at Pici, an Italian restaurant and pasta bar in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Tiramisu (¥48)

It’s definitely worth visiting, but I wouldn’t say it’s a place for a romantic dinner date. It is, after all, a fast-casual restaurant in a mall basement. I reiterate: the pastas are worth it.


Soi Thai – Thai Street Food

Address: 688 Shaanxi Bei Lu, near Kangding Lu 陕西北路688号, 近康定路
Tel: 13818437164
Hours: Sun-Thu 10am-2am, Fri-Sat 11am-4am

Soi Thai, a street-side Thai eatery in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.

Soi Thai is a casual eatery serving Thai street food favorites in Jing’an. It’s located around the corner from UP Shanghai and Pie Society.

Soi Thai, a street-side Thai eatery in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Soi Thai, a street-side Thai eatery in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.

They’ve really nailed the “streetside” feel akin to eateries in Thailand. Tucked around the corner in an alley facing a row of scooters, Soi Thai has a skinny layout, with a couple tables shaded by the awning outside. It’s also a front for Dusk Till Dawn, a speakeasy-ish bar and lounge that opens in the evening.

Soi Thai, a street-side Thai eatery in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Chicken Satay (¥38) – Served with a light peanut dipping sauce. Not my favorite.
Soi Thai, a street-side Thai eatery in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Grilled Pork Neck (¥58) – A classic, served with a deliciously punchy and spicy tamarind-based sauce.
Soi Thai, a street-side Thai eatery in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Red Beef Curry (¥68) – Amply portioned with beef, vegetables, and potatoes. The beef could have been stewed for a tad bit longer.
Soi Thai, a street-side Thai eatery in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Pad Thai (¥58) – Stir-fried noodles with the classic accoutrements. Ask for extra fish sauce and chili.
Soi Thai, a street-side Thai eatery in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Green Papaya Salad (¥38) – Super spicy cold papaya salad. If your threshold for fiery foods is high, you’ll like this.
Soi Thai, a street-side Thai eatery in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Coconut Chicken Soup (¥68) – A light coconut-based soup with chunks of chicken.
Soi Thai, a street-side Thai eatery in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Pineapple Fried Rice (¥68) – The classic street food fry-up. It’s also the first time I’m seeing Chinese sweet wax sausage in pineapple fried rice. I guess, when in Rome…

Drinks situation: Chang and Singha beers for ¥50 each, fresh coconut for ¥55, juices from ¥50, and a couple wines by the bottle.

It’s easy-going Thai favorites at honest prices. It’s not going to be the best Thai food you’ll have in Shanghai, but if you work/live nearby, it’s a quick fix. And if you’re exiting UP Shanghai looking for a feed, you’ll be glad Soi Thai is there.


Ember – Beef Omakase

Address: 2/F, Jing’an Kerry Center, 1515 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Tongren Lu 静安嘉里中心2楼, 南京西路1515号, 近铜仁路
Tel: 15001800407
Hours: 12pm-2pm, 6pm-10pm

Ember, high-end Japanese restaurant specializing in yakiniku, Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence

Ember is a high-end Japanese restaurant in the Jing An Kerry Center that specializes in “niku kappo omakase,” a set menu where beef is the star of every course. The original Ember is in Shenzhen, and this is the first Shanghai outpost. It’s backed by the same restaurant group behind yakitori restaurant Torisawa.

Ember, high-end Japanese restaurant specializing in yakiniku, Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence

There are two menus, ¥1,280 for the counter seating, and ¥880 for private room seating. The menus have about 10-12 courses and share the same appetizers, but the wagyu is served differently—the meats are cooked directly on the grill in the private rooms, whereas the counter seating is more omakase style.

Ember, high-end Japanese restaurant specializing in yakiniku, Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence

The high-quality yakiniku is curated by Ember’s consultant chef, Kentaro Nakahara of Sumibi Yakiniku Nakahara, Tokyo. Apart from the fruit and ice cream dessert, every course is a variation of beef, mostly wagyu.

Ember, high-end Japanese restaurant specializing in yakiniku, Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence

It’s wagyu in a sushi roll, wagyu with uni, wagyu with foie gras, wagyu on rice, wagyu torched, wagyu cooked over coals and given a dab of secret house sauce. There’s also sirloin, beef tongue, oxtail, and other cuts of beef.

Ember, high-end Japanese restaurant specializing in yakiniku, Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence

It’s a beef connoisseur’s dream menu, where you can climb that carnivore ladder and enjoy all that wagyu.

Ember opened in May, which is around the time I visited. It’s still quite popular, especially for dinner. Lunch is an easier bet if you don’t want to plan too far in advance.

Ember, high-end Japanese restaurant specializing in yakiniku, Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence

I can’t speak for the bar counter experience as I dined in the private room, but that did not impede on me enjoying said wagyu. The buy-in isn’t cheap, and it’s definitely one for special occasions.