Azul Italiano is an Italian-inspired restaurant by the people behind Azul and Colca, located in Sinar Mas Plaza in Hongkou. It’s an impressive new direction of Azul, a restaurant name with nearly 20 years of history in Shanghai.

Azul Italiano is an Italian restaurant in Hongkou, Shanghai.
Azul Italiano is an Italian restaurant in Hongkou, Shanghai.

Previously a multi-functional event room across from Colca Sinar Mas Plaza, the space has been transformed into a vibrant dining room of nearly 200 seats.

Azul Italiano is an Italian restaurant in Hongkou, Shanghai.
Azul Italiano is an Italian restaurant in Hongkou, Shanghai.

There’s an open kitchen, a full bar, and multiple private rooms to accommodate groups of 30 and up. Since opening in July, the restaurant has been buzzing with diners.

Azul Italiano is an Italian restaurant in Hongkou, Shanghai.

The Food: What’s On The Menu

Founder and chef Eduardo Vargas and group Executive Chef Willmer Colmenares have put their own spin on Italian food, fashioning a comprehensive menu of comforting Italian-inspired dishes. It’s all very tasty, and they’re insistent on keeping their prices approachable.

Here is what’s on the menu and what to expect.

Meatballs at Azul Italiano, an Italian restaurant in Hongkou, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Meatballs (¥48) – Giant fluffy meatballs in a rich tomato sauce dusted with parmesan alongside black olives, arugula and crispy garlic. Excellent. A must-order.
Tuna tartare at Azul Italiano, an Italian restaurant in Hongkou, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Tuna Tartare (¥98) – Fresh chopped tuna, avocado smash, quail eggs, basil, wasabi mayo, mascarpone lemon cream and ginger soy dressing. It’s not typical of Italian food, but it sure is tasty.
Beef carpaccio at Azul Italiano, an Italian restaurant in Hongkou, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Wagyu Beef Carpaccio (¥98) – Thin slices of wagyu with parmesan cheese, truffle oil, tiny capers and roasted pine nuts. A classic.
Pizza at Azul Italiano, an Italian restaurant in Hongkou, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Spicy Italian Pizza (¥88) – Spicy sausage crumbed with jalapeños, red chili, sundried tomatoes and mozzarella.
Pasta at Azul Italiano, an Italian restaurant in Hongkou, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Red Crab Pasta (¥128) – One of the best sellers. Pasta in a cooked with fragrant tomato-seafood sauce topped with crabmeat, spicy prawn oil, shiso leaves and nori.
Pasta at Azul Italiano, an Italian restaurant in Hongkou, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Mushroom Alfredo (¥78) – Chewy troffie pasta in a creamy alfredo sauce with fat chunks of cured bacon, mushrooms, parmesan, and a dash of truffle oil. Also excellent.
Steak at Azul Italiano, an Italian restaurant in Hongkou, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Black Angus Rib Eye Steak (¥468) – 500g of 150-day grain fed beef served with truffle chips, confit onion, and garlic.
Cioppino at Azul Italiano, an Italian-inspired restaurant, brought to you by the people behind Azul and Colca, located in Sinar Mas Plaza, Hongkou, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence
Cioppino (¥248) – A heaving pot of tomato-seafood stew loaded with tiger prawns, scallops, halibut, black mussels, and clams, served with garlic bread. Cioppino is actually an Italian-American dish that’s similar to many Italian seafood stews. This is delicious. Savor every last drop!
Dessert at Azul Italiano, an Italian restaurant in Hongkou, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
The Fallen Garden (¥88) – A deconstructed tiramisu with berries, gelato, cookie crumbs, and an edible chocolate pot.
Dessert at Azul Italiano, an Italian restaurant in Hongkou, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Lemon Pie (¥58) – Meringue, lemon curd, and lemon sorbet.
Dessert at Azul Italiano, an Italian restaurant in Hongkou, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
White Chocolate Semi-freddo (¥68) – Whisky, chocolate, berries.

Drinks Situation: Cocktails & Wine

They also have cocktails, which are mostly low-ABV, alongside wines (from ¥48/glass, ¥198/bottle) and mocktails (¥48).

Cocktails at Azul Italiano, an Italian restaurant in Hongkou, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Veneto (¥68) – Gin, Aperol, fresh ginger, lemon juice, pineapple juice, and egg white. Citrusy and smooth, a refreshing drink.
Cocktails at Azul Italiano, an Italian restaurant in Hongkou, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Piedmonte (¥58) – Limoncello, vodka, lime juice, dill, elderflower syrup, soda. A tall and refreshing drink, leans on the sweet side.
Cocktails at Azul Italiano, an Italian restaurant in Hongkou, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Toscana (¥198) – This is a sharing cocktail, made with Campari, grapefruit juice, grapefruit syrup, lime juice, and soda water.

In Summary: Comforting Italian-Inspired Food

Favorite Dishes: Meatballs, tuna tartare, mushroom alfredo, cioppino, lemon pie.

It’s refreshing to see a timeless brand reinvent itself. Azul Italiano has made an impressive turn around of the space, and the bustling speed of the kitchen and busyness of the restaurant is a testament to their success. The food is comforting—Italian done their way that is also satisfying and tasty.


Azul Italiano
Address: 3/F, Sinar Mas Plaza, 588 Dongchangzhi Lu, near Lvshun Lu 白玉兰广场3楼, 东长治路588号, 近旅顺路
Tel: 65251636
Hours: 11am-3pm, 5pm-11pm