Italian Pizza is a small restaurant near Zhejiang University. The restaurant can be described as a ‘hidden gem’ since it is in a very small and unseen alleyway next to Xixi road. The restaurant, although shabby from the outside, offers a wide variety of dishes including pizzas, salads and ciabatta sandwiches which are all very true to the traditional Italian cuisine. The restaurant is very busy given its location next to the Zhejiang University, and students often pack the very small, four-tabled restaurant during the lunch and dinner hours to eat the delicious dishes that they offer.
The establishment, although small and some-what ragged on the outside, offers a home-like warmth to the customers along with a small kitchen where the food is prepared by the couple. The walls are filled with notes and drawings from students from all around the world who chose to eat at the restaurant, offering an insight into what the general public thinks of the cuisine there. The menu of the restaurant is on the wall dividing the kitchen and actual restaurant in both English and Chinese, although there are some spelling mistakes, and offers a wide-variety of faithful Italian dishes.
The very authentic Italian dishes are prepared by Mr. Chen, the restaurant owner, who learned from his brother-in-law when he wanted to start a business. His brother-in-law has a Pizza restaurant in Nanjing, near the Nanjing University, which is a very popular spot for the students of the University. His brother-in-law had learned to make pizza with the help of an Italian chef, which is what made the pizzas so close to the traditional ones served in Italy. The dishes are prepared with mostly Italian products imported from Nanjing which add to the genuine taste of the dishes.
We started with the Calzone (45RMB), which contained juicy tomato slices, Italian mozzarella, ham, eggs, mushrooms and black olives. The Calzone was very well-made, making us savior every last bite.
Then came the Radicchio pizza (50RMB), a very authentic dish in Italy, which came with arugula leaves, gorgonzola cheese, spicy salami, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. With this pizza, the customer starts to taste the attention to detail of the pizza, with a very tasty gorgonzola cheese that left us wanting more.
Following, we had ordered the Pizza Veneta (40RMB), a tasty mix of ingredients found in the Veneto region in Italy, which came with ham and mushrooms to tie the whole dish together. The extraordinary ingredients made us swoon to the taste of the faithful dish. As a person from the Veneto region in Italy, I was very surprised that the restaurant offered this pizza. I was skeptical about the pizza and its taste, but when I took my first bite, I realized that the taste was very close to the traditional one in my hometown. The ingredients they used were fresh Italian ingredients, which made the pizza taste more authentic than I could have imagined. The pizza’s crust is doughy and soft, something that most pizzerias can’t accomplish.
Finally, we had ordered the Italian Pizza (50RMB), one of the most authentic and topping-filled pizza we ordered. The pizza included tomatoes, olives, arugula, mozzarella and basil sauce. The pizza was very close to the genuine Italian pizza, with the pizza cooked to near perfection and the toppings that really completed the dish.
Since the restaurant is very busy with students, they offer a delivery service. The delivery service is free within the 3km radius but when the delivery exceeds that range, a third-party delivery company is hired, costing more. Parking is not convenient and it’s strongly advised not to drive.
Considering the incredible work ethic of Mr. and Mrs. Chen, the buzzing location, and the jaw-dropping, low and affordable prices, and authentic Italian cuisine, it’s safe to assume that Italian Pizza will continue thriving.