[Shanghai] MARZANO by Pizza Express 马上诺
MARZANO by Pizza Express | Dianping
Address: 太仓路181(近兴业路) – 181 Taicang Lu near Xingye Lu (新天地 Xintiandi)
More branches in K11, Shanghai Centre, Grand Gateway Plaza; search Dianping for full list.
Date visited: 2014.12
Price: Starters RMB¥30-80, pizzas RMB¥80-150, salads RMB¥90-120 (side salads RMB¥30-70)
Will return: Yes
What to get:
– Superfood salad
– Meatballs & Bolognese cicheti
– Calabrese Romana pizza
Pizza Express (previously known as Pizza Marzano) is a casual Italian pizza chain originating from the UK since 1965 with branches in Europe and Asia. Pizza is one of those things that has to be really good for me to like (such as at Capo, Mercato, Scarpetta) and even then, I don’t really go out of my way to eat it.
I eventually ended up here out of convenience and I am so glad I did because the pizza was surprisingly really good. Easily accessible and reasonably priced, this place provides a casual carb-fest to soak up a weekend of regret.
Autumn warmer tea (RMB¥38) with cinnamon infused earl grey tea and pineapple syrup
During cold season, Pizza Express serves a series of warming fruit teas ranging from lavender and peach blossom to orange extract fusion. This one caught my eye because I love earl grey.
Cicheti (RMB53 for one, RMB¥78 for two) served with baked dough balls
Recommend: yes, meatballs & bolognese
Pumpkin & mint dip (with garlic, chili, olive oil, and pine nuts) and baked parmesan & mushroom dip (portabella and button mushrooms with cheese sauce and parsley) are shown below. The pumpkin dip is served chilled while the mushroom cheese dip is very creamy. I actually had the meatballs & bolognese dip (not pictured) on a subsequent visit and I like that one the best.
Each cicheti is served with cute little dough balls hot out of the oven for dipping.
Nicoise salad (RMB¥92) with tuna, anchovies, capers, Leccino olives, egg, mixed vegetables, and house dressing
I am not a huge nicoise salad fan myself because I don’t like cooked tuna very often. With that said, I think the salads here are viable alternatives for Element Fresh down the block if you are looking for salad variety. I do recommend the superfood salad (RMB¥118) with mozzarella, avocado, roasted pumpkin, beetroot, lentils, green beans, baby spinach, basil, pine nuts, and balsamic syrup, which is quite good here.
Pizza Express’ pizza selection splits into classic Neopolitan (traditional) and Romana (thinner, crispier). Pizza toppings are mostly western style (such as margarita, pepperoni, alba) and there is a Peking duck pizza with hoisin sauce and spring onions.
Calabrese Romana pizza (RMB¥145)
The calabrese pizza is Pizza Express’ new flagship pizza for fall/winter. It is a rectangular Romana pizza (again, crispier and thinner than traditional dough base) with spicy sausage, spicy salami, jalapeno, sweet pepperoncini chilies, grilled peppers, fior di latte mozzarella, rocket, and parmesan. A handful of delicious ingredients make up this pizza, which is a mix of sweet tomato sauce and spicy meat and chilies.
While the pizza itself is categorized as having thin, crispy dough, it maintains a good balance between having a thin crust on the side and slightly softer dough towards the center of the pizza, which is perfect for me. A surprisingly good find here that I have gotten a few times since this initial visit.
Simple tiramisu to end the meal. I also recommend the gelato with affogato.