Da Papa Mario’s 爸爸马里奥[Shanghai] – closed

What is Papa Mario’s?
Every neighborhood needs a casual pizza joint, where everyone knows your name. Even in Shanghai, you’ll find just such one, Papa Mario’s. Near peoples’ square, Da Papa Mario’s is a simple Italian restaurant that strives to serve Italian favorites of pasta and pizzas. The owner, Mario, is like the loving uncle who comes around to each table to make sure you having a good time. And when you’re done with your meal, you’ll get a nice shot of limoncello to complete the meal.
 
What did I eat?
We ordered the Quandris di Pasta and the Capricciosa pizza. The Quandris is a combination of different pastas including Rosette della mamma, mushroom ravioli, strascinati rabbit sauce, tortellini in chicken broth for 130 RMB. The presentation was almost unappetizing with the presentation of the pastas in individual glumps on a plate. Each of the little piles didn’t exactly have me salivating when it arrived. But after getting past the unenthusiastic looking pasta – the pastas weren’t all that bad. They had pretty good flavor. The capriccios pizza with extra dough, tomato, mozzarella, ham, mushroom, artichoke, fresh sausage, oregano for 110 RMB, wasn’t exactly mind blowing as well. The crust, which I think is the most important part of the pizza, was chewy and had a cardboard texture. Nasty. The only thing I liked was our Mozzarella Alla Capriese appetizer with tomato, mozzarella, fresh basel and oregano for 65 RMB.
 
Constructive Criticism
The food was just not acceptable. I wouldn’t bring my friends back here, even for a 2nd chance. But I think quality and consistency with the pizzas needs to be readily improved. The presentation of the pastas could also be improved.
 
The Last Word
Da Papa Mario’s has a pretty nice following, since when we went it was raining, and the place was packed.
Location Rating
爸爸马里奥 Da Papa Mario’s
大沽路370弄1号 近成都路
No.1, 370 Dagu Lu, near Chengdu Lu
+86 21 6340-1386
1 Pigs
Price Range 2 $/¥/NT

Bollini’s [Montery Park] – closed

Traditional pizzas nowadays are tough to find. Pizza Hut, Domino’s, and Papa John’s dominate public perception of what a pizza is suppose to be like. Nuevo pies, such as California Pizza Kitchen, Wolfgang Puck’s, and to some extent Pizzeria Mozza are establishing standards for new generations. Chicago style, though my favorite, is more like a casserole, a quiche, or even like a meat pie. As much as I hate to give New Yorker’s credit, the thin crust pizza is proper one.
Bollini’s pizza is one of tradition. The thin hand rolled crust with fresh toppings, what makes the drive worth it.
Bollini’s Pizzeria Napolitana
2315 South Garfield Avenue
Monterey Park, CA 91754-7219
(323) 722-7600
www.bollinispizzeria.com

Colori Kitchen [DTLA]

Colori Kitchen is a small neighborhood Italian restaurant smack dab in the middle of Downtown Los Angeles. You drive right by if you weren’t looking for it.
 
What is lacks in spectacular opulence that Angeleno’s are used to, it makes up with solid Italian fare. You might pay more for the ambiance and food at Drago Centro, but at Colori Kitchen makes up with their intimate bistro.
 
The one dish that stood out over everyone else’s was the risotto. I am not a big fan of risotto, only because I think it quite similar to an Asia breakfast – rice porridge. But when done correctly, the risotto holds its texture well, as does Colori Kitchen’s. The Spaghetti Carbonara was also pretty good as well.
I still want to try the other dishes from Colori Kitchen. I know my friends were indifferent to their choices that night as well. Make sure you call for reservations, since the place is small and gets filled up fast.
 
What to Order: Risotto
What not to Order:
2 Pigs
$$
 
Colori Kitchen
429 West 8th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90014, United States
(213) 622-5950