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BottlesXO’s Ludovica Damonte

Jun 1, 2018

I'm Ludovica, from Italy and I'm the GM at BottlesXO, the super fast and reliable alcohol delivery app.  I first arrived in Shanghai through a university program back in August 2012. I immediately fell in love with the city and its multicultural community of thriving, hard-working people, so right after graduation (having also majored in Chinese language) it made sense to come back. I'm celebrating my 5th consecutive year in China this summer.

When I permanently moved back to Shanghai in 2013, I helped to manage a small restaurant, worked with the good folks of SHFT and other small companies to manage their PR and communications, and took on a few teaching gigs. By March 2014, I stopped my studies and added to the mix a full-time role at one of Shanghai's premium e-commerce grocery stores.

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In February 2015, I was invited by a friend to a "secret wine tasting", and that evening I happened to talk with Zou Zhengfang, one of BottlesXO Co-founders. A couple of months later I received a text from him asking for a chat, and we met with Mischa Schulze and Thilo Fuchs, the other two co-founders. I liked them, they liked me, and I was offered to join the team as a shareholder and marketing manager.

Mind you, the company didn't publicly exist when I joined in May 2015, so before accepting the role and the equity I called my mom and dad to ask for their opinion and I said to them: "I know I have a job that I like and that is safe now, but if I don't do something so crazy as to join a company that doesn't exist when I'm 24 and have nothing to lose, when am I ever going to do it?” Fast forward 3 years, BottlesXO is celebrating our 3rd Anniversary this Saturday.


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My favorite aspect of Shanghai is the inspiring international community. Most people are super supportive, they like to be helpful and there's a great sense of belonging. Whenever I ask for help, I encounter great support and I try to give back at every occasion! On the reverse side, I feel like Shanghai makes it hard for anyone who wasn't born and raised here to feel at "home" or at ease. Polluted, expensive, and frenetic, this city can be tough to live in. But don't get me wrong, the pros definitely outweigh the cons!

As a big foodie and amateur food writer (check out @lulus_hungry on Instagram and follow my blog), where to eat is always one of my favorite questions. As an Italian, I'll start off by recommending my favorite pizza place, which is Gemma (on Monday they have this awesome pizza + beer + icecream for 100 RMB deal). Bespoke in St. Regis and Oxalis are among my favorite new openings. Respectively the favorite dishes at these two places are the scampi tartare (though the menu is seasonal and rotates frequently) and the Berkshire pork shoulder.

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Other restaurant picks include Canton Table where I love going back to for Dim Sum, Maya/Mayita
 for brunch, Colca is always good and has the best venison ribs in town. I'm an even bigger Chinese food monster. I tend to munch on everything from wontons at little holes in the wall, Dandan noodles just hit the right spot and Malatang is my religion. Yunnan, Hunan and Sichuan food tend to be among my favorite cuisines and it doesn't matter which restaurant I go to as long as I don't get poisoned. 

When I’m not drinking and eating, my boyfriend and I take our lovely puppy Ban Ban out on walks or to the West Bund's dog friendly park. Picnics and prosecco may be involved though, so not sure it counts!

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At 28 and without kids, debt, mortgage or liabilities to distract me, my job is what takes up most of my energies, and I'm happy I've made my time worthwhile in the past few years in Shanghai. We're still just a start-up and who knows what the future has in store for us, but whatever it'll end up being, I'm extremely proud of what we have achieved so far.

I honestly don't feel like I'm going to be ready to say goodbye to Shanghai any time soon. I love my life here and I really don't want to move to a country that doesn't have enough Chinese food options.

*

Check out the BottlesXO 'Screw it!' Anniversary Party on Saturday from 4pm till late, free entry. Everyone's invited.

VENUES MENTIONED IN THIS ARTICLE:

  • Maya

    • Nightlife
    • Dining
    • Mexican
    • $
    • $
    • $
    • $
    • $
    • Address
      Grand Plaza Club House, 2/F, 568 Julu Lu, near Shanxi Nan Lu
      巨鹿路568弄 四方新城俱乐部2楼, 近陕西南路
    • Phone
      6289 6889

    Maya is a popular, upscale Mexican restaurant whose slightly odd location on the second-floor of an apartment clubhouse is a reminder that good food trumps weird locations. The cooking is contemporary Mexican, with a few concessions like tacos and quesadillas, but if... Read more

  • Mayita

    • Dining
    • Mexican
    • Outdoor Seating
    • $
    • $
    • $
    • $
    • $
    • Address
      6/F, 98 Shouning Lu, near Xizang Nan Lu
      寿宁路98号6楼, 近西藏南路
    • Phone
      6334 3288

    This is the second and smaller branch of Mexican mainstay Maya on Julu Lu. Thematically, the menu here isn't much different, just a few newer additions like bacon and blue quesadillas or beef empanadas in a pineapple and guajillo chili sauce. It occupies the sixth... Read more

  • Gemma

    • Dining
    • Wine Bar
    • Pizza
    • $
    • $
    • $
    • $
    • $
    • Address
      20 Donghu Lu, near Huaihai Zhong Lu
      东湖路20号, 近淮海中路
    • Phone
      3356 5118

    Gemma is a spiffy Italian pizzeria that serves a menu of Italian favorites, with a selection of Neapolitan-style pizzas, homemade pastas (they have their own pasta room), salads, antipasti, homemade gelato and a list of French and Italian wines. Read more

  • Bespoke

    • Dining
    • Hotel Restaurant
    • Jing'an
    • Address
      2/F, 1008 Beijing Xi Lu, near Jiangning Lu
      北京西路1008号2楼, 近江宁路
    • Phone
      2287 2877

    Restaurant serving daily and weekly menus specially designed by the St. Regis Shanghai Jing'an's head chef, drawing inspiration from Western cuisine. Read more

  • The St. Regis Shanghai Jing'an

    • Hotels
    • Luxury Hotels
    • Jing'an
    • Address
      1008 Beijing Xi Lu, near Jiangning Lu
      北京西路1008号, 近江宁路
    • Phone
      6257 9999

    Owned by B.M. Holding, The St. Regis Shanghai Jing'an's a luxury hotel, designed as a mix between English and Chinese styles; read, corridors lined with Chinese calligraphy, furniture and gold-foil paintings. It's got 370 guest rooms, 66 suites, 55 residences located... Read more

  • BottlesXO Wine & Beer Delivery

    • Delivery
    • Alcohol Delivery
    • Address
      n/a
    • Phone
      400 008 9917

    Founded by two Germans and a local, BottlesXO delivers chilled wines and beers throughout Shanghai within the hour. They say their wines are especially scouted out by their Europe-based wine expert and selected by one of the founders based on taste, production... Read more

  • Oxalis

    • Dining
    • Hotel Restaurant
    • Recently Opened
    • Address
      The Waterhouse Hotel, The Cool Docks, 1/F, 1-3 Maojiayuan Lu, near Zhongshan Nan Lu
      毛家园路1-3号1楼, 近中山南路
    • Phone
      6080 2918

    Chief dining establishment for The Waterhouse, it's headed up by Alsace native Executive Chef Jonas Noel (most recently Read more

  • Canton Table

    • Dining
    • Dim Sum
    • Cantonese
    • Address
      Three on the Bund, 5/F, 3 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, near Guangdong Lu
      中山东一路3号5楼, 近广东路
    • Phone
      6321 3737

    Read more

  • Colca

    • Dining
    • Eduardo Vargas
    • Xuhui
    • Address
      2/F, 199 Hengshan Lu, near Yongjia Lu
      衡山路199号2楼, 近永嘉路
    • Phone
      5401 5366

    Colca is serial restaurateur Eduardo Vargas trying the business strategy of "honesty" with this latest restaurant. He's cooking the food of his heritage: Peruvian. It's a nice place. Seating about 150 or so, a central patio area is housed by a cocktail bar on the one... Read more

[Shanghai Famous]:

Shanghai Famous is a weekly SmartShanghai column focusing on people out there in the city makin' the scene. They're out there around town, shaping Shanghai into what it is, creating the art, culture, and life around us. We asked them what's good in Shanghai. We asked them what's bad in Shanghai. We asked them to tell us more, more, more about their wonderful selves.

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