A lot of people don’t like restaurant in malls. But technically, Frasca is a restaurant in a hotel that happens to be in a mall. And it also happens to be one of the best new restaurants in Shanghai.\
While you can access the hotel through Taikoo Hui Mall, once you get into the Middle House hotel, you will feel like you are a whole world away. Even though you are just a few feet from the largest Starbucks in the world, the well-designed landscaping has a resort feel as you walk through the lobby and outside to the restaurant.
We booked a large party for 20 people in their private room. From start to finish the planning and service were top notch. Special thanks to Mark, the manager who helped us plan the event.
We ordered a variety of courses from the menu. The pastas were really outstanding, and I also really liked the pisca. It’s like a pizza but super crunchy and loaded with toppings.
Perhaps the branzino or sea bass baked in a salt crust was the only dish that we didn’t finish. This looked really cool when it came out and was served tableside. Nothing about it was bad, but it also wasn’t very special or unique like the other dishes above. The T bone steak was fantastic and was devoured before the plate had even cooled. The tiramisu for sharing was also worked great as a birthday cake and was the perfect end to the meal.
Frasca should be everyone’s go-to for Italian food in Shanghai.
The Middle House is maybe the darkest five-star hotel I've been to, which matches their identity of "A calm oasis amongst the dynamic backdrop of Asia's most sophisticated city." I like it. The 4th floor rooftop makes for good sunset watching and Café Grey seems like an ideal place to get over jet lag. Their flagship Italian restaurant is equally modern and relaxing, though some dishes need work.
A dark restaurant feels great in this world of neon Instagram-bait. And lounge music mixtapes sound surprisingly good in the era of playlists and algorithms. Great service too. One customer who some might call "severely underdressed" still got constant water pours, bread top-ups, and smiles.
Everything here tastes homemade. Sometimes that's a huge compliment and sometimes not. A wood-grilled chicken salad makes one wonder what kind of magic they can do with steaks. The truffle mashed potatoes are dreams. And though a pesto pasta tasted truly fresh, two diners agreed: just slightly undercooked. Finally, a bizarre disappointment: a broccoli leaf and sausage pizza. Oily with a taste of refrigerated leftovers, it tasted like Chinese New Year. Is that basic-American ignorance to think that an Italian restaurant should have good pizza?
Should have ended with a tiramisu, an espresso, and maybe a slice from Homeslice instead. Still, would go back to explore other parts of the menu and enjoy the vibe and service.
Summary: Sharp, relaxing Italian restaurant in The Middle House hotel with great service and vibe, some standout dishes and some misses. Go for the wood-grilled options and side dishes. Good value.
Price: ~ 240rmb per person with one glass of wine.
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