La Vite is the kind of low-key spot that you can miss, despite living in Shanghai for years, before discovering it and kicking yourself for being late to the party. It’s a small, homey, lived-in neighborhood Italian restaurant that feels at once welcoming and deeply real. With food that will instantly have you “ahh”-ing and settling into your seat for a long, comfortable evening.
It’s good for casual dinners with small groups, though you’d probably need to reserve. More than that the intimate atmosphere makes it eminently date-worthy, too – the cozy kind, not the fancy kind. You’ll be overhearing pieces of the next table’s conversations, and they’ll be overhearing yours. But that’s part of the charm. Also, prices are all reasonable. Two of you can leave, full and with a couple of glasses of wine in you each, for under RMB 500.
Dishes are simple, hearty Italian comfort food, things like porchetta (rich, indulgent pork belly), burrata, blue cheese gnocchi, roasted porcini and vegetables. Meat and cheese boards. There’s a full menu of pizzas as well, proper pizzas, which will usually set you back about RMB 79 each.
Plates are big; it all feels designed to be shared. Between two, two dishes and a pizza are enough to leave you feeling good and satisfied. Wines are decent and fairly priced too, with glasses starting at around RMB 40 and a carafe going for around RMB 130.
So great food, great value, and a great atmosphere. Sometimes there isn’t much more to it than that. You should go to La Vite.
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