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  • Last week, I was trying to define the word “devoted” to my class of 11-year-olds. “Can you give us an example?”, one boy asked.

    “Sure”, I said, and then – instinctively, without thinking – “I’m devoted to pizza.”

    I am, though. I’ve tried “proper” pizza in various Italian towns and cities; I’ve experimented with making different bases at home; I’ve had takeaways in every style, from sourdough to stuffed crust. Devoted.

    Sofia, deservingly, has a good reputation in Shanghai. The little Jing’an branch is dangerously close to my apartment. After a few visits, I feel well-qualified to recommend it. It won’t make anyone’s deep pan dreams come true, but if you’re a fan of thin-crust, char-edged pizzas, it’s a really good option.

    I visited most recently on a Sunday night, after a long and boozy weekend away. We ordered one Hawaiian (sorry not sorry, pineapple haters), one veggie pizza and some hummus, plus some mint tea to make it all feel more wholesome.

    The pizzas were just right: plenty of good toppings, gooey cheese, charred and bubbling in all the right places. They’re a really good size for a single portion as well, but you can always take any leftovers home. The hummus was also really good: plenty of olive oil to add a light richness. It also tasted like they’d used actual tahini – no corner-cutting with Chinese-style toasted sesame paste. The falafel salad, baba ghanoush (available as part of a mixed starter, which is well worth your time) and kebabs are also strong options.

    Sure, it isn’t perfect. They don’t have a toilet (you have to go next door), and there’s nothing exciting or ground-breaking here. For a little local pizza spot, though, it’s perfect. Friendly staff, chilled-out atmosphere, good playlist, quick service, fridge full of beer and – vitally – good food.

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SmartReviews is SmartShanghai’s crack squad of amateur reviewers, eating their way around the city and writing about it. They have been chosen from a large pool of applicants and given a set of strict guidelines to follow to make sure their reviews are honest, informed and fair to both potential customers and the restaurants themselves.