Pizza places have popped up all over Shanghai like mushrooms after the rain over the past few years. I remember the days when New York Style Pizza at Tian Zi Fang was all the rage. Fastforward a 5 years later, we can have almost any style of pizza baked from a huge variety of ovens in now. Today we write about Pizza Delfina, an upcoming chain currently situated in the former Expo area.
Pizza Delfina serves what they claim as New York style pizza. What sets them apart from other pizza places is their luxurious WoodStone oven, which maintains a temperature of plus-minus 700 degrees Fahrenheit. They also serve a variety of western food items besides Pizza.
A big thank you to Pizza Delfina for inviting me and Yannick for a hands on pizza making session while also allowing us to taste some of their signature dishes.
The decor at Pizza Delfina is clean and modern, quite tastefully done and unpretentious. The location is a little out of the way from the city center, but I’ve heard from friends working and living around the area that Pizza Delfina is actually one of the only better food choices available for delivery in the vicinity. Nonetheless, the actual restaurant space is big and has outdoor seating, good for all sorts of groups. The kitchen area is spacious and spotless, with their huge blazing WoodStone oven being the centrepiece of the restaurant. 8/10
As this was an invited tasting, an unbiased score of 7.5 is given as usual. There weren’t that many staff around, and the restaurant is actually undergoing a fresh revamp of management, so old customers can expect an upgrade for service.
I had the pleasure of making my first pizza in a professional setting, while it didn’t turn out perfect, I was quite pleased with the taste.
I topped my thin crust (very un-new york style) pizza with salami, pancetta, button mushrooms and lots of mozzarella cheese with a sprinkle of parmeggiano.
The signature Delfina pizza had salami, sausage meat, olives and button mushrooms.
While the toppings were quite de rigeur, the crust was very interesting.
Unlike my thin crusted pizza, the correct version of the crust at Pizza Delfina was slightly thick at the sides, but not overly thin in the center. You can actually pick up a slice without the entire pizza falling off. Although the sides were thick, they were still airy and light — quite pleasant to chew on.
The topping combination definitely worked, and it would be something I would order. 8.5/10
We also tried the Vongole pizza and Salmon pizza, in the form of 2 halves. These were a little disappointing. The vongole pizza was primarily overwhelmed in garlic flavours, and nothing to hint of the clams. It felt more like a garlicky cheese pizza. The salmon, while generous in meat, also didn’t quite hit the spot for me. I never quite understood this type of pizza where salmon and arugula is simply topped on the pizza after it’s baked. To me, a pizza needs to be baked with cheese melted and caramelised on top. 5/10
Cream of mushroom soup
Very milky and creamy, infact, too much so. I felt that more mushrooms could have been used for the soup for a stronger mushroom flavour. This definitely had too much cream in it. Portion was a good hearty bowl though, and at least it wasn’t a watery mess. 7/10
Fresh prawn salad
This was surprisingly refreshing and tasty. A generous topping of fresh succulent prawns, accompanied with the usual rabbit food but with sweet mangoes giving a bright accent. The dish was also a treat on the eyes. 8.5/10
Crispy roast organic chicken. It was nice that the skin was crisp and charred, but chicken meat was a little dry, albeit flavourful. The roasted zucchini were fresh and tasty with some charred marks. Some sauce would have been nice, because it was generally a very dry tasting dish. 7.5/10
Grilled Sea bass
Two fillets of sea bass resting on top of the same grilled zucchini we had on the previous dish. A sort of salsa was topped on the fish filets. It was nice that the skin was dry and crisp, however as you can see on the photo, it was overcooked with nearly half of the filet already browned. Again, I felt a better sauce would have elevated the fish more. 7.5/10
Pizza Delfina still needs to iron out some kinks in their main courses. For pizza, it’s definitely a solid choice for people in the area. Their expensive WoodStone oven truly produces pizzas that are unique, and unlike many other pizzas in the city. Although comparing New York style pizza with Napolitano style pizza is like comparing apples to oranges.
For a casual family meal, Pizza Delfina would definitely do the trick. However if you are after a more artisanal all rounded dining experience, perhaps you should wait abit for them to refine their menu.