Zozzo serves up unique taste of Rome in Shanghai

Giampaolo De Santis has brought true old-world Roman-style pizza to the center of Shanghai. 

Giampaolo De Santis has brought true old-world Roman-style pizza to the center of Shanghai. 

“My idea, which was my dream, is to open a Roman pizza-by-the-slice chain shop in this part of the world. This specific kind of pizza, coming from the tradition of the old Roman bakeries after the World War II, are made only with authentic Italian raw ingredients, in the same way they started 70 years ago,” the Roman said.

De Santis started work in his family restaurant and hotel business in the center of Rome as a 16-year-old. And as time went on he eventually mastered all the secrets of Italian cuisine from his grandfather and father. 

The concept of Zozzo is rather straight-forward. The 50-square-meter, 22-seat space on Donghu Road next to the specialty coffee retailer, Peet’s Coffee, offers Roman pizza-by-the-slice and other typical, no-fuss Italian street food items, including focaccia filled with Parma ham and mozzarella cheese, along with real Italian coffee. 

Yang Di / SHINE

The restaurant offers Roman pizza-by-the-slice and other typical, no fuss Italian street food items.

Every item is seeped in traditional flavors and transformed into quick, portable, affordable snacks. The Roman pizza is unique for its squared shape and secondly for the fact that its dough is made with low glutin flour. Making it this way allows the pizza to become light and easy to digest.

“Our pizza itself is unique in Shanghai. I’m strictly trying to respect our Italian and Roman tradition by only using Italian products and following all the authentic recipes to let local Chinese people understand,” De Santis said.

The simplicity of this concept is also the key. 

“The simplicity distinguishes ourselves. We just want to reproduce the concept of our Italian street food where you have a bite of a pizza slice in different flavors, or other items, along with a glass of red, white wine or spritz and beer,” he said.

Yang Di / SHINE

Zozzo Pizza Sandwich

I particularly liked the pumpkin cream pancetta slice. 

“Chinese people love a mixture of sweet and sour flavors so I was inspired to create a special recipe here — pumpkin cream pancetta pizza slice, which is the most popular among Chinese customers,” he said.

Another must-try is the Zozzo Pizza Sandwich, which is a stuffed focaccia with Parma ham and mozzarella cheese. Known as Pizza alla Romana among Italians, it’s a common street snack for Roman locals. Another typical Roman item is Pizza Ripiena to be enjoyed warm from the oven. 

For those late night party people, Zozzo is a perfect mid-night snack spot after drinks. They are open until 6am over the weekend.


Opening hours: 8am-midnight (Sunday to Thursday); 8am-6am (Friday, Saturday)

Tel: 156-1864-8117

Address: 9 Donghu Rd

Average per person: 50 yuan

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