Panino with passion along with a Puglia philosophy
For two years, Totino Panino has been churning out quality panini, and for many this is the gold standard.
The street-front space just hidden behind the Metro entrance on Changshu Road sports a typical Italian bar (cafe) interior with posters on the walls and casual seating for a quick meal.
One thing we need to point out is this Italian bar is not really a bar or a pub but more like a cafe. Staff is usually friendly and once you become a regular, you will be treated like an old friend.
Case in point: Owner Salvatore Giammaria greets his customers daily at his sandwich bar, and makes probably the best panino (Italian sandwich) in town, which has delivered him a loyal following of regulars.
Giammaria, originally from Bari, Puglia, in the south of Italy, has been in Shanghai for two decades. He came to the city with Italian furniture brand Natuzzi, became commercial director for a multinational company in the chemical sector and offered consulting services to automotive giants. But when he closed in on 50, he decided a change in life was in order – to do something he is passionate about.
Cooking is his passion.
"During my corporate life, I usually cooked over the weekends to alleviate stress," he said.
But without professional culinary training, he decided to open a place offering things he could manage well.
Giammaria figured there weren't real panini shops in the city, so he started to test his recipes, source premium ingredients from Italy and share his passion for this Italian staple.
The difference between a panino and regular sandwich isn't just about different ingredients but a change in philosophy. Instead of heaping on stacks of cold cuts, a good panino comes in smaller portions with the right combination of ingredients to create refined and flavorful "express delicacies."
The ciabatta bread used at Totino Panino is of the highest quality – a core component of a panino. Other essentials are imported cheese, mortadella and real 18-month parma ham. Each panino is prepared on the spot using the freshest ingredients to ensure the unmistakable taste of artisanal flavors.
For first-time diners, try the traditional panini, of which there are four options. I loved the Roman-style porchetta (60 yuan).
The delicious roasted pork shoulder dressed with herbs is nothing but tender and aromatic. Together with white cheddar and sun-dried tomatoes, you have the makings of a perfect stuffed porchetta panino. Thanks to the relaxed, friendly atmosphere, one can pause for a coffee or savor the taste of a panino any time of day.
Opening hours: 10:30am-2:30pm, 4:30pm-10:30pm (Tuesday to Friday); 11:30am-10:30pm (weekends)
Address: 231 Changshu Rd
Average price: 80 yuan