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April 18, 2021

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Home » Sunday » City Scene

Simple casual Italian, with horse of course

SENSO is the kind of casual dining Italian restaurant rarely found in the increasingly stylish food scene of Shanghai. It’s not created for that picture-perfect social media moment but for a genuine time spent together over authentic Italian flavors.

It is the true spirit of well-loved Italian dining, best relished in good company.

Senso opened in July 2019 by long-time restaurateur Severino Bassani, who landed in Shanghai in 2004 as a pizza maker for Jimix Seve Pizzeria which once offered probably the best Italian pizza in town.

After several partnerships over the years, Bassani is now devoting his time on Senso, outside the Central Residences compound in Xuhui District.

Hailing from a small village near the Italian capital, Bassani clearly knows the true Italian flavors beyond his well-known pizzas. He wanted to bring here the creative-yet-classic preparation and presentation for local diner — “an overall experience that leaves you happy and content.”

Handmade pastas, grilled meats and seafood, regional specialities and so on, Senso has a lot to offer.

One specialty worth mentioning is the horse meat, raw or grilled.

To outsiders, the tradition of eating horse is controversial. In Italy it’s considered wholesome and nourishing and high in iron. Bassani brought the southern Italian tradition of eating horse here and he said it took him several months to find the right supplier.

I tried both the horse meat carpaccio and the grilled horse tenderloin. The raw meat slices taste similar to the beef version but felt more tender and melty in the mouth. The tenderloin with charcoal crust on the outside and perfectly pink on the inside, is tender and flavorsome.

It possesses a dense meat flavor with a hint of gaminess.

Senso offers mostly hand-made pastas. And as a pasta addict, I was excited to see strozzapreti in the menu.

Strozzapreti, meaning priest choker or strangler, is a type of Central Italian hand-rolled pasta. Despite its sinful name, it pairs well with chunky, robust sauces.

The delicious plate here is filled with pork sausage, fresh porcini and seasoned with cream, black truffle paste and parmesan cheese.

The wine menu here has a good selection of Italian wines at very reasonable prices.

From 2:30pm to 7:30pm daily, the happy hour by bottle is only 168 yuan (US$25.65), with six kinds of wine on offer. And you also get a cicchetti box (four kinds of snacks) for free.

Opening hours: 11:30am-11:30pm
Tel: 6209-1635
Average price: 250 yuan (US$38.28)
Address: 1/F, No. 161, Lane 1038 Huashan Rd (crossroads of Caojiayan Rd and Zhaohua Rd E.)


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