The bar area
The minute I stepped into Azzurro, I was greeted by the hospitable General Manager, Alessandro and the affable wait staff. Reminscent of a 1970s pizzeria, the restaurant’s décor is understated yet classic, with blue seating and wooden furniture.
Located just beside the chic, snazzy grill and wine bar, Shark, Azzurro’s diners consist of mainly families and those who have a love for hearty Southern Italian cuisine. Although Azzurro restaurant is only about a year old, the restaurant is usually full, attesting to its popularity.
Helmed by Executive Chef, Diego Di Costanzo from Ischia, a beautiful island in the province of Naples (Southern Italy), the restaurant specialises in fresh seafood and rustic Southern Italian fare prepared with wholesome ingredients. Every dish is artfully crafted and creatively assembled, making your dining experience a superb one. In Shenzhen, it is difficult to find an authentic Italian restaurant, however Azzurro surprises me with its genuine flavours and warm service. The food here reflects the personality of Chef Diego, simple, honest and down-to-earth.
Waiting to tuck into my food
Warm homemade bread
Before the meal is served, complimentary warm homemade bread is served comprising three different types of sauces including tomato purée, olive oil and a mix of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
For a refreshing start, pique your palate with homemade la caprese (RMB 128), a simple Italian summer salad with sliced tomato and mozzarella cheese, seasoned with salt, black pepper and olive oil. The tomatoes are plump, sweet and juicy and the mozzarella cheese is clean, fresh and creamy, making the combination very pleasant.
Vongole alla marinara
The vongole alla marinara (RMB 98) is a must-try for those who like clams. The clams are sautéed in a robust tomato purée and enhanced with white wine, parsley, salt and pepper. The preparation method is simple but the freshness and succulence of the clams coupled with the sweet, tangy flavours of the tomato purée brought a slice of heaven to my taste buds.
For vegetarians and those who desire healthier flavours, try the minestrone (RMB88) which abounds with a mix of various vegetables including carrots, celery, zucchini and potato and more. Packed with vitamins, this wholesome soup has a very tantalising, savoury taste.
Linguine frutti di mare
I am an avid fan of linguine frutti di mare (fruits of the sea in Italian – RMB $198 for two, RMB $138 for one), which is a classic Southern Italian dish. In fact, this dish is the main deciding factor of my return to a restaurant. Chef Diego’s linguine frutti di mare certainly lives up to its name, in fact, it has garnered a niche in my heart. Pasta is al dente, retaining a firm bite and is served with bountiful amounts of seafood. The sauce is hearty and flavourful with the tanginess of the fresh ripe tomatoes and the saltiness of the ocean.
Delizia al limone
Desserts are a very important part to round off a good meal. If you want to try a quintessential dessert from Chef Diego's hometown, go for the delizia al limone (RMB 48), which is a delicious sponge cake filled with a lemon cream, brushed with Limoncello syrup and covered with a lemon and whipped cream glaze.
If you prefer to stick to something traditional, you can try the tiramisu (RMB 48) which is equally delightful. The tiramisu consists of espresso soaked ladyfingers delicately layered with a light, fluffy and airy filling made using mascarpone cheese, egg yolk and cream and dusted with cocoa powder on top.
Azzurro is located at Shopping Park North, Zhongxin 2nd Road, Futian, Shenzhen. For reservations, please call 0755-83167994 or 180 2540 5270. For more information, please visit here.