This is post #30, part of my #50PostsIn50Days personal challenge to document my first 100 days in Hong Kong. Other posts in this series may be found at the bottom of the original post.
I fell in love with Pici even before I entered the restaurant.
I was meeting a friend there and she had told me that we should line up about 15 minutes before the 11:30AM opening time, since the restaurant doesn't take reservations and it's really popular.
As I walked up the steps of a narrow sidewalk in this hillier, steeper area of Wan Chai filled with narrow streets, tight corners, and small eateries, I couldn't help but be drawn to this quieter, off-the-beaten-path corner of Wan Chai. Standing in line I essentially people-watched, falling in love with the quaint neighborhood as well as the bustle of activity going on inside the kitchen.
Pici is the cute little Italian pasta place that everyone wishes were in his or her neighborhood. All of the pasta is homemade, the dishes are simple, rustic, yet pack incredible flavor, and the prices are reasonable.
Lunch is a flat $148 HKD ($19 USD) which includes one starter, one pasta, and one dessert. At dinner you can either order a la carte (pasta dishes are designed for sharing!) or get the tasting menu, which includes a choice of two starters, three pastas, and two desserts, served family style for $280 HKD ($36 USD) per person.
Pici does not add the 10% service charge to the bill. They state on their menu that all tips will go directly to the staff.
Our first starter, Beef Carpaccio with arugula (rocket) and Parmesan is a classic and this version was authentic and very good. The beef was very thinly sliced and quite tender, and it went well with the spicy arugula and salty Parmesan.
I really enjoyed the Red Cabbage, Frisee, and Hazelnut Salad. The cabbage and frisee were fresh and crisp, and I loved the crunch from the hazelnuts.
The pasta is where this restaurant truly shines. The homemade Pappardelle was thick and chewy, a perfect al dente. We loved the hearty beef ragu, made from minced beef, carrots, onion, celery, and tomato paste.
Similarly, the Tagliatelle with spicy n'duja (a spicy Italian sausage) was equally delicious. The pasta texture was perfect, and I really enjoyed the spicy kick from the sausage.
Truly fantastic pasta.
Dessert was the only let-down, especially after such an amazing pasta meal. The raspberry panna cotta was fine, but it was quite cold since it had been stored in the refrigerator. The tiramisu was a bit too sweet and hardly had any espresso flavor. It was mostly marscapone cheese with a bit of lady finger. We actually didn't finish our desserts.
General Thoughts - Pici Wan Chai
In short, we absolutely LOVED the pastas at Pici and very much enjoyed the appetizers as well. I would totally come back during dinnertime to try to tasting menu. I think it would be fun to do with a larger crowd of people.
Pici is run by the same folks who own Pirata, The Optimist, TokyoLima, and Meats. I have been quite impressed with all of their other restaurants, so it's no surprise that I enjoyed Pici as well.
Pici does not accept reservations, so sometimes it's unpredictable whether you'll have to wait or not. They supposedly take your phone number and will call you when your table is ready. I've never personally tried it. Alternatively, the sister restaurant Pirata, also in Wan Chai, has quite similar pasta dishes (also homemade pasta!) and they take reservations. Typically if we don't want to risk having to wait in line, we'll just opt for dinner at Pirata instead. You really can't go wrong either way.
Pici Wan Chai
GF, No. 16 St. Francis Yard
Wanchai, Hong Kong
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