Oct 9, 2017
What is your favorite type of cuisine? I enjoy many foods, and I would struggle to pick out a single type as being the best, as I love eating and trying different dishes from different countries. One of my favorites is Italian food, which is very well known and popular all over the world. There are several Italian restaurants in SIP - a few popular ones I know of are Mammamia, Velluto and PerBacco. However, I have recently found another nice Italian restaurant in the old town of Suzhou. In this column, I would like to introduce this as my new favorite Italian restaurant.
I found this restaurant through my blogging friends. The name of the restaurant is SERA NERA (青酱意大利厨房/qīngjiàngyìdàlìchúfáng), and it is located near Shiquanjie (十全街/shíquánjiē) in the old town of Suzhou. It is hidden in a local area by the canal that runs alongside Shiquanjie, with Sanyuanfang (三元坊/sānyuánfāng) on line 4 as its nearest metro station. After getting off the metro, come out at exit 3 and walk east on Shiquanjie for about 20 minutes. When you reach building number 340 on Shiquanjie, turn left, cross the little bridge, and then turn right. Soon after, you will see a restaurant with a white wall that says SERA NERA. The first thing you see when you walk in the restaurant is a pizza oven, which puts me in the mood for pizza. It is a small restaurant with nice decorations, good atmosphere and friendly staff members.
SERA NERA opened in October 2016. It has two owners, one from Shanghai and another one from Suzhou. Apparently, an Italian cook trained the main chef for several years in Shanghai. According to the restaurant owner, the reason they did not open in a more commercial area is that they wanted to be in the beautiful downtown area to enjoy the contrast between the old scenery and a modern styled restaurant. In addition, the owner told me that they put lots of care and attention into the taste of the food their restaurant produces.
All of the dishes I have ordered at SERA NERA have been tasty. Their pizzas are baked in their own pizza oven, and their pasta is freshly made, not made from dried pasta. My favorite dishes are Homemade Spinach Fettuccine in Cream Sauce, Pizza Capricciosa and Homemade Gnocchi. Additionally, they have a few tasty desserts to finish your meal perfectly, such as Tiramisu, Panna Cotta, and Cannoli.
The restaurant’s opening hours are from 11:00 to 21:00, and they are closed on Mondays. I have been there at lunchtime on both weekdays and weekends - they seem to be very busy on the weekend. If you are interested in trying their food, I recommend making a reservation to make sure that you do not need to wait hungrily! Even though the location is not very convenient for SIP residents, I think it is worth the effort getting there. You can also enjoy walking through the local area by the canal, shopping on Shiquanjie, or visiting one of the popular gardens in Suzhou (Master of Nets Garden - 网师园/wǎngshīyuán), which is only 5 minutes walk from the restaurant.
About the Column
Kaori is from Fukuoka, Japan and she moved to Suzhou with her British husband in 2010. She gave birth to a baby girl in Shanghai in 2014 and is currently a full-time mother, but previously studied Chinese at Suzhou University. Kaori enjoys going for walks, going out for meals, shopping on Taobao and visiting new places in China. Places she has particularly enjoyed visiting include Harbin, Beijing, Qingdao, Hangzhou, Moganshan, Guilin and Yangshuo. She also loves to explore different areas of Suzhou, both old and new.