Let’s Burger: It’s on. 5 PM. Today.

UPDATE: I went by Let’s Burger this afternoon and they said they don’t open until 5 PM. I guess it’s a daily thing.

One East on Third – 325 kuai.

25 Degrees – 110 kuai.

Blue Frog – 75 kuai.

There once seemed to be a shortage of decent burgers in this town. Now, it’s more a matter of financing them.

The newest outfit to join the fray is Let’s Burger, which management says will open at 5 PM today in new Nali (down from Pantry Magic). The menu includes a dozen kinds of burgers, ranging from the “Original” (RMB48), which includes 7 ounces of beef, to the “Let’s Burger” (RMB~150), which includes two kinds of beef, tiger prawns, foie gras, mozzarella, and avocado. The menu also has a half-dozen salads, five kinds of French fries (from RMB20), among other items. I’ll have more on this place… after 5 PM.

Piazza Italia: Three floors of wine, meat, olive oil, and more

The three-floor Piazza Italia, a collaboration of more than a half-dozen major food and beverage concerns, is slated to officially launch in Guomao Huamao in October but will “soft open” in the next week or two.

I happened by last night and saw workers stocking shelves with pasta, tomato sauce, olive oil, potato chips, candy, and the like. This a massive and airy space – we’re talking thousands of square meters – with a downstairs décor that includes tans, light woods, and creamy marbles.

A quick breakdown of the three floors:

First: Includes a grocery (pasta, olives, juices, etc), Pausa Caffe (a sign listed Espresso at RMB18, Capuccino at RMB25, and Café Milano at RMB28), and Dolce E Salato, with “easy” foods such as pizza and sandwiches.

Second: Includes sections on Italian wines, meats, and olive oils, a pasta bar called Tutto Pasta, and a cooking school called Boscolo Academy.

Third: Includes a restaurant called Boscolo and chill out area called B Lounge.

The team behind the project includes Crai, a distribution chain, Cavit, which represents Italian winemakers, and Frantoi Artigiani D’Italia, from the olive oil sector.

I heard O Sole Mio playing while I was there. Let’s hope the musical selection is a bit more upbeat. How about some Pia Zadora (hey, she is half-Italian!).

Sips and slurps: Let’s Burger, Luga’s Villa, Boutique Wine Cellar

I posted earlier about Mosto opening upstairs at new Nali Studio, but there is also action at “ground” level: Let’s Burger looks near ready to go. The place appeared to be doing staff training tonight and an acquaintance said he recently participated in a delicious taste test of the burgers.

Luga’s Villa opened in the former two-floor Marguerite space, just northwest of Tongli Studio, and is priced about the same as Luga’s, across from Aperitivo, though about two magnitudes fancier. A recent visit revealed a live salsa band, tasty RMB35 burgers, RMB15 Coronas, RMB10 Tsing Tao, and friendly staff.

Downstairs, Boutique Wine Cellar has replaced the bar / mini club formerly known as Mingle. Wine starts at RMB20 per glass for drinkable Californian Roundtree wine and the menu offers dozens of other choices. The deck is a pleasant place to enjoy a glass or two. I’ll psot a longer write-up on this place.

Nali’s newest: Mosto

The food scene at Nali Studio is starting to drift upstairs as Mosto just opened on the third floor. The team includes head chef Daniel Urdaneta, who until recently headed the kitchen at SALT, and restaurant manager Alex Molina, formerly with Torres, who back in 2006 used to make great Mojito Martinis at Garden of Delights.

Mosto seats about 50, including space for eight at the bar, and describes its food as modern with Latin influences. The a la carte menu includes about a dozen starters, including shrimp bisque, seared foie gras, and Mesclum salad, at RMB40-RMB75, and eight main courses, ranging from pan-seared sea bass to truffled red wine risotto from RMB115. The lunch special is RMB70 for two courses, RMB80 for three courses, with a choice of three starters, three mains and two desserts (the plan is to change the menu weekly). The photo shows the staff of Mosto with some Olympic gold-medal winning athletes from Australia.

I’ll have a full write-up soon.