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Interview with Francesca of Kikka’s Kitchen

You can order the best lasagna, pizza, fresh pasta and desserts, including Tiramisu and Panna Cotta and many other traditional dishes from Italy. Kikka's Kitchen also run very cosy cooking classes, where you can make friends while enjoying wonderful traditional Italian food.

  • Kikka

If you were putting together a ‘Survival Kit’ for your arrival in Shanghai, what five things would you bring to get the family off to a good start at home and in school?

I would bring some key ingredients from your country to make sure you're able to feed family with food you're use to. I would bring some familiar movies for you to spend some good family time together in order to allow the family to settle in easily to a new environment.I  would make sure you set up a VPN account that works well.  This is critical for parents, but even more important for your children.

What compound did you choose to live in?  When deciding on where you were going to live what three factors did you consider?

We decided to live at  Rancho Santa Fe, Phase 2, the main factors that have influenced to              decision are; budget; vicinity to school; house conditions and neighbourhood.

What are your top tips for negotiating the rental of your home? 

Never mention your own budget, even if it appears all real estate agents know it very well. Always make sure you've a decent gym membership included in the package, and inspect the gym before accepting it. Ask for the "magic box" for TV to be included in the rent (this is a special box with latest movies and many international channels for news, movies and sport). Ask for new furniture, if the one currently in the house is not what you like, but try to be selective as they won't change the whole house for you. Check condition of outdoor furniture if present and make sure it is in good condition. Check that all appliances are in a good condition and in working order. Ask for floor heating as it will be much more comfortable and make sure main heater is not  too old, to avoid unpleasant surprises during the winter time. Ask for yearly budget to renew furniture or other things in the house, to be included in the contract if possible.

When food shopping where do you buy fresh meat,  vegetables and dairy products?  Where do you buy household cleaning products? Where do you buy ingredients for baking? Where do you buy wines and spirits? 

City shop, Orange Discount and Jeffreys for fresh meat, vegetables and dairy products, they all have good meat that you can use for most of your cooking.

Huacao Wet market for vegetables and fruit, it may be challenging for new expat but quality is good and you find good prices for most of vegetables, fruit is quite expensive though as everywhere in the area.

Carrefour for cleaning products, some dairy products and they have good bread.

Ingredients for baking can be found in City shop, Orange discount, Jeffreys and Carrefour.

Another good shop for meat is Boucherie, Butcher Shop, in PingXi Lu 2, close to JianHe Lu (021 - 62565927)

A good shop for dairy products, mainly Italian cheeses, is La Formaggeria in 434 Shaanxi Nan Lu.

Wines and Spirit, I recommend Baker & Spice, they are pricey but you find good quality wines (mainly New Zealand, Australia, Italy and France), but it also depends how much you want to drink).

What dentist and hospital would you recommend?   Where do you get your hair cut and the children’s hair cut?

 Dentist – We have not needed one yet.

 Hospital - We use Parkway Health in 2258 HongQiao Rd, but this is also linked to your own  insurance, if you have it. We have never had an emergency though and I would not be able to recommend any hospital in this regard. 

When you are out and about locally in the area you live which restaurants do you like to eat at?

Kikka’s kitchen of course!

What restaurants would you recommend in the city for young families? What restaurant would you recommend  if you are planning an evening out without the children?          

With Children

D.O.C. Gastronomia Italiana, for good Italian food. (200 RMB/person, no drink)

Maya, mexican restaurant (200 RMB/person, no drink)      

Garlic, turkish restaurant (200 RMB/person, no drink)

No Children

M on the Bund, fusion (400/500 RMB/person, depends on what you order, no drink)

House of Roosevelt (500/600 RMB/person, depends on what you order, no drink)


What three activities do you like to do as a family at the weekend if you have young children?   

  •  School sport, joining kids with their sport activities arranged by school
  •  Relaxing at home
  •  Nice walk in former French Concession area, following by a late lunch in the area.