Pici was a novel concept when it opened its first location in Wan Chai’s Starstreet Precinct in 2017. In a city known for loving flash and excess, the Pirata Group pasta bar championed a less-is-more ethos with simple and hearty Italian dishes served in a casual, no-reservations setting.
From its opening to this day, the menu has always been minimalistic, with just a handful of starters and two classic Italian desserts — tiramisu and panna cotta — flanking the main section of handcrafted pastas, all of which are designed to be shared.
Of special note, of course, is the namesake pici — a thick spaghetti-like hand-rolled pasta from Tuscany that goes especially well with simple but bold sauces, like cacio e pepe or amatriciana. Other pasta varieties that Pici has introduced into the mainstream Hong Kong diet include the chitarra and strozzapreti, the former being a long square-sided noodle from Abruzzo and the latter a rustic twisted pasta that’s similar to cavatelli.
While Pici touts an unabashedly unfussy philosophy, everything is done with heart and to exacting standards. In fact, the eatery is often credited with democratising high-quality Italian fare in Hong Kong. The headlining pastas, for example, are all freshly made every day, and even when covered in black truffles, a plate never costs more than $200. There’s also the famed weekend brunch and tasting menus, both of which feature copious quantities of food at exceptional value.
This seamless marriage of simplicity and quality has turned Pici into the most popular concept in Pirata Group’s portfolio. In the half decade since its conception, the pasta bar has expended into eight neighbourhoods across Hong Kong and even opened an outpost in Shanghai’s bustling Jing’an district. Together, these restaurants serve more than 4,500 guests every day. And with Pici’s recipe for success, the number of well-fed and satisfied customers that pass through its doors looks set to continue to rise.