Owner and founder of Goodfellas, Shanghai’s favorite local Italian restaurant.
Owner and founder Marco Bettio speaks about his journey to success, and bringing a bit of "Italian Love" to Shanghai.
Marco’s infectious personality immediately disarms you, it’s no wonder Goodfellas is one of the city’s best establishments to find authentic Italian comfort food. His passion for authenticity and obsession for comfort, pours out every minute you spend here. This place has a charming personality and we went directly to the source.
When I came here 10 years ago and started to do some consulting. I started to receive a lot of guests from all around the world..and I was always forced to bring them to fine dining places. I noticed that my clients weren’t really comfortable in the fine dining experience the first day they arrived in Shanghai.
That’s what moved me to bring this real Italian dining experience to this area. I would say that we would always try to give a tailormade type of service. Greeting everybody, making them feel comfortable, it’s one of the most important things for us.
Actually, “Goodfellas”..is meant to mean “good friends”..and this is the idea. There is no ego, there is no name of the chef, or my name on the door,..nothing but “Goodfellas.” It’s a place to for a good time with your friends, business partners, clients..to have an intimate experience in an enjoyable way.
Chef Antonio is a great master, we actually call him “the maestro”,..it’s the italian way to address a very experienced chef. Since day one, Chef has been in charge of everything inside the kitchen...scouting the best ingredients and creating the recipes. Coming from big hotels, he initially wanted the kitchen to be very serious, less smiling, less interactive, etc..I never agreed with this, so we had to find a balance. And it took almost a year until we found that balance,...after he saw the happy customers and atmosphere we knew we were on to something and it because very harmonic. There is never an argument between the kitchen and the staff, and it’s amazing. This is a very big achievement..normally [in other restaurants], it never really happens.
For me, it’s also very important to provide the right portions. When it comes to serving pasta, you need to serve a great portion, it’s very important...this is Italy. You would never go to a restaurant in Italy and see 3 spaghettis & flowers, etc..it’s very rare. Most of the people who come to “goodfellas” have been to Italy...even the young chinese customers, most have already been..and they know and have already seen what’s going on there in the restaurant scene.
When I came here and opened up a restaurant with no view of The Bund, and we had to compete with the brand names, big chefs with great spaces and amazing views, with lots of money behind them..people would call me crazy. “We give him 3 months and he’s not going to make it…”..and they were laughing a bit behind my back. And I always knew that I would not advertise,..because this place doesn’t need advertising. If people like it, they will continue to come back with friends..again, we go back to “goodfellas.” I always tell my guests, if you like it, ..please bring your friends, but be sure you tell people that you are sure will love it.
I’m a traveler, I’ve been traveling a long time before coming to Shanghai. That’s my passion, and here, I can [experience] travel without moving..through other people’s experiences and it is fantastic. Personally, that’s what I get from my clients, it’s an exchange. I try to give as much as I can and many, many times I get back much more. And to me, that’s what it’s all about..