The Shanghai Edition came to the city with several dining proposals, but the most surprising one -for me- was Hiya, a fancy Izakaya on the 27th floor with a stripped and amazing view to the Shanghai skyline.
Seated by the window we had a full experience. The place decor is minimalistic and sophisticated. You will feel a tranquil vibe and will get a really professional service from the staff. Also, pay attention to the tableware because it is Japanese style and very fancy one.
The menu doesn't reflect a real and traditional Japanese Izakaya but that extra modern touch turns into a fusion I really liked. We had a two Temaco that are a taco but made of tempura fried seaweed instead of tortilla filled with tuna and salmon. Simply delicious: crispy, fresh and tasty. They bring homemade mayo and spicy tomato sauce dip, both secret recipes of the chef, which are incredible. The cured seabass roll with crispy potatoes and a mouthwatering sauce, glorious. But that's not all folks, the tempura chicken aka fried chicken, I think is in my best top 3 I have ever tried. Also the pork tonkatsu was delightful.
I guess the twist to the Japanese classics are amazing and although it seems it might be boring to go for a dinner in a hotel, believe me this restaurant –and this hotel- is in another league. Dishes are pricey (1100RMB aprox. for 2) and the portions are small but, the delicacy, high quality of the ingredients and the savor of the dishes are worth to give it a try.
Monkey is back on Julu Road newest hub with a new plan: fancy and artisanal cocktails, smaller venue and burgers. I like the deco, the music and the lighting but it is really small and the seating floor plan is a little packed. Good music but very loud if you want to go on a date, wouldn't recommend it.
Ambitious drink menu with signature cocktails that are interesting -in concept- but, to be honest, a little pricey. The food menu is basic; they serve hamburgers with cheese and chili -or just chili- and fries also with same options.
Went there on a Friday night for a relaxed dinner and I don’t know if they are still in soft opening or not, but the overall experience was messy. Got the wrong order for the drinks and for the food. The burger patty was almost like minced beef, it tasted okay but it was also messy. The house chili is regular and is all over the food menu. Even though we ordered cheese fries they came with chili also. The drinks are between okay and mediocre, nothing out of this world for paying 100 kuai or more.
I think this place has potential only if they organize themselves and the service, otherwise, I wouldn't suggest a good experience there. I guess the music is pretty good but that is not enough.
Zhejiang road, Muslim Food Street, bustling stores, open street butchers and roasted lamb aroma all over; my kind of place. Guang Guang Ji is THE place to go if you want to have some real halal food. Why I haven’t been here before? I - don't - know. We deliberated decided to go late to avoid the waiting and we still came upon the three floors packed of people at 1.30 pm, which is supposed to be “late” for locals to have lunch. This place is a complete success and I could realize why.
I was the only foreigner so I knew I was in the correct place. Energetic atmosphere, food coming and going all over, super friendly -and quick- staff and affordable prices for generous portions. We ordered several dishes and all of them were spectacular, tasty, spiced and as I always say: full of love. Lamb skewer, boiled mutton, beef baozi, Xinjiang rice (with raisins and lamb), cold and also hot noodles, traditional bread and I stop counting. We ordered so much food! My Top 3 dishes: lamb skewer, liangpi cold noodles and Xinjiang rice.
The whole experience is totally worth it and you can also go at night for a late -or very late- craving until 3.30 am. Halal food and Northwest Chinese delicacies to enjoy for a very good price.
There is always a long queue and waiting list for this venue. Very packed inside, especially on weekends, as it has gone popular among expats and locals. I was wondering why? Honestly, few places/things deserve a long wait so I decided to run some errands around while my name climbed up the list – I was still curious about Rac.
Once seated inside, I looked around and liked the distribution: few regular tables and most of the seats arranged to share with strangers. I like this “socialization seating method” but not everyone wishes to share the table with somebody they don’t know. That is polemic, I guess, although I like it.
We went for a coffee and sweet crepes. Americano: perfect. Mouthwatering aroma and balanced taste, it goes straight into my list of “artisanal coffee places”.
Went for tea time, so my friend and I, decided to go for the classic nutella crepe with a rain of almond crumble on top and the salted caramel one. Surprise? Yeah, but not a pleasant surprise! Where is the topping? I was craving for a waterfall of warm nutella to please my soul and my friend for salted caramel! Guys, why are the toppings so little? they are not enough. The best was the roasted caramelized almonds. I mean, the whole crepe wasn't bad at all, but it is not cheap for being so little and after that I was still craving my deserved portion of nutella … I guess I will have to continue waiting for a good nutella crepe in the city.
Nice place: yes, joyful and vibrant.
Kind staff: yes.
Good service: yes.
Food: yummy but for the portion, scarce toppings and pricey.
I would give a second chance and come back for a brunch option but definitely won't make that line.
I was always curious about La Strada Pizzeria since the place is full every time I pass by Anfu Road. So, I finally decided to give it a try on a Saturday lunch. The place is not big, nor small, cozy and with a nice window that gives a view of a quiet but interesting street while chilling inside. Perfect for this cold days!
The menu is diverse, you have different options to choose. To start, I ordered a bean mash with pita bread: the bread was yummy, the mash lacked a little of everything. We continued our journey with a truffle gnocci and a quattro stagioni pizza to share. We thought it was going to be a lot of food but no, we were okay, the pizza has the perfect size and the pasta as well. The gnocci were so-so, nothing to remember, and the pizza was pretty good. It is not the best pizza I had but the balance between the ingredients and the cheese was the right one, which is very important.
They have the traditional pizza oven which I love and it’s essential if you want to be properly called a “pizzeria”. One point for that!
Comfort food, cozy place and tranquil vibe. Okay for a lunch but wouldn't have dinner there.
You might already heard that I wasn’t a big fan of dining at shopping malls until I came to China. People change, right? Well, now I love discovering good restaurants in the middle of the malls. Recently opened Lu One Mall in Xujiahui road brought a nice gastronomic offer to the city, not only indoor but also outdoor next to the mall like a foodie patio.
Very Thai is a modern resto bar that brings the entire Thai flavor to you. I was really surprised to be honest; I wasn't expecting such a good and authentic Thai meal. I love when a place overpassed my expectations!
Once again with my partner in crime we had a quite big and varied meal for just two persons but guess what? We ate it ALL. The first place in the podium goes to the Phad Thai, haven’t had such a good one out of Thailand so far. The second place for the Yellow Curry and the third for the grilled Short Ribs because the portion was a little small.
The menu is quite extensive and covers most of the traditional Thai delicacies. The ambience is chilled, dimmed lights suitable for a date and a wide range of drinks to choose. If you are shopping around make a stop and give it a try, totally worth the time.
Up in the 6th floor and three blocks away from The Bund, you will find a bar, a lounge, two terraces and a restaurant all in one. You can either choose to have a full date dinner with your other half, a couple of drinks after office with colleagues or a snack with friends. It's a place suitable for all kind of experiences with a relaxed and friendly vibe.
I could say it is the best service I had in Shanghai so far, the waitresses are super professional, kind and pay attention to every detail. About the menu, I could say it is Mediterranean inspired with a molecular note. We decided to do our own nibbles tasting like a “tapeo” meal. Special mention to the octopus with smoky potato foam and the wagyu oxtail and foie gras cannelloni. The last one was literally out of this world, so tasty! And guess what, we made it to dessert which was also very nice balanced and with high quality chocolate. However I suggest giving a try to the mains, I heard the M3 ribeye is glorious. Claps for the complimentary pre-appetizer and the petit four.
Overall impression: trendy place, pricey menu but worth the fine ingredients, presentation and savor, wide wine options and liquors and amazing attention to entirely relax yourself while relishing your meal.
I don't know if the Diner on Wuyuan Road is definitely or temporarily closed, but the newest branch at the Lu One mall doesn't make any justice to the original one.
We were pretty classic this time: a burger with fries (have to order separately) and The American all - day - breakfast. The burger “shrinks” like a new pair of jeans after the first wash. Pickles on the side, why? Just place them inside…The American platter is also regular, the bacon was crispy but the sausage patty was very oily and tasteless.
The staff is friendly and the service is fast. The place is tailored like the former Diner but the lightning is too bright, I wouldn't go there for a date. The Wuyuan location was cozier, the food tasted better and the portions were bigger as well. Hope they upgrade the place and the food as it used to be in the original version so we can keep enjoying a good quality American breakfast all day.
Quite new, but still not very popular, the place is very interestingly decorated. Hanging things all over; check, colorful lights; check, a belt crossing over the tables; check, a barman in a corner that prepares “weird” drinks; guess what? Also check. The place is an experience by itself.
For your understanding if you haven’t been there their system works like this: there is a belt moving constantly next to your table with different small cold dishes. You can pick how many you want and accumulate them until the end of the meal. Each cold dish is 19 RMB and for the hot ones they give you a menu to order, each plate for 22 RMB. You have a free flow option of both hot and cold dishes for 185 RMB for the hungry ones.
I went there for dinner, big mistake. The food is average, some hot dishes like the chicken curry or the beef taco were good but most of the cold dishes were okay and period. What I could see from the other tables was that the drinks were worth it –or at least seemed like those types of funny drinks that go straight to Instagram-. I wasn't for a drink night so just had a glass of wine. If I had to come back I would undoubtedly go for drinks and not for the food.
Sukiyaki: Japanese hot pot style, sweet taste and lovely dish for these winter days. Went there with my office mates and would recommend it for big groups since you can share a pot every three persons. What I mostly like about this experience is the “cook it yourself” kind of way of eating and the relaxed environment around it. You get really entertained while chatting with your friends and throwing things to the boiling broth. Careful, it is not for impatient people, you have to wait until the food cooks and it is quite hot.
How does it work? Easy: throw the veggies/meat/whatever else you ordered in the pot, wait until is cooked, dip your picks in a small bowl of raw beaten eggs and finally straight to your mouth. The touch of the eggs mixed with the sweetness of the broth is an amazing combination.
There are different options of sets to choose which includes a wide variety of vegetables, meat, seafood, noodles, etc. non-stop for 90 minutes (full menu option for 168 RMB including soft drinks). Nice deal, definitely recommended!
Craving for some comfort winter food I decided to head for Pie Society on a Saturday lunch. Went there with a friend and our dogs. There aren’t many pet friendly places in Shanghai so I really value the possibility of taking my dog for a meal out. The Jing An location is bigger than the original and the vibe is quite tranquil and relaxed, inviting you to stay for a coffee after eating.
There is a Christmas Lunch menu that is really good for 108RMB (includes: pie, side, graving, stuffing ball, pudding and tea or coffee). I had the cheese beef pie but my friend had the special season one with turkey, cranberries jam and cinnamon. Both were delicious, crunchy and savory pastry and tasty stuffing. I suggest choosing the combo option which comes with gravy and a choice –or two- of a side. The Christmas gingerbread pudding was our favorite.
This is not my first time in pie society, every time I want some quiet and simple - but tasty- lunch I come here. The breakfast options are amazing as well. Give it a try!
When a colleague told me that Jia Jia Tang Bao was THE famous place to eat xiao long bao –dumplings- in Shanghai and that even people from Hong Kong would come to queue for a meal, I thought he was exaggerating. I must say: “not at all”.
I went to the Huangehe road location on a cold rainy day to avoid making the line but still there it was, a long line standing under the rain. The house specialty is the pork dumpling, which of course it was sold out when I got there. A little disappointed we ordered crab-filled instead and crab mixed with pork. Did I say disappointed? Hell, NO! They were delicious and no kidding, the best ones I have had so far in China. Super juicy and tasty. Veeeery tasty. Of course, the ambience is a classical Chinese street restaurant: few seats, busy and bustling atmosphere, no heat, small tables, fogged windows, open kitchen cooking non- stop, people coming and going…It is an experience by itself.
If you want to try real homemade and fresh dumplings, certainly this is the place. Be patient to queue and to eat them…they come right away in the bamboo steamer from the kitchen to the table!
Cozy and relaxed. If you don't know it is a French restaurant you might think it is Japanese because of its decoration. Low lights and few tables with a wall on the back full of wines. The wine selection is very nice but pricey. The staff super kind.
The menu is varied and the dishes are at very reasonable prices. With my partner in crime we ordered a small cheese board/plate and the grilled octopus for starters. I have to say the cheeses were pretty average (firstly we wanted clams but they were sold out). The octopus (spicy) was nice though. Later we had spinach ravioli and slow stewed beef risotto. The ravioli were tasty, creamy and well stuffed, but the risotto wasn't a risotto, neither the type of rice used nor the cooking method was one of a risotto. We also couldn't find where the beef was. Other than that, I have to admit the sizes of the portions are quite generous.
We didn't make it to the desserts guys, sorry again!
Overall feeling: the place is amenable but I wouldn't say it is an authentic French bistro. They have a diverse menu for different tastes. There is that “something else” that makes it a little bit confusing of what are you expecting. The food is average and the wine could be more affordable. Having so many places in the city to try out, I wouldn't come back.
Sun with Aqua is one of those places on The Bund where you can go for lunch or dinner. The romantic deco full of cherry blossoms everywhere and low lights could be suitable for dates. However, if you don't need too much intimacy I would suggest seating on the bar that goes around the open kitchen. It is a pleasure to see the delicacy of the chefs while cooking.
I went there for lunch on a week day with my partner in crime (booking required because it is always full). There are several set menus to choose with interesting options. We decided to pick the Chef´s sushi variety with tempura plus Udon (you can also choose soba) and the beef option from the teppan grilled combo meal. The last one comes with miso soup, pickles, salad and rice. The price includes coffee and ice cream.
Fresh niguiris, crunchy panko tempura and a comforting broth with noodles: what else do you need in a single meal? The beef with smoky garlic also was amazing, so tender!
It is pricier than other Japanese restaurants but you have Liujiazui´s view as a bonus and the high quality and freshness of the ingredients they use, especially the fish –and definitely this is very important.
Between ice cream lovers we truly share any info about new venues or hot-spots worth to try. I heard so much about this place in Jing An neighborhood called “DAL CUORE” that I couldn’t wait to stop by for a cone!
The place is small with a Scandinavian decor style. I think I stopped by in a particular day because it was a mess. Kids over the counter, angry parents because there was no queue for the cashier or for the serving, staff overwhelmed…I mean, you could see it was crowded because it is a popular spot -and also because the venue isn’t big-, but what about the ice cream?
After people lowered their anxiety with a little of sugar I could finally order my cup, yes a cup, not a cone! You would ask why? Because the cone is really tiny. I could visualize my gelato’s death by collapsing after the first lick. So I went for the safe option: the boring cup. I have to admit my flavor choices weren’t the smartest ones, Almond Afoggato and Cookies & Cream. I couldn't distinguish which one had these coffee taste sprinkles that, in my opinion, ruined my ice cream. I can stand the coffee flavor in the tiramisu for example, but not in this case.
Regarding the gelato quality: creamy, yes! But not as crafty and home-made style as I was expecting. I will come back for a second chance since I think it was just a bad day and certainly will try other tastes.
WHO says ice cream is only for the summer season? The true gelato lovers are loyal all year round, like me. Let’s start with one of my favorite shops: DE MEDICI.
A tiny space in the middle of Yan’An half block from The Bund. It’s not difficult to spot as it is the only ice cream shop in the area. When it first opened in that isolate location I was skeptical about their sales, but I might have been wrong since I had to queue for my fisrt ince cream there. Small but cute with a window facing the street, is a walk by option worth to stop.
Had the cone –of course- which was very tasty. This seems a silly detail but a yummy cone is very important for the entire experience and it is not easy to find a cone that actually tastes like it should and not like paperboard. Two scoops –of course- caramel and stracciatella, made my day. Flavor, yes! Creamy, yes! Finally a good ice cream full of taste. You can tell these are crafted and homemade ice creams and not the industrialized ones like the popular brands you can find in supermarkets or convenience stores.
Nothing more to add, just go down there and have a premium gelato.
On the 6th floor of the Ascott Hotel in Huaihai road you will find the hugest terrace in Xintiandi. We went for a late brunch on Sunday and it was full, but we could get a table. No need to worry about the cool winter days that are coming because they have a heating system so you can still enjoy the outdoor deal.
The menu includes signature dishes like chicken and waffles that seems to be a very popular one because most of the tables around ordered it. But, as usual, we went for another signature one, the Philly Cheesesteak. Juicy and well-seasoned beef, but most important: the melted cheese all over. Well done for that!
Although we weren’t hungry enough this time to order almost the whole menu, I can say it is pretty well balanced regarding the options they offer. You can find eggs, mains, greens, seafood, French toast, pancakes, and a couple of dishes with sausage or bacon options for the classic American brunch style lovers. Also they have acai bowl, which will be my next time choice because is hard to find around. One last thing, they have churros with hot chocolate which sounds very exciting for a cool winter afternoon, will come back for that one for sure as well.
Overall impression: spectacular terrace, good brunch menu for every taste and fast/kind service. Definitely deserves a stop if you are wondering around XTD.
There are two locations of Beef and Liberty. I like the newest one in Xiangyang road but every time I am close to the one in the Shanghai Center I can’t avoid having a burger there. This location is smaller, cozier and quieter. It makes me feel like I am somewhere in the US.
Reviewing a hamburger is not easy because there are lots of facts involved -yeah, and opinions/tastes; however I am pretty sure that we all agree that it is one of the best burger joints in town. In my case, it is my favorite. Let me tell you why:
The burger: not huge, not small, it has the perfect size. You don't end up full like you can’t speak or walk out the restaurant. I had the cheese burger and my partner in crime the bacon cheese burger. The patty is tasty, juicy and again, perfectly sized. The buns are exquisite and soft - I dislike when the bread gets all threshed and also when you can’t hold the burger and bite it because it’s bigger than your mouth. The bacon is crispy –this is fundamental- and the quality of cheese is exceptional, you can tell by the way it melts.
The fries: you can choose to upgrade to sweet potatoes but I am more of an old fashion when it comes to fries so I stick to the classic ones. Crunchy and just enough to cover the portion of potatoes of the day, they are yummy yummy.
The staff is courteous and always remembers to ask how you want your meat cooked. Whenever I am craving a burger, undoubtedly I go to Beef and Liberty.
If you have the chance to pass by Changle road -between Shaanxi and Maoming- you will definitely smell the attracting aroma of the Japanese skewers on the grill. In the middle of the street and on the right side, you will find the Xuhui branch of Yakitori Fukuchan. It was rumored that it was closed, but luckily for fans like me, it is not!
Wooden tiny place, low light, local people, four tables and a menu based on yakitori, you will feel like you were somewhere in Japan. The grill and the kitchen are right there so you can smell the mouthwatering perfume of the skewers the whole time. The place definitely has an old charm and a personality of its own.
Cold draft beer, hell yeah! We ordered a mix of skewers: pork, chicken (some salty and some with the house sauce), beef tongue, asparagus and bacon, mushroom, green pepper with pork. We also had rice with veggies and fried senbei (type of Japanese rice cracker). The highlight is the pork and the chicken yakitoris, but all of them are worth a try.
To sum up: one of those places with a mystic vibe where you feel like a local and you always want to come back for a relaxed -not fancy- dinner to have delicious skewers and for a very good price.
When it comes to spanish tapas it is hard to find a real tapas bar, as you might find all over Spain. Although Tomatito tapas aren’t strictly like the traditional tapas, their modern swift is worth to try. The place has a welcoming atmosphere, good music and it is decorated like a "cantina" of the 80´s; perfect to go with friends or in an after- office plan.
Cold draft beer and sangria are a must. I have to admit the wine menu is varied and with good prices. The food prices are okay as the size of a tapa. The idea is to order a few different dishes and get a bite of everything. We were three and we had 6 dishes plus a dessert to share. The one I strongly recommend is the “Salmon TNT 2.0”, which consists in a small airy pastry filled with spicy and limey sour cream –which they called mojito blush in the menu- topped with smoked salmon and salmon eggs. I suggest to eat it in one bite if you can. It is a truly knock of flavors! We also had “huevos rotos” with txistorra (broken eggs, potato and spanish chorizo), croquetas, meatballs in tomato sauce, tortilla and “filete con airbag”. The last one is an “air baguette” stuffed with cheese covered with a slice of steak, it is very tasty but the presentation needs some work on because the steak looks like someone accidentally dropped over it. The meatballs and the huevos rotos were excellent, the croquetas and tortilla average.
The service is fast and staff gentle enough. To sum up, I would say it is like a casual and comfy spot to gather with friends for some refined tapas -and drinks- at a very affordable price.
Still with my family in town we wanted to have some good italian dinner. I decided for Goodfellas since in my opinion it is the most authentic Italian restaurant in Shanghai. Tight, cozy and stylish venue located in the bund but isolated enough to have your own private dinner far from the crowds. You have to book to get a table. If you are around the bund and you jump in, it is always full. We made the reservation for 7.30pm and our table was ready.
A very remarkable detail of Goodfellas is their wide sense of courtesy and compliments to the guests. This is an aspect not easy to find around in the gastronomic world. For example, for welcoming they will serve you a prosecco glass. Later, different sorts of recently baked warm breads, like focaccia stlye and others filled with tomato or onion, and also marinated tomato and cucumber bruschettas. In the end, you will get dark chocolate truffles and almond cookies as well. And, guess what? All this as compliments. Isn’t this smart? Absolutely. Not only everything is homemade -and free, but also is a way of keeping the clienteles pleased having extra “items” they won’t expect. I find it amazing.
Our waitress was Chinese but spoke perfect english –which was so relaxing for us, but the most notable aspect was her excellent knowledge and dedication of the service. She was delicate, changed cutlery, filled up the glasses, smiley all the time and even managed to adapt one dish to our requirements. Definitely this made our dinning experience very enjoyable.
First we went trough the routine of wine and sparkling water as usual and then we started by sharing a burrata with parma ham. Finally a burrata that tastes like actual burrata! After that, we chose caprese gnocchi, fetuccini with seafood sauce, truffle risotto and mushroom truffle ravioli. Don't ask me how, but I managed to try all of the dishes. All of them were spectacular with no exception. The key is the Italian chef in the kitchen and the use of high quality ingredients, with both factors nothing can go wrong. Sorry guys we didn't make it to desserts this time.
Delicious food, gentle staff and efficient service. Bund prices but not as high as if you seat in a restaurant with a first row bund view. I entirely recommend it and if you are up for some after-office drinks before, I would suggest stepping firstly to the Fellas Terrace in the 7th floor next door while waiting for your table and get a skyline sightseeing.
In the mood for enjoyable terraces around the city we end up in Le Saleya, a French bistro in the Former French Concession. We choose to seat outdoors honoring the beautiful night under the stars.
To be fair, their patio is cozy and pretty well maintained. There were only two more tables -that should have been a signal of the upcoming fiasco. The service was fast and the waitress very kind.
Those were the positive points. Now lets go to the F&B terrain. First, we ordered a bottle of wine, a chardonnay (in the end there were two bottles, 780 rmb total). The wine menu is varied but pricey. The cheapest wine for 390rmb doesn’t really match the target of the place and honestly, there are excellent wines for fewer prices than that, it is not necessary to put expensive wines –but still average ones- to pretend to be fancier.
After that, while we were deciding what to have for main, there was this funniest thing ever. The waitress told us to order the dessert together with the main because the chef needs an hour to prepare it – an hour!!?? I thought it was a joke but I asked again if we could order the dessert later since I didn’t know if I was going to be hungry at the end of the dinner and in a mood for a dessert, and she said there were only 2 options available for ordering at the end of the diner. Second signal we missed.
Lets keep going. We started with a tuna beetroot tartar. When it arrived to the table I thought it was a dessert. It was like mousse of beetroot and barely any tuna. Tasteless and just for the WeChat moment’s picture, we decided to jump to the mains. We had two-lamb confit with eggplant and goat cheese (180 rmb each), one lamb rolled with goat cheese and mint (205 rmb) and one crispy beef checks with fresh herbs (185rmb). Another poor detail is that all the mains even tough are highly priced, they don’t come together with a garnish, so we ordered baked potatoes on the side to share.
The lamb confit with eggplant was a sort of puree. I don’t know if they mixed it in the blender or what but seemed like food for babies. There was no goat cheese at all but there was a surprise ingredient: coriander. And, here is another big problem. Not everyone is a big fan of coriander, such an invasive –in the good way- ingredient! Why would you add something like that without specifying it in the menu? I wouldn’t have ordered it for example – not with lamb at all.
The crispy beef cheeks weren’t crispy at all and the presentation of the dish was like a mountain of grass, which was supposed to be the fresh herbs. It was full of “herbs” and the cheeks got lost in the forest I guess. Last but not least, the lamb roll. The goat cheese was definitely old, acidic and sour, tasted more like an old ricotta that a goat cheese. The mint was nowhere to be seen and the meat was rubbery. I guess that I don’t need to explain why we didn’t get to the desserts.
After finishing the second bottle of wine, and having to pay the sum of 1,949 RMB, this is where the fiasco ended. Highly overpriced for no quality, size or presentation of the dishes. I haven’t had a fiasco in a long time. The food menu is not varied (three lamb and goat dishes for example) and the wine menu is pretentious.
In fact, dedication –or love for cooking- and quality ingredients in the kitchen are indispensable to achieve a high end product. This was not the case. It is a pity for that beautiful patio but the lack of commensals and the quality of the food served indicates that something is going wrong at Le Saleya.
Fully enjoying the amazing autumn nights we decided to head for a good terrace in the city. Colca not only has a beautiful open outdoor space, but also in my opinion it is the only Peruvian restaurant -with some Spanish twists- that serves authentic and real food with delicate ingredients as you may eat if you go to Peru. Very respectful of the culinary traditions but bringing a sprinkle of modernity to the dishes, I can say the approach is very well achieved.
The place is harmoniously decorated; it is very spacious with a fancy but also autochthonous vibe. You can enjoy dinning inside or outside and they have a very varied cocktail bar as well to enjoy a good pisco.
As many places around the city, if you don’t speak chinese the attention is hard to handle until the English speaking manager (also Spanish in this case) appears and makes you enjoy a relaxed dinner. But once again, we are in a non-speaking country so we can’t blame them about that.
This time I went with my parents who are visiting for the golden week and my partner in crime, four in total. First of all, I really have to highlight that they took care of my mother’s special dietary restriction and quickly adapted to her problem preparing a dish that wasn’t in the menu at all. Being an expat in China, I can say that this is really hard to find. So chapeau for Colca!
Another point goes to the bread zest they serve right away you seat. This is very common in other countries like Italy or South America but not in China. I was missing the beautiful breadbaskets so much that this took me back to a dinner at my home country.
The three left had a tuna tiradito to start, which has a good size for being an entrée and it was perfectly achieved. This dish consists of sashimi pieces of raw fish – tuna in this case- with a spicy - acidic sauce and avocado pieces. Then we had two-octopus brasa and one tuna steak adobo. Definitely all the dishes were tasty and balanced. The tuna steak was delicious, served together with a spicy adobo and vegetables in a sofrito style. The octopus was tender and perfectly grilled (there is nothing worse than a rubbery or hard octopus) with a base of a potato causa, black olives, alioli and chimichurri. We missed the ceviche this time which is also very good, if you go for the first time, it is absolutely a must-try.
Finally, guess what? We made it to the desserts! And not any dessert… it was the best flan I have tried in China so far! Also we had the chocolate mousse that was delicious as well.
Suitable for any occasions like dates, casual gathering with friends or special parties. It`s not cheap but not expensive either, with a budget between 200-300rmb per person you can enjoy an amazing dinner. Totally worth it.
Arriving to the venue while the wellcome music that was sounding was salsa and merengue definitely transported me to Latin America. The ambient and decoration is very accurate as well. Additionally, you have the plus of being next to the pool, the masterpiece of the newly developed Columbia Circle.
Once again with my partner in crime, he head there for a late lunch around 3 pm (yes, we have issues regarding eating at a “regular” time). We order lemonade that was superb. The precise amount of lemon and sugar to get the balance was absolutely perfect. Actually we order one more because we couldn’t stop drinking! I was so surprised since I haven’t had good lemonade in a long time. And you will think, why are you writing so much about a lemonade? Ok, here is the explanation: as I always say, the easiest and simplest sometimes is the hardest to achieve in the culinary world. Even the simplest dishes or drinks require the same passion as the most complicated ones... you may think lemonade is very easy to make. Wrong. A good lemonade requires balance and love.
Let’s keep going. The menu includes all the important ingredients that a Latin menu must have: beans, pork, empanadas, salsa, chipotle, guacamole, corn, potatoes, chorizo, milanesa, and so on.
We ordered 2 full sandwiches. I really like the option you can choose to either have “half portion” or “full portion”, because you get to taste different things. Our choices were El Cubano and Cemitas in the full version and half Medianoche. The Cubano was amazing, super tasty with the acidity of the mustard and pickles, the softness of the cheese and the tenderness of the pork. The Medianoche was also so yummy with the mortadella, cheese and the croqueta!
Nevertheless, the star sandwich for us – unanimous verdict this time- was the Cemitas. Taking into account my roots, I can’t avoid ordering something that has milanesa (fried breaded beef, like a beef schnitzel instead of pork). Between burger buns, the milanesa is impeccably accompanied by caramelized onions, french fries (yes! French fries inside! Insanely lovely!), ham, avocado and melted cheese. You would say “all that in a single sandwich”? Messy? Yes, beautifully messy, and so well chosen to be together in that bun of love... I got romantic I know, but it was soooo good, trust me!
Stepping to the service evaluation, it was good but after the manager took over our order since the first waiter that approached us was really nervous -and we tried to order in Chinese but still. I don’t blame it though; we are in a non-English speaking country.
Prices are reasonable, the place is very clean and the atmosphere is animated. Totally value to go and have some Latin flavors!
I am a big fan of late dinners -especially on Saturdays- and believe me, I have been chasing all the late night cravings around the city. Located on Julu road and opened at the beginning of the Dog’s year, Atelier by Taste Buds is one of my favorites. I have been there several times. I adopt it like an “ace up my sleeve” sort of restaurant to go when I want to have a relaxed dinner, listen to good music and eat some refined ( or more than average) snacks.
Entering trough a hall of wooden barrels you will find yourself submerged in a mix of vintage and industrially sophisticated space with speakeasy vibes. I visited it last Saturday night with my partner in crime. We were pretty hungry which means we ordered too many dishes -and we ate them all, that’s out of discussion. One thing I like but usually people complain about is the low light. I love that pseudo speakeasy ambient, the decoration and the comfortable seats. I could say it is ideal for couples or for a group of friends.
The service is really fast. Most of the waitresses are English speakers and very kind to make suggestions about the menu.
But let’s jump into the F&B. To start with we ordered two berry spritz. Very disappointing to be honest, they were not good and the size was pretty small for a spritz. However, later on we had two “The Mule”, which definitely made it up for the previous ones: super refreshing with the exact amount of ginger, along with the passion fruit on the side to either have it by itself or pour it into the drink.
Regarding the food it is fair to say the portions are more snack alike and so it’s the price. I like this because it is more like a tapas bar, easier for sharing with friends and also to get a bite of different things on the menu. To first dish we had were oysters (3 for 40Rmb, nice deal) and a mushroom artichoke pizza, which wasn't tasty at all, lacking of cheese and toppings. Next we had the ginger fish and chips that were good but didn’t include any ginger and the cheese risotto balls that were okay, nothing brilliant.
For main we had the Iberian pork ribs and to be objective I think is the best dish of the house. Amazingly tender, juicy and tasty, you can tell the BBQ sauce is totally homemade. Nothing sweet to end the journey, as we prefer the salty stuff. I owe you some desserts guys!
Overall feeling: Reasonably priced, amazing music playlist, authentic atmosphere, and decent late night menu. I feel the quality of the food is descending a little tough, compared to the first occasions we went there.
Suggestions: They should check up on the starters/snacks and be more careful in the preparation of the easiest cocktails (Although they are simple, they are not less important to keep the high standards). OH, and one last thing, for those fans of barrel aged cocktails; this is one of the right places.
I couldn’t wait to go to Pasha´s new location exactly in front of the older one. To be fair, the new place is much bigger and sophisticated, but the previous venue was “one of those cozy places” you always want to come back. Every time I visited it made me feel like I was having a meal at some friend’s house. Located in Nanchang road, it is not a place where you will frequently go since it is not situated in a dining hub like others around the city. However, if you are into Turkish food, you definitely know what I am talking about.
The menu is very complete and you have a wide variety of starters and mains to choose. The dessert part is not that extensive but is pretty interesting as well. I went with my husband after a theater play we had at the Shanghai Culture Square in Fuxing lu and Shanxi lu. Actually the plan turned out to be really convenient since Pasha is a 2 minutes’ walk from the Theater and their last order is at 10.30 pm – is quite hard to find this late night cravings around the city.
The new place is quite different regarding distribution. In the first floor they set a more relaxed atmosphere with a bar and some seats to grab a first drink and get into a chill mood while waiting for your friends. Later, you go up to the second floor for a seated dinner. Straightly talking about the food, Pasha never disappoints. We started with a delicious homemade “Muhammara” (mix of walnuts, olive oil, red pepper paste, pomegranate sauce and spices) and a “Lahmacun”. The last one consists of Turkish flat bread topped with minced lamb meat, tomatoes and onions and it is one of my favorites, the taste is balanced and the bread crispy, as it is oven made. For main dish, we decided to go for a new dish we haven’t tried before: the “Beyti Kebabi” to share. Best decision ever! This dish was full of cooking love itself! It combines the best of Turkish cuisine in one dish and in such a well-adjusted way: minced meat skewer baked in the oven with cheese, rolled in lavash bread with a glorious sauce of yoghurt, tomato and pistachios. We didn't get to the dessert but I highly recommend trying the baklava.
Overall, the service was really good, the waitresses are very kind, the food service was in time and the relation price-quality is perfect. I feared that changing the venue would also mean a change in the homemade style and quality ingredients of the food; I was totally wrong since we had an enjoyable dining experience! I will definitely come back and I totally recommend it.
SmartReviews is SmartShanghai’s crack squad of amateur reviewers, eating their way around the city and writing about it. They have been chosen from a large pool of applicants and given a set of strict guidelines to follow to make sure their reviews are honest, informed and fair to both potential customers and the restaurants themselves.