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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • delfinash on Highline
    08 Nov 2018

    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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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!

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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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.

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