Sally is a female millenial from Taiwan. She is a creative strategist, obsessed with social, trends, fashion and all emerging things in the world. She is in a deep relationship with matcha.
Coming out from West Nangjing metro station and you’ll see people lining up in front of Royal Patat. I was intrigued by the crowd and I was constantly craving for fries after coming back from Amsterdam, so I gave it a try.
It’s fascinating to see how they come up with all the varieties for fires. They have 20 different sauces for you to choose from, and other innovative combo such as pulled chicken Thai fries, truffle parmesan, and sweet flavors like chocolate. I ordered a small fries with catchup and tartar sauce, and waited for 10 minutes to get it. Like in Amsterdam, they served in the paper cones, and it’s well designed so the sauces can be put separately in four corners. The fries were fried to perfection with thick slices and were very crispy. Tartar sauce was creamy and two of them were more than enough for me.
They have three sizes, rang from 22 RMB, 27 RMB to 35 RMB, and 5 RMB for adding one extra sauce. The portion is huge, small one is a good portion for two people already in my opinion. The shop is nicely decorated with pair of wooden shoes in front. It’s small but they do have seats around (outdoor). It did fix my craving and I’ll come back for other dips!
Located on South Shanxi road, Fu is a decent restaurant for when all you want is good old-fashioned Cantonese food. The menu is long but here’re some of my favorites.
First enter you will find the poster of its signature pork cutlet on the wall, and it’s definitely a must! It’s massive and they put it in a plate that doesn’t even fit, which makes it very hard to cut, but it’s worth the fuss! It’s crunchy and one of the best I’ve tried in Shanghai. Greens are always good here with simple seasoning. I like broccoli and lettuce and it’s always fresh.
Another must-eat is their clay pot rice and it usually takes some time for it to arrive as they make it by order. I had the classic sausage claypot rice last time when I visited the place, and it was delicious! With only few ingredients in the pot, Canton sausage, broccoli, and soy sauce, it’s amazing how it tasted so well. The rice was rightly caramelized underneath and blended perfectly with the sweet soy sauce.
Classic drinks are all good here and I especially like their pearl barley water, it’s sweet and fresh with the taste of pandan leaves. Sweets like French toast and pineapple bun with butter are also on every tables.
The place itself isn’t that fancy and comfortable if I’m being honest, but somehow makes it more authentic. The price are fair with a long menu and you’ll for sure be fulfilled after.
*Around 80 RMB per person
Sproutworks has been my go-to whenever I ran out of idea for dinner since moving to West Nanjing road. It’s a fast food restaurant with tons of healthy food to choose from, and frankly speaking, I have a mix feeling about this place.
The ordering process is pretty simple, go to the counter and choose any cold and hot dishes you like, pay, and then find a seat in the dining area. It took me a while since they have at least ten different kinds of salads and another six hot dishes.
I usually go with kale salad with pine seeds and cinoa, pumpkin with apple and raspberry, and a side of chicken breast or a soup. Salad is good here as it’s quite balanced with all the ingredients and flavors. Grill chicken is more on the dry side and the tomato soup is warm and savory. Aside from salad, they also have sandwiches, pasta, and smoothies and other drinks.
I do appreciate the healthy concept and all the options, which is why I revisit the place, but all and all it’s like a worse version of Huntergatherer, yet with the same price range. (It’s around 65 RMB with two salads and a hot dish.) The place is clean with fast wifi, and like Huntergatherer, you’ll have to put your plate back when you finish your meal.
My boss took me to Jumbo when I first moved to Shanghai and it was amazing. The restaurant is pretty famous in Singapore and is excellent on chili crabs (550RMB). I still remember the taste of the cereal shrimp (118RMB) – buttery, milky notes with bit of crunchiness. I’m happy to learn that they now have a great selection for the lunch set menu.
On top of my list would be the popular Malay dish, Nasi Lemak (58RMB). Served with crispy anchovies, toasted peanuts, fresh cucumbers, chicken, and egg on top of fragrant rice, it’s pretty authentic! The coconut rice tastes rich and the portion is just right.
Crab noodle (58RMB) was solid, rich, and tasty. I’m very happy to report that there’re a good amount of crab in it. The classic dish, Hainan chicken (48 RMB), is pretty standard with poached chicken, cucumber and three sauces on the side. I do love how they season rice with chicken oil.
The set ranges from 58 to 68 RMB, which is very reasonable. It also comes with vegetables and coix seed water. The place itself is spacious and clean, and the staffs are always attentive. Lastly, don’t miss out on their desserts, rounded off with flavourful cendol, taro sago and coconut milk.
Located centrally at Anfu Road, Apollo is a beautiful restaurant. I visited the place at a Wednesday night and it was delightfully quiet.
I ordered a mango salad, one soft shell chicken taco and avocado taco, kale and steak, as well as a squid salad. Mango salad was sour but very refreshing. The chicken taco was juicy and flavorful but the avocado taco was pretty average. Kale and steak was very interesting to eat and beautiful to look at. kale was crunchy and steak was well seasoned. I’m not a big fan of squid but the salad tastes amazing. Every dish was beautifully arranged with delicate plating, matching perfectly with the venue itself.
The waiters were attentive and warm, pouring up water whenever the cups were empty. We paid Overall it was a great experience to dine here and we would definitely go again for brunch.
Food is a great way to reduce homesickness, and JYJ Noodle bar sure has a great selection of noodles!
I usually go with the classic Taiwanese beef noodle soup. It’s savory and slightly spicy with long-simmered slices of tender beef and hearty broth. I also love that they add the brown egg, which is a nice touch. It’s surely a comfy food of mine. They also have the clear broth option, which is also a classic and tastes very close to the one back home. Since noodles soup exists in various forms throughout East and Southeast Asia, they also offers other flavors like Tom yum noddle soup, as well as desserts like shaved ice with bubble and black sugar. Both noodle soups are 79 RMB and the desserts are around 40 RMB.
The restaurant sits at 6th floor of IAPM mall. The space is quite limited but clean and organized. The staffs are very attentive and friendly. Overall it’s a great experience and I would definitely go back.
Sitting on the famous cafe street, Yuyuan road, Akimbo cafe definitely stands out from the crowd. The concept is a coffee lab and the space is large and modern with art pieces hanging on the wall.
Except the standard coffee, Akimbo offers different flavors of fruit coffee. I went with grapefruit coffee and surprisingly, it works really well! Served in a beautifully designed glass bottle, a slice of fresh grapefruit and rosemary to taste, it’s refreshing and still strong with the taste of cold brew coffee.
On the other hand, matcha latte wasn’t that impressive at all. Except the Instagram- friendly setting where you could pour the glass of milk into the matcha, the taste is pretty blended and I wouldn’t recommend. They also have some cute desserts that looks like real fruits and very instagrammable.
Drinks are around 40 to 50 RMB, and the desserts are around 80 RMB. It was a good experience overall and the place was quiet enough to work in. Definitely give it a try if you’re a coffee person!
Tres perros is a popular Spanish restaurant situated in the heart of Xuhui. The place is cute and cozy, and it’s always packed with people lining up outside the restaurant.
Foie gras with pistachio is creamy and flavorful. Salad is pretty average with balsamic dressing. I love how fluffy and moist the omelette is, but not a fan of the pork sandwich. The steak is decent but lack of character. The portion are all on the smaller side so it’s good to share with couple of friends.
I suggest to make a reservation unless you want to wait for a hour. They also have a 2 hours time limitation for peak hours. Overall, it’s a nice place to hang out with friends while enjoying some delicious tapas.
Passed by this little shop and the colorful graffiti caught my attention. Inside it’s cozy and decorated with trendy elements like skateboards and posters.
I ordered a fried chicken omelette rice and my friend had a normal curry plate. Fired chicken was crispy on top, and the rice was soft and tender. They also fried the rice with curry sauce so it was flavorful and warm. But with the mayonnaise sauce on top of the chicken, catchup, and curry, it gotten very salty and I ended up couldn’t finish the dish. The omelette was also a bit overdone for my taste as I like it to be running and soft. The normal curry was good and my friend actually loves it.
The price is around 75 RMB and there’s no lunch set options, which is quite expensive for what they’re offering. Overall it’s acceptable but not impressive enough for a second visit.
We all know about the Chinese crepe, jianbing. While it’s tasty, sometimes I can’t help but doubt the sanitation of the traditional jianbing shops in the ally. Here’s a safe portion for your favorite Chinese breakfast food, serving all day at Grain.
I brought my friends from Taiwan to try it out and they love it. We had the classic “signature sausage and beef” and the simple “Sausage crepe”. They put Taiwanese sausage on the menu and it tasted nothing like a Taiwanese sausage. But other than that, the jianbing is filling and tasty. It’s also very crunchy with sesame seeds.
The price was 15 and 32 RMB, which are more expensive than the one on the street. But they do claim that the crepes are made with 5 grains and with quality ingredients. And the nice and clean environment justify the higher cost. They also have drinks like soybean milk. If you’re looking to get a nice jiangbing, Grain is the place to be.
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.