I’m not keeping a plant-forward life but I do love vegetables a lot. Some vegetarian spots in Shanghai are actually very delicious that I go back for more, but probably not this one.
Wu Guang Tang located near Jiao Tong University. The restaurant is covered with green wall and a terrace on top of the building. The interior as well give you a very ZEN feeling, featuring Chinese style decorations, which is very nice. They offer all-you-can-eat dining and normal menu. Staff there were nice enough to let us take a look at the buffet section, and we went for menu as there’re more choices.
We ordered 5 dishes- baked potato, steamed dumpling, tofu roll, corn and sweet potato pancake, and a classic stir fried broccoli. Starting from the good ones, I like the baked potato a lot and it’s also on the “hot list”. It’s full of flavor and I like the fact they do it in thick slices, so it’s firm and creamy. Steam dumpling is quite nice as well. The skin is thick with a good amount of veggie filled inside. Bright cute yellow and green are also a plus. Other three of the dishes I’m not impressed with. It’s all on the oily side, especially the broccoli, which is not what I would expect at a vegetarian restaurant at all.
Overall the food are good but nothing really special and creative to write about. There're just more other exciting spots to dine in Shanghai. The price and portion on the other hand are good and will keep you full. The venue is clean and comfortable with private section to dine in, and the staff are truly friendly and helpful. But I would probably not going back any time soon.
*150 RMB for two
*Wu Guang Tang has a beautiful dining environment and solid Chinese dishes. They provide all-you-can-eat and menu options. This is an affordable vegetarian spot in the quiet neiborhood.
Wu Guan Tang is a picturesque vegetarian restaurant built into a lane house on Xinhua Lu. It has atmosphere; it’s pleasant and refined, with good service, a tranquil environment and décor that’s reminiscent of a classical tea house. Casual enough for a dinner with friends but just refined enough for something slightly more high stakes, like a date or something more formal. It’d be good to take any visiting veggie out-of-towners. I’ve also heard that they have a killer rooftop patio, but the November weather prevented us from exploring. Will be back to try that.
They do set meals for different sized groups, which is a good option if you’re looking to sample a few of the highlights. Prices are slightly higher than your average neighborhood Chinese spot, but not by much. Three of us ordered the set dinner for two and threw some extra dishes on top, and it came out to RMB 100 a piece.
Highlights include okra that arrives slathered with a little chili alongside a rich, sour and spicy dip. Potato comes baked, sliced and dripping with butter, a testament to the fact that vegetarian food can clog your arteries just as nicely as any meat dish if you let it. Sides like pickled radish and cold tofu provide decent, if not thrilling accompaniments. The set provides a deep range of flavors, and it’s clear that ingredients are high-quality and treated with care.
If I had to make a complaint, it’s that some of the dishes are a little under-seasoned. This is clearly a restaurant with health on its mind, and it leads to the kitchen being a little shy with the salt shaker. A dish of fried rice noodles with peanuts, pickles and chilies, for example, lacks the heat and punch that it should have, with or without meat. The same goes for their version of mapo tofu.
In all it’s a minor complaint though, and perhaps it really does make the food here a little easier on the stomach. Wu Guan Tang feels like it would definitely be a good spot for vegetarians looking for something more original than fake meat and basic veggie versions of staple dishes. Crucially, it’s also just about interesting enough to be worth a visit from dedicated carnivores looking for something new.
(Side note – confusingly, Wu Guan Tang shares space with Frankie’s Kitchen, a couple doors down. They might usher you down there to “check our neighbor” if the original is full, but it’s the same restaurant. Frankie’s is the one pictured).
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