Spanish restaurants have been popping up throughout Shanghai like wildfire, especially those focusing on the holy grail of food grazers – tapas. These bite size snacks are a great way to sample a little bit of everything, particularly when you go as a large group. So where do you go for delicious, inventive and sometimes even downright (gasp!) authentic tapas? Read on for where to go to discover bite-sized bliss.
1) KuluskaView In Map
If it’s a sign of authenticity and overall yumminess when the Spanish community flocks to your door, then consider Kuluska just that. This is the place to go for that classic pairing of tapas, cocktails, and lively conversation. Things can get a bit rowdy on Wednesday nights (blame it on the drink specials) but that’s just part of the Spanish vibe. Specifically aiming to be a Basque restaurant, the ham/bechamel croquette and seared steak are particular standouts. The only quibble would be that it’s all a bit pricey, but you’ll quickly find that this is a common theme among tapas restaurants in Shanghai.
Add: 528 Kang Ding Lu, near Xikang Lu, Jing’an District, Shanghai
Tel: 021 6288 3085
Opening hours: Mon-Sat, 18:00-02:00; Sat brunch: 12:00-16:00
2) el WillyView In Map
Fun, festive and located in a beautiful old mansion with a well-tended garden, el Willy consistently remains on top of Shanghai’s best restaurants list. Traditional tapas is hard to come by here, so if you’re up for experimenting, this is definitely worth a trip. Their scallop ceviche is a must-try, but there’s really very little possibility of going wrong here. And while it may not technically qualify as tapas, their gazpacho soup with coconut ice cream deserves a mention all on its own.
Add: 20 Donghu Lu, near Huaihai Lu, Xuhui District, Shanghai
Tel: 021 5404 5757
Opening hours: Mon-Sat, 11:00-15:00, 18:00-23:00
3) ChichaView In Map
Just celebrating their one year anniversary (my, how time flies!) Chicha remains a reliable and inventive place to try some Peruvian tapas. Although you can order ala carte, I’d highly recommend the set menu (you can choose between nine and twelve courses) in order to sample as many dishes as possible. The beef cheeks are absolutely stellar, as is the seafood brochette, and presentation goes above and beyond other tapas restaurants – which is always a nice touch, if not necessary for a great dining experience. If Sinan Mansions is too far of a trek for you, check out Azul, that other Vargas restaurant serving (equally delicious) tapas.
Add: Bldg 33, Sinan Mansions, 55 Sinan Lu, near Fuxing Zhong Lu, Luwan District, Shanghai
Tel: 021 6418 0760
Opening hours: Sun-Thurs, 12:00-01:00; Fri-Sat, 12:00-02:00
4) El PatioView In Map
Having mostly garnered attention as a summer hotspot, El Patio has gotten rave reviews for its gorgeous patio – and its tasty tapas. Located in a renovated old mansion, the food and drinks here are solidly done and only slightly overpriced. The lamb with roasted cheese is a popular choice, along with the ham risotto – and of course a pitcher of sangria to wash it all down. The menu is set up to give you a choice between “creative” or “classic” tapas, so you can have plenty to choose from no matter what mood you’re in.
Add: 110 Fenyang Lu, near Fuxing Zhong Lu, Xuhui District, Shanghai
Tel: 021 6437 5839
Opening hours: Mon-Sat, 12:00-14:30, 18:30-24:00; Sun, 12:00-14:30
5) BocadoView In Map
This brand spanking new tapas restaurant has already garnered rave reviews – and no surprise, since it’s owned and operated by the same guy who ran the (sigh) now defunct Mesa & Manifesto. While its décor, with iron chandeliers and other hip accents, certainly charm those who walk in the door, it’s the food that’s the main draw – specifically the Manchego cheese and olive oil platter, and standard sautéed shrimp. The fare is simple, classic, and reassuringly Spanish, which means it’s a likely winner in fickle Shanghai.
Add: 2F, 47 Yongfu Lu, near Fuxing Xi Lu, Xuhui District, Shanghai
Tel: 180 1727 0340
Opening hours: Mon-Sat, 17:00-02:00
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Keywords: Shanghai tapas restaurants Spanish restaurants in Shanghai best Shanghai tapas authentic tapas in shanghai
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