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el Willy - Shanghai, China | Restaurant Review

Amazing Tapas Restaurant in Shanghai


Restaurant Category : Tapas/Small Plates

el Willy - Shanghai, China: El Willy is an ‘old world European meets contemporary Asian styled Tapas bar housed in the center of the celebrated French concession in the glittering city of Shanghai. We came here on Monday night and the place was packed, mainly with foreigners.

A classic 1928 Spanish colonial home has been converted into a number of different restaurants; el Willey is located on the first floor. As soon as you enter the restaurant, there is a large bar to the right and a seating area to the left with hard wood floors and a lot of exposed red bricks to create a rustic, earthy and bohemian appeal. In sharp contrast, there were crisp white table cloths and dark burnt orange upholster chairs. There is also a nice outdoor dining area (called the The Siesta Garden) for an al fresco style dining experience. El Willey’s ambiance is a neat combination of sophistication and informality.

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There was a nice pop music tune playing in the background, emphasized by a lively atmosphere which was vivacious without getting boisterous.

The menu at el Willey is essentially traditional tapas with sea-food, meat and veggie dishes. There is also a list of other categories like organic eggs, soup, rice and steaks along with a few vegetables and salads for patrons who wish to skip the tapas. The wine menu mainly comprises Spanish varieties and a nice mix of Chilean, Portuguese, Italian and French wines.

The food menu is made of dishes that are primarily meant to be shared. We ordered Canelones a la Barcelonesa, a mixed chicken and beef cannelloni, béchamel sauce with cheese gratin and black truffle creation along with Gambas al Ajillo, a sautéed shrimp with garlic and chili dish. Then there was Beef Cheek cooked for five hours with banana and passion fruit and finally, Crispy Suckling Pig cooked twelve hours served with pear tatin and Sichuan pepper sauce.

After that we were still feeling a wee bit famished and hence gave in to our hunger pangs by ordering Pincho Moruno, grilled marinated lamb skewers, roasted layers of eggplant, feta cheese, fresh oregano and smoky mojo.

Everything that we ordered was extremely good. The Canelones were delicious and perfectly done with just the right amount of sauce. The Gambas al Ajillo was impeccably spiced and tasted awesome without an overbearing taste. The Crispy Suckling Pig was scrumptious with its flavorsome Sichuan pepper sauce.

For dessert, we opted for a Willey Invitation- a brownie with ice-cream, a soufflé with chocolate and caramel inside, banana cake, blueberry sorbet vanilla ice-cream and a pear sorbet. Again fantastic.

Service throughout dinner was extremely warm, courteous, attentive and personalized. In spite of the fact that the place was crowded, the staff paid meticulous attention to finer details without bordering on intrusion.

Overall, it was a perfect evening and I highly recommend the place for its excellent food and outstanding service even on a busy week night. el Willey Tapas Restaurant easily gets a rating of Bombastic.

What I liked: The exceptional food, the attentive service, the chic decor and the pleasant atmosphere

What I didn’t like: Nothing really

Rating: Bombastic
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