de Bellotas 贝优塔 [Shanghai] – closed

What is De Bellotas?
De Bellotas is a Spanish restaurant located near Shanghai’s Xintaindi. Situated just a 5 minute walk away, with a couple of other interesting restaurants like Tenya, Bellagio, and Green Massage, De Bellotas occupies a really space with a large window. Their kitchen is just behind the bar, with a cozy dining room of around 10 tables. But don’t let the size fool you, their attention to detail can be seen with the ornamental pigs, wall decorations, and the displayed Iberico hams.
 
What did I eat?
Their byline, Jamon Y Vino, which means simply ham and wine, is highlighted under their the name and menu. The Jamon Iberico, 125 RMB for 60g or 225 RMB for 120g, was something I was looking forward to. As a fan of anything related to the Pig – I liked the crumbly nature of the ham with the slight oiliness. There were also are few dishes I liked among the ones we had, such as the Pincho De Queso Brie Caliente and the Esparaggo Verde Con Jamon were my favorites. The Pincho, basically laughing cow cheese on toast, was creamy and delish. The Esparaggo (also known as asparagus) had a nice crunchy and snapping texture to go along with the savory Jamon (ham).
 
What I didn’t like.
The main event of the night was, suppose to be, the paella, which was more disappointing since it seemed like risotto. Named Risotto De Setas Y Quejo, which should have given it away, was something I didn’t expect. Paella, for me, means the rice is more dry with the flavors of the seafoods or meats absorbed in. I didn’t think I was going to have an Italian dish at a Spanish restaurant. Please correct me if I am wrong if this is also a Spanish dish. And dang, it was hot. They need to improve their A/C, since the open kitchen is in the same room, I was sweating while we had our dinner. No fun!
 
The Last Word
Jolin, one of the waitresses, said that the chef, from Henan, had a knack for making Spanish dishes. I’m not sure if she said Henan or some other place. Hmmm. . . Henan. . . .Overall, I thought the place and the food (except for the paella) was fine.
Location Rating
de Bellotas 贝优塔
太仓路68号 近顺昌路
No. 68 Tai-cang Road, near Shunchang Lu, Shanghai
+86 21 6384 1382
2 Pigs
Price Range 3 $/¥/NT

Da Papa Mario’s 爸爸马里奥[Shanghai] – closed

What is Papa Mario’s?
Every neighborhood needs a casual pizza joint, where everyone knows your name. Even in Shanghai, you’ll find just such one, Papa Mario’s. Near peoples’ square, Da Papa Mario’s is a simple Italian restaurant that strives to serve Italian favorites of pasta and pizzas. The owner, Mario, is like the loving uncle who comes around to each table to make sure you having a good time. And when you’re done with your meal, you’ll get a nice shot of limoncello to complete the meal.
 
What did I eat?
We ordered the Quandris di Pasta and the Capricciosa pizza. The Quandris is a combination of different pastas including Rosette della mamma, mushroom ravioli, strascinati rabbit sauce, tortellini in chicken broth for 130 RMB. The presentation was almost unappetizing with the presentation of the pastas in individual glumps on a plate. Each of the little piles didn’t exactly have me salivating when it arrived. But after getting past the unenthusiastic looking pasta – the pastas weren’t all that bad. They had pretty good flavor. The capriccios pizza with extra dough, tomato, mozzarella, ham, mushroom, artichoke, fresh sausage, oregano for 110 RMB, wasn’t exactly mind blowing as well. The crust, which I think is the most important part of the pizza, was chewy and had a cardboard texture. Nasty. The only thing I liked was our Mozzarella Alla Capriese appetizer with tomato, mozzarella, fresh basel and oregano for 65 RMB.
 
Constructive Criticism
The food was just not acceptable. I wouldn’t bring my friends back here, even for a 2nd chance. But I think quality and consistency with the pizzas needs to be readily improved. The presentation of the pastas could also be improved.
 
The Last Word
Da Papa Mario’s has a pretty nice following, since when we went it was raining, and the place was packed.
Location Rating
爸爸马里奥 Da Papa Mario’s
大沽路370弄1号 近成都路
No.1, 370 Dagu Lu, near Chengdu Lu
+86 21 6340-1386
1 Pigs
Price Range 2 $/¥/NT

Qing He Gu 青鶴谷 [Shanghai]

What is Qing He Gu?
Qing He Gu is a Korean BBQ restaurant chain. Located on outskirts of downtown Shanghai in the district of Min Hang, Qing He Gu caters toward area’s large Korean population. On the 2nd floor of a recently renovated office building, Qing He Gu occupies a large space with a large main dining room with another wing of private rooms. Inside, you first notice the long, extendable, silver-tentacled, smoke suction ventilators, which are the norms in ALL Korean BBQ restaurants. And then the instant the cooking beef aroma sways you. . .

What did I eat?
If you aren’t Korea, most likely, you’re going to order Beef and more Beef. Rib of Raw Beef (250g) at 128 RMB and Seasoned Beef Ribs (250g) also at 128 RMB were highlights of the meal for my friends. I was particularly interested in the other dishes that Qing He Gu had, like the Dolsot Bibimbap 38 RMB – vegetables, beef, and rice in a sizzling iron bowl (used to be one of my favorites), Kimchi Stew 38 RMB – kimchi stewed till thick spicy and sour stew, and the Sundubu Jjigae 38 RMB – spicy seafood tofu stew. We also at Pork Belly (170g) 48 RMB, which was not bad. But I am not a big pork belly, which isn’t anything against Qing He Gu, but more my preference. I just don’t like it when the fat is seared and has a tough texture.

Constructive Criticism
Qing He Gu is a good place for friends and family for solid Korean BBQ. But it is not the type of cuisine for a lunch or a weekend brunch – but that’s just me. I wish Qing He Gu had a larger selection of Banchan – I think the 3 or 4 little dishes were lacking and didn’t offer make varying tastes. Banchan are the little table appetizers.

The Last Word
This Shanghai Koreatown, requires you to know where to go, which places to visit, and a little Korean to get the best out of this unique enclave. Qing He Gu is also quite popular with celebrities here and abroad. one of the first things you notice are the various pictures of famous people.

Links
Location Rating
青鶴谷 Qing He Gu
闵行区虹莘路3998号帝宝大厦2楼(吴中路虹泉路间)
Minhang District, Hong Shen Lu, No. 3998, Di Bao Plaza, 2nd Floor, near Wu Zhong Lu and Hong Quan Lu
+86 21-34323068
2 Pigs
Price Range 2 $/¥/NT