Shanghai Restaurant Review: Latin Woo

By Dominic Ngai, August 28, 2018

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The Place

800684957.jpgImage by Dominic Ngai/That's

A beloved darling of Shanghai’s fickle-hearted diners, Asian-inspired tapas purveyor Pirata has recently opened a new branch next to Columbia Circle’s #instafamous swimming pool. Each night, Chef Ling Huang and her team continue to pump out fan favorites like foie gras toasts and spicy clams with Thai basil to a devoted following. During the day, however, this restaurant transforms into Latin Woo, where hearty sandwiches and lunch dishes with a Latin American spin are served. 

The Food 

Image by Dominic Ngai/That's

Much like Pirata, Latin Woo’s menu is unapologetically straightforward and down-to-earth. Of the seven sandwich options available, the Cuban burger (RMB60) best illustrates Chef Huang’s ‘no BS’ approach to cooking. In between two thick slices of brioche bun are a beef-chorizo patty, caramelized onion, sunny-side-up egg and a pile of shoestring fries. Hallmarks of a delicious sandwich manifest as you tackle this beast with your bare hands when juices from the peppery meat, runny yolk, along with thin shreds of potatoes trickle down your hands and chin during the messy scuffle.

Image by Dominic Ngai/That's

Huang also does a mean version of the classic El Cubano (RMB35/68 for small/large). Nothing can go wrong when a thick, fatty slice of roast pork mingles with pickles and cheese in the warm embrace of two crispy Cuban bread slices. 

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If Pirata’s croqueta is a dish that you love (try them if you haven’t), then their spin on the Medianoche (RMB40/75) would certainly win over your heart. Here, the deep-fried ball of mashed potato, béchamel and ham is flattened like a patty and served inside some toasted brioche alongside mortadella, pickles, cheese, mayo and mustard. 

Image by Dominic Ngai/That's

Not in the mood for sandwiches? Latin Woo also has several lunch set options (RMB78-198), which include a main, two sides and a drink. While it could use a little more heat, the Colombian fried rice with shrimp and chorizo (RMB88) topped with fresh avocado and tomatoes is yet another hit that bridges the gap between Latin American flavors and ingredients and one of the ultimate Chinese comfort food dishes. 

Food Verdict: 2.5/3

The Vibe

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Given its popular pool-side location, expect plenty of wanghongs wandering in for a quick bite and refreshments while they take a break from their seemingly endless photo shoots. Latin Woo’s tangy limonada (RMB45) or fresh mango juice (RMB35) are perfect for the occasion, and the cute glasses in which they’re served, as well as the restaurant’s blue-and-white tiled walls, provide another great selfie opportunity. 

Vibe Verdict: 1.5/2

Total Verdict: 4/5

Price: RMB70-100 per person
Who’s going: Pirata’s loyal fans, nearby office workers, dehydrated wanghongs in between poses
Good for: carb-loading, casual lunch

[Cover image by Dominic Ngai/That's]

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