Flavorful Explosions and Tapas Hits Revived at Tomatito 2.0

By Alywin Chew, October 8, 2019

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Second Helping is a column dedicated to rediscovering some of our favorite Shanghai restaurants. 

The Place

Popular Spanish tapas joint Tomatito reopened in the Xintiandi area in early July, following its rather unceremonious departure from Zhang Court, the charming shikumen-style complex which is slated for redevelopment. While the mall it is now situated in doesn’t possess the vitality of its previous abode, fans of Tomatito will be glad to know that the restaurant itself hasn’t lost its character. Past a nondescript entrance tucked away on the corner of the third floor of Infinitus Mall, this new venue is brighter, sleeker and more colorful than before, with neon signs screaming chef Willy Trullas Moreno’s effervescent personality.

The Food

With a new venue comes a new menu, and the offerings are just as unpretentious as before. Our dinner started with a bang, and it wasn’t just because the name of the first dish was Explosiones de Atun (RMB68), meaning ‘Explosions of Tuna.’ Served in the form of seared tuna on a kayak-shaped rice puff filled with wasabi cream, this textural delight raised our expectations for what was to come.

Image by Alywin Chew/That's

The Ceviche de Vieiras (RMB78) that followed teased our taste buds even further as the tanginess of the passionfruit and citrus sauce was well-tuned to complement the sweetness of the scallop. Also impressive, the sautéed wild shrimps with garlic and chili (RMB68) would be even better with more garlic flavor in the oil.

Image by Alywn Chew/That's

Just like before, Tomatito’s croquettes are worth writing home about. The Lobster Croquette (RMB98) was one of the highlights of the evening – the crust was perfect, and the filling moreish. The same could be said for the Spinach and Manchego (RMB58) variety with pine nuts and raisins, which offered a lovely balance of savory and sweet.

Image by Cristina Ng/That's 

The loudest applause of the night was undoubtedly for the mixed Seafood Juicy Rice (RMB225). The flavors were spot-on and perfectly balanced, and the chef was certainly generous with the servings of squid, clams and mussels, though we wished there was a little more rice. The Mussels 'Prepared Your Way' (RMB128) came in a close second. The accompanying sauce, which was made with white wine and cream with garlic, herbs and chili, was so delicious we were fighting to lick the pot after we were done.

Given how extensive the menu is, it was hardly surprising that there were some misses to go along with the hits. The next  “explosion” we had, the Seared Foie Gras (RMB98) served atop a rice puff filled with orange sauce, was, unfortunately, nothing like its tuna-based counterpart; the foie gras was cold and the orange overbearing.

Image by Alywin Chew/That's

Other dishes that made the grade include the Beef Carpaccio (RMB68) with truffle mayo, crispy shallots, mushroom and parmesan cheese and the Mini Sandwiches with Truffle Mozzarella and Iberian Ham (RMB68)

Food Verdict: 2/3

The Vibe

Image by Alywin Chew/That's 

In terms of décor, the restaurant has traded homey and cozy for something a little more contemporary. One of the biggest selling points of Tomatito 2.0 is the expansive terrace, ideal for lazy Sunday brunches. With upgraded digs comes even more attentive and friendly service. Major plus points for the waiter who noticed one of us left our mobile phone behind after footing the bill. It’s easy to go off the rails when introducing an ambitious new menu, but we are happy to report that this stalwart of Spanish tapas has pulled it off. 

Vibe Verdict: 1.5/2

Total Verdict: 3.5/5

Price: RMB250-400 per person
Who’s going: mixed crowd of expats and locals
Good for: easy date nights, casual dinners

[Cover image by Cristina Ng/That's]

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See a listing for Tomatito. Read more Shanghai Restaurant Reviews

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