Shanghai can be a gourmet delight or culinary disaster, depending on where you decide to eat. So we reached out a few Shanghai F&B folks who really have a handle on the scene to Spill the Beans on their favorite spots, from hole-in-the-wall local eats to high-end venues, from late night drunk grub to date night treat yo’ self splurges.
Image courtesy of Geo Valdivieso
Name: Geo Valdivieso
Hometown: Santiago, Chile
Occupation: Global Brand Ambassador for Camus Cognac
Where does your love for food stem from?
In Dubai, I tried fusion food for the very first time. This gave me a proper cultural approach to local food. After that, I traveled to Thailand and Shanghai, where I learned to appreciate local flavors even more.
What’s your favorite restaurant in Shanghai that serves your native food?
Allow me to rant about this, there is no single Chilean restaurant in Shanghai that I am aware of. Did you read that Chilean chefs? To be fair, Chilean food is quite simple so maybe it won’t catch on with the demanding palette of Shanghai food culture.
What’s your eats spot?
El Bodegon. Why? The simplicity of the food brings a great feeling, especially when you are far from home. Even though a few dishes remind slightly of Chilean flavors, I still am happy to enjoy that ‘Argentinidad’ vibe that Chile adopts quite well.
I also love JUJU because I love Korean food. Their service is equally as great as the affordable price. Look for Mr. Ted and Mark to have a top-notch experience. Geo sends them both lots of love!
What’s your favorite high-end restaurant and why?
Anthologia – It has a great taste and an original presentation for each dish. Their menu is always refreshing and unique. Pre-booking required.
Taian Table – It has a great concept that takes food to a new level. It’s a suitable place for many special occasions. Why not splurge for a high-end night craving?
What’s your go-to date nightspot and why?
UP Shanghai – High energy place to shake away the shyness.
E.P.I.C – High energy and friendly service that doubly acts as an ice breaker.
The Broken Dagger – Private and low light room mood.
Which restaurant in Shanghai couldn’t you live without?
I don’t have a place that I can define as somewhere I couldn’t live without, but if had to pick one cuisine, it would be Indian food.
Are there any restaurants that closed that you really miss?
El Willy – but I’m crossing my fingers since I heard some gossip recently that they may be reopening.
Unico By Mauro Colagreco – Tissues please! This was my mentor venue that holds a special place in my heart. Every dish had an explosion of flavors in a high-end format to showcase South American food. Not to mention those unforgettable parties – how could I not miss that?!
What gaps do you see in the Shanghai dining scene that you would like to see filled?
Many places open with a simple approach to food that fits into a specific category or country cuisine. Maybe some more direct fusion options would be a more attractive concept.
Image by Sophie Steiner/That's
What is your favorite dish in Shanghai?
Appetizer: Beef Tartar / Avocado Toast at Polux (above).
Entrée: Salmon TNT & Cheese Beef Cones at Tomatito.
Main: 5 Cuts Steak at El Bodegon.
Dessert: Lemon Dessert at Mr & Mrs Bund.
What advice would you give to budding foodies in Shanghai?
Every dish you try and fall in love with will have a better version that is probably more affordable somewhere else. Discover more by getting off all those apps and just exploring more. There is so much good food to uncover in Shanghai.
For more Geo Valdivieso foodie adventures, follow him on Instagram @geocl88