E: el Willy | Shanghai

黄浦区 • Huang Pu
中山二东路 22号 501 • 22 Zhongshan East 2nd Road, 501

el Willy is a modern Spanish restaurant by “Willy” Trullas Moreno, who has brought multiple notable establishments to Asia. el Willy boasts top notch food and a great view, so I decided it was time to check it out and explore the Spanish cuisine scene in Shanghai. DSC_1479DSC_1480DSC_1486

Unfortunately our first impression of the restaurant was not great. As soon as we stepped in it felt chilly, because they had let diners smoke inside and thus had to open the windows despite it being the midst of winter outside. We actually had to be moved to a different table because of this. However, there was a personalized name card on our table (sadly with my name misspelled) and a chef came out to greet us when we sat down.

Service was also disappointing, with there being multiple waitresses chatting amongst themselves and no one being attentive to our needs at all despite the restaurant being quite empty. Throughout the course of our meal our glasses were almost empty, with water being refilled only once.

Thankfully though, the food was good and I left with my Spanish cravings satisfied.

To start, we were given some complimentary bruschetta that was simple but yummy enough to get us excited for what was to come. Following the bruschetta were a variety of tapas we ordered that I found simply divine. The Truffle Croquettes we ordered were perfectly crispy on the outside, but cheesy and soft on the inside, perched on top of some truffley, cheesy sauce that I made sure to get every last dollop of. We also ordered Foie Gras tapas, which was a yummy bite sized open sandwich with bread, greens, jam, and of course foie gras. For those of you who like to eat on the lighter side, I’d suggest the Crab Sandwiches we got, which was a bread roll filled with a crab salad mixture. We also had the Salmon Salad for some vegetables and seafood.

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Our mains were also quite delicious. The Lamb Chops were large and had some veggies to balance it out, but there was also a strange creamy and spicy sauce that I couldn’t recognize. The star of the night was the Lobster Paella, and we opted for the wet one with fresh Boston lobster. It was definitely pricey (600+ RMB), and we weren’t sure if the lobster was really that fresh, but the flavors were still there and the rice was cooked perfectly. The serving was also an entire Le Creuset pot’s worth, and could have easily fed an extra person.

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To finish off, we went with the 3 Ice Creams, but after waiting an unreasonably long time for ice cream, were surprised with lava cakes as well. The cakes were still hot, so perhaps that was why the wait was so long, but we eagerly dug in. Berries and tart sorbet balanced out gooey chocolate and hazelnut flavors, and it was a great way to finish off our meal.

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Although I still have mixed feelings about my experience with el Willy, I’ll probably be back for the food.

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