Shanghai has some good Spanish restaurants that include paella in their menu. Arguably the best paella in Shanghai is served in El Willy restaurant, located in front of the Bund. At this time i had the opportunity to try a traditional Spanish paella with rabbit meat. I have eaten paella hundreds of times, so I can safely say that El Willy’s Paella is pretty great, also cooked by Spanish chef’s.
EL WILLY: A HAPPY RESTAURANT
El willy is self-called a Happy Spanish restaurant. What this means is that the restaurant aims for a laid-back and fun atmosphere. The food is designed to be shared in small portions and to be eaten with chopsticks as-well. The decoration is colorful and filled with fun details. All in all, the place is very modern and clean and I was pleased with the relaxed atmosphere. Also worth noting is that the majority of customers that come here are mostly couples and a few groups. There is music playing somewhat loud hence the customers talk pretty loud as-well.
WHAT I ORDERED:
- Valencia traditional Paella with rabbit meat.
- Spanish sangria.
- Las locuras de Willy. (Signature dessert, a bit of everything: cake, ice cream, candy).
- Complementary salmon tapa. ( Free tapa while waiting for the paella, awesome!).
- Small complementary bread with tomato tapa + olives.
Paella, gazpacho, sangria, wow! this is as typical Spanish as it gets, I was in heaven. I tried this kind of dishes oh so many times before, so I’m very familiar with the flavors. So I can confirm that the Spanish food at El willy is very authentic. After all the chefs are Spanish.
The delicious paella, pretty much my reason of coming here 🙂
BEST PAELLA IN SHANGHAI INDEED
The Spanish paella is a world-wide famous dish. It’s a fairly simple dish which includes rice, vegetables and meat. However the flavor is very characteristic and intense. The flavor blows the mind of any rice-lover, I know, because i saw their expression myself ;). Be aware that it takes about 50 minutes to be cooked and served, so a little patience there is required. The restaurant staff was very attentive and they served us with a complementary salmon tapa while we were waiting for our paella. Yeah, a free tapa with a smile. The tapa itself might cost more than 100 RMB, but more importantly I felt it was very kind of them. Hence we were very happy with the service.
THE GAZPACHO, THE SANGRIA AND THE DESSERT
The rest of the dishes were also of great quality. I enjoyed the sangria because this restaurant atmosphere is very welcoming to have some drinks. I only regretted ordering the desert which was expensive, and came just when we were already full.
The Gazpacho was pretty good too, very sour.
“Las locuras de wily”. Literally translates to “the chef craziness”. Is dessert, with ice cream, cake, candy, custard. Delicious but very filling.
Not super-expensive. Considering this is an upscale restaurant with views to the Bund, and that i ordered 3 dishes + drinks, it wasn’t so bad. My total bill was about 550 RMB if I remember correctly. The paella itself costed about 260 RMB, which translates in to 40 USD or 35 Euros, not so bad for the best paella in Shanghai :).
The most expensive was the desert which amounted over 100 RMB which was delicious but a bit superfluous, even more we were super full after the delicious paella. Drinks are also expensive but this is a common thing is these kinds of restaurants. I would still not avoid the drinks, the place is so inviting to have a drink of two. So I reckon that a dinner for two in El willy can be had for just around 400 RMB, or even less.
Half jug of Sangria was enough for two. We agreed it was very good.
Unless you are in a tight budget, Shanghai is the place to go crazy and go on foodies quest. Shanghai display and impressive array t in the many awesome and delicious restaurants that this city offers. Some big cities in China don’t even have a single restaurant that offers Spanish paella, in Shanghai I could count more than half a dozen restaurants that do. The variety and quality are awesome, if your wallet can take the hit.
I did visit the restaurant at night and after the dinner is over some people continue to party at the very nearby Bund venues.
You can visit El willy restaurant official website clicking here: El willy
EL WILLY – HAPPY SPANISH RESTAURANT
Mon-Sat 11.30am – 2.30pm, 6pm – 11.30pm
Saturday Brunch 11.30am-3pm
ADDRESS AND CONTACT
South Bund 22
5F, 22 Zhongshan Dong Er Lu
(near Jinling Dong Lu)
Shanghai, China – zip 200031
TEL. (+86) 21 5404 5757
PS: I’m not associated with this restaurant in any way, I paid my bill in full and all my opinions are my own :).
PS2: I include a YouTube video on how to cook authentic Spanish paella, enjoy!.