El Willy Spanish Restaurant Shanghai

We had something to celebrate and after having read many raving reviews [internal href] of Spanish restaurant El Willy we decided to try them out.
Looking forward to some tapas and paella we were made our way to Donghu Lu. Entering a nicely decorated alley we decided to sit inside. They have a big outdoor seating but rain was in the air.

The Verdict in Short

The verdict in short, nice location, nice decoration, nice food, friendly though slow service, expensive and the fact that they charged for bread without even mentioning it won’t make us come back

When I made a reservation i was first told they were full, but as we were 2 persons, there was a table available after all. (it turned out that the restaurant was not decenty full but not packed).


The menu is not huge and slightly hard to read as it’s rather colorful but we read our way through and started with several tapas. First their King Fish in Vinegar (50 Rmb) and their Shrimp in a mushroom canelloni coconut truffle(65 Rmb) arived. For the last one the mushroom taste was a bit overbearing. A bit later we tasted the Seared Foie Gras (75 Rmb) which had a nice aftertaste and their decent Garden salad.
Part of the fun of eating is dipping bread in the sauces of the dishes. Little did we know at that the time of ordering that the price for 5 small pieces of bread is 20 Rmb which borders on hospitality stingyness.

Wanting to try at least one of their paellas we went for the squid and cuttlefish version. Pitch-black rice mixed with seafood made it its way to our table. It looked good, the taste was rather monotone but I admit I’m not a paella connaisseur.


We drank an excellent bottle of white dry wine, Peter Lehman Semillon (280 Rmb). We had also some watercooler water after we declined the choosing between bottles of sparkling and non-sparkling water.


The staff is very friendly and what I really appreciated was that they had made the reservation personal by having a handwriite note on the table, saying Welcome to El Willy plus my name


I didn’t go but heard there pretty ok and clean.



We had a nice evening, enjoyed most of the food although not mind blowing and were pleased with the service although they were a bit slow.

Then the bill arrived and we were surprised.

El Willy is already not one of the cheapest and charging 20 Rmb for a small basket of bread is just sad, especially if you don’t tell on forehand. It should be part of the service and unfortunately, it left behind an uncomfortable feeling that wanted El Willy wants to squeeze out the last mao. The restaurant does have a great terrace and inside it’s well designed. Despute that, I doubt of I’ll visit them again.

Totally Spent

Persons: 2
Time:3 hrs
Money: 820 Rmb


El Willy Spanish Restaurant
20 Donghu Lu. (cross street Huai Hai Lu)
Tel: + 86 21 5404 5757
Daily 11:00 am - 1:00 pm (closed on Sunday)
Website: http://elwilly.com.cn/

Other Reviews to average the experiences:

City Weekend

You can read here more Shanghai Restaurant Reviews

Disclaimer: All opinions are biased, based on non-existent food knowledge and influenced by the mood of the moment.

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