When you go there, please mind that this restaurant is not where it is showed on the Happycow.org map!!! It is just off People's square, it is the building next to the "JW Marriott hotel" / the Ferrari Maserati Commercial center and opposite the Porsche Dealership on Nanjing West road. On Google maps, I could also find it under "Gongdelin Maipinbu".
I was skeptical when I read the reviews here, and my first visit did not really give me a great impression. I arrived 10 minutes before kitchen closing time (21:30), sat on the ground floor, and ordered "Budda jumps over the Wall" and the fried noodles as I could not find many other things on the Chinese/English menu that I could remember from the reviews here (unfortunately I did not read the reviews closely, otherwise I would have noticed that those are NOT suggested to non-Chinese people here). Both dishes were ok-ish, the noodles quite oily and a little bland, the soup was made from a variety of mushrooms that are not very common to the Western taste (but supposedly very healthy). I am not sure whether the taste of the dish or my unfamiliarity with Chinese cuisine are to blame, but I did not find it bad, only a little strange.
Luckily, I decided to give the restaurant another try, and it was the right decision. On my second visit (with some omni colleagues), I went to the first floor (which is much nicer), and we ordered
(suggestion for first-time visitors)
- Hot and Sour soup,
- Ma-Po tofu (Hot Pepper tofu)
- Beijing style mock duck
- sweet and sour mock fish
- mixed vegetable and mushroom
All of those dishes were absolutely delicious, and my colleagues commended me on the choice of the restaurant. Have been going there at least once on each of my subsequent Shanghai visits (about once a month), never regretted it!
Especially the 'Ma-Po tofu' was the best I have ever had (and that is a signature dish of my Chinese wife), the food was plentiful, the service ok, and the total bill (including tea and fresh mango juice) was about 300 RMB (40 EUR)
On the ground floor, they have a smaller "fast food" lunch menu, you order in advance (e.g. noodle soup for 20 RMB) and sit at a table where there is space. Good value for money & quick.
However, the restaurant is NOT VEGAN - so you have to check/ask! E.g. the Guava juice is prepared with dairy milk.
Updated from previous review on Monday September 08, 2014
Cons: You should know what to order, NOT VEGAN - check what you order