[Shanghai] elEFANTE: Mediterranean by el Willy

Categories: Mediterranean, Deli

Address: 20 Donghu Rd, near Huaihai Lu (东湖路20号, 靠近淮海中路)
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 11:00am – 3:00pm (lunch), 6:00pm – 10:30pm (dinner);
            closed Mondays
Date visited: August 2013 
Price: ¥136 RMB for two (lunch)
Reservations:  Preferably yes for dinner
Verdict: Slightly disappointing for its reputation. I’d probably come back to try their dinner menu. Lunch was mediocre.

www.el-efante.com | Facebook | 5404 8085

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Why elephants, you may ask. At least that was my question when I finally found the entrance (it’s a little hidden if you don’t know what you’re looking for). It is located inside The Happy House, at the former venue of “el Willy.” If you can’t find it,jJust follow the elephant path - look for the big elephant outside on the street and walk straight into the little alley. Inside you’ll find the big door leading not only to elEFANTE, but also to Sushi Oyama and La Vinoteca Torres.

  The big elephant on the street. 

The big elephant on the street. 

elEFANTE is the new brainchild of chef/restaurateur Willy Truliàs Moreno, the man behind “el Willy.” It is a Mediterranean deli and restaurant with an elephantine menu (haha, get it?) that offers both traditional and eclectic Spanish/Italian influenced dishes such as imported cheeses and charcuterie, “fried egg with grilled scampi, wild mushrooms and pedo ximenez reduction” and “organic crudités with ‘eastern dips’: baba ganoush, hummus, taramosalata.”

  With Shanghai Girls Eats. And cute menu page!

With Shanghai Girls Eats. And cute menu page!

Although dinner here can get pricey, the lunch sets here won’t break your bank:

  • Two mini dishes, ¥25 RMB
  • Appetizers, ¥58 RMB
  • Mains, ¥68 RMB
  • Desserts, ¥48 RMB
  • Juices, ¥35-60 RMB

My lunch date ("the other crazy camera girl") Shanghai Girl Eats and I ordered two mains and shared.

Seared snapper with grilled vegetables sumac and vierge sauce (¥68 RMB)

I was disappointed to find the snapper a little overcooked. The grilled vegetables were fine but the overall flavors of the dish weren’t all that exciting. It was not bad but I certainly expected something more avant-garde from el Willy.

  Seared snapper with grilled vegetables sumac and vierge sauce

Squid ink spaghetti with seafood, arugula, preserved lemon  (¥68 RMB)

Squid ink pasta is always a hit or miss. The spaghetti was decent and I loved the scallops but again, it wasn’t anything particularly special. There was just something lacking from this dish that makes me want to come back for it.  

  Squid ink spaghetti with seafood, arugula, preserved lemon

However, the restaurant décor is adorable. Go scavenge for all the elephants!

  Chopsticks
  Elephant at the bar.

The deli shop sells specialty Spanish food items such as cold cuts.

  Deli