Shanghai No 1 Seafood Village – A dining experience fit for Royalty, Aristocrats, and Foodies

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I love this place. I absolutely love this place. It was my first time dining at Shanghai No 1 Seafood Village a couple days ago with a few friends who have been a little obsessed with the hype that Food Critic Jonathan Gold cemented in his restaurant review earlier this year. I have not read his review, because 99% of my Foodie friends have frequented Shanghai No 1 Seafood Village not once, not twice, not even three times, but some twenty times since the review to stuff their faces silly dumplings and baos. Having seen so many updates of their check-ins and food photos posted on Facebook about the dim sum, I figured that it was my turn to do some serious eating over there. Instead of dim sum, my friends and I came for dinner. 

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We were greeted warmly, which left me with a positive impression. I loved the restaurant’s visually lavish, swanky decor. They say the restaurant was modeled after an ancient palace. I loved the glitz, because I felt like a part of the VIP party amazed with the dining room. I couldn’t help but say to myself,  ”What a cool place to take a date or impress the out of town guests.”  Wow, ornamental walls and plenty of Asian furnishing with touches of old photographs of the city of Shanghai and its aristocrat society pre-Mao. Yep, this is a visually impressive restaurant, but I was curious to know what the food was like. 

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My friends did all the ordering since they studied the Mr. Gold’s restaurant review. After 15 minutes, I finally decided to look at the menu. What a menu!   I LOVE THE MENU! It’s a book of beautiful food photography of every single item that they serve at Shanghai No 1 Seafood Village. In all honesty, I want a menu to take home with me as it would look great on my coffee table. 

My friends had ordered exactly what our server says he would have recommended to us. 
1.) Stone Pot Fried Rice – Ahhhh! The aromatics of this fried rice is a better aromatherapy than those scented candles. This fried rice is literally served in a hot stone. It’s tossed with some veggies, some seafood, and bits of pork belly. It is delicious!
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2.) Sheng Jian Bao – A plate of eight pieces of half streamed, half fried pork bun. These little delicate token of treasures are like a savory Hershey’s Kiss. They make you feel good and delightfully happy when when you bite into them for the first time. Oh! Be careful of the pork soup inside and make sure that you have a napkin in close proximity. The first bite is like Niagara Falls!

3.) Spicy Eggplant – The Spicy Eggplant is perhaps the best eggplant dish that I’ve tasted throughout the Los Angeles area. I say this, because I have combed many Asian restaurants and I have often times ordered a spicy eggplant dish. What makes this eggplant dish uber special is that it is steamed with red chili peppers, red bell pepper, and plenty of aromatic garlic. Discovering this dish was a wonderful surprise as it was tasty! 
4.) Crab – Let’s face it, you can get a 2.5 pound crab served in many different ways at Shanghai No 1 Seafood Village. I loved what my friends chose for our dinner, which was a whole crab steamed and then tossed in a dry wok with aromatic Italian bread crumbs with roasted garlic, ginger, and red chili peppers. All the spices permeated the succulent crab meat and it was fun nibbling every morsel. I have never had crab served like this before. Although it was a bit messy, I admit that I enjoyed eating it.
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To sum it up, my first dinner experience at Shanghai No 1 Seafood Village was memorable and worthy of repeat visits in the near future. The ambiance is impressive, the dinner service was impeccable, and the food was absolutely incredible. Expect high end, attentive service during dinner. A fork was suggested before any of my friends asked to have one. Water came to the table each time a friend of mine pointed out that she wanted more water or tea. Oh, and the food arrived hot from the kitchen without any hiccups in the timing. Take note that a few items on the menu are single servings, so ask plenty of questions when you order. Our server had pointed out that a $6.50 crab soup was actually the price per serving and the abalone was also the price per piece. 

Last, but not least, the restaurant will only take a combination of cash and only one credit card per bill. Sorry, but no split bills or multiple split forms of payment are accepted. As such, when bringing a dining group to the restaurant, make reservations ahead of time and make sure that each person in your dinner party pays with cash as it makes it easier for the restaurant (and you) to settle the bill.

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