Classic French dining in a relaxed ambience
Cellar To Table has been like a breath of fresh air to Shanghai since it first opened its doors to customers late last year.
Its convivial atmosphere and upscale location make it a unique dining experience, with well-executed dishes and an exceptional wine selection.
Owner and wine director Philippe Huser, who opened the city’s first fine wine and dine restaurant Napa in 2007, is the brain behind this new concept.
The bistro and wine bar, occupying part of the first floor of the newly refurbished historic villa located at 20 Donghu Road, features an inviting 30-seat interior, appealing to sophisticated diners all over the metropolis.
There is an additional outdoor yard space, preferably for the warmer months, although a cozy tent is available for customers to make use of the outdoor space in winter if they prefer.
There are 400 wine references at Cellar To Table, which include affordable, boutique and lesser-known wines in the market, but each is selected for its distinctive character and value, thus the reason wine aficionados frequent here — exceptional wines at remarkably reasonable prices.
The food and wine is intrinsically linked and each one enhances the other while preserving its fundamental character.
Francisco Araya, former executive chef at Napa, heads the kitchen, bringing his very own style of cooking with distinctive Mediterranean flavors.
He makes dishes shine through their simplicity. Each dish I tried was delicious without any unnecessary garnish.
The highlights include Rougie foie gras, topped with grapes and served with apple chutney, piquillo with crabmeat, comte cheese and bisque, squid in its own ink sauce and French classics such as duck confit and croque madame.
The Mediterranean-style bites with a selected white wine is a perfect way to start off dinner.
The restaurant’s by-the-glass selection is ideal if you are not keen on selecting a bottle. It starts at 40 yuan for a glass of Swiss white from Lavaux.
Each plate is cooked perfectly; even something as simple as the iconic French ham and cheese sandwich can steal the show. Steak and frites, another classic plate of wagyu flank steak with chimichurri sauce and fries, has a wow factor.
But don’t let that stop you from moving onto the restaurant’s blackboard specials.
The kitchen constantly offers new dishes but if it has positive feedback among diners, it will stay on the a-la-carte menu for longer.
Opening hours: 6pm-1am, closed on Tuesdays
Address: 20 Donghu Rd
Average price: 500 yuan (US$77.28)