Spanish gem in the French Concession

Updated: 2011-10-30 07:46

By Yang Yijun (China Daily)

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 Spanish gem in the French Concession

Tuna fish with caramelized tomato, eggplant and sweet soy sauce. Provided to China Daily

Spanish gem in the French Concession


Hidden in a three-story villa on the lush and tranquil Fenyang Road, El Patio is a place for authentic Spanish cuisine in the former French Concession. As the owners say, they want to create a place where all the senses come alive - the Spanish way.

The first floor, decorated in white, is suitable for casual gathering while the second floor, in mainly red, is ideal for romantic and intimate dining. The fireplace, sofa and Spanish paintings make the place romantic, fun and lively.

El Patio's celebrated head chef Franki Fernandez has passionately created a menu with perfect balance between the innovative and traditional.

We had arrived without reservations and had to sit in the garden, as the indoor seats were fully booked. But it turned out to be an equally nice experience to dine in the autumn breeze with candlelight.

The dishes are served quickly, and the beautiful presentation is impressive. My favorite tapas: poached egg with black truffle and potato cream, a popular dish in the restaurant. I love the smooth combination of yolk and cream, with black truffle adding to the fragrance.

The bull's tail, presented in a cocktail glass, is also delicious thanks to the creamy and warm texture. Fried baby calamari is chewy but a little dry; a squeeze of lemon helped.

The paella, Spanish seafood rice, is full of fresh lobsters, mussels and more. It was sizzling when served, making it very appetizing. The size of the dish can easily satisfy two persons.

For dessert, a chocolate coulant with orange ice cream and raspberry cream is recommended.

The restaurant also recently opened the Bubbles Bar on the third floor. As its name goes, the bar features a wide range of sparkling wine, cocktails and seasonal surprises.

The space is very charming and cozy with the original vaulted wooden ceiling. It has two tranquil terraces with pleasant views of the streets of the former French Concession.

In Bubbles, you can taste the cavas produced by the Freixenet Group, the premium Spanish sparkling wine produced according to the champagne method and using mainly premium local Spanish grapes.

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(China Daily 10/30/2011 page13)