We figure that it was time to do a post about our favorite Shanghai restaurant of them all. Assuming that the overarching criteria for “favorite” is how often one goes to eat at a certain restaurant, then Coco 壱番屋 (more lovingly known amongst its many fans as Coco Curry) towers above all the other establishments on our list (and apparently, we’re not the only ones).
This Japanese import franchise (there are seven of them scattered throughout town) specializes in Japanese-style curry sauce, usually poured over a mound of fluffy white rice. For us, our mouth literally waters whenever we think of digging into our favorite combo: spicy curry over fried chicken chunks, always accompanied by an extra side order of curry sauce to make sure everything on our plate is seriously drenched. The sauce is the key to the entire magical equation: its consistency, texture, and blend of spices is pitch-perfect. Diners have the option of choosing between 5 levels of spiciness for their curry sauce, as well as extra portions of rice. Besides extra sauce, sides include an array of meats (pork and chicken katsu, grilled beef, prawns) and veggies, with our decadent favorite (melted cheese) falling into neither category. This flexibility is one of Coco Curry’s great charms, and another reason why there are always eager lines during lunch and dinner hours at the Jing’an location (in the basement of City Plaza), which we think is just slightly tastier than its sister restaurants. Just make sure you hit it up between busy hours if you’re looking to eat right away. At well under 30-40 RMB per plate, depending on how much stuff you add to it, it’s one of the tastiest bargains in town, and why it’s the first thing that pops into our head when people ask us what our favorite restaurant is. Enjoy!
Coco Curry – basement of City Plaza 1618 Nanjing Lu (南京西路1618号久光百货B1楼) Tel: 6288-5167. For details on other locations (Zhongshan Park, Xujiahui, etc), check out dianping here.
Eric Hu is Shanghaiist’s Food Editor. Email tips, recommendations, and news and gossip about Shanghai’s food scene to food at shanghaiist.com.