Back (in the very recent past), when it was named Daojianghu, this little Japanese izakaya restaurant quickly became one of my favorite spots on Sinan Lu. It boasted a snazzy interior, a decently priced menu and 20rmb Asahi drafts. It’s now been renamed Shoga (perhaps it thought its previous moniker was too confusing), but it retains all those things that made it great, only… the drafts have become even cheaper!
Well, for two hours at least. Shoga has a later night happy hour between 8pm and 10pm where it boasts 10rmb Asahi drafts (and 25rmb cocktails). Each draft is a full 500ml and comes in a pre-chilled glass. If there is anywhere on that stretch of Sinan that can beat those prices, I haven’t found it yet.
You don’t have to sacrifice anything gastronomically to enjoy those ice cold drafts either. Shoga’s menu is best described as Japanese casual dining with touches of Chinese. You won’t find any sashimi here (though, there are a few rolls options). Rather, there’s a selection of appetizers, fried snacks and comfort food.
Some favorite starters include the refreshing pomelo shrimp salad (45rmb) – juicy shrimp paired with tart pomelo and a dressing that’s faintly Thai – and the Tsukune (32rmb) – chicken meatballs with hints of mushroom, smothered in yakitori sauce. Shoga also is one of the few places in downtown Shanghai where I’ve found a good okonomiyaki – a Japanese pancake of mashed meat, noodles and napa cabbage, topped with mayo and worchestershire sauce. Their okonomiyaki options have unfortunately declined since the name change, but the lone remaining choice, the Hiroshima okonomiyaki (38rmb), is still both filling and piquant.
For the mains, we recommend sticking on the Japanese side of the menu. Though they have options like Shoga fried rice (42rmb) and dan dan noodles (38rmb), they were mild imitations of stuff you could get right down the street. Instead, try the warm duck soba (38rmb), which comes in a light velvety broth and with tender slices of duck.
Service, which had been iffy while it was still called Daojianghu, has been tremendously improved. We were asked if we wanted refills just before our beers hit empty. They handled multiple orders of extra food with aplomb.
Part of this may be due to our table consistently being one of just two or three other filled seats in the house each time we’ve gone. For a place with so much to offer, it’s been shockingly empty each visit. Perhaps by encouraging others to go too, we’ll be ruining that sweet spot of service… but it’s worth it if it means we get tokeep Shoga.
Shoga is located at 30 Sinan Lu, near Huaihai Zhong Lu, 思南路 30号. Telephone: 6093-5820