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Name:Trader Vic's, Shanghai China (restaurant)
Type:restaurant
Street:598 Fengyang Road, Jingan District
City:Shanghai
State:
Zip:200041
country:China
Phone:86 21 5228 3882
Status:closed (open December 29, 2006 - February 2008, R.I.P.)

Description:
Opened in 2006, Trader Vic's Shanghai is located on an otherwise unremarkable city block. It sits on the second floor of a building above another restaurant called Frankie's. According to the staff, this 1,200-square-meter, 153-seat restaurant — in 2007 at least — is the largest Trader Vic's in the world.

[ Edited by: serious voodoo 2007-08-22 22:44 ]

[ Edited by: serious voodoo 2008-06-02 02:48 ]

I couldn't really go all the way to Shanghai, and not visit Trader Vic's.

Approaching the front, one passes 3 large tikis guarding the place. Not content with that, there is a doorman with a radio headset who informs the hostess of incoming guests. Upon entering, one sees a foyer containing several more tikis including one that makes use of tree roots for the hair.

Heading up the stairs leads one to the hostess desk where depending on your desire, food or merely drinks, you are lead to one of the dining rooms or the bar. There are several dining rooms and three additional banquet rooms — the Captain's Room, the Admiral's room and the Trader's room. Large tikis and masks are scattered throughout. This is one luxurious restaurant.

The largest concentration of tiki decorations is in the bar area. I was particularly taken with the maori-styled candleholders. (Though unfortunately none were taken BY me.) The large dance floor is set in front of a stage which hosts a band on certain nights. The domed area above the dance floor has a canoe and copious decorations, but I would have needed a fisheye lens to photograph it properly. When there's no band, and even when there is, salsa seems to be the music of choice.

The cocktail waitresses, mostly Filipino gals, were friendly and chatty, but not intrusive and were dressed in lovely sarong-type dresses.

I had no complaints about the food. On my first visit I had an Australian rib eye steak, which was tasty, though a little fibrous. Sometimes that's just the way a rib eye is. On my second visit I had a pork chop with garlic mashed potatoes and it was delicious. My dinner companion and I split a chocolate soufflé for desert and it was a delight.

Drinks were overall solidly, though not masterfully made. On my second visit, since my companion wanted to learn how to make a Mai Tai, I had the bartender line up each of the ingredients in shot glasses on the bar, had my companion pour them in the shaker one by one, sniffing the mixture at each stage, and finally had the barman shake it up and pour it. (I had to bruise the mint myself.) This was compared with the standard Trader Vic's Mai Tai Mix version they serve and the verdict was clear: old school all the way. We gave the bartender a nice tip and hopefully he'll be able to make these for others in the future.

All in all, a pleasant evening each time, though I would have like to see how busy it gets on a Friday or Saturday night, but alas, I was otherwise occupied on those days. Perhaps on a future visit.

  • SV

Thanks for the pics and details....the place is beautiful. Love tha hairball tiki....she is a bute!!!

T

Wow,

Looks great in there. How come Shanghai gets a REALLY NICE Trader Vics, and Los Angeles gets their's downgraded to the pool bar at the Beverly Hilton ?

No justice.

The Tikiyaki Orchestra would look great on that band stage, with those cool backdrops, I must say.

[ Edited by: tikiyaki 2007-08-27 08:34 ]

S

This one is really big, but in a not-so-easy-found area. Anyway, i heard the same owner will open a second Trader Vics in China - November in Beijing.

H

O

Serious Voodoo, Great story of the Mai Tai challenge you held at Trader Vic's. Did you have to bring any of the ingredients or did they have everything such as limes and mint already?
Something about that one tiki reminds me of Spector.

Life is a state of mind

[ Edited by: Ojaitimo 2007-09-29 17:36 ]

They had everything. The bar seems well stocked, though I didn't see many higher-end rums. I have to say the staff was super friendly and the bartender — though a little befuddled at first — was happy to help out and participate in making the drink.

I think a good chunk of thier clientele is either well-to-do Chinese or foreigners on an expense account. You can't see it, but just to the left of the leftmost tiki - the one at the corner of the building - is a spot where very high priced cars usually sit guarded by a security guy with a walkie talkie.

Here's a local advertisement for the place.

  • SV

Gee, isn't it a (yet another) sad commentary on the current state of Trader Vic's when a customer has to teach one of their own bartenders how to make the world-famous drink that their own company founder invented and for which they are famous? Sad, sad.

I kind of expect it these days, and not just in the world of tiki. When it comes to food, drink, etc., things are sold as being "authentically" Mexican, Spanish, Japanese, New Mexican, Cajun, or what have you, by people who wouldn't know the real thing if they stumbled across it. I don't mind as much if it's an honest mistake and they have a real interest in learning about it. It's when they don't care and are just using it for marketing purposes that it galls me.

It's not just that I'm a purist at heart - though that's certainly part of it - it's that often enough people get a wrong idea about something to the point where the original gets changed to meet the expectations of the hordes who expect it to be a certain way, regardless of the merits — and hence long traditions — that are part of the original.

That's why it's so gratifying to find people who really "get it", whatever "it" is. What's even better is when you introduce a friend to "it" and you see their eyes light up as they suddenly get "it" and you feel as if you've struck a blow for truth and purity.

I can't believe how emotional I am about this topic. I need to go take a breather.

  • SV

If you do ever find yourself in Shanghai, this might come in handy as the place is not well known to taxi drivers at this time.

  • SV

S

Well, for the record, the Atlanta Trader Vic's is bigger. Seats probably more like 300. There won't be a chance to compare now though.

My brother is in China right now so I asked him to see if there was anything left of the Shanghai Trader Vic's. He swung by last night and got these shots.

![](http://www.tikis.f-stop.com/images/Trader Vics - Front.JPG)
![](http://www.tikis.f-stop.com/images/Trader Vics - Side.JPG)
![](http://www.tikis.f-stop.com/images/Trader Vics - Back.JPG)
![](http://www.tikis.f-stop.com/images/Trader Vics - Door Handles.JPG)

He wrote, in part: "Well, we found Trader Vics here in Shanghai. Its actually only a few blocks from Peoples Square, but remote enough and pretty isolated from main traffic that its not surprising that it went under."

"We looked around outside the building and could not find any loose tikis just lying around for the taking... :)"

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