You know every dietician on God’s green earth would shake their disapproving head at you for eating Nachos (which shall be capitalized out of respect throughout this article), but how could Nachos be wrong when they taste so right! If you’re going to soak your body in saturated fats and cholesterol, make it count. Here are out picks for the best Nachos in Shanghai.
One of those ‘best kept secrets’ – indeed, this writer is almost loathe to share – The Chalet is a warm oaky space true to its name, cozily nestled on the French Concession’s Yongjia Road. Their incredible happy hour runs from 3pm-9pm and offers house wines at 25 RMB and a wide selection of cocktails at 30 RMB, served charmingly to your table by the Chalet’s two skilled, long-standing bartenders.
The Nachos are part of a US bistro-style menu put together by head honcho and former restaurant manager Dennis. The sizable yet digestible portion comes with all the usual trimmings – guacamole, sour cream, salsa, jalapeños, cheese and beef – but is set apart by the thick, lavishly portioned cheese and the unique, sweet salsa that delights every mouthful, tying the dish together with a sweet tangy twist. Some kind-hearted lettuce on top even affords you the illusion you’re not feasting yourself into an early grave!
Go for the Nachos, and stay for the happy hour Moscow mules that pack a kick harder than their namesake.
Add: 385 Yongjia Rd, Xuhui District
Tel: 0086 021 3401 0958
Pistolera is fast becoming Shanghai’s favorite Mexican restaurant. The Xujiahui branch’s beautiful, scenic deck offers leafy views of Hengshan Road, the striking art deco Hengshan Cinema, and Xujiahui’s lofty lipstick towers – book ahead as this spot is no secret. While taking in the views, you’d be hard-pressed to pick anything but class from this menu, with the al pastor and tinga tacos demanding a mention.
Pistolera gives you a healthy (so to speak) five options for your Nachos: vegetarian, al pastor pork, chorizo, homemade chili, and grilled beef carne asada. They are served either half or full sized and priced between 50-95 RMB.
The multiple-award winning Chili Nachos is the indisputable frontrunner. Juicy, sweet and perfectly spiced, it’s balanced with the dry, crunchy chips in a manner nothing short of artful. You’ll find no mountain of thick cheese here, Pistolera’s creamy decadence comes in the form of a light layer of Monterrey Jack cheese, accompanied by both chipotle mayo and jalepeño-avocado cream. Topped off with pico de gallo salsa, sour cream, refried beans, habanero pickled onions, and thick cut jalapeños, you won’t find a better Nachos in the city.
Go for the Nachos, and stay for the Tequilettos on the deck or margaritas downstairs with the live Latin band.
Add: 838 Hengshan Rd, XuJiaHu, Xuhui District
Tel: 0086 021 5461 0619
The Shed is a popular Aussie-themed bar on Shaanxi Bei Lu, perhaps most famous for its Wednesday nights, when people travel from far and wide to gorge themselves on chicken wings for 2 kuai a pop. But he who looks beyond the wings shall be rewarded. Sitting unassumingly amidst the bustling menu says one simple word: Nachos 80 RMB. Genuine pity wells up inside me for the countless poor souls who have, in their forgivable ignorance, overlooked this humble option.
The dish is a mountainous stack – you might wonder if Smaug of the Misty Mountain himself might spring forth from its voluminous depths breathing scorching jalapeños. Bring a friend or prepare to regress to infantile weeping as you stare desperately at the leftover feast cursing your inoperable stomach.
The core of any Nachos are the chips. The Shed’s are curvacious, muscular, salty, crunchy and deliciously corny. Where once a dry chip was a lamentable affair, here it’s almost a rare treat. But Nachos aren’t Nachos without the cheese. And these chips are harmoniously complemented by thick creamy layer upon layer, permeated by juicy red and green peppers. Yes, there’s Australian ground beef; yes, there’s guacamole, salsa and sour cream on the side; yes, they’re all good. But with such a strong base, they would have had to try to go wrong.
Go for the Nachos, and stay if you have any idea what the AFL, NRL or the Currie Cup is and like watching it.
Add: 698 Shaanxi Bei Rd
Tel: 0086 021 6237 6381
This is a Gastro-pub that can be transformed into a food bar, which has become quite popular just in the last two years. Now Shanghai has the most perfect interpretation of this concept with the new bar – Shanghai Brewery.
Nacho with beef sauce is the best. The waiters may recommend you to add minced beef chili to the nachos, but it depends on you.
Add: 21C Lane Street, Hong Mei Road, Minhang District
Tel: 0086 021 6406 5919
With its thirteen-year history, Big Bamboo is a historical expat institution. The archetypal sports bar features pool tables, foosball, darts, and shuffleboard, plus a looming legion of TVs that have probably shown every significant sporting event of the last decade.
With around 100 dishes – burgers, hot dogs, salads, Tex-Mex, pasta and pizzas – you won’t struggle to satiate any comfort food craving. But amongst the generally overpriced (45 RMB French fries anyone?) unremarkable dishes pervading the menu, the Nachos stand tall. The standard Nachos Locos offers tortillas topped with tomatoes, peppers, olives, jalapeños, melted cheese, and side pots of sour cream, salsa and refried beans (88 RMB). But the party really starts when you add either chicken (El Pollo Nachos) or, the pièce de résistance, beef (Macho Nachos).
Though a tad on the pricier side (108 RMB), the Macho Nachos muscular size necessitates sharing. Crucially, they don’t fall prey to the fatal flaw of top loading, where the majority of dry tortillas sit underneath a pile of sloppily mixed toppings (à la Shanghai Brewery). Instead, effective layering ensures few tortillas are left lonely and dry, with convenient side pots allowing to sauce up any rogue stragglers.
Go to share the Macho Nachos, and stay for a beer over any televised sports event you can imagine.
Add: 132 Nanyang Road, Jing’an District
Tel: 0086 021 6256 2265