Deda Restaurant

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473 Nanjing Road, Shanghai, China

Deda Restaurant Shanghai Reviews

spocklogic spocklog…
325 reviews
Shanghai Landmark Restaurant Nov 18, 2014
This restaurant, as I understand, is somewhat of an institution in Shanghai, having been around since 1897 and even survived the Chinese revolution of 1949, which is quite something considering that many things of western influence were not in favor then. In some ways I suppose this restaurant symbolized western influence in the city, which even today can be seen in some of the architecture, especially near the Bund. The original restaurant opened on opened in 1897 on 177 Tang Gu Lu in Hongkou district, then was relocated to 359 SiChuan Bei lu in 1949. The present restaurant on 473 Nanjing Road has been here since 2007.

From one of the restaurant place mats I took a photo of, here is how the restaurant describes itself:

"Deda restaurant was opened in 1897 and the main characteristic of Deda is serving western food in European and American style. As Deda has been esteemed for over a hundred years, many elder Shanghinese fell into their first love in Deda. Deda is also a place where many young Shanghainese acquainted western food and then love Western-style food. Deda has been a great memory for many elder Shanghainese and it is considered as 'classic'. At the same time modern Shanghainese choose Deda as a good place to express their love and experience fashion and romance."

The placemat also has pictures of the previous establishments, so the restaurant is obviously proud of its heritage, and the interior design of the restaurant seems to try to preserve an old world atmosphere which could be described as neo-classical, I suppose, to try to capture old style Shanghai around the turn of the 20th century. The wooden tables and chairs, general architectural design and subdued lighting reminded me of old establishments in Europe I've been to that reflect the neo-classical style too, so it seems to succeed in the decor it is trying to emulate.

The food itself is obviously of western influence, but with some Chinese touches as well, which is natural. Unfortunately, for the dishes we sampled anyway, the food is rather average and nothing that really stood out as special. Nothing that was really bad, but nothing to make one come back again either. This is a shame because the ambiance is quite nice and the legacy of the establishment endearing. It's the kind of place where the memory would be a special one if the food was better and the waitstaff a bit more attentive.

I generally think sometimes that the behavior of the waitstaff reflects the food quality too, which is a statement on overall management. The people here just seemed to be going through the motions with no real enthusiasm. When we arrived and were seated, the restaurant did not have many patrons yet, but there were several of the waitstaff just standing around chatting and paying not much attention to the customers that were there, us included. I found it a bit strange too that a restaurant with western influence didn't have waitstaff that spoke at least some English anyway. Overall, a disappointment, but I see the potential there, to live up to its legacy as a Shanghai Landmark.

The sign over the revolving door entrance says "Deda Westen Restaurant", which I assume was perhaps a misspelling of 'Western'. I was not able to locate a website for the place, so just called it "Deda Restaurant" (德大) like it said on the place mat. Here are some links, however, on 'foreign flavors' in Shanghai that I found interesting:
Deda Restaurant exterior I
Deda Restaurant exterior II
Revolving door entrance. Hmmm is W…
Deda Restaurant interior I
7 / 7 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Zagnut66 says:
Sometimes the quality of service goes down on typically slow days (such as Monday or Tuesday) since the best cooks and waiters are given those days off. Though this might not pertain here.
Posted on: Jan 22, 2015
vances says:
Too bad you were a bit dis-oriented by the wait staff...

Posted on: Jan 22, 2015
gingerbatik says:
interesting review Brian - I usually avoid western food especially in China or other country, unless it is really famous, likewise I would avoid Chinese food in Europe as most of the time the food were modify to the western standard. The restaurant looks nice though.
Posted on: Jan 22, 2015
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photo by: spocklogic