Thursday, July 28, 2011
Santa Barbara Eats: Shang Hai Chinese Restaurant
When you're craving Kung Pao, chow fun or orange chicken, who better to trust than the original Chinese spot in Santa Barbara?
For the last 30 years, the little, yet classy hole in the wall has been satisfying SB locs with everything your inner asian desires.
Owner Evette took over her fathers business some 27 years ago so he could focus on his work in the kitchen.
Shang Hai, nestled next to a laundromat and a liquor store in an upper Milpas plaza, isn't what you'd assume it to be from the outside. This place is actually pretty nice. Nice pleather booths, nice 80s inspired watercolor art, good service.
Actually, my server smiled so much I don't think I saw the whites of her eyes.
On my two trips to Shang Hai, I enjoyed the beef chow fun, Kung Pao scallops, and every American's favorite (drum roll please): orange chicken.
All were exceptional. Especially the their chow fun, which was highlighted by it's thinner-than-most noodles. Shang Hai also hosts a great vegetarian menu (created because Evette is a vegetarian) and a lunch special menu that'll cost you less than $10. Their fried rice game needs some work though. Besides that, this is the spot to hit when your inner china man (or woman) is craving.
Day in and day out, Evette,50, and her father Kent, 70, still serve up the same Chinese food they have for more than 30 years.
"I once told my father, maybe we can retire together. So wait for me," Evette said smiling.