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There exists a fine line in Shanghai between tacky tourist eats and worthwhile high-end cuisine. To the Sea teeters on the edge.

Nestled alongside the throng of oversized Häagen Dazs and Paulaner outlets, the restaurant offers expensive seafood in a killer setting. However, being on the Huangpu’s riverside promenade opposite the iconic Bund skyline means that everybody wants a slice of the action. The result is that the effort put into elegant décor and feeling of exclusivity is diluted in being surrounded by blasé drinkers and photograph takers.

Which would be fine were it not for To the Sea’s high-end pricing. The restaurant offers probably Shanghai’s most comprehensive Mediterranean seafood menu with cold platters to share from RMB538 and three courses of seafood and meat options. Wines start at RMB60 a glass from a long menu.

A plate of miniature codfish cakes with tomato coulis (RMB88) and a delicate bowl of mussels and clam salad (RMB98) both set the tone for what is adequately well prepared food, presented nicely, though consumed in seconds.

Hoping for a more impactful seafood experience, we chose the halibut fillet (RMB158), an uncommon offering around town. Served in a confit of mint peas and tomato, it cleverly delivered the delicate fish alongside crisp flavors with a slice of firm Iberian ham, bringing seasoning with texture. But a plate of grilled octopus with mashed potatoes (RMB158) was far less rewarding. Large pieces of fleshy meat have somehow lost their tenderness and flavor against an odd combination of smooth potato, bitter olives and strong garlic tones.

  • To the Sea
  • 021 5878-6326

  • Unit A, 2967 Lujiazui Xi Lu, Lujiazui [map]
  • 上海市陆家嘴西路2967号滨江大道北滨江A座

  • Seafood
  • ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
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