Description and review of I-Shanghai Delight, a hard-to-find Shanghainese restaurant located on Front Street in Old Sacramento (aka Old Sacramento Waterfront).
I-Shanghai Delight opened in 2018, in the former location of Cellar Bistro. A friend and I planned to visit the California Railroad Museum recently, so I suggested we have lunch there beforehand. We both love dim sum.
SacramentoRevealed.com – All Things Sacramento (from a personal perspective)
You could very easily walk by the entrance to I-Shanghai Delight if you were not looking for it. There is signage overhead, on the entry door, and a sign board on the wood sidewalk – but that is it. The restaurant is situated underground.
Open the door and walk down the stairway. The foyer at the bottom of the stairs is a bit strange – a darkish area lined with chairs for waiting patrons and a more brightly lit hallway leading to the restrooms.
Pass through the restaurant doorway and you enter a different world. To the right is a glass-walled workstation where two female chefs were making soup dumplings (Xiao Long Bao). The space is attractively decorated, and brightly (but not too brightly) lighted.
We stood by the small sign near the entrance that said “wait to be seated” for a minute. There did not seem to be anyone assigned to the station – but a waiter saw us and motioned us to enter and be seated at a nearby table.
The waiter brought us a menu and when asked what we would like to drink we requested tea. He immediately brought us a good-sized tea pot – enough to last our entire meal. We were also provided with a menu and a pen. I nabbed another menu from the counter, and we both proceeded to look over the offerings.
When we entered the restaurant there were only a few other patrons, but over the course of our meal a number of others arrived – including several families.
Many of the items on the menu were unfamiliar to us – but then I-Shanghai Delight is a Shanghainese (a regional style of Chinese cuisine) restaurant.
We did not realize that we were supposed to check off the items we wanted on the menu (with the provided pen) – so when the waiter came over to take our order he marked off our choices for us. It did not take long at all before we were served.
We decided to be a bit adventurous – ordering a couple of items we were unfamiliar with – and unsure what we would receive. We ordered:
- Pork Soup Dumplings ($8.95)
- Sweet and Sour Spareribs ($8.95)
- Fried Rice Cake Shanghai Style ($4.25)
- Fried Tofu Soup with Vermicelli ($5.95)
The pork soup dumplings were tasty – but not the easiest thing to eat with chopsticks. I know you are supposed to eat Xiao Long Bao in one bite – but it seemed to me that they were too large to do so.
The Sweet and Sour Spareribs were likewise tasty – although as to be expected the meat to bone ratio was more bone than meat.
The Fried Rice Cake Shanghai Style was bland – but I ate several bites after topping it with some of the tasty sauce from the spareribs. That particular dish is not something I would order again.
As for the Fried Tofu Soup with Vermicelli – the broth was very good, but I found the texture of the fried tofu to be “spongy” and not to my liking. I soon discovered that the vermicelli noodles were best eaten with chopsticks – no way could I get them onto the porcelain spoon provided!
While we were eating my friend mentioned that our meal reminded her of an instance where she and some friends were dining at a Chinese restaurant in Australia. They had all commented at the time that it was unlike any other Chinese restaurants they had dined at previously. Sitting there she had figured out why – it had been Shanghainese!
After we finished eating and before we received our bill I decided to take a quick look around. The restaurant towards the rear is really good-sized – much more so than it appears upon entering.
When our waiter delivered our bill to the table we were delighted to find it accompanied by a $5 validation for garage parking!
Will I patronize I-Shanghai Delight again? Yes, at some point – there are certainly other interesting sounding dishes to try.
Comments on I-Shanghai Delight?
Have you patronized I-Shanghai Delight? What would you add?
I-Shanghai Delight Snapshot:
- 1115 Front Street, Sacramento, CA 95814
- (916) 400-3609
- Hours: Monday (11:00 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.); Tuesday – CLOSED; Wednesday – Sunday (11:00 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.)
- Nearby Public Parking Garages ($5 Parking Garage Validation) or Metered Street Parking
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