Have you ever done an Internet search for a restaurant and little or nothing came up? We did that way back in early 2005 for a fantastic Chinese restaurant in Allston called Shanghai Gate and could not believe that this little gem had absolutely no entries on Google at the time we first went to this restaurant. Yes, Shanghai Gate was a fairly new dining spot at the time, and sure, information on this restaurant has increased once people started discovering how truly great this it is, but still, NO entries? It made no sense that this attractive and laid-back restaurant, was completely unknown for awhile. It definitely has a bit more of a following now, though, and for good reason--though Shanghai Gate still remains mostly under the radar for reasons that are not easy to understand.
Shanghai Gate is one of several authentic Chinese restaurants that have entered the Boston restaurant scene over the past decade or so. Along with the beloved Qingdao Garden in Cambridge, the little-known Wang's in Somerville, and the bustling Shangri-La in Belmont, Shanghai Gate satisfies diners who are looking for something other than Americanized Chinese food. You won't want to come to Shanghai Gate for chicken fingers and spare ribs; instead, try such dishes as the meaty and thick scallion pancakes, the sharp-tasting string beans in garlic sauce, the freshly made and oh-so-tender beef dumplings, the equally fresh and tender Shanghai pan-fried noodles, the spicy and crunchy paradise mountain chicken, the tender and flavorful home-style eggplant, the lion's head casserole (large, crusty pork meatballs with baby greens in a soy-based sauce), the beef with green peppers soaked in a very hot brown sauce, the tremendous pork bun plate that is almost guaranteed to make a mess out of everything (and everyone) near you due to the liquid-filled dumplings, the savory stir-fried beef with pickled cabbage, the equally-good sizzling beef, or the spicy chicken plate that will probably leave you sweating. These dishes, along with many other delectable beef, chicken seafood, and tofu entrees, are prepared beautifully, and have the wholesome freshness that is not always found in other Chinese restaurants. And for those looking for even more in the way of authentic Chinese dishes, the "Chef Suggest" menu has some interesting choices, including a bright-tasting (and rather filling) sizzled eggplant with pork and garlic, mashed taro, braised pig knuckles, and sliced sea conch.
Allston has some great restaurants, and Shanghai Gate can surely be included with the best of them. And this restaurant proves that diners do not necessarily need to go to Chinatown to get outstanding Chinese food. While Shanghai Gate has indeed made a name for itself among locals as well as Boston's Asian population, it is still relatively unknown, which means that you probably won't have much of a line to wait in if you come to this wonderful restaurant. Lovers of authentic Chinese food who don't like the crowds in Chinatown should definitely make a point of trying Shanghai Gate.
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