If you happen to be Shanghai and you are hungering for steak, there is a really good franchise that has been imported from Taiwan into many different parts of Shanghai that serves up a really value for money multi course meal, provided of course you are operating on a stronger currency such as the sterling or the dollar as compared to being pegged on the ren ming bi or yuan. It is a bit pricey for people being paid in RMB instead of USD, but that may change in the future as RMB gains momentum. The food sets served there sits in at about 10 to 18 USD for a complete course. Let us go through it in detail.

The Place
It is called Tasty Steak, but its chinese name is rather different. It is also quite hard to search for online but if you ask a local or your hotel for help they should be able to point you to the place. On google currently its the 3rd choice at the time of writing. Their site comprises of a quick look at the meals and sets that they have in RMB that is for their china locations, which happens to include Shanghai. It is strategically located in quite a few hot spots, which makes it easy for you to find one that is closest to where you stay.

Price and Sets
The meals are separated into 3 different types of value meals, which are for more worth it than ordering ala carte although if you are feeling especially hungry you could order two meals but that might be overkill so you might end up just ordering one more main course ala carte so as to finish your appetite but the servings are rather large so on a normal day that shouldn't be the case.

There are three different branches of food available, they are segregated into 3 different segments. The first is the entry level specs at 68 RMB or Yuan, followed by 98 and 128. The difference between the 68 and the 98 is that for the 98 one has both a choice of soup as well as a starter whereas in the 68 one has to choose between either the soup or a starter. As for the difference between 98 and the 128 the cuts of meat and fish used are actually the same, but more effort is taken in the 128 resulting in more unique cooking styles as well as a higher tier of course items in the 128. If you can afford it the 128 is by far much more value for money.

Courses and review

Here are what you can expect in the courses, limited by what I have mentioned earlier in the pricing differences:

Everyone there gets a share of a bread, definitely tastes better than most bread but you might want to pass on it as it takes space in your stomach.

You then start off with a starter which is usually some form of a salad. The more expensive it is the fancier it gets, the salads in the 98 range are not too bad.

This is then followed by soups, I was recommended the snail soup but upon trying it it was rather different from the escargot common in french cuisine. Perhaps they use local snails there but I found the snail fragments rather hard and crispy.

Along the duration of your course, they will serve a fruit sorbet which was an interesting addition.

And that is then followed by the main course where there is the greatest difference between the 3 sets. As mentioned earlier, the 98 and 128 uses the same base cuts and meat but a different cooking style or a different combination. Another good thing about the 128 is that they can offer the best of two 98 worlds for example they have one with a beef fillet in addition to a codfish. Another thing to recommend about the 128 is the huge singular cut, a beef fillet grilled french style was just the right juiciness and flavor. If you're hungering for beef, skip their 68 meal selections as they use some much lower form of chuck. Their fish from the 68 selection there was also inferior. You can actually check out some of their courses through their site but it is in mainland chinese words if that is the correct term to describe them.

They have an amazingly wide variety of dessert choices considering that it is coming in a part of their set meal. I would recommend you head over to the tiramisu or chocolate cakes. Some of their new fangled desserts looks really nice but left something to be desired when actually eating it, or perhaps it was the spices used that was a personal dislike. You could also take their ice creams, some of which looks rather good especially in the 98 section. There was something called end of the world or destruction of it that may make for an interesting choice.

Their drinks are also very intriguing. They mainly serve a selection of coffee with unique finishing touches some of which comes out really well, as well as a mixture of fruit juices and milk teas. I should think that any of the drinks are really good picks, but I have a personal preference for the hot coffees which are served in interesting cups with interesting accompaniments.

If you can afford it by way of a different currency exchange, this meal will probably be one of the most value for money you can have. If you are drawing a Yuan paycheck, then it would be considered on the higher tier of food prices. But in essence one can pay 15 USD for a meal that could cost 38-50 dollars somewhere else so it definitely is a good bargain.

It is strategically located near certain hubs of activity but it would be best if you look for someone to guide you to them. It shouldn't be too hard to find all in all.

Parting Remarks
Definitely a place worth a visit if you happen to be in Shanghai!