RAW Eatery & Wood Grill is a true Shanghai institution, captivating diners since opening in 2016. Chef Juan Campos, the visionary behind RAW, has created something truly special, delivering exceptional josper-fired meats and seafood and an ambiance that’s hard to beat.
Six years on, RAW now enters a new chapter, rolling out a new menu and refreshed interiors. Read on for the new dishes and a short interview with chef-patron Juan Campos.
About RAW Eatery and Wood Grill
While it’s often referred to as a Spanish steakhouse, RAW is much more than that.
Yes, their steaks, especially the Uruguayan and Argentinian varieties, are exceptional. And with a Spanish chef in the kitchen, you can expect a unique twist on traditional Spanish dishes. To bring out the best of their raw products, RAW utilizes a josper oven. They were the first restaurant in Shanghai to embrace this charcoal-powered grill and oven, infusing their dishes with a delightful smoky aroma and flavor.
But what sets RAW apart is their ability to provide an all-in-one unique experience. Food, drink, ambiance, and personalization.
The atmosphere at RAW is simply captivating.
When the restaurant is in full swing, the energy is electrifying, filled with lively conversations and the clinking of glasses. Starting at 5:30pm, a few quiet tables are available for an early meal. But by 7:30pm, the dining room is bustling, and the kitchen is operating at full throttle. As diners eagerly await their table, they gather at the entrance, drink in hand, exchanging excited conversations.
And once seated, the true spectacle begins. Juan Campos himself brings out a wooden board adorned with various cuts of steak, showcasing each piece with passion, flair, and charisma.
Interview With Chef-Patron Juan Campos
What do you think has contributed to RAW’s success, especially with the hardships of last three years?
Juan Campos: Maintaining quality is our top priority. Despite challenges, we push through. We strive to understand our customers’ needs and meet their expectations. Being genuine is important to us. It’s our passion. I love connecting with guests, seeing them enjoy our food. Ultimately, we want to provide an honest, memorable experience worth returning for.
Despite the difficulties, you opened two new concepts. What made you decide to do that?
Juan Campos: It was not easy to stay open let alone open two new concepts during Covid. We took the risk of rebranding Malabar with a touch of Japanese influence. It was needed, and adaptation is key to success.
Sakaba Malabar now offers a vibrant atmosphere, casual dining, and a creative, value-packed menu. As for Terrakota, we couldn’t resist. It was a beautiful space and we found great partners. (Editor’s Note: Terrakota is a European bistro with Mediterranean and Atlantic influences.)
Same for RAW. We felt that it was time to refresh the space. It’s subtle, but it gives new life to the restaurant.
How would you describe RAW? Is it a steakhouse or a Spanish restaurant?
Juan Campos: Both and neither of them. We embrace both but do much more. Our expertise lies in cooking some of the best beef in the market, like UYYU, and we cook them on the josper, which we excel at. Naturally, people would think of us as a steakhouse. As a Spanish chef, some dishes will naturally be Spanish. We have fish and seafood dishes, like the blue fin tuna neck. Plus, we have some new items like a tofu dish and a vegan burger. I would say RAW is a restaurant powered by the josper.
The Food at RAW
Featuring all-new dishes except for the signature RAW’s Wagyu Beef Tartare.
As for steaks, there’s plenty to choose from the “butcher’s selection” cuts, served by the kilo. Think a conservative 1.2kg ribeye to a massive 3kg T-bone steak. All beef cuts are from Uruguay or Argentina, mostly wagyu with a marble scoring of M6+. If your group isn’t big enough for those cuts, there are also steaks like picanha (¥428/300g) and skirt steak (¥378/300g).
Otherwise, there’s also this:
I don’t usually go for tenderloin as it doesn’t have the marbling I like. But this wagyu tenderloin has me eating my words, and every piece of the steak.
It’s a heaping 500g UYYU wagyu tenderloin cooked to medium rare, half-sliced to reveal the tender center, and studded with foie gras pieces and shaved black truffle. To add flair, it’s flambéed tableside with calvados. It’s an incredible piece of meat, tender and full flavored, and the added foie gras just makes it all the richer.
All desserts are ¥78. Of the three I tried, I highly recommend the “Carrot Cake Our Way” a unique dessert of confit carrots, smoked pumpkin and carrot yogurt ice cream, carrot-orange sauce. Easily my Top 10 desserts in Shanghai. Desserts are also pretty large in portion, suggest sharing.
RAW is a gem that deserves to be shared and celebrated. The dedication and passion of the entire team are evident in every aspect of the dining experience. It is no wonder that RAW has gathered and maintained such a devoted following.
While the energy peaks towards the weekend, even on quieter nights, the magic is still present.
Nomfluence Readers Deals
Nomfluence readers that book via the link below will get a complimentary selected drink at RAW. The deal is valid until December 30, 2023.
- Complimentary sparkling cava or selected cocktail. Limited to one per person with dinner.
RAW Eatery & Wood Grill
Address: 2/F, 98 Yanping Lu, near Xinzha Lu 延平路98号2层, 近新闸路
Hours: Daily, 5:30pm-1am