Bonica is a Mediterranean grill and bar in Jing’an, tucked within the AUNN creative hub on Jiaozhou Lu/Yanping Lu.
It shares the building with four other concepts, Loggia, La Barra, La Mezcaleria, and Tacos El Paisa. Behind it all is Armada Group, a new F&B powerhouse that’s making waves in Shanghai.
This whole project is a much-anticipated opening.
I’ll get to the other concepts in due time, but first, Bonica.
The space is absolutely gorgeous. The design, layout, furnishings, and details of all the venues is like something out of Architecture + Design magazine. Indoor-outdoor spaces, multi-leveled seating areas, a vertical garden and plenty of tropical plants (plus an actual olive tree), and a clear distinction between each venue.
You enter through Loggia, a casual café/lounge with indoor-outdoor seating connected to Bonica. This will be the setting for brunch, which will launch in a month or so. For now, you can order coffee, wine, and cocktails, and the some aperitivo items. And yes, it is dog-friendly.
On The Menu
Leading the charge at Bonica—as well as all things food-related within the group—is Mexican Executive Chef Marco Chavez. In addition to Marco’s impressive resumé, he also spent the last eight years working at Mr & Mrs Bund, The Chop Chop Club, and Polux.
Bonica, being a Mediterranean grill, has grill-fired mains at its core, featuring large cuts of seafood and meat, with hints of chef Marco’s heritage peppered throughout. Here’s what to expect:
As for drinks, Bonica has an excellent selection of wines in the walk-in cellar. The selection is curated by their in-house sommelier, who, armed with a Coravin, is able to enhance the wine experience by offering tastings of the daily wine selection of roughly 4-5 labels. The wines are mostly Spanish and French, plus a couple world wines; by the glass from ¥108, bottles from ¥488.
In addition, they have their own standalone cocktail bar, sporting some great house cocktails, courtesy of bartender Mark Lloyd (J.Boroski). Not surprisingly, this cocktail list does not sport any mezcal—go to La Mezcaleria on the second floor if you need your fix.
The ambience at Bonica is more refined. It has its own bar, a walk-in wine cellar with a sommelier on hand, sleek tables facing the open kitchen, and a “garden” seating area. As for its origin story, Bonica pays homage to European 18th century traders who brought spices, ideas and porcelain from the East, with inspiration from Armada Group’s mix of backgrounds and culinary influences.
Bonica is currently in soft opening, open for dinner. And with any new restaurant, adjustments will be made overtime to fine tune. It is one of the most exciting new openings this year, and for their first week in operations, it’s doing quite well.
I, for one, am looking forward to return soon.
Nomfluence Readers Deal
Get 10% off your food bill when booking with Nomfluence. Deal is only valid for dinner, Sunday to Thursday.
To locate Bonica, enter through 273 Jiaozhou Lu or 98 Yanping Lu. Walk through the AUNN complex entrance all the way to the end.
Address: No. 60, Building 5, 273 Jiaozhou Lu, near Xinzha Lu 胶州路273弄60号1楼, 近新闸路
Soft Opening Hours: 5:30pm-10:30pm