The Dining Scene in Shanghai
The China city is home to some of the country's best eating. Here are our favourite places for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Shanghai is home to not only some of China’s best shopping but also some of China’s best eating. Numerous glamorous restaurants dish out innovative plates, while others emphasise regional cooking, including xiao long bao dumplings and the local delicacy of choice: hairy crab. Where do we sign up?
Breakfast buffets in China are a veritable art form, with the best serving up Asian specialties along with standard Western fare. Located on the ground floor of Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai, this eatery is one of the best, thanks to its yummy spread of dim sum, sushi, sashimi, congee and other dishes from across the continent to be enjoyed alongside your plate of bacon and eggs.
M on the Bund
For some prime Bund-viewing, grab a seat on the outdoor terrace of this chic spot on the top of a seven-storey colonial building on the Bund. You’ll be able to admire the different architectural styles that make up the riverfront strip as you dine on East-meets-West fusion fare using locally sourced ingredients. Smoked salmon served over wilted spinach with a happy egg, for example.
Wang Bao He
During fall, the rivers around Shanghai turn up hairy crab. To sample the favoured local delicacy, head to this restaurant, which claims to be Shanghai’s oldest—founded in 1744. The crustacean’s sweet meat with roe is prepared in many different ways, from yummy dumplings to savoury soups. Trust us: It’s more delicious than it sounds.
Nanxiang Mantou Dian
Shanghainese love their dumplings—in fact, xiao long baos, pork-filled steamed dumplings, are a favourite bite for city residents and visitors alike. This dumpling house has occupied the same two-storey building in the Old City section of Shanghai for 100-plus years and is the best place to sample the specialty.
Sure the yummy Asian-inflected European dishes (salted salmon served atop a mango salad, for example) are reason enough to book a table at this Xintiandi outlet in one of the centre’s Shikumen houses. But we’re fans of the after-dark scene for its Zen-modern design—featuring wooden screens, artful lighting, Asian antiques and objets d’art—and its extensive wine list.
If you eat at only one restaurant while you’re in Shanghai, eat at this Jingan District spot, housed in a restored three-storey mansion retrofitted with mahogany-panelled private dining rooms. On the menu are familiar local dishes—such as cod “drunken” with a wine-based sauce, stewed chicken and braised pork—all done to perfection.
Find heaven on a plate with flavour-rich, spice-heavy foods from China’s Dai, Bai and Miao ethnic minority groups of the Yunnan province, served in the black-and-red dining room of this sophisticated spot in the former French Concession.