When people visit Shanghai, they often want to enjoy Chinese cuisine to absorb themselves in the culture and make the most of their experience in the city. There are plenty of Chinese restaurants to choose from, each of which has a unique menu featuring various regional cuisines and many that have a modern twist on traditional dishes. However, Chinese food is not the only option when dining out in this diverse city, as there are some outstanding restaurants serving cuisines from across the globe. Here are the 10 best restaurants in Shanghai.
One of the best restaurants in Shanghai to dine at for an intimate meal is Shang-Xi. Not only does the main dining room only have 22 seats, but there are also five private dining rooms for those who want to eat without disturbances from other diners. This restaurant is on the second floor of the Four Seasons Hotel Pudong, and its menu consists of Cantonese and Shanghainese cuisine. Diner can order a la carte or choose one of the set menus.
9. Jean-Georges Shanghai
Jean-Georges Shanghai is on the Bund in a 1916 Neo-Renaissance building that overlooks the water. Chef Phil Suarez, under the direction of Executive Chef Paul Eschbach, uses natural ingredients in unique ways to create dishes that stimulate the senses. The menu consists of fusion French-Asian dishes that have unusual flavor combinations. Although the food menus at this restaurant are short, the wine list is extensive and boasts more than 500 bottles, most of which are French or American.
8. Italo Trattoria
Italo Trattoria is amongst the best restaurants in Shanghai, says Time Out. It is one of the city’s top Italian restaurants, and it serves rustic and homely Italian dishes. There are pasta, meat, vegetarian, and fish options to choose between, along with a wine list of Italian and international wines. Italo Trattoria is a good option if you want to dine somewhere with a comfortable and warm ambiance.
7. The Commune Social
The restaurant is owned by British chef and restaurateur Jason Atherton. The eating experience is a little different in this restaurant, as the dishes are served tapas-style for sharing rather than individuals ordering single items from the menu. At The Commune Social, the dishes are influenced by the flavors of English, Spanish, and Asian food. If you want to watch the food preparation process, you can sit at one of the bar-style tables, as these are set around the open-plan kitchen. The restaurant has a no-reservations policy, so you should be prepared to wait for a table.
6. Jesse Restaurant
Jesse Restaurant is a small venue in French Concession, and the locals sometimes refer to it as Old Jesse. If you want to experience Shanghainese cuisine at its best, then this is a fantastic place to sample some of the local dishes. Ordering multiple dishes for sharing is encouraged. The restaurant provides diners with a handy guide to the dishes to help those who are novices to this style of cuisine choose which dishes to order. Furthermore, the friendly staff is always on-hand to help you with your choices.
5. M on the Bund
M on the Bund first opened in 1999 and was one of the original restaurants to open in the unused colonial buildings. Now it is established as one of the city’s top fine dining venues. It is run by Australian restaurateur Michelle Garnaut, who has created an eclectic menu of dishes with Australian, European, and North African flavors. At the weekends, this restaurant is open for brunch service, and on warmer days, diners have the option of eating out on the terrace, which has views of the Lujiazui skyline.
4. Lost Heaven
The Culture Trip lists Lost Heaven as one of the top restaurants in Shanghai. Located in the former French Concession, Lost Heaven is housed in a colonial building. It serves a menu of dishes from the Yunnan Province, alongside traditional dishes from Lao, Burma, and Thailand. The diversity of the menu means there is something to suit all tastes. In the dining room, there is folk-inspired décor in rich colors. Due to the popularity of this restaurant, it now has two sister branches. The first opened on the Bund in 2009, while the Beijing location opened in 2012.
3. T’ang Court
T’ang Court is in the sophisticated Langham Xintiandi Hotel, and it was the first restaurant in Shanghai to receive three Michelin stars. It is run by Justin Tan, who says that he aims to explore creativity with simplicity. The food is elevated Cantonese and Shanghainese dishes, with options on the menu to suit all tastes. Another reason to enjoy a meal at T’ang Court is to experience the unparalleled service, as the staff is friendly and attentive while knowing when to step back to allow diners privacy while they eat.
2. 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo
Chef Umberto Bombana is at the helm of 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo, which is in the Rockbund District of the city in a restored historic building. It is a two Michelin-starred restaurant with a menu consisting of dishes inspired by Italian cuisine's flavors, ingredients, and traditions. Before heading into the sophisticated dining room to enjoy a meal, guests can have a cocktail at the bar, which has views of Lujiazui, the Huangpu River, and the iconic Oriental Pearl Tower.
1. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet
According to Top 25 Restaurants, the best restaurant in Shanghai is Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet. The aim of this restaurant is to give diners a multisensory dining experience, aided by the ultraviolet lighting and floor-to-ceiling windows that give panoramic views of Shanghai’s skyline. Scents and sounds are added to enhance the overall experience. Only ten diners are served at this restaurant at any one time, so booking in advance is essential. Diners enjoy a 20-course tasting menu consisting of Western dishes.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson