Shanghai boasts one of Asia’s finest Chinese and international dining scenes, with restaurants specialising in cuisine from every corner of the globe. One could easily eat at a different restaurant with its own distinct taste and style every day of the year. To find your favorites or to try something new, explore your neighbourhood, ask other expats and peruse the various expat magazines and websites available. That’s Shanghai, City Weekend and SmartShanghai all have rather extensive restaurant listings and reviews. Expats are constantly reviewing and commenting on their restaurant experiences. Each website has its own advantages. City Weekend has an interactive feature that allows browsers to find restaurants by genre and neighbourhood. SmartShanghai allows readers to print out taxi instructions in Chinese and has the most active user review section. That’s Shanghai has very thorough editorial reviews that include recommendations and photos. Try navigating all three of these sites to find which system turns out to be most helpful to you.
The restaurants in our listings are all well-reviewed and popular with the expat community. It’s always recommended to call ahead for a reservation for dinner plans at any international or high-end Chinese restaurants. Credit cards are accepted at most international restaurants in Shanghai, though it’s generally a good idea to carry plenty of cash around just in case.
The heart of the dining scene is in Puxi, particularly in the older, central neighborhoods of the former French Concession, Xintiandi and Jing’an. Newer areas popular with expats, such as Pudong and Hongqiao/Gubei, are trying to shed their reputation for being relatively devoid of interesting restaurants. They’re succeeding, as many of the most popular restaurants have opened up branches in these areas.
As always our listings are not exhaustive, and in cases where a restaurant has many locations we will provide an option in Puxi and in Pudong while noting that other locations exist.
With several locations around the city, Element Fresh is hugely popular with expats seeking healthy American-style food, particularly for business lunches. The menu offers an array of potent fruit smoothies, somewhat enormous and very delicious salads, low-fat grilled sandwiches as well as Asian sets. It’s also an excellent place to get breakfast. They’ve got a great kids’ menu and change up their options every six months. Delivery available.
Sun-Thu 7am-11pm, Fri-Sat 7am-12am
Puxi: 1/F, No. 163 Grand Gateway Mall, 1 Hongqiao Lu
Pudong: 1/F, Super Brand Mall, 168 Lujiazui Xi Lu
This veritable Shanghai institution has various branches that cater to all crowds. Young professionals grab after-work drinks and killer burgers at the Shanghai World Financial Center branch while families lounge comfortably at the Jinqiao branch. Additional locations on Hongmei Entertainment Street, on Tianyaoqiao Lu, and in Kerry Parkside and Daning Life Hub.
Pudong: Room 3, Green Sports & Leisure Center, 633 Biyun Lu
A popular family-friendly American-style 50s themed diner that serves all the classic sandwiches, burgers and shakes you could ask for.
Puxi: Block D, 3219 Hongmei Lu
Pudong: 228 Hongfeng Lu
Bubba’s Texas Saloon
This Texas-style smokehouse specialises in authentic slow-cooked meats, ribs, bar-appetisers and tangy sauces. They hold weekend keggers and barbecue and chili cook-offs.
Puxi: 2262 Hongqiao Lu
If you’re in search of generous portions of American comfort food, KABB hits the spot. There’s a great selection of salads, burgers and wraps. The Sunday brunch on the outdoor patio is relaxed and popular, serving up American classics such as French toast with bananas and walnut syrup.
Sun-Thu 7am-2am, Fri-Sat 7am-3am
Unit 1, Bldg 5, North Block Xintiandi, Lane 181 Taicang Lu
New York Style Steak and Burger
The second venture from the New York Style Pizza folks, New York Style Steak and Burgers offers hefty burgers and American steaks at reasonable prices.
Sun-Thu 11:30am-11pm, Fri-Sat 11am-10:30pm
No. 22, Lane 155 Jianguo Lu
Well-known Shanghai chef Eric Brown has turned Chloe’s into a Pudong expat favorite. The patio buzzes with life during warmer months, with a lively crowd enjoying Chicago-style pizzas, ribs, wings and juicy burgers.
Sun-Thu 11am-11pm, Fri-Sat 11am-12am
31 Changyi Lu, Lujiazui
Western-themed traditional American steak house that specialises in big portions.
Mon-Sat 11:30am-11:30pm, Sun 6-11:30pm
City Hotel, 5/F, 5 Shaanxi Nan Lu, by Julu Lu
Morton’s The Steakhouse
Part of the renowned US chain, Morton’s The Steakhouse is a place you take someone to impress them. Whether it’s a client or your spouse, they won’t be disappointed with the view, the food or the service.
Sun-Thu 11:30am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11:30am-11pm
4/F, IFC Mall, 8 Century Avenue, by Lujiazui Huan Lu
Roosevelt Prime Steakhouse
Delicious US prime steaks and other traditional power restaurant fare delivered in an atmosphere best described as rich. Think dark wood, leather and classic. One would be hard pressed to find a restaurant in Shanghai that has seen more business deals sealed between cigar chomping elites than the Roosevelt Prime Steakhouse.
Sun-Thu 5-10pm, Fri-Sat 5-11pm
160 Taiyuan Lu, by Yongjia Lu
This British import of the well-liked yet poorly named Pizza Express chain of restaurants offers top flight pizzas and a good wine list. Don’t be fooled by its parental nomenclature, Pizza Marzano is relatively classy for a pizza joint and most definitely rec-ommended by Expat Essentials for their top-quality toppings and tasty appetisers. Sherpa’s takes care of their delivery.
Shanghai Centre, 1376 Nanjing Xi Lu, by Xikang Lu
Mr and Mrs Bund
This classy French eatery by locally famous chef Paul Pairet is one of the most popular places in Shanghai for its food and elegant yet relaxed atmosphere. There’s a vast selection of classic and modern French dishes and a great wine selection. It’s also Shanghai’s only late night fine dining experience, remaining open until 4am five nights a week. Reservations are a must, particularly if you want to nab one of the terrace tables and enjoy the stunning views of the iconic Pudong skyline and the Huangpu River.
Mon-Fri 11:30am-2pm, Mon & Sun 6:30-10:30pm, Tues-Sat 6:30pm-4am
6/F, 18 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, by Nanjing Dong Lu
Jean Georges serves up the finest contemporary French fare from world-renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. There are some real palate-pleasers here, such as the beef tenderloin in a miso-red wine sauce. Jean Georges is just as famous for its 5,000-bottle wine selection, lavish atmosphere and exclusive private dining room downstairs.
Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm, Sat-Sun 11:30am-3pm, Daily 6-11pm
4/F, 3 on the Bund, 17 Guangdong Lu, by Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu
The authentic Parisian bistro atmosphere and dishes prepared with attention to detail have made Franck a favorite among the French and expat crowd alike. Its setting on a quiet street in the French Concession only adds to its appeal.
Tue-Fri 6-10:30pm, Sat-Sun 12pm-2:30pm, 6-10:30pm, Closed Mon
Ferguson Lane, 376 Wukang Lu, by Hunan Lu
158 2167 6767
Jade on 36
Great classic French food with modern influences, stunning views and design by Adam Tihany make Jade on 36 a must.
36/F, Pudong Shangri-La, Tower 2, 33 Fucheng Lu, by Lujiazui Xi Lu
Though the food is known to be average, Paulaner is still the most popular German restaurant in Shanghai. Their Fenyang Lu location is set in a stunning villa.
Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm, 5pm- 2am; Sat-Sun 11am-2am
Puxi: 150 Fenyang Lu, by Fuxing Lu
Pudong: Riverside Promenade, Binjiang Da Dao
Dai’s Kitchen is a hidden courtyard gem on the Bund. Chef Dai lived and worked in Germany for years, and his authentic German/Austrian fare is a great alternative to the beaten path of German food.
Mon-Fri 5:30-10:30pm, Sat-Sun 11am-10:30pm
1/F, Sichuan Building, 110 Yan’an Dong Lu, by Sichuan Lu
An inventive modern German menu, great views across the Huangpu and an ice bar are a few of the reasons Käfer has become popular with expats.
Fucheng Lu, Shi Bu Jie, Youlong Garden, Pudong
Da Marco is a byword for authentic Italian food in Shanghai. The convivial atmosphere and a menu of tasty pastas and pizzas will leave you satisfied. Due to their popularity, they have now started offering home catering for parties.
Puxi: Mon-Thu 12pm-11pm, Fri-Sun 12pm-12am
103 Dongzhu’anbang Lu
350 Yushan Lu
Fantastic wood fired pizzas, tasty mains, excellent service, warm ambience and charming location make Bella Mia an easy choice to recommend.
10 Baoqing Lu, by Fuxing Zhong Lu
You would expect the flagship restaurant of the Ritz-Carlton to be good – and it is. Chef Riccardo La Perna brings to Scena a wealth of experience from 5-star hotels and Michelin-rated restaurants.
52/F, The Ritz-Carlton Pudong, 8 Century Avenue, by Lujiazui Lu
Run by a native Venetian, this private dining space offers one of the more unique dining experiences in Shanghai. Reservations are required.
311 Xiangyang Nan Lu, by Yongjia Lu
131 2231 6425
The Kitchen Salvatore Cuomo
Awesome food and great views make The Kitchen a Pudong staple.
Pudong: 2967 Binjiang Da Dao
Head Down Under to this Aussie-owned establishment for a true taste of the Outback. Steaks, lamb and seafood, as well as emu, kangaroo and crocodile for the more adventurous.
8 Jianguo Zhong Lu, by Chongqing Lu
The Fat Olive
From chef David Laris you can expect great al fresco dining at the Xizang Lu location and a deeper menu and cozy atmosphere at Sinan Mansions.
Sun-Wed 11am-1am, Thu-Sat 11am-Late
6/F, Silver Court Complex, 228 Xizang Nan Lu, by Huaihai Lu
2/F, Bldg 26 Sinan Mansions, 525 Fuxing Lu
A Shanghai icon. Not to be missed. An oasis in the fray. Don’t trust us, go see for yourself.
People’s Park, 231 Nanjing Xi Lu
Bocado’s Spanish chefs use authentic ingredients in their classic selection of tapas & paellas. Serving great tasting Sangrias and other cocktails in a warm relaxed setting.
Sun-Thu 5-10:30pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-12am
2/F, 47 Yongfu Lu, by Fuxing Xi Lu
180 1727 0340
Haya’s Mediterranean Cuisine
Reasonable prices, good food, friendly staff and an on-site bakery are Haya’s hallmarks, as is its Israeli breakfast.
415 Dagu Lu, by Chengdu Nan Lu
M on the Bund
Though some claim the food doesn’t warrant the price, M on the Bund is still an expat institution and loved by many. A great terrace with stunning views of both the Bund and Pudong skyline and eclectic menu make M a place you must eat in at least once.
Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30am- 2:30pm, Sat-Sun 11:30am-3pm
Afternoon Tea: Sun 3:30-5:30pm
Dinner: Daily 6:15-10:30pm
Five on the Bund, 7/F, 20 Guangdong Lu, by Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu
T8 is deservedly on Condé Nast’s list of the world’s 50 best restaurants on the strength of chef Roger Johnsson’s inspired menu.
Afternoon Tea: 2:30-5:30pm
Xintiandi, North Block, Lane 181 Taicang Lu, by Madang Lu
Also known as the Foreign Correspondents Club or Club Vietnam, F.C.C. specialises in Vietnamese fare with a modern flair. Set in a large villa, it has a nice terrace, making it a good al fresco option.
889 Julu Lu, by Changshu Lu
Haiku by Hatsune
This popular Japanese restaurant draws enthusiastic crowds at both of its Shanghai branches. The sushi is highly regarded, but don’t expect perfect service. The Puxi branch has tables with an excellent garden view.
Mon-Fri 11:30am-2pm, 5:30-10pm; Sat-Sun 11:30am-2pm, 5:30-10:30pm
Puxi: 28B Taojiang Lu, by Hengshan Lu
Pudong: 1/F, ifc Mall, 8 Century Avenue
Sushi Abuse is one of the best new sushi restaurants in the city, although the name is a bit off-colour for a place boasting that it only serves sustainable fish. This hip, modern and somewhat quirky restaurant specialises in an all-you-can-eat-and-drink (sake and beer) sushi extravaganza. You can find the same deal at countless Japanese restaurants around the city but certainly not with as much unique style.
2/F, 98 Yanping Lu, by Xinzha Lu
The food, service and ambience are all beyond reproach even for the most seasoned foodie. Downstairs you can enjoy perhaps the classiest teppanyaki in town while upstairs is elegant fine dining. The Puxi location is housed in a beautiful French villa with lovely garden views.
Puxi: 1/F, 150 Fenyang Lu
While many expats say it just isn’t what it used to be, Tairyo remains extremely popular with expats who can’t seem to refuse RMB150 for a steady and unceasing flow of grilled meats, sushi, beer and sake.
Puxi: 1/F, 139 Ruijin Yi Lu
The ever-expanding Simply Thai group now includes lifestyle stores and flower shops, but what they do best is still Thai food. The style is simple yet smart, and the menu covers all of the staples: red, green and yellow curries, seafood and tom yam dishes. There are several locations but the two listed here have the nicest ambience. Check out their website for other locations.
Puxi: 5C Dongping Lu, by Wulumuqi Lu
400 880 7729, 6209 6209 (delivery)
Pudong: Jinqiao Green Sports & Leisure Center, 600 Lantian Lu, by Yunshan Lu
400 880 7729, 6209 6209 (delivery)
An Indian restaurant serving not only well-known masala dishes, but also other classic Indian fare from all regions. Most visitors are very satisfied with the food, though there have been complaints about the service.
397 Dagu Lu, by Shimen Yi Lu
This is a popular place for expat Brits who yearn for their national cuisine, and perhaps a few beers. All of the classic Indian dishes are on the menu and the prices are reasonable. The set lunch is a good value, and they offer delivery.
Puxi: 5/F, 627 Huaihai Zhong Lu, by Sinan Lu
Pudong: Thumb Plaza, No.43, Lane 199 Fangdian Lu, by Yingchun Lu
At 16 years in operation, Tandoor is Shanghai’s oldest Indian restaurant. The food is good, the decor great for a romantic date and the service – like many Indian restaurants in Shanghai – lacking.
Jinjiang Hotel, South Building, 59 Maoming Lu, by Huaihai Lu
Bukhara offers delicious Northwest Indian dishes including good vegetarian options as well as a popular RMB150 buffet. Their location beside the Pearl Market means that if you live in other areas of town you can get some shopping in. We recommend you shop before you eat however.
3729 Hongmei Lu, by Yan’an Xi Lu
Long standing authentic Korean BBQ with excellent service, interesting decor and reasonable prices. Perfect for a family outing or group get-togethers.
28 Jiangsu Bei Lu, by Changning Lu
Bali Laguna has the distinction of being dubbed the city’s most romantic dining place by the Asian Wall Street Journal, no doubt due to its setting perched on a lily pond in the center of Jing’an Park, its exotic decor and demure sarong-clad wait staff (see the photo at the top of the page). The menu here consists of your standard Indonesian fare like nasi goreng, satays and aromatic curries. Try the grilled fish cake and king prawns with vermicelli and lemon grass – your palate will thank you. However, the real draw here is getting a table on the outside terrace on the lake. Call ahead of time for one of these prized tables as you’ll be disappointed if you walk in on a Friday evening.
189 Huashan Lu, inside Jing’an Park
Bellagio is a slick, authentic, affordable and very popular Taiwanese restaurant with a sunny dining room in the day and a bustling atmosphere open until the wee hours of the morning.
Puxi: 68 Taicang Lu, by Songshan Lu, Xintiandi
Pudong: B/1, Room 6, DBS Bank Tower, 1318 Lujiazui Huan Lu, by Dongyuan Lu
Some Chinese cuisine might appear vegetarian, but tofu or string beans have likely been enriched with animal fat, as meat is usually the stock of sauces. If you’re at a Chinese restaurant, explain to the staff Wo chi shu (I’m a vegetarian). Most Western restaurants offer traditional vegetarian standbys such as pizza, pasta and salad, but quality vegetarian places are popping up around the city.
Wu Guan Tang
An institution among locals, Wu Guan Tang is rated the best vegetarian restaurant in Shanghai by CNNgo. The dining area overlooks the relatively quiet Xinhua Lu, allowing patrons to enjoy their meals peacefully. The handwritten menu, which changes weekly depending on the availability of fresh vegetables, concentrates on basic vegetarian dishes that highlight the natural taste of ingredients, and there’s almost no use of faux meat.
349 Xinhua Lu, by Dingxi Lu
This is a fashionable vegetarian restaurant that designs and prepares creative dishes using organic ingredients. The spare ribs (stuffed with lotus root), the soup served in a pumpkin and the spinach dumplings come highly recommended.
Puxi: 77 Songshan Lu, by Huaihai Lu
Hongqiao/Gubei: 848 Huangjincheng Dao, by Shuicheng Nan Lu
From the owners of Sushi Abuse, Kush is well regarded by expats for its veggie burgers, wraps and smoothies. Minimalist decor and menu constructed from organic and fresh vegetables.
98 Yanping Lu, by Xinzha Lu