Shanghai: Best New Places to Eat During the Festival
Already brimming with world-class restaurants, China's entertainment capital added several new eateries that have had the critics raving.
Already brimming with world-class restaurants, Shanghai's fine dining scene has benefited immensely from the opening of two new luxury hotels in the last two years, The Edition and Middle House. Both hotels are home to new restaurant concepts that have had the critics raving and momentarily distracted Shanghainese from their love of rooftop bars on The Bund.
THR has picked out the best and the brightest new places to sample during this year's Shanghai International Film Festival, but for the more adventurous we've also included some heralded (and less expensive) places to discover.
Just a few minutes from The Bund is the recently opened Shanghai Edition, the boutique luxury hotel from Studio 54 founder Ian Schrager. To stand out in Shanghai's crowded hospitality space, the Edition has attracted some of the most talked-about restaurant groups to open new concepts in the hotel, and such is the case Canton Disco from Hong Kong's Black Sheep Restaurants. Ostensibly a traditional Cantonese restaurant, Canton Disco is set inside a loud and lively nightclub-type space that is a hat tip to the legendary '80s and '90s Hong Kong club night the restaurant is named after. Ho Lee Fook's Jowett Yu is behind the menu, so there is a range of roast meats and live seafood mashed up with regional spices and ingredients.
Canton Disco, 2/F The Shanghai Edition Hotel, 199 Nanjing Dong Lu, near Henan Lu, Huangpu District, +86 21 5368 9521
Sui Tang Li
A sister hotel to the highly regarded Upper House in Hong Kong and Opposite House in Beijing, Shanghai's Middle House injected a dose of sleek design and must-visit dining and drinking options to the city's social scene when it opened last year. Familiar favorites like the relaxed elegance of Cafe Grey are present at Middle House, but the star of the show is the contemporary Chinese restaurant Sui Tang Li. Offering elevated Cantonese and other regional cuisines that befits the luxurious surroundings, Sui Tang Li will certainly make a dent in your wallet, but the experience will be worth it.
Sui Tang Li, 2/F, The Middle House Residences, No.366 Shi Men Yi Road, Jing’an District, +86 21 3216 8068
An all-day brasserie from globe-trotting Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton, Shanghai Tavern offers modern British comfort food in a space from the city's colonial past. After closing his restaurants in Hong Kong and Singapore, Atherton is focusing his Asian efforts on Shanghai, with Shanghai Tavern and Hiya to be found inside the Edition. Housed inside the ground floor of the historic Shanghai Power Company Building, the interiors celebrate the Art Deco heritage of the space. For the menu, Atherton leans heavily on food from his native Britain, and standouts include fish 'n' chips, mac 'n' cheese and braised beef. Just to reinforce the Britishness, the restaurant serves high tea from 3-5 p.m.
Shanghai Tavern, 1/F The Shanghai Edition Hotel, 199 Nanjing Dong Lu, near Henan Lu, Huangpu District, +86 21 5368 9511
Atherton strikes again, this time incorporating the views found on the 27th floor of the Edition for his Japanese izakaya style restaurant Hiya. Not too dissimilar to his well-regarded London venue Sosharu, Hiya's laid-back vibe should appeal to Shanghai's late-night revelers as well as busy execs looking to unwind. The food is a fresh mix of Japanese and Western flavors, and obvious options are also the best, including the sashimi, tempura and grilled wagyu beef.
Hiya, 27/F, The Shanghai Edition Hotel, 199 Nanjing Dong Lu, near Henan Lu, Huangpu District, +86 21 5368 9531
Chains for a change
Fine dining in Shanghai is better than it has ever been, but sometimes it’s good to pound the pavement to see what the locals are eating, and to save a little money. The first thing any new visitor will notice in Shanghai is the city's love for chain restaurants, with signs for the ubiquitous Western fast-food giants seemingly everywhere. However, less obvious is the plethora of local fast-food and quick-service restaurants. Din Tai Fung is a little better known, as the Taiwanese brand has outlets in the U.K. and U.S., but Shanghai has several that offer up the old reliables of dumplings and steamed buns.
For something a little more intensely local, both in flavor and experience, a visit to Hai Di Lao is a must. The Sichaun hotpot chain has become something of a phenomenon in China and can be found in every city, big and small, and is now listed on the stock exchange. The secret is the service, with diners waited on hand and foot — literally, in some instances, as Hai Di Lao provides shoeshine services, neck massages, nail care and dozens of other offerings while you wait to eat their brand of hearty and fiery Sichuan food.
Din Tai Fung has several locations in Shanghai, but two easy-to-find spots include Xintiandi (+86 21 6385 8378) and Kerry Centre Jing'an (+86 21 6217 8366); check out the website for more details.
Hai Di Lao Hotpot has several locations in Shanghai — one to sample would be the brand on Beijing Xi Lu, near Jiangning Lu in Jing'an (+86 21 6258 9750).
Xiaolongbao, baozi, malatang, jianbing ... the list goes on and on when it comes to local foods that are must-tries on a visit to Shanghai. These traditional street-food offerings are a little hard to come by in actual street-food settings, as Shanghai's gentrification has meant the end of hawkers, but walk around any district outside the built-up center and you'll see small hole-in-the-wall restaurants that fit the bill. Also popular are the buffet restaurants that offer up a range of things from all parts of China.