10 Restaurants to Try in Shanghai, China

November 30, 2015

1) Din Tai Fung- My Chinese co-teacher took me out for dumplings, and she recommended Din Tai Fung. In fact, she said it is one of her favorite restaurants in all of Shanghai. Din Tai Fung is actually a Taiwanese chain with several locations in Shanghai. The pork xiaolong bao (soup dumpling) is delicious, and it's worth going back to this restaurant just for those! The dumplings are freshly made, and you can even see the workers making them through the glass window. I can also recommend the hot and sour soup and tie guan yin tea. Besides the wonderful food, the service was great the restaurant was clean. I took a few of my friends, and they were also impressed. I know I'll be back many times this year.

2) Lost Heaven- The first time I went here was with Rachael for her birthday. Rachael is a self-proclaimed picky eater, so I knew that if she suggested a Chinese place that the food must be to-die-for good. Lost Heaven specializes in food from Yunnan province. I was not disappointed with every single dish I tried there, which included the spicy tofu, garlic broccoli, and Lijiang spicy beef, to name a few. The restaurant itself had a nice atmosphere (albeit dark) and the food was presented well with garnishes. The portions were also decent, and I liked it so much that I chose to dine there with my friend who was visiting from the States for the weekend.

3) CHI Q- Chi Q is a Korean barbecue restaurant located on the Bund. After having Korean barbecue in Seoul weekly for about three years, I'm pretty much always craving Korean bbq. When my friend Scott suggested that we go to Chi Q, I couldn't say no. Upon our arrival, I was a little surprised because I thought it would be more casual, but it's definitely on the fancier side and the prices reflect that. As long as you are aware of this, be prepared for an excellent time a CHI-Q. Scott and I agreed that it was a worthwhile dining experience. The tables are equipped with grills so that you can prepare your own kalbi and grilled vegetables. We got about eight different side dishes as well as the lettuce and ssamjang (a Korean dipping sauce) that typically accompanies galbi. The staff stopped by our table many times and got us everything we needed. In fact, we didn't have a reservation and they managed to squeeze us in right before it got too busy.

4) Shook!- This was one of the first restaurants I ever tried in Shanghai! It's a Malaysian-fusion restaurant on the Bund and it has a great view of the Pudong area, especially from the rooftop bar. It's definitely a classy place. My friend and I both ordered from the set menus, as it was a better value than the a la carte menu. Our food arrived in a timely manner and the staff was efficient. Each course was delicious and well-prepared. I'd go back here any day and order off the set menu, but the regular menu is a bit pricey.

5) Maya- I had mentioned to Rachael that I wanted to go to a brunch where you are able to pay a flat rate and get unlimited alcoholic drinks, so she took me to Maya because of the Bottomless Sangria for 125 RMB. The restaurant is located in the French Concession and authentic Mexican food is served there. It seemed like a pretty popular place for brunch and it had a relaxed atmosphere. Many people raved to me about the churros before I went, and they were just as tasty as they were described and were served with chocolate and strawberry sauce as well as whipped cream. The guacamole we ordered as an appetizer was freshly prepared and all five of us that went devoured and raved about our main courses.

6) La Vite- La Vite is tiny Italian restaurant in the French Concession. The restaurant is small and cozy, so it's probably wise to make a reservation on the weekend. The pizza I had was the best I've had so far here in Shanghai--it tasted just like high-quality brick oven pizza I had in Italy. I recommend the cheese plate since cheese is harder to find here in China. Another plus is that there is a decent wine selection.

7) Yang's- This is another chain in Shanghai that serves fried soup dumplings. It's a very laid back place, and the food is inexpensive. This place is ideal for a quick dinner, but it would also be fine to stop there just to have a snack. When I went, I ordered at the cash register and then in less than 10 minutes, the dumplings were brought out to me. Sometimes it's nice to have some cheap, tasty food at a no-frills restaurant; Yang's fits the bill.

8) Mr. Pancake House- This restaurant is perfect if you're in Shanghai for an extended period of time and you're missing a Western style breakfast. It has both a breakfast and lunch menu, and the breakfast sets are a good value. Every time I've gone, the service has been fast and efficient. If you're a fan of diners and breakfast food like French toast, crepes with fruit and ice cream, and scrambled eggs, then a visit to this restaurant is a must.

9) Sproutworks- Sometimes I feel like I don't eat the healthiest here in China. Chinese food tends to be oily, and I question whether or not I get enough fruits and vegetables. When I feel like this, going to a place like Sproutworks is just what I need because this restaurant has healthy smoothies and side items, many of which are vegetarian. You can even order a bunch of sides as your main meal. I did that with four sides and still had plenty of food leftover to eat the following day. In case ordering a bunch of side dishes doesn't appeal to you, Sproutworks also serves soup, sandwiches, and salads.

10) Kommune- If you're in the French Concession and are looking for a place to have brunch, Kommune is the place to go. A group of us went on a Sunday afternoon and everyone left satisfied with their meals. There was outdoor seating available within a courtyard, which was perfect for us since we went on a sunny day. Kommune has been open for fifteen years and has a reputation for serving up scrumptious food.

I feel really spoiled living in a big city like Shanghai because there is such a great selection of restaurants serving food from all over the world. I'm sure it will be so easy to write a follow up post to this with ten new restaurants to try because it seems like I'm always getting told about another stellar restaurant.

What are some of the best restaurants in your city?
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