The Top Restaurants You Need to Visit in Shanghai

Photo by Cuson/Shutterstock

Shanghai is full of slick, modern eateries each trying to outdo each other in the battle for survival within a city that has no mercy for failing restaurants. It's not uncommon to see a new restaurant pop up only to see its sign torn down a few months later. The fast pace of the city's breakneck development stretches well into the restaurant scene. That being said, you'll still find a number of restaurants that have survived the test of time to become classic eateries that hold together the city's culinary backbone. Here are some of the best, that should be on the list for any trip to Shanghai.

[x] close

The Top Restaurants You Need to Visit in Shanghai:table of contents

Ultraviolet

If money isn't so much of an issue, book ahead for the experience of a lifetime at Ultraviolet, seen as the world's first multi-sensory experience, this restaurant is less of a meal and more of a culinary journey as you pass from scene to scene and dish to dish. Ranging from around $600 to $860 USD per person, the price might seem a little steep, but what you get is over 20 courses, each one a performance in its own right. As the city's only three Michelin-starred restaurant and only seating 10 people per night, getting a spot requires booking well in advance through their website.

Lost Heaven

A timeless favorite among expats living in the city, Lost Heaven is known for its delicious renditions of ethnic Yunnan cuisine and innovative cocktails. A southern Chinese province that shares a lot of culture and traditions with Southeast Asia, Yunnan-style cooking is some of the most unique Chinese food you can try, with some dishes being more akin to its neighbors of Myanmar and Vietnam than classic Chinese flavors. You'll even find some Burmese inspired dishes such as the tea leaf salad, which is well worth ordering. Also make sure to try the Dali-style chicken and wild vegetable cakes.

Fuchun Xiaolong

Sampling the local Shanghainese fare is a must, but make sure to avoid the tourist-focused eateries around places like the Bund and Yu Gardens. Instead head to a residential area west of Jingan Temple where you'll find the age-old Fuchun Xiaolong. Known for offering some of the best xiaolong bao or soup dumplings in the city, Fuchun also serves up some great renditions for a variety of classic dishes such as braised pork and pork cutlets.

Imperial Treasure

The list of Michelin-starred restaurants in the city is largely dominated by Cantonese eateries and for good reason. While it might be far from the southern province, you'll find some amazing canton fare and celebrated Cantonese chefs cooking up a storm in the city. One of our favorites however would have to be Imperial Treasure, with a smattering of Michelin star restaurant locations around the world, their two-starred Shanghai joint is one of the best.

While it can often be hard to get a reservation for dinner, if you go there during lunchtime there's often no wait. Pretty much anything on their long menu is delicious, staying closely to classic Cantonese fare, be sure to try their roast meats and birds.

Old Jesse Restaurant

Another classic Shanghainese eatery, Old Jesse is the place to go if you're looking to impress a date while dining on the local cuisine, with its shabby yet charming interior and slightly pricey but delicious renditions of classic local fare. If you've only got chance to visit one Shanghainese restaurant, then make it Old Jesse.

Guyi

Photo by David Leo Veksler/Flickr

Offering a delicious spread of food from South China's Hunan Province, Guyi is another long standing institute in the city and a great place to experience this fiery, flavorful Chinese cuisine. Be sure to try the cumin-covered ribs and Hunan-style hongshao rou, for some of the joints best offerings.

Lotus Eatery

If like us you can't get enough of Yunnan cuisine, Lotus Eatery is another favorite in the city often seen as an equal to the aforementioned Lost Heaven. While the menu is very different, both focus on exploring popular dishes from the numerous ethnic tribes that call the region home, with an unchanging spread of classics that we can't get enough of.

Conclusion

Shanghai is a mecca of delicious restaurants, a healthy mix of traditional establishments that have graced the streets for decades along with new up and coming eateries, trying innovative ideas and menus to impress the city's diners.

RELATED ARTICLES

REGIONS

CATEGORIES

FEATURED ON China

MOST POPULAR ON China