After you have lived as an expat in a city long enough, when your friends come into town, they always ask for the THE LIST. Well, here it is.
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All Time, Anytime favorites
Ginger by the Park: Really good mix of cuisines, when you don’t know where epic ginger dessert, great for a sunny day
The Puli: Expensive but amazing Terrace for drinks, Jing’An Resturant brunch blows my socks off, and even the mention of the Puli spa relaxes me. Note the super cool stingray panels in the library room
Calypso: Particularly nice during the summer, but great selection of wines by the bottle and the glass. Delicious seafood.
The Cannery: Interesting mix of seafood and craft beers, amazing cocktails, great retro vibes. Tuna Jaw and the homemade ice cream in a can is to die for.
Wo Jia: literally, someone's home, run as a family business by a couple of generations-- get the 油炸虾, the 狮子头, and the 鲜汤
麟笼坊: My favorite is the Jianguo Lu Store, but hands down the best XiaoLongBao in all of Shanghai
Ye Shanghai: For those Laowai’s who want to eat hairy crab but don’t want to go through the trouble of peeling the crab yourself— high end but still low key
Sproutworks: 4 locations, all offering a selection of healthy sides— flavorful, cheap and quick
Pure and Whole: Super organic, sustainably sourced ingredients with a menu that sounds like your person nutritionist (It certainly offers what the name promises)
Green & Safe: Great brunch upstairs, great salad selection downstairs (realistically more healthy than Sproutworks which uses a lot of sauces) but also a supermarket
Hunter Gatherer: Sourced from their own organic farms, also with a good selection of Whole Foods-ish groceries, really good desserts too (although I don’t know if they’re healthy)
Bang by Mr Willis: Great salad selection, but also good pasta options if you’re with someone who wants to carbo load
Glory City: Over-the-top colonial mansion setting but surprisingly reasonably priced and authentic dim sum, and adorable patio to people watch on
Liquid Laundry: Microbrewery beers, thick cut bacon, and great twists it on classic American comfort food
Al's Diner: American diner food, but better! Great wall of salad is amazing, and don't forget Gracie's ice cream!
R.G.F: Photogenic and Delicious. beautiful garden! And the Normann Copenhagen set brunch is diverse, quite healthy,
Tsukiji Aosora Sandaime: 100 RMB lunch with 5 pieces of top quality sashimi (trust me— I have family in Tokyo)
Le Bordelais: A Drink + Salad/Soup + Main + Dessert for less than 100 RMB? Plus great service
Hungry Lung’s Kitchen: Awesome fish and grilled veggies but a number of oily Canadian classics as well
Sunflour: mostly a bakery but good staple lunches and the best Chocolate mousse cake
Flask: The closest thing Shanghai has to a speakeasy, the Plum Wine cocktail is so refreshing!
Senator Saloon: Dark and classy, but totally on point all the time— crowded Thursday through the weekend so get a res
Union Trading Co: The owner is from the same city in Texas I’m from, plus they do incredible cocktails without seeming pretentious— s’more cupcakes will sooth your munchies too
El Ocho: Run by too-cool-for-school Japanese guy, with funky decorations, it also wins best place to take a date
Lab: A whiskey bar that is just that much more. Food is good for late night nibbles
Taste bud Cocktail Palace: Yes, a weird name but their old Shanghai decor and their Cup of Tea (Gin and Earl Grey) is perfect for a date
Sumerian: the Nitro will make you rocket speed the rest of the day, but if you’re not going for that intense the Kyoto is quite good as well— they also roast their
Volcan: Sit outside with a macchiato and apple pie and check out the Chinese Hipsters
UNDEF/NE: Take a break from looking at galleries at M50 in this barbershop/photography space/coffee shop/bar/creative space
Habibi: For a Shisha and to die for Hummus, open late
Andalus: Chicken Pear Tajine, CousCous galore, pretty romantic too
Andaz: has the fastest, unblocked internet in all of Shanghai + my favorite cocktail, the Jack’s Martini is available in the lobby only
Les Suites Orient: their restaurant on the 3rd floor has a surprisingly great view of the bund, and their rooms are much more reasonably priced than other Bund hotels
Thai Tai: Best Thai, adorable greenhouse area and floor seating
Maya: Best Mexican (not that you have that much competition in China)
Secret Haven: Best Yunnan/Lanna/Southern Chinese, a bit hard to find in Soho3, but cheaper than Lost Heaven, classier than Southern Barbarian
D.O.C: Best Italian, the hottest oven in all of shanghai = the most delicious pizza/bread/etc, also homemade pasta!
La Saleya: Best French; Scallops are great, Cod is not, obviously all the duck dishes are awesome, also best Creme Brûlée in all of Shanghai
Mulan Antique Warehouse: This is real Shanghai, wear long pants/sleeves and bring a headlamp. So much incredible history in the furniture and antiques stacked to the ceiling, and they will restore and ship as well.
A Great Guide on Markets written by SmartShanghai so I don’t have to rewrite it