Shanghai in mid-March; please recommend places/dishes I shouldn't miss
Gong from Boston to Shanghai for 7 nights for business. Mostly, I will have only evenings to venture out. I'm staying at the Pudong Shangri-La but am willing to travel for great food. I'm especially interested in food quality, whether street food, markets, or fancy. Hoping I don't have to depend on the concierge.
We liked South Beauty which is in the large Super Brand mall by the "needle" tower - can't remember the names now but did like the food. http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/shangha...
Yes, this is a "chain" and it does have a photo menu which means you can order without knowing much about Chinese food. It was delicious and varied and had lots of local couples and families enjoying a special night out.
The South Beauty in the French Concesssion is dramatic and they were adding one in the Bund area as well. Hope it still lives up to our now several year old memories. We found a terrific dumpling place upstairs on Nanking Road towards the Peoples Park end across from the Ramada Hotel and above a major food market and major department store.
I didn't get to that many places b/c of business but was taken to Jade on 36 in the Shangri-La Hotel, Pudong. It was delicious but I didn't pay and I think it was quite expensive. Parmesan flan to swoon over and awesome scallops. If you are around that area, there is a wonderful huge buffet at Yi Cafe in the hotel on the second floor but again, it is pricey.
Across the Street, in the basement of the mall, is a big food court with 2 good, cheap noodle places. Upstairs there is a Thai place that was pretty good. In the mall next to the hotel, is Din Tai Fung (Xintiandi) which has very good dumplings and vegetables.
We also went to a very good casual noodle place next to the big fabric market. Sorry can't remember the name.
Here's some good info from a friend who lives there:
Since you are in Shanghai, let's start with the Shanghai's local traditional food (snacks) such as "Sheng Jian" (pan-fried meat bun); "Xiao Long Bao" (small steamed juicy crab-meat bun), "Xiao Wonton" (small dumpling with very thin skin and tiny little pork meat), and "Da Wonton" (big dumpling with local green veggie and pork), scallion pancake, cold noodle and crispy rice cake. Usually only the locals know which eateries is the best for which one of the items. They are not regular restaraunt, almost like the fast-food, definitely not fancy, but cheap, tasty and very local. (you don't find them even in the other places in China).
For the more decent setting Shanghainess restaraunts, I'd recommend "Fu 1039" or "Fu 1088"; "Xi's Family Garden on the 888 JuLu Road", "Shanghai Old Railway Station"; "Su Zhe Hui"; "Xiao Nan Guo". The local families usually hold their banquet there. The food quality and hygene is guaranteed.
"French Concession" is an area you must see. I usually take my visitors to one of "historical House" to eat. There, you pay a lot not just for the food but for the location and the history associated with it. Among the well-knowns are "Yong Fu Hui on Yong Fu Road" - home to the old British Consulate, "Old Mension's Garden on Shaoxin Road" - the garden is the gift of a rich Shanghainess men given to this favorite conccubine. " He Ping Guan Di on Fengyang Road" - private home of a well-known General, "Maller's Mansion on Shaanxi Nan Road" - a landmark archytech looks like an European Castle
I'd also recommend a drink at the "Katherine 5 on the roof-top of Shanghai Modern Art Meusum", "Bali in Jinan Garden"; "Tianzi Fang"; "Old Apartment"; "Hyatt on the Bund" or "Club Flair in Ritz Calton". You will get a good view of old or new Shanghai.
rmanna gave some really great recommendations. If you don't live in Asia, I would definitely recommend going to Din Tai Fung at any of the locations. The location rmanna is referring to is on the third floor of the Super Brand Mall. It is consistent, clean, and the service is great for Shanghai standards. In the same building, there are other popular stores like Southern Beauty, which is a modern take on Sichuan food.
For italian in Pudong, I would recommend Tavolo or The Kitchen. The recommendations by rmanna are great (especially Fu 1088 and drinks at Hyatt on the Bund and tea/coffee in TianziFang). If you are looking for places in Pudong for convinience, I would also recommend going into the IFC Mall, where there are places like Congee Tasty House and Lei Garden. There is also the best korean restaurant in Shanghai in Pudong called Benjia. However, for a true Shanghai experience, I would still recommend going to Puxi, it's really not that far!
A great Chowhound pilgrimmage is going to two dumpling places right across the street from each other: Around the corner form the Park Hotel are Yang's Fry Dumplings and Jia Jia Tang Bao. What a terrific one-two punch. I loved the crab and pork combination at Jia Jia.
I also loved Jesse (41 Tianping Lu), especially the wild herbs wrapped in tofu, and Hengshan Cafe for the turbot with fresh chili, shallot root salad, and roast goose.