As food editor of a local lifestyle magazine, I am lucky enough to be invited to tastings, openings and private media dinners of all the newest restaurants to hit Shanghai. This is the reason is why I love my job. It is also the reason I need to jog from time to time. So, here’s my round-up of my personal favorite new restaurants in Shanghai – happy eating!
1. Kappo Yu
Dinners at Kappo Yu are served in the 11-course kaiseki ryori style that is constantly evolving with the freshest ingredients. Regulars will always find familiar ingredients like bright orange uni spoonfuls, juicy cuts of Kobe beef, bright pink slices of yellowfin tuna, sinfully tender bites of foie gras and the indisputable winner of our week’s menu, grilled black cod.
33 Wuxing Lu, near Huaihai Lu. Tel: 6466 7855
Shanghai’s favorite chef, Brad Turley, opened his own Cali-Asian outlet this year to great fanfare. The space is infinitesimal; from anywhere in the dining room you can take two steps and touch Turley hard at work in the open kitchen. The west coast lobster roll is my personal favorite, but the menu is updated seasonally so diners can always expect more delicious treats from the open kitchen.
Goga. 1 Yueyang Lu, near Dongping Lu. Tel: 6431 9700
Chef Austin Hu (Gramercy Tavern) has become the new locavore advocate on Shanghai’s dining scene. He sources practically everything on the menu, from his Kobe beef to his sparkling water, domestically and cooks it with such aplomb you’d never guess the ingredients were Chinese. Our new favorite brunch in town, Madison offers a-la-carte and we’ve never spent over RMB 100 per person there.
Madison. 3F, 18 Dongping Lu, near Hengshen Lu. Tel: 6437 0136
4. Hunan House
In 2010, Hunan natives Cotton (Shanghai’s doyenne of villa nightlife) and her brother branched out to the restaurant biz, wanting to recreate the fiery flavours and smoked meats of their childhood cuisine. The duo of fish heads smothered in white and red peppers comes swimming in a sauce so succulent we practically licked the plate clean before all the meat from the prized cheeks was devoured.
2 Fuxing Lu, Lane 49, near Yongfu Lu. Tel: 3461 1377
5. Chuan Chuan Xiang
Mala tang is the ultimate winter comfort food. My favorite “numbing-spicy soup” emporium opened a branch on my block in 2010 and I celebrated by eating there three times a week. I usually select several varieties of tofu, cauliflower, spinach, carrots and quail eggs for my ad hoc concoction, with a generous splash of peanut sauce and hefty squirt of black vinegar to finish ‘er off. A completely democratic dining institution, Chuan Chuan Xiang proves that it takes all kinds when it comes to Chinese cuisine.
200 Wanping Nan Lu, near Xingeng Lu
Serving the lamb-heavy cuisine of Xinjiang, Xibo classes up the typically hearty and fluorescentally-lit Muslim food. What initially seems like a restaurant that caters to the expat population is actually an eatery that serves up well-executed regional tribal dishes that are… well, plated instead of slopped. The food is delicious, the ambiance is nice and the cumin is ever-present.
Xibo. 3/F, 83 Changshu Lu, near Julu Lu. Tel: 5403 8330
If this made you hungry for more, head to UnTour Shanghai for more on our culinary adventures and food tours. We’re always excited to show off the best Chinese restaurants in town with our Shanghai Night Eats tour!