Shanghai Restaurants

You'll notice that most Chinese restaurants in Shanghai have large, round tables. The reason becomes clear the first time you eat a late dinner at a local restaurant and are surrounded by jovial, laughing groups of people toasting and topping off from communal bottles of beer, sharing cigarettes, and spinning the lazy Susan loaded with food. Whether feting guests or demonstrating their wealth, hosts will order massive, showy spreads.

Shanghai's standing as China's most international city is reflected in its dining scene. You can enjoy xiaolongbao (soup dumplings) for breakfast, foie gras for lunch, and Korean barbecue for dinner. In many restaurants, it’s traditional to order several dishes to share among your party for family-style dining. Tipping is not expected, but more upmarket restaurants will tack on a 10%–15% service charge. Although you can eat at Chinese restaurants for less than Y50 per person, Western meals go for Western prices.

Some restaurants in Shanghai offer set lunches at a fraction of the dinner price. Check out the dining section of Time Out Shanghai, That's Shanghai or Smartshanghai.com, all of which list dining discounts and promotions around town.

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  • 1. Bird and Bitter

    $$ | French Concession | International

    A narrow driveway is all that separates this couplet of venues on a leafy lane. Bird, an intimate, relaxed wine bar and kitchen, has a changing...Read More

  • 2. Oha Eatery

    $$ | French Concession | Chinese

    A meal at sleek, wood-adorned Oha is sure to introduce you to new flavors. Tucked behind a small coffee window, this intimate restaurant is...Read More

  • 3. Taian Table

    $$$$ | Changning | International

    For a treat, head to Stefan Stiller's Michelin-starred Taian Table, where most seating is at a bar that wraps around a truly open and impressively...Read More

  • 4. Together

    $$$ | Jing'an | French

    Helmed by Bina Yu, a young Korean chef who trained under Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Together typifies Shanghai's contemporary dining scene—a...Read More

  • 5. Ultraviolet

    $$$$ | The Bund | Eclectic

    To reach this Paul Pairet (of Mr & Mrs Bund fame) restaurant, you board a minibus bound for a secret, 10-seat location, somewhere near Suzhou...Read More

  • 6. The 5 Tables Bistro

    $$$ | City Center | European

    This restaurant is small in size but packs in plenty of personality. The friendly Singaporean owner is the sole waiter, yet no water glass goes...Read More

  • 7. Vienna Café

    $ | French Concession | Austrian

    Serving up delicious house-made desserts, Vienna Café is a Shanghai institution. This place is definitely not trendy, nor is it trying to be...Read More

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