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Why Shanghai is the fine dining capital of China

Beijing might be the capital of China, but no one can deny the magnificence of Shanghai. Its long and enduring stature as one of the world’s busiest financial hubs has made Shanghai one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Asia.

With that comes a slew of leisurely activities, especially fine dining. A wave of global influences and a strong Chinese identity has culminated in an exciting variety of restaurants that have access to fresh ingredients and an affluent crowd ready to lap it up.

Here, local cuisine is given the same limelight as international fare, and there’s plenty to choose from for businessmen and tourists alike. Renowned chefs all over the world have parked their new restaurants here. If that’s not recognition enough, both the Michelin Guide and The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list have repeatedly given their nods of approval at the impressive standards it has managed to set. Here are the top-notch dining establishments worth visiting in Shanghai.

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon

(Image credit: L’Atelier Joël Robuchon Shanghai
)

The late Joël Robuchon’s culinary spirit lives on in his restaurant at the ultra-elegant Bund 18 estate. L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon is stylised as a ‘workshop’ for chefs, inspired by Spain’s casual tapas bars. The two-Michelin-starred restaurant has an open kitchen concept where diners can see executive chef Francky Semblat and his culinary team whip up exquisite French dishes from the degustation menus. If you’re up for a more laidback experience, consider having afternoon tea at the Salon de Thé de Joël Robuchon on the first floor. It doubles up as a pastry shop, where diners can take home delicate cakes and Robuchon’s famous bread baskets.

(Image credit: L’Atelier Joël Robuchon Shanghai
)

Opening hours

Lunch Saturday and Sunday: 11:30am to 2pm
Dinner Sunday to Wednesday: 5:30pm to 10:30pm
Thursday to Saturday: 5:30pm to 11pm

Address: 5888 Chen Hua Road, Songjiang District, Shanghai, China
Website: Website here

Hakkasan

(Image credit: Hakkasan)

Award-winning modern Cantonese restaurant Hakkasan offers a classy spot to savour some of China’s notable cuisines. The Peking duck from the a la carte menu is a must-have. The crispy skin is served first, wrapped in pancakes, cucumber and an indulgent dollop of caviar. The rest of the flavourful duck is then stir-fried and served with potato crisps. Dim sum and live seafood dishes here are highly recommended too. If you’re there over the weekend, look out for the weekend brunch menu, which features the restaurant highlights and creative cocktails.

(Image credit: Hakkasan)

Opening hours

Dim Sum Brunch Friday to Sunday: 11am – 2:30pm
Afternoon Tea Friday to Sunday: 2.30pm – 5pm
Dinner Monday to Thursday: 5.30pm – 12.30am
Friday to Saturday: 5.30pm – 1am
Sunday: 5.30pm – 11.30pm

Address: 5F, 18 Zhongshan Dong Yi Road, Bund18, Huangpu District, Shanghai, China
Website: Website here

Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet

(Image credit: Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet)

Ultraviolet is truly an unusual restaurant. Instead of grand furnishings and high-rise views, the three-Michelin-starred pop-up establishment opts for high-resolution projectors, speakers and wind turbines —— all to create an immersive, multi-sensory dining experience. Each night, Ultraviolet attends to only 10 diners with a lengthy degustation featuring 20 courses that unfold in theatrical and witty dishes. This is only after you’ve managed to score a seat after spending months on the waiting list and finding out where the restaurant is relocating to next. These unique yet delicious experiences here have cemented the restaurant’s top position on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list year after year.

(Image credit: Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet)

The address to Ultraviolet is kept secret. Diners who manage to reserve their seats will be given directions to the assembly point before being chauffeured to the location.
Website: Website here

8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana

(Image credit: 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana)

This legendary Hong Kong restaurant has brought over its Michelin star-winning formula of excellent Northern Italian fare to the shores of Shanghai. While the restaurants share the same name, this beautiful spot is different in that it offers diners insight to chef Umberto Bombana’s passion for great ingredients. The restaurant opens with a magnificent display of dry-aged meats and artisanal cheeses, and offers a menu that highlights the best of Italy’s seasonal ingredients.

(Image credit: 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana)

Opening hours

Open daily for dinner 6pm – 11pm

Address: 6F, Associate Mission Building, 169 Yuanmingyuan Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai, China
Website: Website here

Wujie – The Bund

(Image credit: Wujie)

This one-Michelin-starred restaurant should serve as sufficient proof that vegetarian dining has a respectable place in the world of gastronomy. Wujie preaches its message of wellness and balance from its interior design to food. Behind the zen-like atmosphere, Wujie’s kitchens are furiously whipping up innovative dishes which see inspirations from all over the world, all while upholding traditional Chinese philosophies. Expect stunning dishes such as the house-made tofu with porcini mushrooms or braised ‘patty’ of black truffle and lion’s mane.

(Image credit: Wujie)

Open daily

Lunch 6pm – 11pm
Afternoon Tea 2pm to 5pm
Dinner 5pm to 10pm

Address: 4F, 22 Zhongshan Dong ErRoad, Bund 22, Huangpu District, Shanghai, China
Facebook: Website here

Wei Jing Ge


(Image credit: Wei Jing Ge
)

Shanghai’s streets are filled with hawkers serving up authentic eats (think handmade xiao long baos and stir-fried crayfish). For an artful take on this cuisine, head over to Wei Jing Ge at the Waldorf Astoria. The contemporary Chinese restaurant’s menu casts a spotlight on regional dishes — think Cantonese, Shanghainese, Sichuan and Huai Yang. Some of the must-tries on the menu include the steamed garoupa and wok-fried scallops while the dim sum brunch is an equally worthy option. With a well-curated selection of Chinese liquor and spirits, its wine list is also one worth perusing during your meal there.

(Image credit: Wei Jing Ge
)

Open daily

Lunch 1130pm- 2:30pm
Dinner 5:30pm – 10:30pm

Address: Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund, 2 Zhong Shan Dong Yi Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai, China
Website: Website here

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