You can find every type of cuisine in Shanghai, from Chinese regional cuisines to plenty of Western options. If you don’t want to go out, Mealbay offers a wide array of different restaurants options for delivery, with menus online in English and Chinese. For more of Shanghai’s best eateries see “Best Shanghai Restaurants” and Time Out Shanghai's 100 best restaurants.
Best Coffee Shops: Shanghai is a lot like New York City in the sense that you can find a quaint little bakery or coffee shops on almost every street corner. The French Concession, in particular, has some great little spots to read a book or people watch while enjoying a coffee in a quiet and relaxing atmosphere. Here are a few of our favorite large chains, but be sure to go out and explore your own neighborhood for local cafes.
Baker&Spice: With multiple locations throughout Shanghai, this little café offers lovely baked goods and coffee.
Starbucks: With scores of locations throughout the city, Starbucks Shanghai offers almost all of the same drinks as branches in the United States, at the same Western prices. Locations are usually very clean and comfortable and provide free high-speed Wifi.
Bread Talk/Paris Baguette: Both of these chains offer similar products: huge arrays of baked goods, breakfast pastries, and different bread options, as well as basic coffee drinks.
Best Street Food: Xiaolongbao: these scrumptious steamed soup dumplings are a Shanghai classic delicacy. They are tastiest when piping hot right out of the steamer. Rice-stuffed Lotus Root: This sticky snack is great for a sweet-tooth craving. The lotus root is filled with glutinous sticky rice and served cold in rock-sugar syrup. CNN offers more insight into street foods you cannot miss!
Best Eastern Options:
Hai Jin Zi: Shanghainese. This tiny little restaurant serves up authentic home-style Shanghainese cuisine with large portions for cheap prices.
Hai Jin Zi, 240 Jinxian Lu, near Shaanxi Nan Lu 进贤路240号, 近陕西南路,+86 21 6255 0371, 11: 45 a.m.-1: 45 p.m., 5 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
Din Tai Fung: Shanghainese/Dim Sum. This chain with a branch located in Xintiandi serves up delectable dim sum. Try the xiaolongbao!
Simply Thai: Thai/Asian Fusion. This restaurant is tucked away on a side street in Xintiandi and consistently serves delicious and reasonably priced Thai food with good service and a lovely ambiance. Try their Southeast Asian inspired cocktails. Outdoor seating is available at a few different locations throughout Shanghai.
Best Western Options: If you are craving a taste of home, the following restaurants are good Western style options to give you a break from family style traditional Chinese cuisine.
Element Fresh: American. A lovely healthy offering of salads, soups, and sandwiches for Western prices. Several locations throughout Shanghai with delivery available to select locations.
Hooters: American. Located in Pudong; a great spot for a low-key meal of hot wings and beer. Hooter’s slogan, “delightfully tacky, yet unrefined” rings true for the branches in China, too.
Prego: Italian. Located on the second floor of the Westin Hotel in Shanghai, this restaurant is lauded for its fresh ingredients and authentic Italian cuisine. Try the pizza!
Strictly Cookies: Got a sweet tooth? Order 2 packs or more for delivery, or these delicious home-made cookies can be found at numerous places throughout Shanghai such as The Avocado Lady, The Public, and Southern Belle, among others.
Food Safety: Do not drink the water unless you are sure that it has come from a filtered water source and do not drink anything with ice unless you are sure that the ice has also come from a filtered water source. When buying meats, eggs, and dairy products from your local grocery store always search for the freshest dates. Wash all fruits and vegetables with soap and warm water before eating or cooking. When eating street food take extra precautions and beware of meat that has been lying out. As always, don’t eat at restaurants that nobody goes to!