Collected by Sophie Friedman, AFAR Local Expert
Dumplings—Shanghai's most popular snack—come in every glorious incarnation: fried and steamed, pork and radish. But there's much more to eat and drink here. Here are our picks of where to go!
375 Zhenning Rd, Changning Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200000
There's no better place to enjoy authentic Shanghainese food than inside a 1920s Spanish villa. Right? Right! Take a seat at one of Fu 1088's vintage tables, and get ready to savor a parade of elegantly plated local dishes. If you’re keen to...
99 Xikang Rd, Jingan Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200000
You can find this Shanghai stalwart just around the corner from the Portman Ritz-Carlton, plying eager diners with prototypical Shanghai dishes around the clock (and all-you-can-eat dim sum on the weekends). Locals here tuck into hairy...
579 Fuxing Middle Rd, Huangpu Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200000
Japanese-owned Speak Low is Shanghai's speakeasy nonpareil. Once you’ve made your way in—we won’t spoil how to do so—head up to the pint-size but raucous second floor, where you can sip cocktails like the Sawadee-Cup (Thai...
Lujiazui, Pudong, China, 200000
Shanghai has no shortage of rooftop bars, but the Ritz-Carlton Pudong's spot, Flair, bests them all with its knockout views of the Bund, Huangpu River, and Pudong skyline. The bar is on the 58th floor, putting you eye level with the Jetsons-esque...
45 Anfu Rd, Xuhui Qu, Shanghai Shi, China
Despite a name change from Mia's Yunnan Kitchen to Julie's, this inexpensive, cheerful restaurant in the French Concession continues to serve delicious cuisine from southern Yunnan province. Kunming, Yunnan's capital, is 1,900 miles from...
100 Century Ave, LuJiaZui, Pudong Xinqu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200120
Until the long-awaited J-Hotel opens in Shanghai Tower (no one knows exactly when), the Park Hyatt in the Shanghai World Financial Center reigns supreme as the city's highest hotel. The view from SWFC’s observatory—on the...
379 Xikang Rd, Jingan Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200000
North of the Yangtze, it’s all about wheat instead of rice. Named after China’s northeasternmost region, this beloved chain serves hand-rolled wheat dumplings stuffed with savory pork or fresh veggies and boiled until the center is...
18 Zhongshan East 1st Rd, WaiTan, Huangpu Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200000
Ultraviolet is the kind of travel experience you talk about 10 years later. French chef Paul Pairet first dreamed of a multisensory dining adventure in 1996, but it took until May 2012 to open this transcendent restaurant. There's room for...
90 Huanghe Rd, Huangpu Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200000
There's always a line in front of this hole-in-the-wall, but don’t be deterred: Jia Jia's queue moves fast, and its steamed soup dumplings are worth the wait. When it’s your turn to order, you bark what you want—pork, crab, or...
168 Fangbang Middle Rd, Huangpu Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200000
Before it was reincarnated as a dumpling and noodle joint back in 1972, Din Tai Fung was a cooking oil business. That doesn't sound so promising in the flavor department, but it turns out these xiao long bao are some of the best in Shanghai....
326 Jianguo W Rd, Xuhui Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200032
You won't find any MSG at this Taiwanese-owned restaurant: The cooks even prepare their home-style dishes with filtered water. Factor in Jian Guao's no-smoking policy (not a given in China) and cheap prices, and you've got the perfect place...
China, Shanghai Shi, Putuo Qu, 常德路1328弄3号
Shanghai insiders know that Huxi Mosque is the place to be every Friday between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.—the Muslim Market, a block-long stretch of vendors selling the most wonderfully fragrant food, pops up next door. Follow the scent of cumin...
China, Shanghai Shi, Xuhui Qu, Wulumuqi Middle Rd, 247号-5
Poke, a Hawaiian raw fish specialty, is popular in Shanghai, and Little Catch is the city's very first poke joint. This minuscule Wulumuqi shop has just two seats at a tiny counter—it’s really best for takeout—but the Taixing...
91 Xingguo Rd, Xuhui Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200000
Be sure to hit this charming fusion restaurant after walking block after leafy block through the French Concession. Ginger is owned by Singaporean expat Betty Ng, who studied at the Tokyo branch of Le Cordon Bleu. Her kitchen is adept at...
20 Guangdong Rd, WaiTan, Huangpu Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200000
Located inside the 1925 heritage building Five on the Bund, this chic space delivers on its name. Glide through a crystal curtain into a lounge decorated with swirling greens, blues, and golds, its walls lined with art from owner Michelle...
5 Dongping Rd, Xuhui Qu, Shanghai Shi, China
Rustic charm and good home-style cooking are what come to mind when you eat at Di Shui Dong. The Hunan eatery is always packed, a testament to how good their grub really is. If you're unfamiliar with Hunan cuisine, it's the spicy cousin of...
200 Yongfu Rd, Xuhui Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200000
Like the New York speakeasy Please Don't Tell, the hidden Shanghai bar Keep it Quiet also has a request of drinkers in its name. In the corner of the garden at lauded Shanghainese restaurant Yongfoo Elite is a mid-size space decked out in heavy...