French cuisine is famed for its use of refined ingredients in imaginative and decadent dishes. Here in Shanghai, there’s no shortage of restaurants serving up authentic, high-end French fare. Indeed, some local chefs and restaurants have been recognized from no less an authority than the Michelin Guide, the authoritative source on the brightest luminaries in the French dining world. If you’re looking to sample real Gallic flavor right here in Shanghai, here’s a look at some of the city’s fanciest French spots. Yoyo He guides.
Jean Georges on the Bund
This classy French restaurant on the Bund is the eponymous creation of Jean Georges Vongerichten, a Michelin three-star celebrity chef known for reinterpreting classic French cuisine with an Asian touch. The restaurant — Vongerichten’s first name-sake eatery outside of New York — brings the chef’s innovative cuisine to China. A legend in his field, Vongerichten is a four-time James Beard Foundation award winner, one of the culinary world’s most prestigious honors. According to the International Herald Tribune, his food is “able to lift spirits and lighten bodies with an ethereal magic touch.” The Jean George menu in Shanghai reflects Vongerichten’s passion for premium ingredients, including glazed potatoes with caviar and baked lobster with black truffle butter and shoestring potatoes. The restaurant serves only set menus with the most lavish being an eight-course meal with wine. This set includes seared-beef tenderloin with spinach, herbs and sweet chili emulsions. True connoisseurs can pay an additional 998 yuan (US$156) to replace the tenderloin with Blackmore Wagyu striploin (marble score 9). The set also includes kingfish sashimi with fresh wasabi and dill.
Le Cham Teppanyaki
It is an exciting fusion of Japanese barbeque and French cooking on the tranquil Zhenning Road. The restaurant features a soothing luxury dining environment with a contemporary edge. Upstairs, private rooms offer a more intimate dining experience. While much of the food draws inspiration from classic French cooking, Le Cham stays true to its teppanyaki name with a grill master from Taiwan who entertains as he prepares food right in front of your eyes.
This cozy restaurant with Brittanythemed nautical decor features casual French fare with a menu of galettes, crepes and cider — in addition to a French wine list. The French owner has designed a menu that appeals to crepe connoisseurs, who can choose from a wide selection of sweet and savory fillings. There are some intriguing set combinations or you can design your own crepe. The tender, triangleshaped crepes are delightfully warm, moist and served fresh off the griddle. It is a good place for lunch or afternoon tea but the portions may be too small to satisfy some at dinner time. On weekdays, lunch sets start at 68 yuan for one galette and one crepe plus a soft drink.
It has offered French food and ambience right in the heart of the Shanghai in 1998. With over 45 years of combined French cooking experience among the head staff at Le Bouchon, this place is well worth a try if you’re looking for genuine, unpretentious French cuisine. The menu is heavy on Basque French fare and includes some hard-to-find items such as blood sausage pie. While some might find the portions small, the dishes are delicious and as close to French home-cooking as you’re likely to find here in Shanghai. The steak, goose liver and escargot are especially good. The lamb shanks are also worth a taste. There’s also an ample selection of French wines and beers. For groups and private affairs, the chef can also prepare a special meal with a few days advanced notice.
Jade on 36
Jade on 36 is an award-winning restaurant that has been recognized by Wine Spectator as one of the top 10 business restaurants in China. It was also named in Tatler Shanghai’s list of the city’s best restaurants. Miele Guide honoured it as “one of Asia’s finest restaurants.” Jade’s chef de cuisine Franck Elie Laloum brings a wealth of culinary experience from some of the finest Michelin-starred restaurants in France. Indulge in a cornucopia of fine culinary creations while enjoying the magnificent vistas of Shanghai’s historic Bund. If you order the set menu, a 15 percent service fee is applied.
White-lace curtains, Medievalthemed wall paintings and other exotic decorations instill a romantic French ambiance when you step inside this restaurant. The hanging Victorian lamps set a cheerful yet tranquil mood for a great afternoon to get to know someone. The French cuisine offered at this quiet restaurant is sure to impress with appetizers like beef carpaccio, escargot; and main dishes of fried goose liver, steak, cream and mushroom soup and smoked salmon — all complemented by a great selection of wine. The pre-dinner bread is very delicious. Desserts such as the traditional cheesecake, chocolate cake and tiramisu are also popular.
Tasty food, a comfortable environment and melodic music make dining at La Seine a wonderful experience. The goose liver, steak, mutton chop, smoked salmon, oyster and potato paste all deserve to be tasted. The desserts also should not be missed — including the caramel pudding, tiramisu and cheesecake. Whether ordering baked escargots,home-made foie gras, roasted lobster, grilled sea bass, onion soup or iced nougat, diners can savor true French flavor that’s sure to satisfy the most discerning tastes. Of course, in the cellar awaits a wide array of French wines perfect for pairing with any meal.