DINING is the complete experience only when sight, smell and taste are all combined satisfactorily. Restaurants with a view are a plus.
Terrace and outdoor seats at restaurants and bars in Shanghai are great places for diners to enjoy food, wine and breathtaking scenery.
Ten dining destinations in town are particularly easy on the eyes. Their view reflects the diversity of the city, from the historic Bund to the tranquil gardens and leafy city parks, from a forest of skyscrapers in Puxi to the modern Pudong skyline.
View is not the only reason to recommend them, since they also tout quality food, innovative dining concepts and good service. Seven are independent restaurants with distinctive personalities and three are hotel dining locations.
Most popular foods are included, such as Spanish tapas, Japanese teppanyaki, French pastry, European continental flavors, Southeast Asian curry, Italian antipasti and pizza.
Napa Wine Bar & Kitchen
Located on the second floor of Bund 22, a red brick historic building built in 1906, Napa offers a close view of the skyline of the Lujiazui financial zone and the glittering Huangpu River.
Napa distinguishes itself through its “fine wining experience” concept: Great wines and great food complement each other. Their wine menu of around 100 pages is considered one of the best in Shanghai.
Food is authentic continental with a modern touch. Chef Patrick Dang pays respect to tradition, coaxing flavor from every ingredient and also playfully combining them so that the flavor and textures are familiar yet adventuresome. Fresh oysters are topped with diced green apple for a distinctive crispy-and-creamy, sweet-and-briny taste. Their carbonara 2013 — cuttlefish shavings topped with a layer of sea urchin — is sprinkled with dashi jelo (a gelatin fish stock) and emulsified with olive oil.
Their latest menu, with a “vintage lunch” theme, presents “art de vivre,” a moment of the day to enjoy fine dishes paired with wines of at least 10 years of age.
Their dimly lit underground wine cellar, with the owner’s collection of top wines, is known only to connoisseurs yet deserves to be explored.
Address: 2/F, 22 Zhongshan Rd E2
This modern, all-day-dining brasserie is at the rooftop of Three on the Bund, where diners can enjoy seasonal dishes, cocktails and afternoon tea. The space, bright and airy, has floor-to-ceiling glass walls that look out on the Bund and Lujiazui. When evening comes, the dining room is brightened by mirrored walls reflecting Shanghai’s lights.
The food is continental European mixed with Southeast Asian. Chef Florence Dalia, from Burgundy, adds a French feminine touch to her dishes. Signature dishes include Caesar salad, croquet monsieur (grilled cheese and ham sandwich), Australian beef tenderloin, Hainanese chicken rice and Singapore laksa, a noodle soup.
Her new summer dishes are Mediterranean inspired, colorful and fresh, such as pan-fired scallops served with homardine (a kind of lobster sauce) and quinoa, and peach in white wine with lemon chiffon and peach sorbet.
Best seats for the view are those on the balcony, and they fill up fast.
Address: 6/F, 3 Zhongshan Rd E1
The Indonesian restaurant, designed like an East Asian resort, sits by the lake in Jing’an Park. Summer is best for dining there since you can sit outside, overlooking the blossoming lotus in the lake, surrounded by leafy trees.
Buddha statues, high wooden ceilings and waiters wearing Indonesian garb contribute to a relaxing, exotic ambience.
Signature foods include satay (seasoned grilled meat), Indonesian fried rice, curry crab and spring rolls. Mango pudding is a popular dessert.
The park view can be fully enjoyed only during the day.
Address: Jing’an Park, 189 Huashan Rd
This is a small, bright French bakery and café. The owner’s dream is to offer the best croissant and coffee in town. They use imported, stone-ground flour to ensure an authentic French taste that comes at a dear price.
Both indoor and outdoor seats have exposure to the street view of the former French concession with its tree-lined streets and European architecture.
The bakery sells bread, sandwiches, pastry and viennoiserie (baked food made from yeast-leavened dough with eggs, butter and cream for a richer and sweeter taste), which is a highlight.
Must-try viennoiseries include fluffy and aromatic plain croissants with raisins. Various fruit tarts are also a highlight, especially the sour cherry tart (candied cherry and almond cream on the chocolate base) and lemon passion tart (passion fruit and lemon on a shortbread crust), both balancing fresh fruit and a buttery rich base.
It is closed on Mondays.
Address: 378 Wukang Rd
8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo
This Italian fine dining restaurant opened by Michelin three-star chef Umberto Bombana is on the sixth floor of Associate Mission, an eclectic, 1920s building with well-preserved cast iron stairs and wooden doors.
Its distinctive view includes the former British Consulate, an English Renaissance-style heritage building, and Waibaidu Bridge, which opened in 1908 and is the only surviving example of a camelback steel truss bridge in China, and the Oriental Pearl TV Tower.
The restaurant, composed of fine dining, an aging room for cheese and other foods, and a bar, provides authentic Italian flavor, especially in pasta and risotto, with a modern presentation. Chef Bombana is known for rigorously sourcing ingredients, especially seafood and truffles. All pasta and bread are made from scratch. The dessert is famous — their pastry chef presents traditional Italian dessert in a post-modern way.
A Sicilian food menu, which is light, with abundance of seafood and vegetables, has been introduced for the hot summer. Dishes highlighted include scampi carpaccio with caviar, vegetables and orange dressing; codfish risotto with potatoes, black olives and lemon zest, and cassata gelato (like an ice cream cake) with marinated cherries and candied fruits.
Address: 169 Yuanmingyuan Rd
This Japanese restaurant is located in a three-story white villa built in French Renaissance style. The villa has a garden with a stone fountain and a lawn surrounded by high, luxuriant camphor trees. Most seats are close to the window facing the garden, but the best are the glassed-in terrace seats on the second floor, mainly used for serving afternoon tea.
The restaurant features Taiwan-style Japanese teppanyaki, mixing Japanese food with Western dining culture. Chefs grill food in front of diners.
The teppanyaki menu is highlighted by French foie gras with seasonal sauce, rice fried with bacon and vegetables, and lobster. The seafood tempura is also a highlight. Deep-fried sliced garlic served as a side dish is distinctive, crispy and aromatic, with a potato chip-like texture.
Address: 150 Fenyang Rd
Isola, an Italian restaurant in Lujiazui, is one of the best places in town for a close view of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower. A contemporary “white on white” interior design, bright open kitchen, floor-to-ceiling windows and a sweeping outdoor terrace blend well with its surroundings.
The restaurant delivers fresh, authentic Italian cuisine, known for its traditional Italian salads, pastas from scratch and stone-baked pizzas such as its signature black truffle pizza.
Other signature dishes include tomato three ways: Bruschetta (tomato and basil on top of the bread), Caprese (tomato with mozzarella and seasoned with olive oil), and tomato with onions and black olives, baked king prawn wrapped in colonnata (a kind of lard), pistachio and coconut.
Order a window seat in advance. After the meal, have a sip of their signature spice martini on the terrace. Although their lunch set is popular, dinner is recommended for the better night view.
Address: 4/F, Shanghai ifc mall, 8 Century Ave, Pudong
This rooftop bar at Banyan Tree Shanghai on the Bund opened last month. It features a breathtaking panorama spanning the Bund, the Huangpu River and Lujiazui, and avant-garde Spanish tapas.
Sunset and evening views are highly recommended. The former is unobstructed and far-reaching while the latter is vibrant with city lights.
The contemporary bar is known for its customized cocktails. The bartender is good at creating new cocktails at a customer’s request. Bayantini and flavored mojito are two of their most popular drinks.
Their diverse Spanish tapas, served in small portions, respect the culinary tradition but show a creative combination of ingredients, like mixed olives marinated with oregano and lime, and smoked mussels with tomato and basil chutney. Their fresh oysters are also recommended.
From Wednesday to Saturday, the hotel’s multifaceted DJ livens things up with 1990s tunes.
Address: 13/F, 19 Gongping Rd
At the top two floors of Indigo Shanghai on the Bund, two kinds of seats are the hottest — the Bund view and the river view — and need to be booked days in advance.
CHAR, consisting of the main lounge area and a large open terrace, features contemporary grill and bar dining, delivering a fine yet casual experience.
Their beef tasting selection has grass fed, grain fed and densely marbled, rich Wagyu beef on one plate. The grilled seafood selection includes lobster, scallops and seasonal fish. Both are recommended.
Don’t miss their most popular dessert, banana cheesecake.
Some new seafood dishes have been launched this summer, including delicious king cab and mango roll, and smoky BBQ squid with eggplant and quinoa.
The hotel distinguishes itself with a wine list featuring some New-World gems from boutique vineyards, several available by the glass.
The “Mexican Mistress” cocktail is new this summer. Cinnamon-infused tequila together with blood orange and agave nectar give this a refreshing taste.
CHAR is one of a few hotel dining venues in Shanghai that doesn’t charge a service fee.
Address: 29-30/F, 585 Zhongshan Rd E2
Allure French Cuisine
Sitting on its terrace, diners can see a forest of skyscrapers in Puxi and Nanjing Road, a famous street with historical buildings and time-honored department stores.
The restaurant at Le Royal Meridien Shanghai features French cuisine, brasserie style. An open kitchen is in the center, showing off the chef’s skills. Chef de cuisine Van Der Laan Rembrandt, who once worked for Michelin three-star chef Alain Ducasse, is known for his colorful and romantic food presentation. Flower petals and seasonal fruit are not just used as ingredients but also for decoration.
The flavor he presents is light and straightforward, bringing out the original flavor the ingredients. The chef also is good at blending sauces.
Summer dishes recommend by chef include lobster salad, in which lobster meat, celery and apple is enhanced by drops of lemon juice and black truffle, and beef tartar featuring a melt-in-the-mouth texture.
The summer’s new wine cooler drink, white wine with soda, pairs well with seafood and light salad.