Add:4/F, 489 Henan Rd
Cuisine: Traditional Beijing-style hot pot
Ambience: This chain, with five branches in Shanghai, is one of very few places to offer lamb spine, which is more difficult to find in the south.
The Henan Road branch is the newest, opening this year, and features the same red decor as the others. Walls are covered in yellow-patterned red cloth while from the ceiling hang red Chinese knotting decorations. All these warm tones help banish the winter chill.
Who to invite: Family and friends - anyone who's not too fussy, as you'll be required to dig in with your hands to tackle the lamb spine.
Pros: For Chinese, hot pot is all about getting family and friends around for a cozy meal. And this place offers an ambience that is at once intimate and crowded, making it feel like Chinese New Year every day.
Cons: Waiting service can be slow when it's packed.
Recommended: Signature yang xiezi, the lamb spine pot, is a must try. It's slightly heavier than the typical ones in Beijing, but options are limited in Shanghai. Fried bun pieces are delicious, with crispy skins and soft inside. The Inner Mongolian wide rice noodles are great to add to the soup toward the end of the meal, when the broth has absorbed lots of meaty and vegetable goodness.
Cost: About 300 for four