It's tough to choose the best out of 180,000 restaurants in Shanghai but here are some I return to again and again. If it's on this list, it's worth a taxi ride, if not a plane trip.

生煎 (sheng jian)

生煎 (sheng jian)

1. Yang's Dumplings 

Shanghainese street food

Order: sheng jian (生煎)


2. Fu 1039

Exquisite Shanghainese

Order: smoked fish (熏鱼, xun yu), crispy eel appetizer, tea smoked duck


3. Shanghai Science Hall JE

Historic mansions serving classic Shanghainese
shanghai science hall je

shanghai science hall je

Order: roast duck (reserve your duck in advance!)


4. Fu He Hui

Haute vegetarian in a formal, zen atmosphere

Order: the 380RMB set



Clean, beautiful vegetarian

Order: mapo tofu (麻婆豆腐), fuqi feipian (夫妻肺片), mountain yam tiramisu


6. Hengshan Cafe

Cantonese homestyle classics

Order: roast goose

水煮鱼 (shui zhu yu)

水煮鱼 (shui zhu yu)


7. Shu Fu

Sichuan homestyle food, tacky decor

Order: cumin ribs, water boiled chili fish (水煮鱼, shui zhu yu)


8. Holy Cow

Fresh beef hotpot

Order: beef, crispy tofu skin, mushrooms, fresh vegetables (full disclosure, I'm married to the owner!)



Modern Nordic cuisine

Order: charred beets, juicy pork with mushrooms, cocktails


10. Rui Fu Yuan

Shanghai classics, where local families eat celebratory dinners

Order: hongshao rou (红烧肉), lion's head meatball, crispy corn pancake


11. Charmant

Taiwanese, all-day and all-night diner

Order: Pineapple, shrimp and youtiao (油条), dragon beans, peanut smoothie


12. Spice Spirit

Sichuan, fancy mall dining

Order: chili oil catfish, pickled peppers with chicken


13. Food Fusion

Casual, delicious Southeast Asian

Order: beef rendang, yellow curry chicken with roti


14. Benjia

Extraordinary Korean barbecue

Order: Fatty beef, jap chae


15. Wan Dao

Japanese sushi, sashimi and more, by the boatful

Order: All-you-can-eat 380RMB dinner set. Make sure to book in advance.


16. Jing Cai Xuan

Refined Cantonese, stunning decor though in a mall

Order: dim sum. Make sure to book in advance.


17. Wang Ji Scallion Pancake

Teeny tiny street-side stand, blink and you'll miss it

 Order: scallion pancake


18. Miss Ali

Modernized rustic Xinjiang cuisine

Order: lamb skewers, cold noodle salad, lamb meat pies


19. Ultraviolet

Surrealist one-table restaurant which will blow your mind and your wallet

Order: UVA, UVB or UVC (book three months in advance)


20. Shanghai Chic

Shanghainese, fancy mall dining

Order: hongshao pork (红烧肉), crab roe tofu (蟹粉豆腐, xiefen doufu)