L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon may have opened in Shanghai in late March, but that’s not the only new restaurant worth a visit. We’ve rounded up three of the city’s other top new dining destinations, offering everything from French in a Four-Star setting, a little glamour on the Bund and trendy street food on their menus.
Phénix Eatery & Bar
Shanghai power-lunch devotees were surprised when Jing’an, the lovely, long-running restaurant at Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The PuLi Hotel and Spa, closed its doors. But, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the PuLi’s new entry, Phénix, opened in March.
Australian chef Michael Wilson remains in the kitchen, turning his attention from the pretty New American food served at Jing’an to modern French fare utilizing seasonal ingredients. The lunch menu has been freshened up with dishes like the rich roast and confit duck.
For dinner, Wilson and his team flex their fusion muscles, embellishing classic foie gras with quince, hazelnuts and cauliflower. It’s not all so heavy, though; heirloom tomatoes with fromage blanc, basil and caramelized vinegar offer an ample mix of textures while leaving you with plenty of room for dessert.
Expats shed tears when Australian owner Michelle Garnaut announced the closure of Shanghai mainstay Glamour Bar, but eyes were quickly dried with the napkins at its replacement, Glam.
The spot certainly fills a void in the Shanghai nightlife scene; Glam is a lounge, restaurant and bar rolled into one, unabashedly pretty but not pretentious, quiet and calm but not staid, and housed in a handsome 1925 heritage building whose tall windows look right on to the Bund and the dazzling Pudong skyline.
When it comes to drinking, there’s the Saffron & Spice, a sweet-and-sour mix of saffron-infused brandy, apricot butters, lemon and star anise syrup. For a post-prandial cocktail that’s really liquid dessert, order the Fellini Martini, an espresso martini sugared up with Nutella and chocolate bitters.
As for food, there are bar snacks — beet and goat cheese tarts, blood sausages and truffled cheese toasties — and bigger bites like a royal king crab omelet. Be sure to request a window table for the best skyline views.
Canadian-Chinese expats Jenny Gao and Alex Xu wanted to serve healthy, affordable, modern bao, the steamed filled buns sold on the street and eaten in various forms across China. This meant working with locals farms to source seasonal vegetables, using no MSG, serving hormone-free meat, preservative-free flour and tofu made from non-GMO soybeans.
Gao and Xu were hyper-cognizant of balancing top-quality ingredients with affordable prices, and the resulting Baoism, which started out as the occasional pop-up but morphed into a brick-and-mortar stop in a mall just off Xintiandi last fall, has been a rousing success.
Stop in for one of five types of bao, like the tangy Xinjiang fish bao — grilled tilapia with an eight-spice blend, pickled red onion, Sichuan pepper sauce and a side or two. The scallion oil noodles, topped with a free-range onsen egg, is a delicious, clean interpretation on the traditional dish you’ll find at street food stalls.
Wrap up with a cup of chestnut soft serve, topped with fried chestnuts and, in a nod to the most popular street food in China, a youtiao (deep-fried dough stick).