Explore the increasingly sophisticated food and drink scene in this vibrant and cosmopolitan city at the mouth of the Yangtze river. Ahead of Decanter's Shanghai Fine Wine Encounter, see Ian Dai's tops tips on the best restaurants and bars to visit...
Top Shanghai bars and restaurants
Le Verre à Vin
A favourite among sommeliers in Shanghai. The izakaya-style decor and Italian-Japan fusion menus show that owner Jeffery is passionate about Japanese culture. If you can read Chinese, take a look at the funny handwritten signs on the ceiling while waiting for food. +8621 5403 4278
Yu Zhi Lan
Chef Lan Guijun runs this fine-dining restaurant, with just four tables. High-end Sichuan cuisine; fascinating tasting menu; the signature ‘golden thread’ noodles are laboriously cut by hand. +8621 5466 5107
A popular café and crêperie by day, and a French bistro and bar in the evening. Offers an intriguing selection of French wines, including less conventional choices such as Jura by Bénédicte and Stéphane Tissot. Building 14, 322 Anfu Lu
The same team runs this speakeasy cocktail bar and its sibling Sober Company on Yandang Lu. In its lounge and on the two floors above, Speak Low offers different deco themes and wine lists, aiming to provide a three-course connoisseur experience. The oolong tea-infused Negroni is a must-try. +8621 6416 0133
Jia Jia Tang Bao
The locals flock here for steamed buns. The speciality is a bun stuffed with gelatine made from pork broth, then steamed. The gelatine dissolves into soup inside the bun – hence the name Tang Bao, literally ‘bag of soup’. +8621 6327 6878
Among the earliest boutique fine wine importer-retailers in Shanghai. A diverse portfolio includes Sherry and Madeira, plus a splendid selection of New Zealand wines.
An extension of popular French eaterie Bistro 321, further along the same road, Nicolas Le Bec’s new outlet sells delicious bread and nibbles in Epicerie 62, while the adjacent Caviste section includes a coffee shop area and 8vin, a wine bar offering value bottles from France’s top regions.
Xin Rong Ji
Authentic Taizhou cuisine in a restaurant that’s also keen to showcase fine and rare ingredients – try the nine-year lily from Lanzhou in Gansu with honey, and enjoy the endless aftertaste. Also has a fine collection of grower Champagnes. +8621 5386 5757
Yi Mian Chun Feng
Along with King Kong Dumpling & Noodles on Mengzi Rd, this is the best of the next-generation noodle restaurants in Shanghai. Quality ingredients and creative recipes. I recommend the spicy meat noodles. +8621 6467 5517
The presentation may look simple, but this is authentic Shanghai cuisine – and it tastes gorgeous. Fried river shrimp and red braised pork belly with egg are worth trying. The restaurant allows BYO. +8621 6282 9260
Ian Dai is wine buyer at Amazon China and also works as a wine judge, writer, journalist and translator. He is a judge at the Decanter Asia Wine Awards. Translation by Sylvia Wu