Five of Shanghai's best international restaurants

The very best restaurants in Shanghai for cuisines from around the world

From imaginative French cuisine to secretive multi-sensory degustation menus, Shanghai has a wealth of top international restaurants to choose from. We list five of the very best in the city


Ultraviolet


One of the most imaginative restaurants in the city, local celebrity chef Paul Pairet's revolutionary 10-seat multi-sensory experience Ultraviolet was years in the making. A cross between a James Bond lair and mad scientist laboratory, each of the 20 'avant garde' courses is paired with 360 degree video projections, surround sound music and even custom scents. 

One dish for example, ‘Foie gras can’t quit’, is an extraordinary edible ‘cigarette’ of foie gras wrapped in a shining fruit-flavoured ‘skin’ and presented on a shining silver ashtray. You dip it in ‘cabbage ash’ while a projection of cigarette ash wheels around you on screen. It's a truly sensory-bending dining experience. Read the full Ultraviolet review.

If you can't manage to get on the two-month long waiting list for a spot at the table however, head to Pairet's original restaurant, the hip and buzzy Mr & Mrs Bund, which was named in the 2013 San Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants

Get creative French dishes on a bewilderingly long menu – think beef tartare, foie gras crumble, picnic chicken with garlic aioli, ‘long short beef ribs’ and a lemon tart served in a whole lemon. The vibe is loud, almost nightclub-y, and the people-watching is top-notch. Better still, head there after 10.30pm and they offer a late-night two-course set menu with plenty of choice from the top dishes for around only 200RMB.

Where is it? Ultraviolet keep their location secret, but guests meet at Mr & Mrs BundSixth Floor, 18 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, near Nanjing Dong Lu. 黄浦区中山东一路18号外滩18号6楼, 近南京东路 See address details


How much is it? Ultraviolet's set menu meals start from 3,000RMB/person. Expect to pay around 450RMB/person at Mr & Mrs Bund a la carte.

 

Table No. 1


South of the Bund in the uber-chic Waterhouse Hotel, this is one of our favourite restaurants in the city. The dazzlingly creative tapas-style dishes were created Jason Atherton, a Gordon Ramsay protege and the man behind London restaurant, Maze. But while he’s not in the kitchen most of the time, chef Scott Melville has kept the quality of the food high. Dishes include gorgeous razor clams with chorizo; beef cheek with snails in bone marrow; and a ‘PBJ’ dessert with peanut butter and jam on creamed rice crispies.

Where is it?1 Ground Floor, The Waterhouse, 1-3 Maojiayuan Lu, near Waima Lu. 水舍, 黄浦区毛家园路1-3号, 近外马路 See full review and address details


How much is it? Expect to pay around 400RMB per person.


Mercato

Mercato


With a rustic chic interior from designers Neri & Hu, the new Italian from renowned New York-based chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten is a more relaxed space than his eponymous fine dining restaurant on the fourth floor of the Three on the Bund building, an approach reflected in the reasonable prices. 


While Mercato isn’t cheap, it provides better value than any comparable restaurant on The Bund (they also do a late night set menu and an early dining special for even better value). The menu is Italian in a broad sense, dotted with quirky touches from Vongerichten and head chef Sandy Yoon, rather than a faithful adherence to tradition. We love the broccolini, spicy salami and ricotta pizza (118RMB), and its lobster ravioli (178RMB) is one of our 101 must-try dishes in the city


Where is it? 3 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, near Guangdong Lu. 黄浦区中山东一路3号3楼, 近广东路. See full address details


How much is it? Expect to pay around 300RMB/person. 


Light & Salt

Light & Salt


A multi-concept venue, also home to a bookstore, speakeasy-style bar, print works and creative vintage design space, Light & Salt is housed in the historic former YWCA building in the Rockbund complex behind The Bund. The restaurant element, Ms Ding's Dining, is headed up by executive chef Rafael Qing, whose novel menu is meant to represent the influx of non-Chinese food into Shanghai during the 1930s, with this translating to red meat and seafood-centric creations illustrating a culinary confluence of Russia, Europe and Asia.


Kicking off, the beef tartare from La Belle Époque menu section looks like a work of art and tastes even better. The waves of squid ink are plentiful enough to offer a light, salty moistener to the delicious Melbourne-sourced beef, featuring cinnamon and ginger as part of its pickling liquid. With a remarkable service team that has unexpected humour and passion, this new multi-concept venue punches above the weight of its pricing.


Where is it? Sixth Floor, 133 Yuanmingyuan Lu, Near Xianggang Lu, Huangpu district. See full review and address details


How much is it? The four-course tasting menu is 448RMB/person.

CHAR

CHAR


The steakhouse gets sexy at Hotel Indigo on The Bund. CHAR is pricey, but it’s exceptional, and feels more alive than most hotel restaurants. The excellent steaks are Australian, with Grainge grain-fed (starting at the 390RMB 300g sirloin) up to super-premium Blackmore’s wagyu beef, which claims to be the best in Australia (a 200g fillet comes as part of the CHAR Indulgence, with foie gras, lobster, wild mushrooms and truffles, for 1,888RMB).


For dessert, the CHAR banana cheesecake (70RMB), presented in a round cheese box, is divine. The texture manages both lightness and density, and the banana fragrance is lush and soft.


There’s no irritating surcharge, and the waiters are sharp both in dress and their knowledge. Vibrant, fun and creative aren’t words you’d imagine applying to a steakhouse in a Bund hotel; CHAR is those things and more. 


Where is it? At the south end of The Bund 29th Floor, Hotel Indigo, 585 Zhongshan Dong Er Lu, near Dongmen Lu, Huangpu district. See full review and address details


How much is it? Expect to pay around 1200RMB for a meal for two.


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