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Date night: 10 restaurants and bars for your radar this autumn

Treat yourself to a night on the town

Photograph: Cat Nelson
Between busy work and life schedules, it's all too easy to let quality time slip through the net. From a slew of recent and brand-new openings to refreshed menus and looks at old favourites, here's where to hit the town next time you're due a date night.

DuLi

The plant-based revolution beats on at this newly opened restaurant on Donghu Lu. California-inspired in attitude and Chinese-inspired in flavours, the menu features creative, wholly plant-based dishes like croquettes filled with the northern Chinese dish di san xian (peppers, potatoes and aubergine) and corn and cauliflower fritters in bao-style sandwiches.

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38 Donghu Lu

Vesta Blackstone Garden

Sibling venue to Vesta in Jing An Kerry Centre, this upscale brasserie in the new Blackstone Apartment complex serves up wide-ranging, Western dishes like duck confit and seared scallops. An ace setting for a brunch or a classy evening date.

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1331 Fuxing Zhong Lu

Hidden Thai Bistro

This petite new restaurant from two Thai natives Latchana Pathammayo and Supharat Thianpan serves up a taste of their homeland. Expect crowdpleasers like shrimp pad Thai, papaya salad and mango sticky rice as well as Northern Thai chicken noodle curry soup and twists like seafood tom yum omurice.

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Lane 1562 Huaihai Zhong Lu

Lucky Diner

A playful mash-up of American diner culture with a Japanese twist, Lucky Diner comes courtesy of Camden Hauge and the Lucky Mart crew. Think beef tip hash with an onsen egg and Kirin ‘beer can’ roast chicken washed down with natural wines and sake at this all-day, late-night spot.

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365 Kangding Lu

Shankang Li

Jingan is hotting up. New food and drink complex Shankang Li is opening this autumn on the corner of Shaanxi Bei Lu and Kangding Lu with a whole lot of well-loved faces from around town.

The massive new spot is home to venues including roller-skate bar RIINK, a third location of Homeslice Pizza (following the closure of its Yuyuan Lu shop), Tap House, Bubba’s, Alimentari Grill and the newest iteration of Azul (set to open in October). Set just north of Shanghai institution The Shed and buzzy nightclub UP, it’s going to be a busy block from morning to night.

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810 Shaanxi Bei Lu

The Anchor

The glitzy Bund Finance Center sees another chic opening with The Anchor. Young South African chef Conrad Van Den Heever is cooking up a smattering of mainly seafood-inspired dishes. Adjacent to the restaurant is sultry new lounge and jazz bar Clover Club.

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558 Zhongshan Dong Er LuOnline booking

Heritage by Madison

Austin Hu’s famed Madison brunch is back in its newest iteration. Think eggs galore (poached with XO hollandaise on pork belly hash and brioche, for example) or tuck into the Hong Kong-inspired chicken waffles slathered in Laoganma honey butter with juicy fried chicken. Save room for the decadent banana French toast that’s as silky and luscious as a bread pudding.

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600 Zhongshan Dong Er LuOnline booking

SOiF

This cosy natural wine bar and laid-back eatery opened quietly at the end of last year, but like many, really gathered steam over the past few months, packing out with 9-to-5’ers just off work in the early evening and industry folks after their shifts late into the evening. Natural, organic and biodynamic wines are the focus here, with rotating by-the-glass specials or bottles from the cellar to split with your table. Freddy Raoult (The Nest) is behind the bar snacks – think house-made charcuterie, lush sardines draped on perfect gazpacho-dipped wedges of toast and an excellent Shanghai take on cassoulet with wandou you might find in Chongqing xiaomian.

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550 Wuding Lu

Oha Eatery

The intimate, Guizhou-inspired spot has undergone an overhaul in looks and menu. A glass-front façade now gives a peak into the U-shaped bar and open kitchen with its wood-fired grill. Flavours from Chef Blake Thornley are bolder, edgier and even funkier than before. Think powerful shrimp paste beef dumplings and charred market vegetables in ‘white hot sour’ broth with fried curry leaves.

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23 Anfu Lu

Mikkeller

Danish microbrewery Mikkeller opened its first China outpost in Jingan this past summer. The sleek space is fitted out with requisite Scandinavian minimalism – pale wood, concrete, you know the deal – twenty taps and a huge outdoor courtyard which has been teeming on good weather days. Upstairs you’ll find a small shop with branded merch and a fridge with chilled Mikkeller bottles and cans if you’re looking for takeaway.

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98 Yanping Lu

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