Shanghai's 50 best dishes

From shengjian to foie gras micuit, we present the city's must-try dishes

Photograph: Yang Xiaozhe
Breakfast and brunch

Gold Standard Pancakes at Diner
Not your average diner stack, this over-the-top treat from Austin Hu’s gentrified diner sees fluffy pancakes decked out with hazelnut butter, Ferrero Rocher, bacon and fried banana.

145 Wuyuan Lu, near Wulumuqi Zhong Lu. 78RMB.

Mushroom Toast at EGG
Sitting atop a slice of wheaten sourdough spread with a thick layer of herby ricotta, a mound of buttery mushrooms are liberally doused in truffle oil and topped with a perfectly poached egg and sprinkling of fresh thyme.

12 Xiangyang Bei Lu, near Julu Lu. 58RMB.

Shakshouka at Bread etc
Two runny eggs are engulfed in a rich tomato sauce – that’s spiked generously with chilli – and ready to be mopped up by a wedge of pillowy challah bread in Bread etc’s brilliant rendition of the Middle Eastern poached egg dish.

500 Xiangyang Nan Lu, near Jianguo Xi Lu. 62RMB.

Croissant aux Amandes at La Boulangerie et Patisserie by le Comptoir de Pierre Gagnaire
Much more than just an almond croissant, this hulking pastry is closer to a pie than anything, filled generously with frangipane and showered with sliced nuts.

480 Jianguo Xi Lu, near Wulumuqi Nan Lu. 20RMB.

Chicken and Waffle at Brut Cake Café
A perfectly crispy and fluffy waffle stacked high with tender and savoury fried chicken, well-spiced and complemented with the sweet strokes of candied walnuts and jujube honey.

698 Yuyuan Lu, near Zhenning Lu. 78RMB.

Complète galette at RAC
RAC’s Breton-style galettes are brunch perfection on a plate (rivalled perhaps by its breakfast sandwiches, but that’s another story). Parisian ham, cheese and a brilliantly orange egg front and centre.

322 Anfu Lu, near Wukang Lu. 45RMB.

Fried and Baked Dim Sum platter at Hakkasan
With delightfully flaky pastry, this wonder trio of BBQ pork, black pepper venison and abalone and matsutake puffs are pure bliss.

Fifth Floor, Bund 18, 18 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, near Nanjing Dong Lu. 298RMB (as part of four-course brunch set).
Scallion oil noodles at Jian Guo 328
A Shanghai classic done right, wheat noodles are oil-tossed with tangles of caramelised scallions and crowned with delicate shrimp. 

328 Jiangguo Xi Lu, near Xiangyang Nan Lu. 18RMB.

Shengjianbao at Da Hu Chun
The traditional Shanghai style of fried soup dumpling – pillowy soft up top and perfectly crisp on the bottom. 

11 Sichuan Nan Lu, near Yanan Dong Lu. 8RMB for four.

Truffle’d cheese toasties at Glam
This unassuming bar bite is packed with a decadent punch from truffle and tangy cheese that belies its humble appearance.

Seventh Floor, Five on the Bund, 20 Guangdong Lu, near Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu. 52RMB.

Wanza xiaomian at Fu Xiao Jie
Tender noodles, fragrant greens, creamy peas, braised beef, and just enough heat and numbing flavour.

572 Fuzhou Lu, near Zhejiang Zhong Lu. 12RMB.

Fine de Claire oysters at The Nest
A side of lemon, shallot vinaigrette and ginger ponzu sauce bring these famed oysters out of their shell.

Sixth Floor, 130 Beijing Dong Lu, near Huqiu Lu. 198RMB per dozen.

Ubiquitous Truffle house-made fries at Liquid Laundry
These chips were good enough on their own, and then they made it even better with truffle. 

Second Floor, K Wah Centre, 1028 Huaihai Zhong Lu, near Donghu Lu. 48RMB.

The inverted Philly dip at Union 
Philly cheesesteak meets a French Dip: amazing.

64 Fenyang Lu, near Fuxing Zhong Lu. 98RMB.

White pizza at Homeslice
A firm-but-chewy crust and a base slathered with parmesan cream and coated in mozarella, and dollops of ricotta. ’Nuff said. 

Found 158, 158 Julu Lu, near Ruijin Yi Lu. 25RMB (per slice); 195RMB (20-inch pizza).

Sesame noodles at Wei Xiang Zhai
A bowl of noodles drenched in thick sesame paste with a slick of chilli oil for a bargain price. 

14 Yandang Lu, near Huaihai Zhong Lu. 10RMB.

Meaty wontons without too much skin but plenty of delicious, hot and numbing Sichuan  flavour.

419 Xinhua Lu, near Dingxi Lu. 22RMB.

Wontons at Longtang Xiaohuntun 
There's always a line, and they stop selling these at 10am. Go early to get these seriously hearty xiaohuntun.

714 Weihai Lu, near Maoming Bei Lu. 8RMB.

Scallion oil pancake at Ada
You'll queue for anything up to two hours to get your hands on one of these disks of joy, but it's worth it. Cash only.

No 4, 120 Ruijin Er Lu, near Yongjia Lu (storefront on Yongjia Lu). 7RMB.

Yellow croaker noodles at A Niang Mian

36 Sinan Lu, near Nanchang Lu. 26RMB.

Xiancai banmian at Lao Di Fang

233 Xiangyang Nan Lu, near Yongkang Lu. 12RMB. 

618 Nanquan Bei Lu, near Shangcheng Lu, Pudong. 14RMB. 

Xialongbao at Jia Jia Tangbao

90 Huanghe Lu, near Fengyang Lu. 18RMB for 12.
Beef tartare at RAW Eatery and Wood Grill
The wizards in the kitchen at RAW – and by wizards we mean heartthrob Juan Campos and team – take simple ingredients and turn them into something magical. For the tartare, finely sliced Chilean wagyu is served on a bed of crushed ice with smoked egg yolk and a shallot and onion garnish. Accompanied by bread crisps and a side of fries, it’s more than enough to share between two or more as an appetiser.

Second Floor, 98 Yanping Lu, near Xinzha Lu. 128RMB.

Explosive Balik Salmon with sourcream and truffle honey at El Willy

South Bund 22, 22 Zhongshan Dong Er Lu, near Jinling Lu. 108RMB.

Egg Caviar at Jean-Georges

Fourth Floor, Three on the Bund, 3 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, near Guangdong Lu. 388RMB; (happy hour 88RMB).

Vitello Tonnato at LAGO

Sixth Floor, Bellagio Shanghai, 188 Bei Suzhou Lu, near Sichuan Bei Lu. 118RMB.

Creamy Button Mushroom with Bread at Jeju Izakaya

1095 Yuyuan Lu, near Fenggang Lu. 88RMB. 

Patatas Bravas at Pirata

1262 Yanan Xi Lu, near Panyu Lu. 45RMB. 

Mussels at Lychee

No 2, Lane 49, Fuxing Xi Lu, near Wulumuqi Zhong Lu. 148RMB.
Minced pork curry katsu sando at Xime
It doesn’t get much better than a meatball with a curry centre... except if you make a sandwich out of it. And there’s bacon. A blend of possibly the world’s most delicious meat, minced pork belly and caramelised onions, the patty is stu ed with curry, breaded and deep-fried. 

First Floor, 1-B, 989 Changle Lu, near Changshu Lu. 50RMB (lunch set).

Jalabeef Bagelwich at Boom Boom Bagels

39 Anfu Lu, near Changshu Lu. 60RMB.

Signature Butao Ramen Bowl at Butao

L112, 66 Tongren Lu, near Yanan Zhong Lu. 68RMB.

Ocean of Dreams at Little Catch

Second Floor, Bldg C, 98 Yanping Lu, near Xinzha Lu. 118RMB.

Nikkei Sensation bowl at Ban Ban by Sproutworks

Fifth floor, Room 518, IAPM, 999 Huaihai Zhong Lu, near Shaanxi Nan Lu. 65RMB.

Youpomian at Zhu Que Men

Bldg 6, Room 103, Zhonghua 1912 Creative Park, 477 Aomen Lu, near Shaanxi Bei Lu. 20RMB.

Double Char burger at Habit Burger

Room D109-110, First Floor, Bldg D, Soho Fuxing Square, 388 Madang Lu, near Fuxing Zhong Lu. 38RMB.

New York Reuben Sandwich at Deli Boys

No 20, Lane 710, Dingxi Lu, near Panyu Lu. 78RMB.

Tuna Melt at Co. Cheese

372 Dagu Lu, near Chengdu Bei Lu. 50RMB.
32 Yuyuan Dong Lu, near Changde Lu. 50RMB.
Crab gold noodles at Cejerdary
With the insides of 12 crabs (six female, six male), salt and a sprinkling of gold flakes, Cejerdary’s Xie Huangjin – literally ‘Crab Gold’ – is the stuff of simple and straightforward extravagance. Expect a queue. 

1266 Kaixuan Lu, near Anshun Lu. 360RMB.

Stir-fried shrimp, ham and bamboo at Jiu Kuan
Perhaps Ningbo’s best-kept secret, the fried bamboo silvers in this dish are basically crack, mixed up with cured ham, shrimp, gingko nuts and a shower of sugar.

660 Yanan Xi Lu, near Jiangsu Lu. 78RMB.

Roast Fish Head with Scallion at Old Jesse
Hidden under a mound of crisp, charred scallions and liberally doused in oil, the fish head at Jesse’s is a signature worth returning for – again and again.

41 Tianping Lu, near Huaihai Zhong Lu. 228RMB (pre-order only).

Coconut hotpot at Coconut Buyu
Salt, coconut water and chicken – that's the hotpot base. After you’re done cooking with it, don’t ditch the pot like you would at any other hotpot place.

1008 Second floor, Huaihai Zhong Lu, near Xiangyang Bei Lu. 138RMB; 198RMB (whole chicken).

Jiao Ma Ji at Yershari
A mountain of tender chicken, tofu, wood ear mushrooms and green onion sits in
a thick pool of chicken stock mixed with numbing pepper oil. If you’re a numbing pepper addict, this dish is going to be the one that does you in.

106-8 Nandan Dong Lu, near Tianyaqiao Lu. 69RMB.

Nang chao rou at Sapar Uyghur Restaurant
Wedges of flatbread are stir-fried with fatty chunks of mutton, onions, and a heavy coating of Xinjiang spice mix.

20 Yuyuan Zhi Lu, near Wulumuqi Bei Lu. 68RMB.

Wood plank salmon fillet at The Cannery
Taking campfire food to a whole new level, an orange-pink slab of salmon is slow- smoked over a fire pit. The result is a piece of fish that’s all sorts of succulent, smoky and just all kinds of swoonworthy.

The Cannery, Bldg 1, Room 106, 1107 Yuyuan Lu, near Jiangsu Lu. 398RMB (quarter); 788RMB (half); 1,388RMB (full).

Halibut in the josper oven at Colca

Second floor, Unit 2201, 199 Hengshan Lu, near Yongjia Lu. 

Crispy mandarin fish at Yong Yi Ting

LG, Mandarin Oriental Pudong, Shanghai, 111 Pudong Nan Lu, near Yincheng Lu. 328RMB.

Braised and fried chicken at Four Seasons Dumpling King

1791 Huaihai Zhong Lu, near Wanping Lu. 40RMB. 

Hongshao rou at Ren He Guan

407 Zhaojiabang Lu, near Xiaomuqiao Lu. 18RMB.

Black truffle three cheeses and farm egg pizza at Mercato

Sixth  floor, Three on the Bund, 3 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, near Guangdong Lu. 218RMB.

Lobster Wellington at The Bull & Claw

110 Fenyang Lu, near Taiyuan Lu. Hengshan Lu. 595RMB.

Lobby Level, East Tower, Hyatt on the Bund, 199 Huangpu Lu, near Wuchang Lu.238RMB (half).

‘Mapo’ spicy tofu with pig brain at Mayura (Kong Que Sichuan Cuisine)

181 Taicang Lu, near Huangpi Nan Lu. 53RMB.

Seriously Beefy at Pie Society

Room 106, 688 Shaanxi Bei Lu, near Wuding Lu. 55RMB. 
Pesto pizza at Gemma 20 Donghu Lu, near Huaihai Zhong Lu. 120RMB.

Dry Spaghetti Verrigni ‘Oro’ at OttoeMezzo

Sixth-Seventh  oors, 169 Yuanmingyuan Lu, near Huqiu Lu. 368RMB.
Crispy Date at Oha Café
Super sweet and fatty, these dates are exceptional, served alongside roasted cauliflower, turnip, curry and cocoa, each playing off brilliantly against the bright grassiness of celery fronds.
23 Anfu Lu, near Changshu Lu. 75RMB

Falafel wrap at Eli Falafel

294 Wulumuqi Zhong Lu, near near Wuyuan Lu. 40RMB.

Beetroot quinoa burger at Green Vege

Room 3-301, Touch Mall, 699 Zhongshan Nan Er Lu, near Chuanchang Lu. 52RMB.

Treasure box at Wu Guan Tang

345 Xinhua Lu, near Dingxi Lu. 118RMB.

Biang biang fried tempeh at Gwen’s Jiang

25 Yanqing Lu, near Donghu Lu. 26RMB.

Roasted cauliflower, mint, feta cheese at Sproutworks

185 Madang Lu, near Zizhong Lu. 18RMB.

Aloo okra massala at Lotus Land

Tianzifang, Lane 274, Taikang Lu, near Ruijin Lu. 55RMB. 

Fried kidney beans at Lotus Eatery (Yun Zhi Yuan)

1112 Dingxi Lu, near Wuyi Lu. 26RMB. 

San Daniele 'Principe' D.O.P. Pizza at D.O.C. (D.O.C. Gastronomia Italiania)

5 Dongping Lu, near Yueyang Lu. 190RMB.
390 Dagu Lu, near Chengdu Bei Lu. 190RMB.
Coconut sago with pandan ice cream and palm sugar meringue at Ginger 
The Southeast Asian island of desserts, chewy coconut sago pairs perfectly with satin-smooth pandan ice cream and a feather-light meringue.

91 Xingguo Lu, near Hunan Lu. 58RMB. 

PBJ (peanut ice cream, red fruit and salted peanut caramel) at The Commune Social

511 Jiangning Lu, near Kangding Lu. 62RMB.
Lemon chiffon cake at Highline

Sixth Floor, The Ascott, 282 Huaihai Zhong Lu, near Songshan Lu. 88RMB. 

Snack pack cookie from Strictly Cookies 

Available online at or via the official WeChat store (search 'StrictlyCookies'). 70RMB (five cookies). 

Eduardo’s flan at Azul

Eighth Floor, 378 Wukang Lu, near Taian Lu. 58RMB.

M's very famous pavlova at M on the Bund

Seventh Floor, Five on the Bund, 20 Guangdong Lu, near Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu. 108RMB.

Lemon & lemon tart at Mr & Mrs Bund

Sixth Floor, Bund 18, 18 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, near Nanjing Dong Lu. 110RMB.

Brownie peanut butter milkshake at Charlie's Burger

89 Changshu Lu, near Changle Lu. 55RMB.