8 of the hottest Shanghai eateries to check out right now

From modern Indian to all-day cafe vibes and cosy wine-driven French restaurants

Photograph: courtesy Atelier Izakaya
Shanghai is ever-changing, but one thing that remains consistent is endless new offerings of places to eat. If you’re feeling peckish we bring good news: there’s a recently opened modern Indian restaurant we’re very excited about, a hyped American export packing in crowds (and calories) and more wining and dining at bistros with French profiles. Whatever your taste buds decide, here are eight hot eating spots to check out right now.
KLAY
Photograph: Rupert Hohwieler

KLAY

After a lengthy soft opening, Hardeep Somal’s inventive Indian eatery officially opened its doors last week and is now in full swing. If you’re familiar with the fusion flavours the former head chef at The Bull & Claw has served up around Shanghai’s street-food pop-ups, he’s expanding those ideas in Klay. Pulling ingredients from all over the country, Somal is turning out a mix of playful dishes like butter chicken tacos, lamb bhaji sliders and a range of curries that – while carrying decent spice and heat – won’t leaving you gasping for water. Behind the drinks is bartender around town Geo Valdivieso with a strong list of Indian-influenced cocktails and selection of lassis (non-boozy… for now, at least).

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1124 Beijing Xi Lu
Bisou
Photograph: courtesy Bisou

Bisou

Brand new in Taikang Terrace, this easy-going French restaurant radiates countryside charm from its brick-laid floor up to its warm lofted ceiling. The food, like the setting, keeps things traditional with the kitchen turning out old-school Gallic favourites like wagyu bavette, beef tartare, crème brûlée and foie gras terrine with plum chutney. Add an outdoor area that welcomes dogs and a wine bar complete with its own cellar to the mix and this one’s likely to hum all the way through the year.

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169 Jianguo Zhong Lu
Mavis
Photograph: courtesy Mavis

Mavis

Opening at the tail end of last year, Mavis is the latest member to join Shanghai’s widening modern bistro club, bringing with it the requisite natural wines. With rustic decor and a small chalkboard menu, it ticks the essential bistro boxes while keeping things interesting via home-style French dishes that rotate regularly. Currently though, the menu has a month-long Italian theme, so expect trattoria-inspired eats until the start of May that include fettucine adorned with pigeon ragu and orecchiette with octopus and clam.

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966 Wuding Lu
The Cheesecake Factory
Photograph: Rupert Hohwieler

The Cheesecake Factory

The crowd-pleasing American chain has a second Shanghai outpost in Taikoo Hui, meaning cheesecake devotees no longer need to venture out to Disneyland to get their excess of sugar and salt. While standard menu signatures fulfil any diet-breaking desires (hello cheeseburger spring rolls), it’s the cheesecake collection you’re here for – typically massive with fancier variations like dulce de leche and lemon raspberry on the lineup joining the original and much more. Though only opening a couple days ago (and packed), the venue is huge so nabbing a table should still make for lighter work than actually finishing one of the cheesecakes.

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789 Nanjing Xi Lu
Atelier Izakaya
Photograph: courtesy Atelier Izakaya

Atelier Izakaya

The latest project from Shanghai cocktail stalwart Daniel An takes over the space that previously occupied his old one, Arch on Shaanxi Bei Lu. It’s an izakaya equipped with an industrial-like interior, set to funky sounds with additional seating outside in front of the venue. Unlike An’s other joints, it’s the food rather than the drinks that take the spotlight (though there’s still plenty of booze) with grill options galore to go alongside rice bowls, fresh seafood and some seriously good ice-cream – especially the black truffle, which will have you craving for an extra scoop (and more).

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688 Shaanxi Bei Lu
Ottimo
Photographs: courtesy Ottimo

Ottimo

The brains behind hit natural wine bar SOiF have given the somewhat screened-away space on Surpass Court’s fourth floor a Mediterranean makeover. Keeping the previous venue’s name, they’ve freshened it up into an elegant-but-casual European-Asian eatery, albeit without the emphasis on natural wines. Traditional tipples mostly chosen from France and Italy anchor the sommelier selection instead and are rotated weekly – designed to match a food menu that channels coastal vibes with contemporary touches. Go for the melt-in-your-mouth toothfish served with pea purée or the kitchen’s take on the shrimp cocktail served with sweet tiger prawn tails.

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570 Yongjia Lu
Piment
Photograph: courtesy Piment

Piment

The leisurely courtyard in Yong Ping Lane gets another versatile day and night spot in Piment, coming from the team behind the now-shuttered Bistro Burger and Crafted (which, incidentally, is basically next door). Countertop seats before a sleek bar rule an inside setup that looks ideal for intimate evening dates, while warm weather fans get their fair share through a decent-sized outdoor space and eye-catching brunch offerings like finely poached eggs over braised beef cheeks and smashed avo or pandan pancakes topped with creamy vanilla ice cream and Oreo crumbs.

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191 Hengshan Lu
Crave
Photograph: courtesy Crave

Crave

Exuding laid-back all-day café vibes from its enviable location on the corner of Xinle Lu is Crave. By day, get stuck into homemade sweet treats (try its take on irresistible French pastry the kouign-amann) and a solid selection of sandwiches – all in a bright space, that also boasts a patio primed for afternoons of people-watching. While it's currently in soft, soft opening (closing at 6pm), from mid to late May, after dark things will transition into a bar where you can sip on carefully chosen wines paired with a loungey soundtrack.

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208-1 Xinle Lu

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