Shanghai is one of China’s biggest cities, home to modern skyscrapers and global financial hubs. Aside from its bustling economy, Shanghai also boasts dozens of top-notch restaurants that offer both posh and cheap eats. For this post, we ranked 12 of Shanghai must eat restaurants that you shouldn’t miss during your stay.
From vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian, and more, there’s an option for you here.
OUR TOP PICK: Aura Lounge & Jazz Bar at Ritz-Carlton
Restaurant Name: Aura Lounge & Jazz Bar at Ritz-Carlton
Price range: $$$-$$$
Address: 52/F, The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai Pudong, Shanghai
Cuisine: European, Chinese flavors
Telephone: +86 21 2020 1717
Perched at the 52nd floor of the upscale Ritz-Carlton Shanghai Pudong, the Aura Lounge & Jazz Bar is a gem in the city. You can savor Michelin quality food while soaking your eyes on the city skyline. Also, the cocktails, ambiance, and menu of this restaurant are as stunning as its view.
Aside from its food, Aura Lounge & Jazz Bar takes pride in its contemporary interior lined with plush carpeting, artistic sculpture, and smooth marble. It’s a blast from the past of Shanghai’s 1920s era.
If you’re not up for a heavy meal, you can drop by the lounge for an afternoon tea or a night drink while live jazz serenades you on your seat.
You can find a wide variety of drinks on their bar, but they mostly specialize in rose champagne, having 25 types overall. There are also malts, martinis, whiskeys, and other classic favorites.
If your pocket can afford Aura Lounge & Jazz Bar, you’ll surely have a good time.
If cozy jazz isn’t your thing, you can head six floors up from Aura Lounge & Jazz Bar to transfer to the Flair Rooftop. It’s in Ritz-Carlton Shanghai Pudong as well, which means it also shares the same picturesque view of the city.
Flair Rooftop is a stylish, high-end, and contemporary bar and restaurant. It’s also the highest al fresco dining in entire China, being located on the 58th floor of the hotel building.
A dining experience at Flair is a journey through various Asian culinary traditions. From Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, and Indonesian flavors, your taste buds will never run out of cuisines to try. You can also exploit the seafood bar where you can find the freshest sushi in the city.
If you have dietary restrictions, the Flair chefs can prepare vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free dishes. Just take note that they are only open from lunchtime to late at night if you’re looking for Shanghai must eat restaurants.
Location: 58F, The Ritz Carlton Shanghai, Pudong
Phone: +86 21 2020 1717
Jin Xuan Chinese Restaurant
For those who are looking for Michelin star restaurants, the 53rd floor of the Ritz-Carlton hotel will be your host. The Jin Xuan Chinese Restaurant earned its first Michelin star back in 2017 for its traditional Cantonese cuisines.
They serve lunch and dinner together with a variety of tea, wine, beer, and other drinks. And what can you expect from such a high-end restaurant? Jin Xuan has authentic Cantonese dishes in Shanghai. Also, they serve vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free cuisines.
Among their specialty is lobster with oat with just the right hint of spices. Aside from this, Jin Xuan Chinese Restaurant has an extensive menu. Paired with a great view, every Yuan spent is worth it.
Take note that since this is an upscale place, so you’re expected to wear smart casual if you opt to dine here.
Location: 53 Floor, The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong
Phone: +86 21 2020 1717
At the Nanjing Road East, you’ll find the Shanghai Tavern. This restaurant offers Michelin-star Chef Jason Atherton’s culinary expertise. The restaurant has all-day dining with a menu focused on European cuisines. It’s still a posh place, but it’s easier on the pocket than the restaurants you’ll find in Ritz-Carlton hotel.
Shanghai Tavern has a classy, carpeted environment. They also have an extensive menu where you can order the likes of baked clams, foie gras, and other European brasserie offerings.
The service is also excellent, and the hosts are well-trained in receiving guests. The staff is so caring that they are willing to change your cuppa to a hot one if it turns cold after a while.
From breakfast to night drinks, you can have a good time here in Shanghai Tavern. Also, their servings are huge, so it’s best to bring someone to dine with you. It’s one of the Shanghai must eat restaurants but it doesn’t come cheap.
Location: 199 Nanjing Road East, Huangpu District | 1F, The Edition, Shanghai
Phone: +86 21 5368 9511
On the 5th floor of The Shanghai EDITION, you’ll find Club Room, a cozy restaurant with a billiard room, wine bar, and a pub for you to enjoy. They are open for dinner and late-night drinks as their specialty.
Aside from that, there’s also a movie theater room where you can chill with friends while sipping your choice of drink. Overall, the place is very cozy that you’ll feel like you’re in your own living room. There’s a homey vibe to it which makes a lot of customers coming back each night.
The staff is also very accommodating, and they have nice hosts.
If you don’t want to chill out, you can head to the KTV room to belt out some hit songs.
Most of all, you’ll never run out of cocktails, beers, wines, martinis, whiskeys, and more spirits to sip here.
Location: 5F, The Shanghai EDITION, Shanghai 200002, China
Phone: +86 21 5368 9571
M on the Bund
The Bund or Waitan is Shanghai’s upscale waterfront. It’s home to 5-star hotels and high-end establishments. One of which is M on the Bund, a European-inspired restaurant with cozy al fresco dining area and art deco dining room.
M on the Bund is the first-ever fine dining restaurant to open in the waterfront area. On its terrace, you’ll have the view of the Huangpu River.
Aside from their saffron and suckling pigs, M on the Bund also offers an extensive vegan menu. They also tend to provide special cuisines per season.
When the weather is right, afternoon tea on their alfresco area makes a perfect day for high tea. You can also savor a foie gras or crab salad while enjoying the outdoor dining experience.
At night, the alfresco dining air becomes an intimate place for a romantic date.
Location: HuangPu District GuangDong Road 20 WaiTan 5 Building 7 Floor, Shanghai
Phone: +86 21 6350 9988
Another must-try in The Bund is Wujie; a vegetarian restaurant launched back in 2011. Wujie offers upscale dining for meat-eaters and vegetarians through an extensive menu. Overall, Wujie is much affordable than the other places we just listed.
It’s a great experience eating Michelin-star vegetarian food. Although you can find vegetarian options in other restaurants, most are limited to five or so dishes. Here at Wujie, everything is vegetarian.
Wujie is a classy place, with their menus on iPads and a Michelin star to boast. If you’re looking for the best place to satisfy your vegetarian cravings, Wujie is the place to be. The hosts are also very accommodating and polite.
They serve international, Asian, and Chinese vegetarian meals. You can also request for gluten-free options.
Take note that they only accept VISA and not Mastercard. Also, the restaurant is open only for lunch and dinner.
Location: 4/F, No.22 Zhongshan East Er Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai
Phone: +86 21 6375 2861
Yang’s Fry Dumpling
If you don’t have the budget to splurge on upscale restaurants we’ve listed above, you can try Yang’s Fry Dumpling for a filling meal. They have an all-day dining service, even late at night if you want to grab some cheap drinks.
Yang’s Fry Dumplings have the freshest xiao long baos in the whole city. Also, their dumplings are ideal for quick bites. To add, you can have as much as six plates of dumplings for only $3. It’s definitely one of the Shanghai must eat restaurants.
Also, Yang’s is pretty consistent with the quality of food across their branches inside and outside of Shanghai. Their delights are comfort food and if you love spicy food, they will satisfy your cravings.
If you want something warm to fill your tummy, you can try their hot dumpling soup. You can pair it with shrimp dumplings which are only a tad more expensive (still affordable!) than their usual dumplings.
Location: 97 Huanghe Road, Shanghai, China
Phone: +86 21 5375 1793
Jia Jia Tang Bao
For those on a budget, the humble Jia Jia Tang Bao restaurant is a gem in Huanghe Road. They have an endless supply of xiao long bao here together with tons of condiments. You can also ask for the chili garlic oil if you want an added kick on every bite.
Jia Jia Tang Bao is an affordable place and their colorful stools get filled with customers, especially during dining hours. You should be willing to share a table if you’re going to go here at lunch and dinner time. It’s a communal-style eatery which can get crowded.
A lot of tourists and locals say that Jia Jia Tang Bao serves the best xiao long bao in the whole city. True enough, their food is delectable and always freshly made. Just watch out for a shard of crab shell if you order the crab xiao long bao.
Location: 90 Huanghe Rd, Huangpu Qu, Shanghai
Phone: +86 21 6327 6878
Din Tai Fung
If you happen to be near the Nanjing West Road, you should drop by the Din Tai Fung restaurant. It’s a classy place but not too upscale for those on a budget and looking for Shanghai must eat restaurants.
Din Tai Fung serves lunch, dinner, and late-night drinks. They also have vegan and vegetarian options, among others. They serve good food, and the service is excellent. You can even watch the staff prepare the dumplings as you order it, ensuring that every piece is freshly made.
Aside from dumplings and xiao long baos, they also have tasty soups and noodles to warm your stomach. You can also gulp down a cold bottle of beer while munching on their delectable bites.
Don’t be fooled by the look of this restaurant. It looks classy, but the price is manageable. Most young professionals can afford to dine here regularly. Din Tai Fung never disappoints.
Location: JingAn Distinguish Nanjing West Road 1376
Phone: +86 21 6289 9182
Di Shui Dong
This restaurant in Maoming South Road offers a variety of food on a budget. It strays from the usual dumpling joints and offers a variety of savory meat and vegetable dishes. They also have traditional favorites like noodles and sticky desserts.
Also, their pork ribs are unforgettably good as well as their cauliflower with meat. There are more dishes that you can try here without worrying about your budget.
Di Shui Dong also has an English translation on their menu, which makes ordering a breeze. They also accept credit card payments in case you run out of cash.
Location: No.56 Maoming South Road, Huangpu District
Phone: +86 21 6253 2689
For those who want to taste the authentic goodness of European food, they should head to Bella Napoli in Changle Road. The restaurant offers Mediterranean, Italian, and more Western flavors. They also have vegan and vegetarian options to suit every guest.
You can enjoy Italian pizza, calzone, ravioli, and more. It’s like being transported to the pizzeria in Naples in every bite. They also have an excellent selection of wine to complete the ensemble.
Also, the ambiance is cozy, a little like the pizzerias and cafés you’ll find along the streets of Italy. You’ll know that you’re in Bella Napoli when the people around are speaking Italian! It’s a favorite spot of foreigners who don’t want to miss the taste of home.
Location: No. 4, Lane 946 Changle Road, Jingan District
Phone: +86 21 6248 8985
These Shanghai must eat restaurants will surely fill your stomach and give you a one-of-a-kind dining experience. No matter what your budget is, there’s a place where you can indulge for some Chinese food and other culinary flavors.
Check our Guangzhou restaurant recommendations here.