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T+L's Definitive Guide to Shanghai

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Photo: Algirdas Bakas

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From laid-back local haunts to temples of haute cuisine, here’s where to dine now.

Mercato: Jean-Georges Vongerichten teamed up with Shanghai-based design duo Neri & Hu at this rustic-chic, Bund-side Italian restaurant done in reclaimed wood and leather. Wood-fired pizzas and fresh pastas top the menu, but there are plenty of stellar fish options, including salt-and-pepper sea bass and scallops with green chile, lime, and pistachio. $$$

Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet: The city’s most buzzed-about new restaurant has only 10 seats—and a three-month waiting list. With the help of projectors, scent diffusers, and a sophisticated sound system, chef Paul Pairet combines audio, olfactory, and visual effects with innovative dishes bearing wacky names such as “foie gras can’t quit” and “truffle burnt soup bread.” It’s dinner theater for the 21st century. $$$$$

Hai by Goga: At his first restaurant, Goga, a pared-down space overlooking the city, San Francisco native Brad Turley gained a cult following for his spot-on Pacific Rim cuisine. His second act sticks to the same formula: boldly flavored options such as tuna-edamame potato salad and scallops with Thai lobster curry. 86-21/3461-7893. $$$

Lost Heaven: Moody lighting and carved-teak chairs set the stage at this local favorite in the Former French Concession that whips up the city’s finest Yunnanese cuisine. There are mouthwatering lemongrass-laced meats, vegetable pancakes, and spicy curries. $$

Jishi: When it comes to Shanghainese food, this unpretentious restaurant is as authentic as it gets. (The waiters speak nary a word of English.) Tangcu paigu (sweet-and-sour spare ribs) and congbao yutou (braised fish head with scallions) are staples; if it’s hairy crab season (October–December), don’t miss the xiefen fenpi (crab with vermicelli sheets). 86-21/6282-9260. $$

Madison: An alum of New York City’s Gramercy Tavern, young chef Austin Hu showcases standout dishes—such as duck breast with apple, chrysanthemum greens, and chorizo-flecked vinaigrette and candied pork belly with kimchi jus—in a loftlike restaurant in the Xuhui district. $$$

Restaurant Pricing Key
$ Less than $25
$$ $25 to $75
$$$ $75 to $150
$$$$ More than $150


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