Shanghai has no shortage of fine dining. It is home to many Michelin-starred chefs who see the energetic, fast-paced city as a playground for branching out and pushing culinary boundaries. On the dramatic end of the spectrum is French chef Paul Pairet, who after years of wild success running his acclaimed Mr. and Mrs. Bund (still considered one of the best restaurants in the city), Pairet launched his bold new restaurant, Ultraviolet, in 2012. RMB3,000 snags you one of just ten seats at the single table—the stage where Pairet puts on a perfectly choreographed, psychedelic nightly show performance featuring 20-course tasting menus. But luxury isn’t all about the high-tech theatrics, as demonstrated by local icon Sushi Oyama. At this subdued omakase restaurant, the extravagance and excitement are contained within each single, perfect piece of sushi. Perhaps the epitome of luxury dining is Fu 1088, a Shanghainese restaurant famed for its contemporary renditions of classic dishes served in a spectacular 1920s villa. The experience shows what Shanghai does best: fusing China’s rich history with modern touches.
This traditional, understated omakase restaurant has long been heralded as the best sushi destination in Shanghai. Tucked away on the top floor of a villa on Donghu Road, the restaurant dedicates itself to freshest, most exquisitely prepared sushi possible. Each evening, Chef Oyama serves just one RMB800 seasonal set menu. Oyama-san and his team craft traditional appetizers, nigiri and sushi with confident precision right before your eyes. Be sure to book well ahead to get one of 14 seats in the house, preferably perched around the sushi bar where you can watch the master work his magic.
Tables at Fu 1088 are some of the hardest to snag in Shanghai. You’ll need to make a reservation look before you arrive at the 1930s Spanish-style mansion in Jing’An district, where the friendly staff and old world décor — Spanish tiles, antiques and dark wood paneling—endow the place with authentic charm from a bygone era. While not strictly traditional, the food features delicious, modern spins on classical Shanghainese dishes. Fu’s modern spins on classical Shanghainese dishes attract anyone and everyone who can foot the steep bill—including society elites, politicians, and Chinese gourmands.
A meal at the Commune Social is adventure. This is not the place where you linger over candlelit white tablecloths for hours; rather chef Jason Atherton (of Table No. 1 fame) wanted to create a fun and casual atmosphere for fine dining. Each phase of the night has a distinct space and encourages people to explore. Start off your evening in the upstairs cocktail bar, then dine on inspired tapas in the lovely interior courtyard, and finish up at the dessert bar.