By Hart Hagerty
October 23, 2014
Otto e Mezzo Bombana

The Bund has long been home to Shanghai’s top fine-dining restaurants—most of which are housed in stately turn-of-the-century buildings set along the sweeping riverside promenade. Restaurants here not only spoil guests with tantalizing, world-class food, but also futuristic views of Lujiazui across the river, and a stylish scene that rivals those in New York and London. The Bund welcomed several newcomers this year; two of the best are Chi-Q (serving traditional Korean BBQ with a modern, upscale kick), and the trendy, upmarket Chinese restaurant Hakkasan. These two hotspots are shaking things up, but haven’t yet found a way to outshine venerable establishments like Mr. and Mrs. Bund, the much-loved French eatery created by local celebrity chef Paul Pairet; or perpetual favorite Mercato, which draws well-heeled crowds for dinner, cocktails, and wine. While many of the restaurants here are exorbitant, there are still excellent places to dine in the Bund without paying a fortune—including in the exotic, enchanting Lost Heaven, serving Yunnan cuisine in a contemporary, low-ket setting.

Mercato

One of the latest ventures from Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten (who also has another, namesake restaurant just a stone’s throw away), Mercato focuses on farm-to-table dining, serving relaxed, coastal Italian fare. It’s a perfect spot for wine-fueled weekend dinners among stylish young things sharing plates of perfectly charred wood-fired pizzas, burrata and calamari. Designed by Neri & Hu, the décor echoes the rustic-modern elegance of the menu, with exposed brickwork, blackboards and antique mirrors playing against steel and textured glass. This place is bustling and busy every night, so book ahead.

Otto e Mezzo Bombana

The Hong Kong location of this northern-Italian restaurant is one of only five restaurants in the city boasting three Michelin stars. Intimate and upscale, the Shanghai outpost offers the same cuisine as the original, and attracts a similar high-end clientele. This is the place where society elites impress their dates and executives celebrate a lucrative business deal over the world’s best wines. The menu is straightforward yet exquisite, featuring dishes like homemade pasta with truffles and scallops in saffron sauce. The contemporary dining room is situated in the Rockbund development, and has lovely views of the Pearl Tower and north Bund. 

Table No. 1

This gastropub set in The Waterhouse, a hip boutique hotel, is the creation of Jason Atherton, a London chef who first gained recognition working for Gordon Ramsay. The decór of the restaurant echoes the modern, minimalist aesthetic of the hotel; both pair well with the straightforward menu using simple, fresh ingredients. The express lunch menu (RMB188) is a budget-friendly way of sampling menu items like braised ox cheek and grilled octopus salad. The several long, large tables here encourage communal dining. 

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