Futuristic skyscrapers and ancient stone houses, cutting-edge galleries and colourful temples – Shanghai likes to mix it up. Throw in fabulous food from Michelin-starred restaurants or hole-in-the-wall eateries and it’s not hard to see why visitors fall in love with China’s most happening city.
Fang Yuan and Tony Lu are one of Shanghai’s culinary dream teams, building a portfolio of much-loved restaurants. Perhaps the most remarkable is Fu He Hui, famous for its Ming and Qing dynasty furniture and vegetarian cuisine. Diners can choose from a range of set menus, each with six to 10 courses of delicate dishes such as a soup of longan, walnut and papaya, or a tiny mouthful of herbs wrapped in a net of tofu.
In a city that is all about the new, Franck is a stayer. A decade after it opened, you still need to book to score a table at this classic French bistro in the atmospheric Ferguson Lane. Part of what makes it work is its ever-changing menu, which reflects the best buys in the market that day. If they are available, both the foie gras and salmon appetiser – smoked in-house – are recommended.
The Hai Di Lao chain of hot pot restaurants is a phenomenon in China. While the food is delicious – you can make your own dipping sauce out of dozens of different ingredients – Hai Di Lao is best known for its extraordinary service, with legions of staff prepared for every eventuality. If you wear glasses and they steam up, you will be offered a cleaning cloth. If you have to wait for a table, you can fill in the time with a manicure.