Shanghai, China’s French Concession area is a popular destination for foreigners and Chinese alike. Known for its historical architecture and excellent shopping, it’s also popular for its restaurants and cafes. The French Concession area’s trendy restaurants and cafes serve Chinese, Japanese, French, American, and Italian cuisine, as well as food from many other countries too. In fact, the French Concession area is famous for having some of the best restaurants in Shanghai – so a must visit for any traveler to the city who loves good food.
Food Republic Food Court, Metro City – Not one to normally recommend food courts as the ‘best restaurants’, I do think the Food Republic Food Court is a good place to begin, if you’re new in Shanghai and in the French Concession area.
It’s one of the best places to get a taste of the local food as here, like at most food courts in Asia, you’ll find a good selection of Chinese and international foods, with choices from noodles to rice dishes, barbecued pork to chicken. Just put money on a card to pay for the dishes you buy, pick dishes from several different stalls, and eat to your hearts content. Food Republic Food Court is on the sixth floor of Metro City.
Secret Garden – A perennial dining favorite in the French Concession area of Shanghai is Secret Garden. Located inside a lovely French-style villa, Secret Garden has been serving some of the area’s best Chinese cuisine for a few years. It’s atmosphere is lovely too, with the indoor area full of antiques and low-lighting and the outdoor garden area just delightful. Please though, avoid the shark fin soup. It’s incredibly cruel, and environmentally-damaging and one of the drawbacks to eating at true Chinese restaurants in Shanghai. Secret Garden is at 333 Changle Lu, near Shaanxi Nan Lu Station.
Mesa – One of the top restaurants in the French Concession area where expats are concerned, Mesa is popular for its lovely patio/balcony with a gorgeous view. Located in a large warehouse area, it’s trendy and stylish and, with the clientele and the music, fun. Be warned, service is pretty dire and prices are not cheap (more than $5 for a latte is high in China), but the food is good and the atmosphere is wonderful. Mesa is at 748 Julu Lu, near Fumin Lu in the French Concession area.
Shintori – An upscale Japanese restaurant, Shintori is mentioned often as one of Shanghai’s best restaurants. Down a small alley, when you arrive at Shintori, your first shock is how massive it is. Located in a huge warehouse area, the first floor showcases the sushi bar and open kitchen, with most diners served on the second and third floors in a gorgeously designed space. Shintori is not cheap, but you do get what you pay for, and the Japanese food and the atmosphere here is superb. Shintori is at 803 Julu Lu, near Fumin Lu, French Concession Area, Shanghai.
Ginger – Ginger is a beautifully designed tucked-away cafe and restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating – although the outdoor feels very much like it’s indoors, with the cozy design and candle-lit tables. Residents and travelers stop off at Ginger for a light meal of Asian tapas, a latte or a cocktail. Ginger also has free Wi-Fi, so it’s fine to hang out there for a while. You’ll find Ginger tucked away in Le Passage Fuxing shopping center, which is lovely in itself.
Mesa, French Concession Area, Shanghai