If you can't escape Shanghai anytime soon to indulge in our travel destinations, fear not. We've made it our mission to find the best Asian flavors in Shanghai, so you don't have to search high and low for them. Take your pick and enjoy!
88 Sushi Bento Bar
A bento house by day, this sleek Japanese establishment cocooned inside Andaz Xintiandi, Shanghai, is transformed into a casual sushi bar by night. Think smooth, light wood surfaces with a touch of minimalist design, thanks to the Osaka-based architecture studio TOFU. The food is uncomplicated but sumptuous, boasting a range of appetizers, sashimi and sushi for families to mix and match. Kids will enjoy the grilled eel with sweet soy sauce and California rolls, while parents can sip on a generous offering of sake, wine and whisky.
88 Sushi Bento Bar, see the listing here. Open daily, 11.30am-2.30pm, 5.30-10pm.
Given the merciless food and beverage scene here, it's a blessing that Cyclo has thrived over the past six years to deliver a delicious array of Southeast Asian flavors. The absence of a kids menu is compensated by the fact that most dishes are mild yet flavorsome. Consider ordering the platter which includes bánh cun (rice rolls with minced pork and woodear mushrooms) and chgiò (fried rice rolls with pork), as well as cho tôm (grilled prawns on sugarcane sticks). On warmer days, families can come together under the palm trees to savor the zesty salads and dairy-free sherbet ice cream, while kids scooter around the central plaza.
Cyclo, see the listing here. Open Tue-Thu 5pm-midnight; Fri 5pm-3am; Sat-Sun 11.30-3am.
There is a handful of Korean restaurants in town, but Ben Jia in particular has garnered a seal of approval from the local Korean community. Expect classic fare featuring Korean barbecue, bibimbap (rice with mixed vegetables) and teokbokki (stir-fried rice cakes in chilli sauce). After the meal, head out onto the breezy rooftop patio for a bowl of sikhye (sweet rice juice) while enjoying the Shanghai sunset.
Ben Jia, see the listing here. Open daily, 11am-10.30pm.
Backed by the Indonesian government since opening in 2008, Bali Bistro cooks up the most authentic Indonesian dishes you can find around Shanghai. Chef Agus Wijaya, a Bali native, initially refused to plate up the dishes, fearing it might betray their street food roots. The preservation of true Indonesian flavors extends to the interior decor: batik drapes, painted masks and fresh flowers are all in place to conjure up a homely vibe. Kids can try bakwan jagung (corn fritters), ayam penyet kremes (Jakarta-style fried chicken) and finish with a grande glass of Es Cendol (coconut milk drink with pandan leaves and jelly) - a quintessential Indonesian finale to a hearty feast.
Bali Bistro, see the lsiting here. Open daily, 11am-10pm.
Ginger by the Park
Ginger by the Park is an innovative culinary melting pot blending quintessentially Asian elements with those from further afield. Beyond the former French Concession mansions lies this three-story sanctuary, with window and terrace seating suffused in greenery. Dishes like the nigari tofu encourage diners to appreciate the purity of the ingredients. The kid’s menu includes adapted versions of spaghetti bolognese and fried rice with tomato and egg; while those above seven are known to like the roasted herbed chicken, Hanoi rolls and Pat Thai. Final note: save room for dessert.
Ginger by the Park, see the listing here. Mon-Sat 10.30am-11pm, Sun 10am-10pm.
The ambience of Nepal is alive at this beloved expat dining spot in the former French Concession. On the ground floor, families can sit at regular tables and chairs, while upstairs you can dine with shoes removed sitting on comfortable, colorful cushions. A variety of dishes from Nepal and India include tasty curries, lentils, parathas, samosas and thali await. Kids can try the cheeseballs, chicken tikka masala, dumplings, rice pudding and a lassi drink. This is an authentic, value-for-money option to experience Nepalese cuisine in the middle of Shanghai.
Nepali Kitchen, see the listing here. Open Tue-Fri 11am-2pm, Sat-Sun 11am-3pm; Sun-Thu 6-10.30pm, Fri-Sat 6-11pm.
Kebabs on the Grille
Ten years down the line, Kebabs on the Grille is still sizzling with steam and smoke. Its Cool Docks outpost makes a particularly family-friendly dining spot, taking into account the riverside walkway and boutique shops in the vicinity. Food-wise, the fragrant Tandoori chicken, Paneer makhani, samosas and juicy lamb kebab are among the most popular options for kids. Otherwise stop by on Sunday for the ‘all you can eat’ buffet brunch and sample a bit of everything.
Kebabs on the Grille, see the listing here. Open daily, 11am-10.30pm.
Puben by Jereme Leung
This VOL Group restaurant has its heart set on providing a family-friendly culinary experience, and it’s doing exceedingly well. The five-course brunch menu by celebrated Chef Jereme Leung draws on distinct flavors from different regions of China, encompassing Sichuan, Yunnan and Guangdong. Don’t forget to order in Chef Leung’s signature black gold egg custard buns and a box of fragrant rose pastries. What’s more? There is also a bian lian (face-changing) opera performed between courses to entertain kids and parents alike.
Puben by Jereme Leung, see the listing here. Open Thu-Sat 5-11pm, Sun-Wed 5-10pm; Brunch Sat 11.30am-2.30pm.
Singapore Restaurant (星洲小馆)
This two-story neighborhood restaurant near Tianzifang makes gratifying meals for families and lone eaters alike. Spot the crimson door frame for entry and inside you’ll find a Peranakan interior with rattan lamps and tables converted from old school desks. Forget about high chairs - the seats are low enough for young kids to sit comfortably (it’s the adults who need to crouch over their bowls). As for the food, expect staples like fried bee hoon (vermicelli rice noodles with assorted vegetables) and laksa. The Teochew-style bak kut teh has a hint of garlic and peppercorn. If that’s too strong, stay safe with the roti (pan-fried flatbread) and Hainanese chicken rice, which kids tend to like.
Singapore Restaurant, see the listing here. Open daily, 11am-10pm.
Singapore Kopi Tiam (新马茶餐厅)
You’ll have to queue for a seat on the weekends, but this hidden gem is worth the wait. A mere 30 square meters of ground floor area accommodates a small number of tables, but the food and economical pricing make up for it. The bak kut teh with tofu and assorted mushrooms complemented by a herbal base is cooked the Cantonese way. Other memorable plates include the stir-fried turnip cakes and Singaporean laksa served with ho fun noodles, as well as cereal prawns, which are nutty and fragrant (trust us, kids will be finishing the oats by the spoon). A satisfying meal amounts to RMB80 per adult.
Singapore Kopi Tiam, see the listing here. Open daily, 11am-9pm.