Shanghai is all about wining & dining and the Dutch Fleur -living as an expat in Shanghai- has the very best tips to go around.
Which neighbourhood in Shanghai is up and coming?
French Concession is the best neighbourhood in Shanghai, as it has always been. Tianzifang is also popular, but unfortunately it is becoming more and more touristy. Jing’an is becoming an increasingly popular area to live, so you see many new restaurants and bars opening their doors there. Wuding Road and Shaanxi North Road are two streets in Jing’an that are becoming increasingly popular.
Where have you recently had good food?
Mercato, Sichuan Citizen, The Commune Social Franck Ferguson Lane, Xixi, Ginger, Mia’s Yunnan Kitchen, Villa Le Bec. Download the smart shanghai app or check out their website for addresses (which are also given in Chinese) and reviews. There you can also find the latest restaurants and bars and all kinds of events and specials. Incredibly convenient to have if you are in Shanghai, especially if you do not speak Chinese.
Where do you go for drinks?
Kartel, Dr. Wine, Yongkang Road (a cozy bar street filled with bars , especially Funkadeli is nice) and Cabra are great for after work drinks. But especially go for cocktails, both early and late in the evening: Constellation (try the East Side), Speak Low (fantastic cocktails, try to get a spot on the 3rd floor), Mokkos Lamu (small Japanese bar), Candor (they have a cocktail that takes 30 minutes to make! Their perfect Margaritha is literally the perfect Margaritha) Flask (Opening a new bar on Xiangyang Road soon), Barber shop, People 7. Some of these may be a bit difficult to find because they are hidden cocktail bars, but that makes it fun. Xixi has just opened a really cool cocktail lounge on the second floor of their restaurant(try the Green Dragon, a cocktail with wasabi to spice things up!).
What is the best rooftop in Shanghai, and where do you go to dance?
Kartel has a nice rooftop, but is more a good place to start the evening than for a wild night out. Bar Rouge has been the most famous club in Shanghai and has a good rooftop which renovates every year before summer so they have a different rooftop every year. M on the Bund has a fantastic roof terrace but is more for lunch and dinner. Vue bar has an amazing view and a jacuzzi on the roof (they also sell swimsuits but most people just dangle their feet in the hot tub). Vue is more for drinks and to enjoy the view as the name implies but not really a bar to go out dancing. The best clubs are Parrot (just opened!) Craft (disco, my favourite bar, really a hidden gem in Shanghai) and Le Baron (the coolest club at the moment, a lot of 80s music and hip hop, but it varies per night). These three bars are all located near each other. Bar Rouge remains a classic. Typical Chinese clubs: Diva or Muse. Dada, downtown, the mansion and shelter are good for techno/minimal. Lucca is a great gay bar.
What would recommend your friends to go see/do in Shanghai?
I recommend everyone to visit the propaganda poster museum. Go to the 100th floor of the World Financial Centre (the bottle opener) for an amazing view of Shanghai. But do go on a clear day! Take a bike ride through the French Concession, a walking (photography) tour, the Jewish walking tour, strool around the wet market, the cricket market, Fuxing Park on a Saturday or Sunday…great entertainment, go to the marriage market in People’s park on a weekend day in the early morning (all be found via google, guides, or smart shanghai). Try dumplings at least once (Din Tai Fung is very popular among expats, but there are plenty of local places that also make fantastic dumplings). Start with a drink at 18.00 o’clock at Vue bar, where you can see the lights turning on, on both sides of the Huangpu River, have dinner at the Bund or in the French Concession. For Chinese food, I often go to Sichuan Citizen, Mia’s Yunnan Kitchen of Din Tai Fung. On the Bund Mercato, El Willy and M on the Bund are fantastic, both for the view and food.
Where would you recommend people to stay the night?
Book a nice Airbnb in the French Concession.
Where do you go for shopping?
Kate Wood, Madame Mao’s Dowry, the fake market on Nanjing West Road 580 and various boutiques scattered around the French Concession. But make no mistake, the boutiques here are much more expensive than you might think.
Where do you meet your friends for coffee?
The Cottage Shop (my second home), Piccolo (new on Anfu Road), Fumi Coffee (new on Fumin Road), eat a tosti/croque monsieur at Co. Cheese Melt Bar (over 20 different tostis to choose frin) or get a cinnamon roll at CinnaSwirl next door, while grabbing a coffee at Lana coffee down the street (East Yuyuan Road).
What would you miss in Amsterdam if you would move back?
Lots! Chinese restaurants that are open 24/7, actually all the food, the people, small talk with the locals, experiencing weird situations on a daily basis, swearing in Dutch when I try to make my way through the crowded streets with my bike, the nightlife, the bowling hall which is open 24/7, the fake market, the fake DVD shop…almost everything except smog, smelly sewers and public spitting.