It's time to take advantage of this excellent weather and take every opportunity to be outside. There's nothing better than socializing on terraces and rooftops during this brief window of glorious temperatures after winter before the plum rains kick in. Here's a list of our top picks for Shanghai's best Al Fresco dining spots, because food and drinks taste even better in the open air.
Managed by The Peninsula Shanghai, Balfour is located in the Former British Consulate building. The food is an excellent representation of Southeast Asian cuisine with highlights being the beef rendang and Sambal Lady's Finger. This magnificent historical mansion is also a great location for al fresco afternoon tea with a view of Lujiazui's modern skyline offset by the period architecture on the Puxi side.
Open daily 9am-10pm. See listing for Balfour.
Barbarian is a casual bar and restaurant in Jing'an, catering to a mixed crowd of primarily expat patrons looking to unwind over creative cocktails and Western fare. Venture up to the second floor when the weather's nice, and make use of the pleasant and leafy roof terrace.
Open daily 11am-late. See listing for Barbarian.
Image courtesy of The Bull & Clawe
The back garden at The Bull & Claw is as wonderful for weekend brunches as it is for evening surf and turf dinners. Enjoy the steak, lobster, craft beer or something off their robust list of cocktails while taking in the great wide open.
Open daily 11am-late. See listing for The Bull & Claw.
At level one of The Langham in Xintiandi is Cachet where you may enjoy the warmth of the summer while watching the world go by. The Langham Burger with premium Australian Wagyu or a selection of savory sliders with an ice cold glass of Brander Urstoff German beer is the best way to spend a summer day.
Open daily 6.30am-midnight. See listing for Cachet.
Calix is a contemporary Western restaurant and bar in Xintiandi, serving burgers, steak, salads, seafood and diner-inspired fare, alongside a cocktail menu and wine list. The expansive outdoor patio makes for a particularly nice vista in warmer weather, while inside plays host to live music in the evenings.
Open daily 10.30-2am. See listing for Calix.
The Calypso Terrace Lounge was made for al fresco dining. The modern, two-storey structure retracts its tall glass in the warmer months, and the manicured greenery gives out a fresh vibe in the heart of the city. It’s a Mediterranean fare here—authentic Neapolitan-style pizzas, Italian burrata and house-made pastas that can be paired with wine, 24 of which are open for tasting.
Terrace Lounge opening hours: Non-winter season (Mar-Nov) Mon-Thurs 2.30pm-1am, Fri-Sat 2.30pm-1.30am, Sun 12pm-1am. Winter season (Dec-Feb) Mon-Thurs 2.30pm-11pm, Fri-Sat 2.30pm-12am, Sun 12pm-11pm.See listing for Calypso.
Image via @miasun/Instagram
Oozing a casual vibe and boasting an enviable garden-view, The Cannery is a definite if you’re looking for great food and amazing cocktails with the option to sit outside. Plus they just launched their "lovely evening picnics" on weeknights from 8pm with wine specials for RMB250 per bottle. Did we mention dog friendly?
Open daily Mon-Fri 5.30pm-1am, Sat & Sun 11.30am-1am. See listing for The Cannery.
Casual Mexican eatery, Cantina Agave arguably put Donghu Lu on the map when it comes to boozy outdoor drinks on their sunny streetside terrace. Indulge in Tex-Mex favorites, which are good value and designed for sharing and pairing with margarita pitchers and Mexican beer.
Open daily 11am-1am. See listing for Cantina Agave.
Shanghai is home to the sister restaurant of Hong Kong's iconic Café Gray Deluxe housed in the newly opened Middle House hotel. The restaurant and lounge bar has several outdoor areas including a spacious terrace that overlooks Nanjing Xi Lu. The best part is during soft opening, you may enjoy 50% off bottles of champagne from 5-7pm. Who doesn't love popping bottles of champers on a hip terrace?
Open for breakfast daily 6.30-10.30am, Lunch Mon-Fri 11.30am-2.30pm, Dinner daily 5.30pm-10.30pm, Weekend brunch: 11.30am-3pm. See listing for Café Gray Deluxe.
The Cathay Room terrace of the Fairmont Peace Hotel is nothing short of luxurious with its own private butler and sommelier. All that, and a stunning view of the Bund to boot.Their indulgent brunch is a great way to experience this stunning location. Executive Chef Jean-Luc makes meals to remember with the very best seasonal produce, freshest seafood and treats such as foie gras, charcuterie and cheese.
Open daily from 12-10.30pm. See listing for The Cathay Room.
A Shanghai rennovated villa mainstay, the gorgeous tree-lined garden at Coconut Paradise feels truly tropical in the evening and compliments a menu of classic Thai dishes.
Open daily 11.30am-2pm, 5.30-10.30pm. See listing for Coconut Paradise.
Consistency is our favorite word when it comes to restaurants, and this casual Jing’an restaurant delivers every time with contemporary, delicious food that won’t destroy your budget. Open for drinks, lunch, dinner and brunch.
Open for lunch, Tues-Fri 12-2.30pm, Sat-Sun 12-3pm. Open for dinner Tues-Sat 6-10.30pm. See listing for Commune Social.
This outdoor bar and lounge is located on the seventh floor of iapm Mall overlooking the city center. While a great place to hang out any time, we highly recommend either the very long happy hour from 5-10pm for a range of seasonal fruit based G&Ts or their Tuesday oyster nights when Fine de Claires go for RMB88 a dozen or RMB48 per half dozen.
Mon-Fri 3pm-1am, Sat & Sun noon-2am. See listing for The Cut Rooftop.
Early this year mainstay of well executed and high quality Spanish food elEfante closed. Luckily, Fulu Group reimagined the space rapidly into a Peruvian eatery helmed by former elEfante chef, Carlos Sotomayor and the Concession-era villa's patio is still one of the best places around for a drink and a nibble.
Open daily 5.30pm-9:30pm. See listing for Ekeko.
This Bund-side rooftop terrace is tied with Goodfellas, a popular Italian restaurant on the ground floor. As such The Fellas promises the same chilled out vibe, stellar views of the Huangpu River, wine and cocktails. You can enjoy the spectacular view of the Huangpu skyline with pizzas, beer, cocktails and wine. Can't be mad at that!
Open daily 5.30pm-2am. See listing for The Fellas Terrace.
This subterranean lifestyle hub has fast become the expat pit - or expit, zing! - of choice. Formerly Datong Mill, Found 158 is home to a varied array of restaurants, bars and performance spaces, and retains its quaint open air charm and quirky positioning in the heart of a local park. Enjoy the afternoon and evenings in restaurants including Hooked, El Santo, Mito, Cyclo, Pera and more.
See listing for Found 158.
Funkadeli has come far from its early days as a delicatessen with a knack for making spritz to a full on restaurant and bar which resembles a smart European bistro with a long bar that is stacked to the rafters with Campari and Aperol. The real fun happens when the weather gets pleasant and you can sit outside with the other Donghu Lu party animals.
Open daily 11am-1am. See listing for Funkadeli.
Shenzhen chain, Gaga, has opened its first Shanghai location in the former Saint Mary's Girls Middle School historical building within the Raffles City Changning complex. The modern cafe covers two floors and with a lovely terrce. The food is classic cafe fare with an emphasis on seasonality and healthy eating with a wide range of "gaga fruit teas" inspired by Spanish sangria and Eastern tea culture.
Open daily 10am-10pm. See listing for Gaga Cafe.
A favorite of weekend brunch seekers, Ginger by the Park has a beautifully serene terrace overlooking a quaint park. An eclectic menu of Southeast Asian dishes and Western brunch classics awaits.
Mon-Sat 10am-11pm, Sun 10am-10pm. See listing for Ginger by the Park.
This restaurant and lounge bar within the Ascott Hotel has a spacious patio overlooking the Xintiandi neighborhood, and sexy interiors that lend themselves to nights out and formal occasions alike. Highline serves a menu of contemporary Western food designed to be shared, alongside a craft cocktail program.
Open daily from 11am-1am. See listing for Highline.
Go to Kartel Rooftop to take in the city's energy and the stunning Jing'an skyline while taking advantage of a generous happy hour that runs from 6-8pm daily with select wine, beer and cocktails for RMB30. Add in some yummy food and wine combos starting from RMB108 for a perfect date night or friends night out.
Open daily 6pm-2am. See listing for Kartel.
For a prime location that screams ‘I heart Shanghai,’ our compass points to Morton's Steakhouse at the ifc Mall for sheer al fresco panache. Its fourth-floor patio opens up to a majestic sight of Lujiazui. Really, you can’t ask for a better backdrop to go with an uptown steak lunch.
Sun-Thu 11.30am-10pm, Fri & Sat 11.30am-11pm. See listing for Morton's Steakhouse (IFC branch).
Mayita’s sunny terrace is made for enjoying a refreshing margarita against a sweeping view of the city we call home. This restaurant serves beef quesadillas, chicken enchiladas as well as ingredients for a DIY taco fest.
Mon-Fri 5pm-late, Sat & Sun 11am-4pm
No list of the city’s best terraces would be complete without a mention of the oldest Bund restaurant, M on the Bund. Classy but not overpriced, M on the Bund is the full package. Make sure you try the pavlova.
Open for lunch, Mon-Fri 11.30am-2.30pm, Sat-Sun 11.30am-3pm. Afternoon tea Sun 3.30-5.30pm. Dinner, daily 6.15-10.30pm. See listing for M on the Bund.
Slightly out of the way but well worth the trip, Oxalis is a new concept in The Waterhouse that focuses on using carefully sourced ingredients for a sophisticated approach to French bistro cuisine. Alsace native, Chef Jonas Noël is influenced by classical French, Nordic and Asian cooking and his food is as approachable as it is unique. Enjoy an afternoon lunch on the wonderful terrace.
Open daily noon-2.30pm, 6-10pm. See listing for Oxalis.
This so-called ‘American brasserie’ is headed by David Chaveau, previously of The Peninsula. He damn well knows what’s up when it comes to the kitchen, and serves contemporary dishes alongside a spectacular Lujiazui skyline.
Open daily 11am-2pm, 5-11pm. See listing for POP.
Sasha’s is an award-winning restaurant and bar situated in the center of the former French Concession, Shanghai. Occupying the old Soong family mansion, they offer various settings for customers to enjoy their food and drinks. Sasha’s also boasts the city's biggest beer garden and a popular bar on the first floor.
Open daily 11am-2am. See listing for Sasha’s.
Having kept the city suitably inebriated on Donghu Lu for several years now, Shanghai Brewery's terrace is consistently full of beer aficionados on sunny days and warm nights. This is a great after-work or pre-gaming spot before you mosey on down to Le Baron.
Open daily, Mon-Thurs: 11.30am-1am, Friday: 11.30pm-2pm, Saturday: 11am-2am Sunday: 11am-1am. See listing for Shanghai Brewery (Donghu Lu)
Shanghai’s resident ‘one percenter’ restaurant has a magnificent terrace with unparalleled views of the Bund and Pudong. Impress hot dates, out of town guests and clients with the fabulously old school cocktails. They also have a oyster promotion on the terrace every Monday and Tuesday from 5-8pm whereby all wines and champagnes are BOGO with purchase of a dozen Bouduese or Royale oysters.
Terrace open Sun-Thurs, 5pm-12am and Fri-Sat 5pm-1am. See listing for Sir Elly's.
Located on the rooftop of Banyan Tree Shanghai on the Bund, TOPS does birdcage afternoon tea and cocktails best while overlooking a breath-taking panoramic view of the Bund and Pudong skyline. Modern lights and cozy decorum provide an elegant touch to getting, well, drunk outdoors. Plus, Wednesday is Ladies Night!
Open daily 11.30-12am. See a listing for TOPS.
Located on the top two floors of Hyatt on the Bund, the main draw here is the view of Puxi and Lujiazui skyline from its open-air terrace. This upscale bar offers premium beverages and a comprehensive selection of refined champagnes; this summer sees Vue Bar launching a series of cooling 'sparkling and sorbet' cocktails.Try a blend of Prosecco with either pineapple-basil, elderflower-mint, or mango-passion fruit sorbet.
Sun-Wed 5.30pm-1.30am, Thurs-Fri & public holidays 5.30pm-2.30am. Opens at 2.30pm on weekends. See listing for Vue Bar.
For a delightful spread of delicacies spanning the globe to be enjoyed in the open air, look no further than XTD elevated terrace restaurant on level five of The Langham, Xintiandi. On Saturdays, a barbeque menu is available featuring imported beef, salads, breads and various grilled items. You are bound to appreciate the beach style cocktail list as well.
Open daily 5pm-1am. See listing for XTD elevated.
The relaxed enviroment and first floor terrance make dining at The Andaz Xintiandi's Xuan Bar the perfect escape from the daily hustle and bustle. Make use of their current "Lunch and the City" promotion for a midday meal at only RMB88 (on weekdays) while you bask in the sunshine.It's also the perfect environment for a post work cocktail.
Sun-Thu 11.30am-1am, Fri & Sat 11.30am-2am. See listing for Xuan Bar.