New Shanghai Bars and Restaurants: February 2020

By That's Shanghai, February 6, 2020

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Here are all the restaurant and bar openings we featured in our February 2020 magazine issue.


Dr. Curry

Image by Cristina Ng/That's

While ubiquitous in Japan, there aren’t many small restaurants devoted solely to Japanese curry in Shanghai. Tokyo native Hiro Tsukino saw that gap in the market years ago when he opened the quaint Small Spice near Xintiandi as an alternative to monster chain Coco Ichibanya – back when we thought Danshui Lu was the new Yongkang. 

Since then, the fire powering the bubbling development pot of F&B ventures on Danshui was turned down while YKL’s image underwent an ‘extreme makeover.’ Hiro-san moved on from Small Spice to open HTO and now Dr. Curry. His latest venture is an adorably-sized two-story storefront on Huaihai Zhong Lu with seating for about 15 people.

Total Verdict: 4/5

Price: RMB80-100 per person
Who's going: Hiro-san fans, curry lovers, cool locals
Good for: Lunch, early dinner, budgets

Read a full review here. See a listing for Dr. Curry.

Garlic Barbecue

Image by Cristina Ng/That's

Shanghai isn’t known for its barbecue, but a few places, such as Chuckville and Cages (on Thursdays), are doing the good work of smoking meats. Recently, the ante has been raised with Garlic Barbecue. Located in outdoor mall Zhonghai Huanyuhui, this meat-focused venue is the work of some Turkish folks (surprise) – including the owners of Garlic.

There’s a selection of meats sold in 100-gram portions, including Beef Brisket, Pork Ribs and Pulled Pork (RMB42-48) as well as Beef Short Rib (RMB180/450-500g) and Sausages (RMB28). If you show up on the weekends, there are even Beef ‘Dinosaur’ Ribs (RMB350/850-900g).

Total Verdict: 4/5

Price: RMB100-200 per person
Who’s going: meat lovers, Texas transplants
Good for: comfort food, casual lunches 

Read a full review here. See a listing for Garlic Barbecue


Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

After the closure of Funkadelino and the short-lived Funka del Sur experiment, the Funka Group is looking to step up its game with Italo. The full-service lounge with modern Milano style is just above the group’s flagship Funkadeli on Fumin Lu. If you’ve been to UP Shanghai, el Willy or Tomatito, the design will feel familiar – the warm colors, exposed concrete, backlit bar and geometric fixtures are also the work of Max Trullas Moreno of MTMDesign.

Italian-inspired comfort food is the name of Italo’s game, with a menu including fritto misto, raw appetizers, gourmet pizzas, family-style pasta, roasted meat and fish entrees. Numbing peppercorn and cinnamon-spiced caponata with burrata or Sichuan chili oil in clam pasta add interest. Still, nobody’s reinventing the wheel with items like arancini or grilled artichokes. 

Total Verdict: 3/5

Price: RMB200-400
Who’s Going: Funkadeli fans, cocktail lovers and party animals
Good For: Aperitivi sessions, dates and weekend hangouts

Read a full review here. See listing for Italo.

KIN Urban Thai Kitchen

Image by Cristina Ng/That's

When it comes to Thai cuisine, Shanghai is full of general takes on the country’s food. These menus feature the likes of tom yum soup, coconut milk laden curries, pad Thai and green papaya salad – all tempered for local tastes. While KIN has a few of these items, it’s taken the bold step of specializing in the tastes of Northern Thailand. 

Camden Hauge (of Egg, Bird and Bitter fame) and her partners in this venture the Camel Hospitality Group and Urban Thai aren’t the first people to travel to that region and return captivated by the unique flavors of Lanna food. But they are stepping into uncharted territory bringing specific regional Siamese dishes to the Shanghai food scene.

Total Verdict: 3.5/5

Price: RMB150-300
Who’s Going: mix of young locals and expats
Good For: lunch, dinner, dates

Read a full review here. See a listing for KIN Urban Thai Kitchen


A Tompson Hotel

Image by Cristina Ng/That's

Four years after opening their first speakeasy, the minds behind Barber Shop, Laundry Co. and Liquor Store are back with A Tompson Hotel. Just as with their previous ‘businesses,’ the group’s latest entrant is not a real hotel. If there’s one thing these folks have learned, the devil is in the details, as this ‘faux-tel’ is their most elaborate deception to date.

If you like Boardwalk Empire, you might connect the bar’s name to Nucky Thompson. We are not sure why they omitted the ‘h’ in Tompson but can certainly imagine the corrupt politician enjoying the prohibition-era decor, Jazz Age playlist and 12-page whiskey selection. The cocktail list is also on-brand, featuring art deco motifs and an ‘all-day dining’ structure befitting the retro hotel theme.

Read a full review here. See a listing for A Tompson Hotel

Leave Your Review

Have you been to any of these venues? Post your reviews on their listings for a chance to win a Saucepan voucher.

Read more Shanghai Restaurant Reviews & Shanghai Bar Reviews

[Cover image by Cristina Ng/That's]

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