Shanghai Food & Drink Gossip: April 2021

By Sophie Steiner, April 27, 2021

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This month, patios and outdoor spaces are finally coming out of hibernation, spilling out into the streets just in time to be covered by tree pollen. Restaurateurs and mixologists are shaking up a new spread of eats and sips in anticipation of summer. So without further ado, your monthly dose of Shanghai’s food & bev gossip is served.

Image via dianping

Sandwich shop, deli, and café and bar Le Daily soft opened in mid-April next to SOiF, and it’s been next to impossible to get a seat since day one. The team behind includes an all-star lineup of Francois Seguin (SOiF), Michael Chen (The Cannery, Laiba) and Andrew Moo (TasteCollective) – a team that oozes creative deliciousness.

Sandwiches range in price from RMB58-88, salads around RMB48, plus they have reasonably priced coffee, tap beer and – no surprise here – a well-rounded natural wine selection. We haven’t seen scrumptious sandwiches the likes of these since Madison Kitchen

Image courtesy of Tomatito

Contemporary Spanish eatery el Willy is making a comeback, with reopening slated for late summer or fall of 2021 at the same address in Bund 22. Word on the street is that the head chef is still being sorted, but everyone’s favorite sexy chef, Koen Vessies, will return from Singapore to help launch the restaurant.

We expect nothing but giant, sexy paellas, free-flowing wines and numerous fun guest chef collaborations, in true el Willy Group fashion. Make sure to stop by Koen’s last event on April 28 at Tomatito, a King’s Day guest chef with Elain Koo (el Willy Group). 

READ MORE: Sexy Chef Koen Vessies' Last Words Before Leaving Shanghai

POZ, a French Bistro concept by the Lost Heaven Group, has opened in the Coconut Paradise villa on Fumin Lu (bar only for now, open from 3pm). That's right next to POZ Café by Lost Bakery

Image via dianping

Agnes is a smoke and grill venue mixing together elements of the American South (think smoked brisket and roasted pork belly) and Nordic-inspired winter eats (pickles, slaw, and soon-to-come smoked fish) with pretty much everything arriving between buns.

Located on the first floor of Wukang Market, Chef Alexander Bitterling (who is shared with upstairs' Something) is still tinkering with the menu, but we'd expect nothing less since it opened its doors less than a week ago. The name comes from Craig Willis' grandma, which adds to the wholesome factor. Milkshakes, slushies and soft serve ice cream round out the sweeter half of the current soft opening menu. 

Dusk Till Dawn, a new bar, hidden behind an also brand-spanking new Thai street food cover restaurant called Soi Thai (with actual legit Thai food), is set to open end of May next to Up. The group of owners is comprised of seasoned restaurateurs who wish to remain anonymous until it's closer to opening – gotta maintain that air of mystery in Shanghai somehow these days! Expect dance music most nights of the week with in collaboration with Sound of Shanghai (previously of Unico). 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Exciting news for taco lovers around Shanghai, Tacolicious is expanding! Hold your horses though – the expansion is coming in the form of cloud kitchens, for delivery, rather than physical brick-and-mortar restaurants. This does still mean that a much, much, much wider delivery radius will get to crush those double-tortilla-cheese-stuffed tacos on the reg. The first satellite kitchen is set to open next month in Xuhui, covering the original Tacolicious' delivery radius, with two to three more coming soon after. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Yugo Grill, a new burger popup spot on the corner of Shaanxi Bei Lu and Wuding Lu is hitting the late-night food scene hard with pljeskavica (Yugoslavian-style burgers), marinated chicken thighs and sausages, all made using secret recipes hailing from the Balkans.

Despite being around for only a month, they are pulling in quite the evening crowd. Currently, they are only open Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from 7pm until sold out, which is usually by midnight, but there are hopes of opening up on more days soon. 

READ MORE: Pljeskavica – The Late-Night Yugoslavian Burger Eats You Need

Chef Kelvin Chai (Mercato) is opening a farm-to-table Italian bistro, Caminetto, on the first floor of The Roof in Xintiandi. He will source produce from local farms daily to create modern twists on Italian classics, paired with fine wines. 

Image courtesy of Crave Café

Despite housing more than 7,000 coffee shops (the most in one city in the entire world!), Shanghai – and specifically the Xinle/Donghu Lu intersection – saw the soft opening of another coffee-centric venue, Crave Café, this month by chef Holly Lian (CouCou). They currently offer coffee, drinks, baked goods and sandwiches, but will expand into dinner and more wine after grand opening.

READ MORE: Shanghai Has More Coffee Shops Than Any Other City in the World

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Another izakaya just opened in the Kerry Center called Torisawa. It's a bit pricier, a bit fancier, a bit more exclusive than its izakaya counterparts, and the owners aim to open a beef-focused omakase spot upstairs. Add it to the list of 10K other izakayas within the city limits.

READ MORE: 7 Izakayas to Satisfy Your Yakitori Cravings in Shanghai

More Japanese eats are hitting the scene with the opening of Kyushu's on the expat-hub corner of Wuding Lu and Yanping Lu. The space is big with bar seating and tables. Expect lots of Asahi and seafood, but the verdict is still out on quality. 

WechatIMG222.jpegImage by Sophie Steiner/That's

American chain wannabe, Will's Lobster, is a mini shop across from Pudao Wines in Shankang Li, with lines forming at all hours of the day, despite the fact that it just opened this month. Sporting the American classics with a lobster focus, you can sample anything from Maine to California lobster rolls, from lobster-topped hotdogs to lobster-sporting burgers. Chicago style ballpark dogs, Texas chili dogs and Louisiana spicy shrimp rolls are also on offer.  

Another café-esque opening, Piment, is flaunting an outdoor space on Huashan Lu for passers-by to gawk at brunch offerings, like pandan crepes, smoked salmon and beetroot hollandaise eggs Benedict and croissant egg sandos. The dinner menu sports bistro lounge dishes like burgers, pastas, risottos, seafood, steaks and charcuterie. 

Image courtesy of Swirlz

It’s not Shanghai spring without the opening of another ice cream shop, and first up is Swirlz, brought to us by Priscilla Young, the co-founder of Brut Eatery and of Ms. P Burnt Cheesecake. The ice cream bar on Yuyuan Lu showcases the high-quality ingredients used in making said frozen desserts. From simple Meiji fresh milk cream to sundaes topped with prosciutto and figs, we want it all. 

Image courtesy of La Mezcaleria

Mezcal is on everyone’s mind (and palate) these days, and we are eagerly awaiting the opening of La Mezcaleria, a temple devoted to all things mezcal. With endless popups around town in the last few weeks, we can’t wait for the multi-concept brick-and mortar spot to swing open the doors on Yanping Lu in June. 

Bonica will be the restaurant, La Barra is the lounge and La Mezcaleria will be a cocktail bar with – you guessed it – mezcal as the liquor of choice, all housed under one roof. Chef Marco Chavez (previously of PoluxThe Chop Chop Club and Mr & Mrs Bund) will be heading up the South of the Border-focused menu, and Mark Lloyd of J. Boroski will be consulting on the beverage menu. 

Image via @mikkellershanghai Instagram

Mikkeller 2.0 has officially started welcoming crowds at its new Xintiandi location, El Luchador’s old digs. There are 10 beers on tap, plus imported bottles and cans, and a limited food menu (for the time being) – with recipes from their Danish chef, executed locally. Following grand opening, slated for the beginning of May, the food menu will be extended to include daily specials, lunch deals and weekend brunch. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

This month marked the closing of Heat French Rotisserie Bistro on Maoming Lu, but luckily their second location in Fantang Food Hall on Yanping Lu is still open and pumping out those lunch specials and night eats like it’s nobody’s business.

READ MORE: Heat French Rotisserie – Jing'an Chicken Lunch and Dinner Winner

Lost Heaven Bakery in the More Than Eat complex also closed down (following the closure of Lost Heaven Silk Road), but the bakery just reopened as POZ Café on Fumin Lu (see details above), plus two more locations on Gaoyou Lu and another near the Bund.

Got a hot tip? Feel free to email all juicy rumors to 

Read more Shanghai Food & Drink Gossip.

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