Shanghai Food & Drink Gossip: January 2023

By Sophie Steiner, January 30, 2023

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Christmas. Check. New Years. Check. Chinese New Year. Check. Borders reopened. Check. Catching COVID. Check. 

Raise your hand if you haven’t gotten COVID. 

Cool, no one is raising their hand. 

What we’re saying is, it’s been a weird time. But now it's behind us. And, surprisingly, there have been a handful of new openings going on.

Some that have been in the works for a while; others that popped up so fast on our radar that they must have been built by the Line 7 construction workers.

(Does no one else remember when they made that new train station next to iapm Mall in two days?!)

Anyway, back to F&B – it’s time to smack those veins because you just scored your monthly hit of gossip. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Suntory: a world-renowned brand with nearly 125 years of history and 100 years of distilling whisky under their belt; the first single malt whisky distiller of Japan; the first vineyard owner in Japan; and, most notably, the brand eponymous with the drinker’s drink – the highball.

And now, Suntory has opened its very first flagship store – a high-end restaurant, cocktail lounge, whisky bar and terrace all in one – right here on the 5th and 6th floor of Shanghai’s own CITIC Pacific Plaza on Jiangning Lu. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

It’s a sanctuary to all things whisky, with Executive Chef Junichi Honda – who studied under the master of Japanese cooking, Iron Man Dojo Rokusaburo – serving up a premium menu chalk-full of the highest-grade premium sashimi, bubbling sukiyaki pots brimming with Wagyu, flame-licked cuts of the rarest imported seafood and tightly trundled sushi rolls teeming with the choicest slabs of fish. Plus killer cocktails and a wine roster that schools most wine bars around town.

Before there was Tai’an Table, there was Stiller – a more 'everyday, approachable' space that had a good run in Shanghai from 2008-13. After bringing the concept back again in 2021, but this time in Guangzhou, the Stefan Stiller team has decided Shanghai needs it too; a reincarnation of the original, but this time in Xintiandi. The food will be modern European with a more casual presentation that Tai'an Table. Expect soft opening in the coming month. 

Chef Esben Holmboe Bang of Oslo-based three Michelin Star-restaurant Maæmo is opening his first restaurant abroad, right here in Shanghai, in the old Green & Safe spot on Dongping Lu. It is going to be called EHB – after his initials, of course. He also runs several other restaurants and bars in Oslo, like Mon Oncle, The Vandelay and The Conservatory. We expect strong farm-to-table vibes, a stellar wine list and for Nordic flair to abound. 

Image via Dianping

Joye&Sam is ART021 Art Fair founder Zhou Dawei's new grocery store / life experience shop / multi restaurant-venue / wine cellar / charcoal grill / nightclub – all in one place in the Hengshan 8 complex. 

Wow. What? The space is h-u-g-e – more than 2,000 square meters across multiple levels. First up, there's the grocery store with over 3,000 products, a coffee shop and a bakery. Each dish on this level can also be purchased in packaging to take away and cook on your own later. 

The B1 level has a wine cellar, a full Josper oven kitted-out charcoal station and a deli counter. There's also Chef Gabo's Anarkia brand cooperation with Madame Ching, serving up playful twists on Asian street food paired with natural and Chinese wines, soju and a highballs.

And there's a Thai restaurant.

And a dance club.

It's a looooot. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Also making the leap from Beijing to Shanghai, Bottega – a Neapolitan pizza and pasta joint – has landed in the old Beef & Liberty spot in the KWah Center on Xiangyang Lu. It’s decked-out, trendy, full of nightly live music and ready to make a name for itself in Shanghai.

The menu sees 21 – yup, TWENTY-ONE! – pizza options, plus a smattering of noodles, antipasta and desserts. Oh yeah and there’s wine – a lot of wine. And all the spritzes and aperitivos you would ever need to convince yourself, by the end of the night, that you’re actually drinking in Naples. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

A second restaurant concept, Coco Crew, by the same group is located just in front of Bottega, street adjacent. As the name suggests, this spot is all about the detox and retox... with coconuts.

Think healthy coconut water-based bevvies by day and creative coconut cocktails at night, brought to you by the famous Peter, previously of one of Beijing's premier cocktail bars: Black Moth. They will be importing coconuts from around the globe, and bringing in guest DJs. Expect soft opening soon. 


Hoarding has been spotted in Shankang Li for a new concept by the Turkish cuisine team at Pasha. Expect Mediterranean casual dining with a focus on mezze style (small plates) for brunch through late night.

Dishes will run RMB38-158, with wines clocking at RMB128-258 a bottle. The name is still a close-guarded secret (is the evil eye amulet a clue?!), but expect to find out around soft opening time, slated for the end of February. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Everyone’s favorite Balkan burger bodega, Yugo Grill, is expanding again – a testament to their ever-growing fan base that just can’t get enough of those Balkan feasts and wild Serbian style parties.

Taking over the Delmuse space next door, the crew has knocked down the dividing wall to more than double the venue’s original size, adding in a DJ stage, a large bar, booth and high-top seating and a dance floor.

The soft opening of the new space took place – fittingly – on New Year’s Eve with a huge blowout bash featuring a live DJ, free flow drinks and a party befitting of welcoming of a New Year and a new Yugo era. 

Image courtesy of Linglong

Hailing from Beijing, 30-seater Linglong is set to open in Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund on March 12, led by Executive Chef Jason Liu. It’s modern Chinese fusion – combining flavors from around the Middle Kingdom with an emphasis on using uncommon ingredients.

Chef Jason is in the process of overhauling the entire menu offered in Beijing for the Shanghai location, so it will include 90% new dishes, allowing repeat guests to enjoy a totally different experience between the two cities.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

O’Mills just opened its fifth – yup, you read that right, fifth – location in Shanghai, known as Toasty by O’Mills on Yanping Lu near Wuding Lu. It’s slowly expanding its health food empire, each spot filling our tummies with more and more sourdough-based bread and pastries. Not even mad about it. 

Image courtesy of Papito Pancakes

Another multiplying chain, Papito Pancakes is opening its third outlet on Changle Lu near Wulumuqi Lu on February 1, continuing to spread the love for crepes in all forms to new Shanghai neighborhoods. 

A new sign is up on the old Camel space for a Himalayan restaurant called Yak & Yeti – our curiosity is piqued. 

Da Vittorio Group opened a restaurant in a quaint Shanghai villa – aptly named Villa – just near Villa Le Bec. Expect an even higher end (think pricier) menu that – based on the ownership – obviously leans Italian. But, don’t plan on snagging any of the Da Vittorio or New Wave by Da Vittorio signatures; it’s a totally separate concept and team.

As the cookie crumbles, a few closures also went down this month. Most notably, Cotton’s on Anting Lu bid Shanghai farewell on December 31, after 17 long years of going strong – that’s 6,205 days of operation we are saying goodbye to!

Leasing issues with the landlord, you know how the story goes.

Cotton’s on Xinhua Lu will continue operations as normal, carrying the banner on. 

Casual cocktail bar 521SH also shuttered its doors, as did Neigo and all Windows locations.

Sheesh, Windows. Now there's a blast from a very messy past. If those walls could talk... 

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

Read more Shanghai Food & Drink Gossip.

[Cover image via]

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