Shanghai Food & Drink Gossip: March 2023

By Sophie Steiner, March 31, 2023

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It’s been a hot minute since we whispered in your little ears that juicy, juicy gossip – end of January to be exact. We got busy planning our 2022 That’s Shanghai Food & Drink Awards – the best celebration of a year we all can’t wait to forget – and then all of a sudden months had flown by. 

READ MORE: Who Won What at the That's Shanghai Food & Drink Awards 2022

What we can say – seems like the entire city time-traveled through February and March as all the planning from the last three years of sh*t finally came to fruition. Shanghai got real busy with openings – from zero to 60 in a month flat – and the city is humming with that pre-summer-meets-post-COVID energy. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Since our last check-in, Stiller from the team behind Tai’an Table opened mid-month in Xintiandi.

Over on Xiangyang Lu, Yak & Yeti started dishing out Himalayan flavors.

READ MORE: Yak & Yeti: A Taste of the Himalayas on Xiangyang Lu

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

So Mezze by Pasha soft-opened in Shankang Li – with a Grand Opening bash slated for April 14.

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And Ling Long has caused a bigger buzz than anticipated since soft opening on March 12, booking out through the end of May within a week.

READ MORE: Modern Chinese Restaurant Ling Long Making Waves at The Waldorf

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

A handful of 'COVID casualties' have pulled a 180 and made (or are in the process of making) a comeback, including burlesque, cabaret and drag show cocktail bar Candor; cookie magnate Strictly Cookies – thankfully revived by joining the Spread The Bagel x CinnaSwirl team; and Beast of the East Social House, which celebrates its Grand Reopening Party today, March 31.

Another Grand Opening event – this one for Upper Room on the top floor of Shamei Mansion, led by Mark Lloyd (J. Boroski– took place last weekend, showering guests with rum-centric libations. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

And, after taking over the old QG French Bistro on Kangding Lu last March, Speto's, a Meditteranean joint by the same team behind Boteco, eased into opening slowly, and then hit it hard with its Grand Opening party last week. Look forward to weekend DJs spinning throwback 80s, 90s, and 2000s hits, plus Sunday "matinee" DJs from 4pm onwards to keep your weekend day drinking vibes bumping. 

Neo bistro and wine bar INT. (short for Interval), is soft opening early April behind Mikkeller in Jing'an. As the high-end version of the Interval series – owned by Hong Kong's Twins Kitchen group – INT. is the first of its kind, bringing its unique brand of Italian cuisine, coupled with Chinese flavors and Cantonese cooking techniques (plus natural wines), to Shanghai.

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

A traditional Japanese izakaya by the Mr. Willis & Mi groupJunn – replaced Nordic-meets-American BBQ joint Agnes in Wukang Market. It's a place you go to scratch an izakaya itch, not necessarily to explore unchartered territory.

READ MORE: Scratching That Japanese Food Craving Itch at Junn Izakaya

Beyond that... well, there is no beyond that – it’s exactly what you picture when you think of an izakaya. And if your mind draws a blank, here’s a little reminder: 

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

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Another izakaya, this time outfitted like a speakeasy, Kilo opened on Wuding Lu this past winter and looks like it fell straight out of Tron. Think onyx-hued, crisscrossed glowing crimson lighting, deep bass beats and a pattern of exactly 1,000 squares throughout – hence the name Kilo, meaning ‘one thousand’ in ancient Greek. 

It’s the usual izakaya fare, with a lot of buzzword ingredients – caviar, sea urchin, wagyu – plus a curated sake menu with more than 60 distinct bottles. Upstairs is sister-venue – and equally trendy speakeasy – Noki, a Japanese whisky bar that just had its Grand Opening last weekend. (Noki... no key... get it?)

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Speaking of whiskey, our go-to for Shanghai’s widest whisky selection, Ounce, has added a third concept to their group, Air by Ounce. Located on Fuxing Lu, it's a coffee and tap cocktail hangout focused on easy-to-understand, approachable clarified beverages that are all poured directly from their proprietary tap system.

Winetique opened on Yuyuan Lu last fall – a multi-concept venue with a coffee and flower shop on the first floor, and Nikkei-inspired cuisine with a focus on wine pairings and rotating seasonal chef collaborations on the second floor. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

And, coming soon just off of Yuyuan Lu (around the corner from Jeju SagyePado and Luneurs are working on a collaboration to open a bakery and bread shop by mid-year.  

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

A number of chains are doubling down on locations. Firstly, Xibo has opened a more upscale branch, with a lot of new Xinjiang-inspired dishes, in MixC. Another location is set to follow in Hongqiao, slated for June.

Xouk by Azul have brought their tasty international cuisine for the first time to Pudong on Weifang Xi Lu. 

READ MORE: Xouk by Azul Brings Tasty International Cuisine to Pudong

Mammamia! is further spreading Napoli pizza to the masses with a new locale on Hongqiao Lu, which opened yesterday, March 30.

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Japanese ice cream chain Azabuya expanded twice since the year began, first to Wulumuqi Lu then to Yongkang Lu.

And Luneurs ice cream shop opened another store at Rock Bund, with French crepes on offer for the first time ever (plus bakery items, brunch and wine).

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Image courtesy of Chili's 

American gastropub Chili’s welcomed guests to its fourth location on Daxue Lu, starting March 1.

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Image courtesy of Goose Island

And – on the same day – Chicago-born Goose Island opened its first taproom and craft beer house on Jiashan Lu, simultaneously launching their beer-to-go brewery takeaway service. The taproom now offers over dozen craft beers on tap, plus American brewpub snacks and wine. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

As for closures, French fine dining institution L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon has left the Bund 18 building, with an exciting "new era of luxury" promised to take its place.

READ MORE: A New Era of Luxury Dining to Be Unveiled in Shanghai

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Image courtesy of Harrods

While we're on the subject of luxury, "the world’s leading luxury department store" Harrods has just celebrated the launch of The Harrods Piano Bar. A new evening concept for the brand, the Harrods Tea Rooms will now transition seamlessly into an elevated evening venue.

With a menu co-created by the Harrods UK and China restaurant teams over two years, it will offer the very best culinary experience from the Harrods Food Halls, including their delicious Beef Wellington and iconic Harrods Rose Pavlova.

There will also be classy cocktails served up at the bar and – as the name would suggest – top notch entertainment of the Piano-based variety.

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

And finally, Funkadeli said ciao to Funkadeli Yanping earlier this month, as well as Italo – located above the still-open, original Funkadeli that will never die! Hoorah!

The Italo space is slated to be replaced by… drum roll please… another casual Italian restaurant.


Got a hot tip? Feel free to email all juicy rumors to sophiesteiner@thatsmags.com. 

Read more Shanghai Food & Drink Gossip.

[Cover image via tricycle.org]

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