Shanghai Food & Drink Gossip: December 2023

By Sophie Steiner, December 29, 2023

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Another year has passed, culminating in another month full of Shanghai restaurant openings and closures. 

The city can't seem to make its mind up weather-wise, so plan to be outside as much as possible before we're struck by another cold snap; word is that this may be one of China's coldest winters on record. 

Luckily, we have a number of heat lamp-stocked patio spots and warming food places with updated menus and creative flavors to satisfy your endlessly wanting palettes; travel from France to Japan to Latin America to Korea, all while staying in the comfort of Shanghai.

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Image courtesy of Sake Ichi Oden

Restaurateur Henry To and business partner Michael Tao have opened not one, not two, but three new venues in the last month, expanding their Japanese-leaning foodie empire.

Riding on the coattails of the success of his Dagu Lu outpost Sake Ichi Yakitori (酒一烧鸟酒场) (that opened four years back, yet still garners quite the crowd), he opened Sake Ichi Oden (酒一关东煮酒场) on Shanxi Nan Lu in the beginning of November, doling out steaming bowls of Japanese comfort soup – you guessed it – oden, just in time for winter.  

While the conventional vegetable-based stock is on the menu, so is an unconventional chicken stock-based broth, one that repurposes the “waste” from the yakitori joint into a soul-warming stew, filled with diners’ choice of tofu, braised root vegetables, fish cakes, seafood, and more.

Another distinctive element is the offering of yakitori skewers cooked directly in the oden broth – not the most traditional of oden accoutrement... but we're listening. 

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Image courtesy of Ichi Roll

Just next to Sake Ichi Oden is Ichi Roll, a casual alternative to the high-end sushi houses serving maki-style hand rolls and sashimi, which opened in the same week as its neighbor.

Bonus: there are beers and sake on tap to wash the seafood – and proprietary recipe for dashi-laced sushi rice – down with. 

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Image courtesy of Fuxing Bakery

Finally – and a bit out left field – the newest addition to the group is Fuxing Bakery, found in the INS complex of Fuxing Park, a western style bakery and kitchen with consulting chef Alex Bitterling (previously of Something) at the kitchen's helm and boulanger / pâtissier TingTing covering the bakery. 

While the menu sports brunchy mains, roasted meats, pasta, and the like (food items that pair well with the homemade breads) the real draw is the boulangerie – with fresh-baked-daily baguettes, sourdough, rye and other confectionaries.

Doors opened in mid-November, and – not surprising for the area – the line is already regularly out the door. 

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Image via Dianping

Also in the hotspot that is INS opens yet another new club, KEZEE, alongside the already existing RADI, Hush, Playground, Culture Club and Lafin.

It’s become a pick your poison situation; layers of clubs stacked on top of one another with every kind of music and vibe under the sun.

We’re now just waiting for INS to create a single entrance ticket that allows party-goers to float between them all without having to pay separate entrance fees each time. 

Wishful thinking? Maybe.

Potential business opportunity? Most definitely...

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Image by That's

Speaking of clubs, Latin American hotspot La Social is making a comeback in the old Mosto space (Shanxi Nan Lu by Julu Lu) with soft opening set for the end of this month.

It will still have the same late-night cumbia-salsa-reggaeton-Latin pop vibes, but with the added bonus of a south-of-the-border dinner menu. 

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Image courtesy of Egg

In other nightlife news, Egg is now a Chinese wine bar at night. But don't fret, you can still crush that brunchy avo toast, eggs benny, and banana bread toast every day until 6.30pm, before sipping some locally-sourced wine after hours.  

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Image courtesy of Lawry's Prime Rib

Lawry's The Prime Rib soft opened about a week ago on Wuyi Lu, (as the name suggests) a prime rib steakhouse chain from Beverly Hills with franchised outlets around the globe. Bring on the meat sweats, this means it's time for us to update our roundup on where to crush Shanghai's best steak. 

READ MORE: A Carnivore's Dilemma: Where to Crush Steak in Shanghai

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Image courtesy of Harrods

On the subject of brands from abroad making headway in Shanghai, Harrods opened The Residence – a private members club – in mid-December in HKRI Taikoo Hui Cha House.

This exclusive club now offers its members world-class dining from one of the most famous chefs and TV personalities on the planet, Gordon Ramsay

READ MORE: Gordon Ramsay at Harrods Shanghai New Private Members' Club

The big man himself has a lineup of traditional British fare, each dish with a Shanghai spin through local ingredients and flavor pairings, exclusively available only to members and their guests.

Beyond the menu, there's oh-so much that went into the design, decor and details of this place to create its signature Harrods alluring ambiance. 

Want in? To ensure total privacy and discretion, only 250 members have been accepted to join The Residence initially, with member packages available in three tiers, starting from a casual RMB150,000 annual membership fee.

Bad news for us mere mortals...

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Image via Dianping

After years – yes years – of delays, two-Michelin-starred and consistently World's 50 Best ranked restaurant Narisawa from Tokyo finally opened up in Shanghai’s 1000 Trees this past July.

READ MORE: Narisawa – Tokyo’s Finest of Dining Destinations Hits Shanghai

Following in its footsteps, another Japanese Michelin-star venue has debuted in Shanghai, this time with a focus specifically on Yakitori; Toriki – a world-renowned Tokyo haunt that has maintained its one Michelin star status for a decade  has now opened its first China mainland outpost on The Bund.

The yakitori-heavy omakase and seasonal kaiseki menus feature only the highest quality proteins and vegetables, charred over a binchotan grill. Plus, there’s a late night a la carte menu for those looking for a midnight snack in style 

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Image courtesy of Joey Cheong

Chef Joey (JC) Cheong has split from ØSP (who recently welcomed new Executive Chef Francesco Andreoni, previously of Frasca), and has taken up shop at a new branch of Tagsui at 432 Julu Lu, and is currently in soft opening.

Here, he’s spearheaded a menu of Southeast Asian fusion bites, like pad krapow pizza, 'Asian' scotch eggs, coffee ribs, and garlic jumbo tiger prawns  food that pairs perfectly with the lineup of craft beers on tap. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's 

Recently opened L'Azur Fish Market is one of the stalls in the new Foodie Social hub – located along Xinhui Lu near the intersection of Xikang Lu – a part of the Hong Shou Fang (鸿寿坊) complex.

This foodie haunt began opening in stages this past October and currently boasts more than 70 restaurants, bakeries, food shops, and stalls, with even more set to open in the coming months.

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Image courtesy of Little Catch

Along those same poke lines, Little Catch has expanded its delivery radius with a second satellite kitchen in Dapuqiao for delivery in the southern half of Shanghai's downtown.

Just search for Little Catch on Elema or Meituan to check if you now are part of the poke circle. 

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Image via Dianping

And in other food 'hall' news, Les Halles is a new French bistro, opened in collaboration with food delivery service Sherpa’s on Jiashan Lu.

Since delivery / takeaway is a major component – like a French 'alimentari' of sorts – there’s a wide span of starters on offer. Think rillettes, pâté, pate en croute, quiche, terrine, pickles, ratatouille, French pastries, raw meats and sausages and more. 

The dine-in only menu also sees other classic French fare, like Beef Parmentier, Cheese Fondue sets, Duck Confit, steaks and then some.

It’s hearty, buttery, rich French fare, ideal for those bulking months of winter.  

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Image courtesy of Tom Ryu

While Jeju Sagye, Pado, and Botong Sikdang aren’t necessarily closing, Chef Tom Ryu – Shanghai’s most popular Korean chef – and his kitchen team have split from the Belloco Group to launch their own new venue.

We have been sworn to secrecy on the details, but vow to share as soon we can.

Just know that construction is almost done, we’ve never visited a Chef Tom venue we didn’t love, and – well – it’s gonna be awesome. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Vegan restaurant Duli has been forced to close its original location on Donghu Lu due to landlord issues, but is still serving up its yummiest offerings both in store and for delivery through the end of the month, plus a blowout afternoon party on December 30.

In the meantime, the team is actively looking for a new location to reopen, so this closure thankfully comes with an asterisk of a pending reopening in the near future. 

Shake Bar Restaurant Shanghai
Image by That's 

Onto sadder news... the biggest upset comes in the form of the closure of live music venue Shake, who made the announcement in the middle of this month that after seven years, it will be shutting its doors for good.

One of the longest-standing live music venues in the city – with a fantastic Southeast Asian leaning food menu by Danyi Gao and equally impressive cocktail menu by Colin Tait – will host its final event ever on New Year's Eve. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's 

And the award for one of the shortest-lived openings goes to Circo by Alimentari, a venue that opened in The Weave recently enough for us to write a review less than six months ago.

READ MORE: All-Day Terrace Dining at Circo by Alimentari

It has now closed, with “plans to hopefully relocate,” according to the POPOLO Group (the parent company of all Alimentari venues).

Fingers crossed, and hopefully in a new space with an equally impressive terrace.


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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