New Shanghai Bars and Restaurants: June 2019

By That's Shanghai, May 31, 2019

0 0

Here are all the new restaurant and bar openings we featured in our June 2019 magazine issue.


Restaurants

La Mesa


Image by Cristina Ng/That's

In one form or another, Ken Walker has been helping homesick expats in Shanghai find a taste of home since Bubba’s BBQ opened in Hongqiao in 2006. Sadly, Bubba’s exited the Shanghai dining scene, with Walker moving on to Tex-Mex and Mexican food at Jalapeno, which was then renamed Bordertown on Weihai Lu (now closed). After a brief hiatus, the Bordertown team is back in action with a casual stall within the More Than Eat Complex on Julu Lu. 

This time they’re not merely dipping their toes into the Rio Grande, but have taken inspiration from all over South America for a menu that spans the breadth of the region from tacos to empanadas and everything in between. 

Total Verdict: 3/5

Price: RMB80-150 per person
Who’s going: convenience-loving, budget-watching diners
Good for: getting quick spicy dinners in small groups

Read the full review here. See listing for La Mesa.


Karaiya Spice House

Image by Cristina Ng/That's 

After years of running successful Japanese restaurants Haiku, Hatsune and Kagen, the owners have turned their attention to an elegant take on the fiery flavors of Hunan at Karaiya Spice House.

Already open in Beijing, the Shanghai outpost also offers spicy dishes with an emphasis on high-quality ingredients, and what they call ‘Western-style’ presentation (although the dishes still look Chinese).

Total Verdict: 3.5/5

Price: RMB100-150 per person
Who's going: middle-class locals, Hunan food fans
Good for: clean and tidy meals, spice-lovers

Read the full review here. See listing for Karaiya Spice House


Botanik


Image by Cristina Ng/That's 

Within the quiet recesses of Jianguo Zhong Lu’s Taikang Terrace, perched above The Plump Oyster, there’s an open-air restaurant helmed by executive chef Elijah Holland. Botanik is defined by a seasonally-influenced, ever-changing tasting menu focused on local products, many of which are grown in the garden surrounding the dining area. Holland is also an avid forager, and the group’s chefs and bartenders often take to the great outdoors to go ‘grocery shopping.’

The beverage program is an equally original compilation of organic, natural and sustainable wines, as well as gin-based cocktails that allow Zander Bostoff and Julia Markina to play with botanicals harvested on-site. The latter notably just won The GREAT Gin Mixologist Competition, so you know you’re in good hands.

Total Verdict: 5/5

Price: RMB688 per person
Who’s going: locavores and gourmands
Good for: urban escapes, slow food, local products

Read the full review here. See listing for Botanik. 


Hao Jiu Hao Cai Chicken Company


Image by Cristina Ng/That's

We have never, ever gone to Found 158 looking for Chinese food, but the long, long lines at Hao Jiu Hao Cai Chicken Company could not be ignored. The Chinese name for the restaurant and ‘winner winner chicken dinner’ sign at the entrance reference a popular multiplayer battle royale game, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. When players win a match, they are greeted with the phrase ‘great, can eat chicken (chi ji, 吃鸡) tonight.’

Hao Jiu Hao Cai’s signature dish, gai bo (chicken pot) was all the rage about four years ago in Hong Kong. This Cantonese take on a Sichuan number starts as a casserole in a thick and complex caramel brown gravy. Here, the closely guarded secret sauce tastes of doubanjiang (Sichuan spicy soybean paste), mellowed with oyster sauce, soy sauce and chu hou paste. There are visible chunks of ginger and green cardamom pods, an unmistakable Sichuan peppercorn tingle, and fragrant hints of star anise, cinnamon and fennel, suggesting five-spice powder.

Total Verdict: 4/5

Price: RMB150-250 per person
Who’s going: young locals chasing viral trends
Good for: boisterous groups, big appetites, soaking up booze

Read the full review here. See listing for Hao Jiu Hao Cai Chicken Company


Bars

Yoka Balance

Image by Cristina Ng/That's 

You need to be looking for Yoka Balance to find it. The unassuming Ginza-style cocktail bar is just a few blocks north of the more highly trafficked part of Shaanxi Bei Lu, home to Up Shanghai, The Rooster and more. Look for the subdued-yet-glowing circle of light next to a nondescript pale wooden door, and you’ve arrived.

The bar is run by Chinese mixologist Yang Hua (who also goes by Yoka) who trained with a Japanese teacher. Painstaking attention to detail – from ice cubes carved into shapes and sizes to match the cocktail ordered to the correspondingly different glasses – puts them squarely in the Ginza genre of bartending.

Read the full review here. See listing for Yoka Balance.


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]

more news

40 Restaurants Receive Stars in the 2020 Shanghai Michelin Guide

Find out which outlets made the cut in the tire company slash food guide's fourth Shanghai guide.

New Shanghai Bars and Restaurants: September 2019

Here are all the new restaurant and bar openings we featured in our September 2019 magazine issue.

New Shanghai Bars and Restaurants: August 2019

Here are all the new restaurant and bar openings we featured in our August 2019 magazine issue.

New Shanghai Bars and Restaurants: July 2019

Here are all the new restaurant and bar openings we featured in our July 2019 magazine issue.

Shanghai's Top Al Fresco Restaurants & Terraces 2019

It's that time of year, when food and drinks taste better in the open air.

Shanghai's Top Al Fresco Restaurants & Terraces 2018

It's that time of year, when food and drinks taste better in the open air.

5 of Our Favorite Taiwanese Restaurants in Shanghai

When hopping over to Taipei isn't possible, these real deal joints have the flavors you crave.

The 14 Best New Shanghai Restaurants of 2019... So Far

Here's your bi-annual briefing on Shanghai's best new restaurants, cafés and casual eateries.

0 User Comments

In Case You Missed It…

We're on WeChat!

Scan our QR Code at right or follow us at Thats_Shanghai for events, guides, giveaways and much more!

7 Days in Shanghai With thatsmags.com

Weekly updates to your email inbox every Wednesday

Subscribe

Download previous issues

Never miss an issue of That's Shanghai!

Visit the archives

Get the App. Your essential China city companion.