Shanghai can be a gourmet delight or culinary disaster, depending on where you decide to eat. So we reached out to a few Shanghai F&B folks who really have a handle on the scene to Spill the Beans on their favorite spots, from hole-in-the-wall local eats to high-end venues, from late night drunk grub to date night treat yo’ self splurges.
Image courtesy of Claire Squire
Name: Claire Lily Squire
Hometown: Dartmoor, Devon, England
Occupation: Editor in Chief of Shanghai Family
Where does your love for food stem from?
My love of food came from my family. I grew up on a working farm near Dartmoor in the UK. My family taught me to understand the value of food through understanding the work that goes into producing it. Animals need to be cared for just as vegetables need to be tended.
My mother was the main cook in our household, and she created incredible high quality meals that we shared together every evening as a family. I love cooking for people; it’s a way of showing love, and this stems from my mom.
Going for dinner is the perfect way to connect with people. Food is about more than just eating, it’s about the people you share it with.
What’s your favorite restaurant in Shanghai that serves British food?
My favorites are not the swankiest of joints, but I love the atmosphere of both places. They are not ‘British’ but I love them and want to answer the question this way instead. Tres Perros on Fumin Lu and La Vite on Wulumuqi Lu. Both are fun, yummy and affordable. The sort of place you can swing by on a Tuesday night for a quick bite, head to for a first date, or order the entire menu on your birthday. Perfect.
What’s your favorite local eats spot and why?
Probably Spicy Moment on Wuyuan Lu. It’s Hunan food, they have a weird zoo animal theme (which makes zero sense) and an interactive menu that doesn’t work. But the food is spicy and delicious, and the beer is cold! I recommend the fried bamboo shoots with smoked pork. Yum!
What’s your favorite high-end restaurant and why?
I’m not sure if this counts as high-end, but it’s up there on price point. I love The Nest. It’s fun, it’s chic, the cocktails are amazing and the food is always delicious. They change the menu regularly and always have bold options (hello vension heart tartar).
Image by Sophie Steiner/That's
What’s your go-to date night spot and why?
Senator Saloon on Wuyuan Lu. I don’t eat, I swill whiskey like a pro. Their old fashioneds are the bomb.
What gaps do you see in the Shanghai dining scene that you would like to see filled?
Ethiopian food! Why is there no Ethiopian food?! Someone come to me with a concept, and I WILL INVEST. (Okay, I’m not in a position to do that, but I will invest my spirit).
What is your favorite dish in Shanghai?
This is an impossible question. WAIT. The fried cheese at Lotus Eatery. Duh.
What advice would you give to budding foodies in Shanghai?
Eat stuff. Eat everything. Try things, and then more things. And then go home and try to cook the things you ate. Cook for friends, cook for yourself. Try the same recipes over and over until you can do it perfectly. But mainly, just enjoy it.
For more Claire Squire foodie adventures, follow her on Instagram @clairelilysquire