Charlotta Gandolfo Picks Her Shanghai Family Favorites

By Ned Kelly, June 22, 2021

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Originally from Sweden, Charlotta Gandolfo has lived in Shanghai since 2008. In 2018, she launched her eponymous fashion label that quickly made her one of Shanghai’s favorite designers among the city’s premier movers and shakers, as well as an instant hit with China’s leading actresses, models and fashion editors.

Only two years into her venture, her brand already sells all around China as well as in Singapore, the US and Europe, bringing her own interpretation of casual chic, relaxed elegance and laid-back international glamour to our city and beyond. Together with her husband Theo she has one daughter, Gabriella (5), who attends Wellington College International Shanghai (WCIS).

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Favorite Restaurant in Shanghai

How can we choose? This city has so many amazing options. We find ourselves gravitating towards Polux by Paul Pairet and Tomatito. Gabriella also loves Polux (she even plays Polux at home), so most weekends you'll find us having lunch there. And if we are not there, we are likely eating at Tomatito.

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The paella at Tomatito

For Polux, you can’t go wrong with the Foie Gras Essential and the Lamb Chops. Oh – and the French Toast. For Tomatito, most of the “two fingers, one bite” pieces are our go-tos, as well as the paella and the meat – we love the striploin and the Wagyu, and Gabriella usually goes for the meatballs. 

Who are we kidding, we actually ate everything that Sexy Chef Koen cooked, and we are still loyal devotees, despite his departure to Singapore. We must have had most things on that menu.

Polux by Paul Pairet, Xintiandi North Block, No. 5, Lane 181 Taicang Lu, by Madang Lu 太仓路181弄5号新天地北里, 近马当路.

Tomatito, Infinitus Mall, 3/F, W08-10, 168 Hubin Lu, by Jinan Lu 湖滨路168号无限极荟购物中心3楼W08-10, 近济南路.

Favorite Date Night Spot for Mom & Dad

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We love Villa Le Bec. Theo is French, so we are catering a bit to his heritage here, but no matter where you are from, this is just high quality food done right. This place nails it: the date vibe (we usually sit in the more informal bistro section), food, wine, service.

Villa Le Bec, 321 Xinhua Lu, by Dingxi Lu 新华路321号, 近定西路.

Favorite Family Activity in Shanghai

We go to Shanghai Zoo in Hongqiao a lot. Minimum once a month. It ticks a lot of boxes for the entire family. To see all the animals and to talk about them is educational, and Gabriella really loves to learn about the different species. Sometimes there are baby goats that she can feed, and there’s also a playground where she can play.

For me and Theo, it’s (with some imagination!) something that reminds us of long walks in nature. Most importantly, it is a fun way to spend outdoor time together as a family.

Shanghai Zoo, 2381 Hongqiao Lu, by Yingbin Yi Lu 虹桥路2381号上海动物园, 近迎宾一路.

Favorite Spot to De-Stress

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The New Zealand Venison Tartare at Charcohol

It’s not a spot, but it’s a thing: I de-stress when I get to see my girlfriends. Either we hang out in our house together (we’re quite stocked up for nibbles and wine here), but most often we go out to one of this city’s many amazing restaurants or events.

My girlfriends give me energy, keep me sane and inspire me – allowing me to start the new day recharged and on a positive note, no matter my stress level the day before. A few of the many spots we go to include Bird, Nene, Hiya, Blaz, SOiF, Azul, Maya, Charcohol, the W and, of course, Polux and Tomatito (but you can add numerous other establishments to this list, which is in no way conclusive!).

For Theo, you will see him de-stressing at Will’s Gym just next to our house, or weekend grocery and meat shopping (which he loves) for the upcoming week.

Best 2020 Addition to the Shanghai Scene

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All the gin at Gin & Juice

I’m traditionally not a person who goes to bars. I am a mom. I usually go home after the dinners are over. But the last year changed a lot of things – including, apparently, my bar habits. This year saw two amazing new bars – both uniquely different in character, both with their own style and charm – opening in Shanghai: The Broken Dagger and Gin & Juice. I still don’t go to bars often, but when I feel the party-vibe, I go to one of these places for a quick last drink and perhaps a dance before ending the night.

The Broken Dagger, 97 Xiangyang Bei Lu, by Xinle Lu 襄阳北路97号, 近新乐路.

Gin & Juice, 358 Kangding Lu, by Shaanxi Bei Lu 康定路358号, 近陕西北路.

Lastest Family Activity Discovery 

We recently discovered the NBA Playzone in Xintiandi. I played basketball growing up, as did one of my friends. Her daughter is the same age as Gabriella, so both our families went to the NBA Playzone (literally three minutes from Tomatito – we combined with family brunch, which was perfect!) to allow our daughters to discover the sport.

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NBA Playzone

It is big, spacious and has coaches who teach kids the basics. There’s also many other playing opportunities there, so even if the kids are not immediately bitten by the basketball bug, they can still explore a lot of fun and active play. Extra bonus is that the moms could dust off the old skills and shoot a bit while the dads were watching the girls! 

NBA Playzone, Hubindao, 2/F, 150 Hubin Lu, by Jinan Lu 湖滨路150号湖滨道购物中心2楼, 近济南路.


To find out more about Charlotta Gandolfo’s designs and new styles, follow her WeChat account for daily updates:
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You can also find her online shop here:

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For more Family Favorites, click here.

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