Shanghai Food & Drink Gossip: July 2021

By Sophie Steiner, July 23, 2021

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Maybe it's the heat waves making people go cookoo for Cocoa Puffs, or maybe it's the fact that we are going on month 17 of closed borders, but everyone who is anyone is opening a restaurant or bar this month. Buckle up baby, this summer is going to be a steamy ride. 

Image courtesy of Yaya's Pop Up Pasta Bar

Late-night-carb lovers, Yaya’s Pop Up Pasta Bar is for you. Founders Andrew Moo (Taste Collective) and Dan Li (previously of Bird) are kicking off this neighborhood, no-frills pasta bar on Donghu Lu, rolling out fresh noodles daily, along with a selection of small plates and antipasta.

Think paccheri with smoked pork cheek and cured egg yolk, pappardelle with splash oil, okra and zhaoyi egg plus melty arancini with spicy marinara sauce. The pop-up will run Wednesday-Saturday from 9pm-late for the next few months at X Bar, with – fingers crossed – a permanent brick-and-mortar store coming soon. 

Image courtesy of theWarehouse

Coming at you from Li Ze (Ottimo, SOiF), two more unique concepts to add to the growing empire of locations. First up, theWarehouse is in the works. Located on Yongjia Lu, just below Ottimo and in unit 217 and 312, think Beer Lady but for wine and downtown – hundreds, if not thousands, of wine labels in a factory warehouse setting with charcuterie and nibbles.

The Warehouse, known colloquially as W217 (for its unit number) will also be a hub for quick and easy wine delivery all around town. A huge selection of wines from around the globe at our doorstep in a matter of minutes, what more could we ask for? 

Also be on the lookout for their other new venue, scheduled to open the end of August; a modern French bistro called Suzie next to the Capella Complex, dedicated to all things champagne and Burgundy wines. 

More on the wine front, Crush, a NYC-style wine bar has opened on Shaanxi Bei Lu. Wine importer Elliot Shay has teamed up with chef Dylan Briley (previously of Mr & Mrs Bund, Goga and Seattle's iconic Dahlia) to create an American/Asian fusion menu to pair with organic and biodynamic wines and unique cocktails. 

IMG_5505.jpgImage by Sophie Steiner/That's

It's all about the mezcal these days, and riding on the coattails of the official opening of one of our favorite new spots in town – La Mezcaleria – another Mexican eats and mezcal bar, Mezcalito, will be rocking up around mid-August in the current Dodu spot on Changshu Lu. 

Yes, that does mean we will sadly be saying goodbye to French rotisserie chicken, but Dodu and Espíritu owner Hugo de Mondragon is embracing his part-Mexican roots, and going full in on the agave plant front with his second mezcal-themed venue.

READ MORE: The Taco & Mezcal Gods Have Spoken: La Mezcaleria Is the One

Allen Fang (The Nest) just opened a casual side project, DreamSicle, a neighborhood hangout with a shotgun bar on Shanxi Lu that is dedicated to the key ingredient in a creamsicle: the orange. Drinks are simple – highballs, classic cocktails like aperol spritz, negroni and paloma, as well as wine and draft beer, most of which feature said orange.

The snack menu sports fried just about everything – chicken, lotus root, squid, fries, you name it. All bevvies fall between RMB48-68, making this another in the lineup of honest drinking holes sporting neon lights and good music. Last month it was The Drinkery, this month Dreamsicle. What D-starting house-party-esque spot will it be next month? 

READ MORE: Turn On, Tune In and Drop Out at The Drinkery

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Italian comfort food seems to be the it trend of summer, and Pici, a Hong Kong chain that joins Shanghai as part of the Pirata Group, fits right in. Opened recently in the Jing’an Kerry Centre, the made-fresh-daily pasta at wallet-friendly prices makes up for the fact that you’re in a mall basement. 

One bite of those chewy, al dente orecchiette could make us forget we were just about anywhere... along with our name, date of birth and future ambitions – it’s hard to see past the next mouthfeel of something so delicious.

READ MORE: Pici: Come for the Pasta, Stay for the Pasta

Image courtesy of J Hotel

J Hotel, the highest hotel in China atop the Shanghai Tower – the tallest skyscraper in China and second tallest building in the world, just opened in June. Along with the insane hotel suites on offer (please give us free hotel stays!), seven new restaurants and bars have also opened inside, offering “fine dining in the clouds.”

The lineup includes Centouno for Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, Heavenly Jin – the highest restaurants of all the restaurants – Kinnjyou Inaka for a serene Japanese experience, Jin Yan for the best of Chinese cuisine, the Lobby Lounge, the Yi Lounge and the Café & Patisserie.

Back down on earth, Eli Falafel opened their third location this past spring in Pudong in the space that used to be Vapiano. The new digs feature a more robust menu of Middle Eastern cuisine, including shawarma, grilled meats, pizzas and – of course – excellent falafel and hummus. Pull up a sunny seat next to the real olive tree that’s planted in the middle of the restaurant. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Coming at you from the Latin American group behind Azul and Colca comes something totally out of left field – Azul Italiano, an Italian-inspired concept in the events space above the new Colca on the North Bund. Emphasis on the ‘inspired’ – the goal is not to serve traditional Italian dishes, but rather use this carb-loving country’s cuisine as a jumping off point for taking creative liberties that appeal more to the Chinese palate. 

While you’ll find the usual Italian suspects on the menu – antipasta, pizza, pasta, etc. – many of them only share a connection to Italian dishes in name or general flavor profile, but the addition of seasonal ingredients or fusion elements connect it to the rest of the groups’ restaurants in regards to imaginative style and inventive presentation.

READ MORE: Honest, Italian-Inspired Bites at Azul Italiano

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Chef Ramon has left Tomatito (gasp!) but made the quick jump from Spain to Denmark by becoming the new head chef at Mikkeller in Xintiandi. While the menu will continue to lean toward Danish comfort eats, Ramon will continue to develop more dishes, adding to the existing lineup of brunch, lunch and dinner items.

READ MORE: Mikkeller Xintiandi: A Danish Comfort Food & Beer Nerd Mecca

Victor Vieira, who is Instafamous after being a contestant on MasterChef Brazil, is taking up the Tomatito Sexy Chef reigns (and sexy he undoubtedly is).

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Café by day and wine bar by night, Julu Lu’s Dosage has quickly become a favorite amongst coffee drinkers, afternoon tea sippers and wine dabblers. Continuing their success, a second location is slated to open on Yuyuan Lu near Dingxi Lu in the coming month, so get even more excited for picture perfect pastries paired with coffee by day or wine by night, or wine by day – we won't judge. 

READ MORE: Shanghai Cafe Review: Dosage, the Desserts You Didn’t Know You Were Missing

Shanghai always demands more Korean, and the answer has arrived in the form of Halu on the first floor of Ars & Delecto. This is chef Rosie’s second space – the other is out in Hongqiao – but here she culls down the menu to just the favorites. 

If you’re craving Korean BBQ, look elsewhere, but if its fried chicken, seafood pancakes and tteokboki that you’re after, we will see you there (along with the other 700 people waiting to get a seat in the already busy space).

Image via dianping

Bites&Brews continues their copy paste model by opening their fifth location, now on forever popular Yongkang Lu (old gangster never die). The menu involves all the same things we love from the previous four spaces – healthy bowls, stacked sandwiches (in bagel and panini form), roasted meats, brunch and, of course, a solid bottle selection. They're multiplying! 

Dada isn’t new. In fact, it opened 12 years ago on Xingfu Lu, and has seen a slew of unrepeatable behavior ever since, making for some of the best nights this city has seen. The government shut them down about a year ago, but they finally found a new location. Currently in soft opening on Yan’an Lu and Anxi Lu – an easy walk from other longstanding party venues like C’s and Yuyintang. Convenient.


The game is afoot at Glam, where a new secret backroom houses M's Mahjong Social Club every Wednesday to Sunday from 6pm till late. As well as Mahjong they have Chess, Go, Backgammon, Monopoly, Scrabble and Bananagrams. Head on down if you're feeling competitive, at a loose end, need some new friends or all of the above – everyone is welcome and they'll teach the rules to newbies. Rule #1: no gambling!

Shanghai Brewery, one of Shanghai’s longest standing breweries, has closed on Donghu Lu. But, in its place has emerged Mad Dragon, affording the space a fairly similar atmosphere as it’s opened by the same group. Expect more fairly basic craft beer and a mix of western and Asian-inspired dishes.

Félicitations and bon anniversaire to Pain Chaud, who celebrated eight years of baking baguettes by opening a new store in Xujiahui. We've lost count of how many they're up to now. Vive la France!

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

A laundry list of over 20 venues has opened in Xintiandi’s The Roof (that massive red construct that looks more like an art installation than an actual building). This lifestyle hub features everything from coffee shops to bars to fine dining to boutiques, and everything in between. We promise to put together an extensive list soon, so be on the lookout!

Got a hot tip? Feel free to email all juicy rumors to 

Read more Shanghai Food & Drink Gossip.

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