Shanghai Food & Drink Gossip: November 2021

By Sophie Steiner, November 26, 2021

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This month brings us new Italian, new cocktails, new Thai, new cocktails, new Brazilian, new cocktails, new French, new cocktails, and… more burgers.

It’s celebration season, so just embrace the holiday heft and double down with some new restaurant visits. You’ve got roughly six months before swimsuit season starts again. That means… bring on those sweatpants. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

First up, there’s Roma Kangding Lu, brought to us by the gregarious Giampaolo de Santis (ZozzoPorcellino). He is living out his dream of opening a neighborhood casual Italian hangout, plus an alimentari supermarket – an all-purpose mini shop where everything is made from scratch.

The industrial chic décor, the reasonably priced wine, the takeaway charcuterie fixings and the oh-so-good homemade pasta is exactly what that neighborhood has been craving. 

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Image via Dianping

Also on the Italian front is Bella Vita Bistro, a higher end, fine dining haunt on Tianping Lu focusing on the classics. Led by chef Andrea Botti, it is fancier (read: pricier) than some other new openings. There’s also a sunny patio for those crisp and clear days. 

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Image via Dianping

Dreamer on Wuding Lu (part of the BIBIM Group – the same owners of Barbarian, Bites & Brews, Bandit, Hot Chick, etc.) just opened, and it’s just as whimsical as the other venues of this restaurant powerhouse.

The multi-level complex also has a stellar outdoor patio (that we plan to take full advantage of as soon as the sun peeks out again) plus a backyard pool. 

Yup, you read that right. Verdict is still out on if we can someday swim in said pool, but we’ve got our fingers crossed. The menu is Western fusion with a lot of the proteins grilled Japanese Robata style. 

WechatIMG956.jpegImage by Sophie Steiner/That's

After being temporarily closed for over a year, Liquid, on the 6th floor of W Shanghai, The Bund, reopened in mid-November. In true W fashion, it’s wild, with reflective lighting, great views, a 360-immersive bar experience and a menu that reveals hidden drinks via blue lights.

Expect rotating performances every weekend, with singers, dancers, live bands and artists of all kinds to keep you entertained between sips. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Second location of Kin Urban Thai will soft open in mid-December on Kangding Lu, near Yanping Lu. The menu will start out very similar to one on Yongkang Lu, but will soon expand. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Speaking of second locations, Azabuya, our personal favorite for all things matcha, is opening another spot on Wulumuqi, just south of the Avocado Lady

Expect at least three different kinds of matcha ice cream, plus matcha cakes, cookies and beverages, as well as other Japanese savory dishes like ramen, rice bowls and bento boxes. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Good things come in threes, and our third second location opening to report is El Divino, on the corner of Changle Lu and Fumin Lu.

This authentic, high-end Thai restaurant, owned by Jean-Claude Terdjemane (previously at The Peninsula) and Thai chef Nui Ratchaphibun, brings together flavors from across Thailand in both individual and sharing portions, plus lunch sets.

Our favorites so far are the Tom Yum soup – arguably the best rendition Shanghai has to offer – and the green curry, but we are already plotting our second (and third) revisit to try more. 

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Image courtesy of BoCa

Tradition, culture, rhythm and Latin-American flavors represent BoCa, a new Wuding Lu venue that combines the first letters of the capital cities of Bogotá (Colombia) and Caracas (Venezuela) to get the cuisine it serves.

With a focus on arepas, there are over 20 flavors to choose from, plus an expansive menu of both meat and veg-friendly options. From restaurant to bar, on Fridays and Saturdays, BoCa will have live Latin DJs and dancing.

Pierogi Ladies on Jiaozhou Lu have rebranded as Jar Bar, a cocktail bar with Eastern European food. While they are reducing the variety of pierogies on the menu, this is only to make room for more Polish mains. Given the name, it’s no surprise that there will be lots of things in jars – like pickles of all varieties, and the drinks themselves. 

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Image courtesy of Le Pain de Palmier

The first of many to come, Le Pain de Palmier, a Joël Robuchon-backed bakery just opened in the new Ruihong Tiandi Sun Palace shopping complex, a mall that just opened in October in Hongkou. Enjoy your favorite croissants, tarts, muffins, cakes, breads and pies, without having to take the hike out to the Bund. 

Funkadeli is getting a long awaited menu upgrade starting in December, with pizza popups by Andrew Moo and Dan Li from Yaya’s combining unpredictably delicious flavor combinations on top of puffed pizza dough.  

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Image via Dianping

Latina Brazilian Steakhouse is opening its 5th location, this time in A La Town in Minhang, with an upscale menu and more meat options. 

Mix320, a new event space, F&B hangout and art spot that opened in October in Changning District has a laundry of new restaurants, beer bars, cocktail spots and live performance areas. We are most excited about the lineup of craft beer taprooms opening there, including Birroteca di Postwave and 702 Brew (from Guiyang) amongst others. 

Craft beer brand Shanghai Love is also getting in on the taproom game with the opening of their restaurant and lounge in Fengsheng Li, where White Castle used to be. Expect craft beer and draft cocktails, along with wine, to pair with modern Asian fusion food designed by consulting chef Michael Janczewski (previously of Canton Disco). 

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Image courtesy of 3rd Sun

Also on the drinks front, Tacolicious co-owners Logan Brouse and Thijs Oomens just launched their ready to drink cocktail brand, 3rd Sun. These 7% pre-bottled drinks are available in three flavors – Paloma, G&T and Moscow Mule – and are designed to bridge the gap between hard seltzers and mixologist cocktails. We look forward to seeing more of these pre-mixed drinks around town. 

Black Star Pastry, creator of Strawberry Watermelon Cake – claimed to be the world’s most Instagrammed cake – will soon open its first store outside of Australia, and it is gonna be on Yuyuan Lu. Because if there’s one thing Shanghai needs – more food to photograph. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Five Guys opened its second location in Raffles City Changning. Expect long lines and greasy, stacked burgers, per usual. 

Oh and Shake Shack is opening in IAPM mall. Nearing double digits in terms of number of stores in Shanghai now, and helping to push our pant size, belt size and everything size into double digits with it. 

This month saw an unexpected closure of Red Box, the venue that took over The Apartment in September, after just one month. It has already closed and is now something called Figo. What is it? We will report back if it hasn’t closed by next month. 


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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