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  • We all know about the Chinese crepe, jianbing. While it’s tasty, sometimes I can’t help but doubt the sanitation of the traditional jianbing shops in the ally. Here’s a safe portion for your favorite Chinese breakfast food, serving all day at Grain.

    I brought my friends from Taiwan to try it out and they love it. We had the classic “signature sausage and beef” and the simple “Sausage crepe”. They put Taiwanese sausage on the menu and it tasted nothing like a Taiwanese sausage. But other than that, the jianbing is filling and tasty. It’s also very crunchy with sesame seeds.

    The price was 15 and 32 RMB, which are more expensive than the one on the street. But they do claim that the crepes are made with 5 grains and with quality ingredients. And the nice and clean environment justify the higher cost. They also have drinks like soybean milk. If you’re looking to get a nice jiangbing, Grain is the place to be.


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  • I just went to Thailand few months ago and found myself constantly craving for Thai food ever since I’m back. With several friends’ recommendation, I decided to try out Greyhound during my lunch time.

    Neon lights, black and white tiles, graffiti on the wall, and industrial layouts, the place is almost too fancy and modern for a Thai restaurant.  They also have outdoor seats for those who enjoy sunshine than AC in the mall. The menu is fusion and it has three lunch sets to choose from – 58RMB, 78RMB, and 108 RMB.  

    I like the minced pork with sweet basil and hot chilies set, it comes with a soup and pickle. The portion is huge and they are very generous with the rice. It does taste good but not as authentic as other Thai places in Shanghai. Noodle with tom yum soup has a strong coconut flavor and it’s not too spicy, which I enjoy, yet the portion is small with few mushrooms and a salad on the side. Pomelo Salad is fresh and light with crunchiness from peanuts on top. Usually I’ll add another 18 RMB for a Thai iced tea and it’s so good. It’s perfect for spicy and sour dish like this.

    It is overall a nice experience and certainly fancy for a lunch set. The service is good but the place is always crowded during lunch so you will have to expect some waiting.  

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  • I love Southeast Asia, and one thing I can’t get over with from my Indonesia trip is cendol, a rice jelly made from pandan leaf. Cendol just opened one month ago and I decided to bring my Malaysian friend with me. I’m glad I did because the owner is actually from Malaysia and had a good talk with us. He said he wanted to open Cendol for being the first cendol place in Shanghai. I thank him for that.

    The dessert is named after city and you can choose to make it into drinks or shaved ice. You can also make your own by choosing the toppings you want. I got Sabah shaved ice, which is red bean, tapioca pearls, cendol and ice cream on top. You can choose vanilla or durian flavor ice cream, and I went with vanilla. It was great! Cendol is freshly made and palm sugar with coconut milk tasted so good with the shaved ice. Ice cream was surprisingly good with a very chewy texture and you could see vanilla beans in it.  The owner was nice and offered a big scoop of durian ice cream for us to taste, and it’s….. strong. The place is tiny but very vibrant and cute. All desserts are around 30 RMB and it’s pretty reasonable for what they offer.

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  • D.O.C sits on a quiet street of Dagu with a nice outdoor sitting area, which makes it wonderful for enjoying quality Italian food. The lighting and environment just make you feel comfortable and chill.

    We went during a Sunday afternoon and started with a platter. Everything was delicious and I especially loved the olives and mushrooms. They had happy hour for a selection of drinks that day, which was perfect and the Aperol spritz was tasty. Pizza were delicious with a nice and thin dough, but the greens are very little and we were expecting a bigger size because of its price. Tiramisu was moist and delicious. I’ve tried tiramisu in other restaurants and DOC definitely is on top of the list.

    The service was great and the manager was very welcoming. He was very nice to talk to and gave us some recommendations on dishes. If anything I would say it’s on the pricier side, but I enjoyed the meals and the restaurant had a really nice vibe. I would definitely go back again.


    Price: Spend around 300 per person Summary: D.O.C has great Italian food and a wonderful settings. It’s on the pricier side but food is with quality ingredients. Tiramisu is a must!


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  • Months after Shake Shack opened its first location in Xintaindi, I finally decided to go. I was one of the victims for the fake Shake Shack delivery, so I was very excited to try out this time around. It is safe to say that Shake Shack is still up to the hype with people lining up for a seat. After a good 20 minutes, I finally had my burger and seat to dig in.

    I went with the classic Shackburger. The beef was impressively tender and juicy with the standard lettuce, tomato and cheese, while the bread was soft and wet. The famous Crinkle Fries was crispy and came with a good portion, but I found it a bit blend with no salt on top.
    Unlike the fake lemon tea at most fast food chain, it was great and refreshing. I’m not a big fan of milkshake but its vanilla milkshake was powerful with strong vanilla flavor, and it will probably give you the sugar high afterwards.

    The place was crowded but pretty comfortable and clean. I like its modern design and they also have an automatic hand washer next to the self-serving area, which we all need. The service was great and staffs were attentive and were constantly helping people to find a seat. I can see why people are in love with Shake Shack as it’s definitely above most burger chains. The second location is going to open in Jing’an and I’m expecting a long line for that too.

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  • I had heard so much about Jia Jia Tang Bao. So I took my friends who are new to town to try it out! Xiaolongbao, aka soup dumplings are Shanghai’s specialty and I was pumped about the so called best dumpling place in the city.
    The place is small, old, and packed with tourists. Luckily we arrived early and avoided the lines. The décor is a standardized local restaurant with old tables and metal chairs. Vinegar and chili are provided in a jar on the table. The menu is rather simple with few choices of soup dumplings and soups. To order, you will have to go to the casher.  
    We ordered two different flavors: regular pork and shrimp. The dumplings arrived with a tiny sauce plates inside the steamer, which we found it funny (I guess they thought it would be sanitized with the steam).
    After the first bite we looked up to each other with confusion on our face. (Note that we’re all Taiwanese and have high expectation.) I can’t say it’s bad, but definitely not THE BEST in town. The skin was on the thicker side yet it was fragile. When picking up with our chopsticks (carefully), some of them broke, but it was juicy with a good amount of fillings inside. It’s also freshly made which is also why you would be waiting for a bit after ordering. I would prefer the pork dumplings over the shrimp dumplings, but both were good. The dumplings were small in size, but with 12 of them you’d be full. The prices is VERY affordable too. I reckon this is more of a place for tourists who want a local experience.
    - Price: Pork dumplings 18 RMB, Shrimp dumplings 28 RMB
    - Summary: Jia Jia Tang Bao serves up freshly made soup dumplings with a local feel ambience. Affordable and tasty, it’s a great place for Shanghai’s famous xiaolongbao.

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  • I personally don’t have high hope when it comes to rooftop bars, as they tend to be more for the view than the food, but The Captain Bar definitely has it all! Located on top of a hostel building, The Captain Bar is fun and intriguing from the first step into the building. As you pass through the teeny tiny elevator and the stairway, you’ll see the rooms of the travelers’ and its fun marine decorations.

    I went with a couple of friends who were visiting from Taiwan. Since we didn’t reserve for booking we got the indoor seats (By we I mean me), but the staffs were very welcoming and told us we could move for the terrace once there’s a seat. We arrived at 8 pm at a Saturday night, and waited for around 40 minutes for the view.

    We had a salmon pizza, beans salad, lasagna, and some white wine.  The salad was definitely the highlight of the night with healthy beans and sour dressing. It’s one of the best salads I’ve had in Shanghai! Lasagna was soaked in tasty tomato sauce and they had some garlic bread provided afterwards for the left over sauce. Pizza was pretty standard with good amount of toppings.

    The manager was really friendly and gave recommendations when needed. It was overall a great experience. The place feels really casual and unique with view of the bund, while the terrace isn’t really spacious so definitely book before if you don’t like waiting.

    Price: 150 per person
    Summary: Located on top of Captain Hostel, The Captain Bar offers excellent food with great views of the Bund.

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  • RAC has opened up a new spot and it's even more Instagram friendly than the last one. Sitting on Shaanxi Nam Lu, the two –floor lanehouse is gorgeous and picture-worthy at every corner- light and bright industrial-chic embellished with playful tiles design laid from the floor all the way to the bar, greenery around the corner, and natural light from the windows and roof window, creating the right mood and settings for your favorite brunch place.  

    Let’s get into the action. Sautéed mushroom, earthy tomatoes, cheese and an egg in the middle, the Veggie galettes is crispy, rich, and moreish. I can understand why people are crazy about the galettes and crepe here. While galettes is the focus here, don’t miss out the avocado toast. Bread is crispy by edge and soft in the middle, topped with a generous scoop of avocado spread and followed up with sliced avocado, half boiled egg and handful of walnuts for the crunch. It might be the best avocado toast in the city.  

    The place is quite small with limited seats on the second floor. First floor is an even smaller space serving coffee and drinks, so a line should be expected when visiting. The well decorated dishes are just as beautiful as the surroundings. Another spot for the brunch lovers!

    Price: 140 RMB for 2 dishes
    Summary: RAC’s second location is just as great as the first one. Serve with delicious galettes, crepe, coffee, and sandwich, brunch is the best time to be at RAC for a sunny afternoon.

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  • At this brunch spot the buzzy energy hit me as soon as I walked in. This place is constantly packed with the open space and tons of natural lights. As soon as I sat down, the staff came with water and menu, which I found very attentive considered how packed it was.

    I had a odelice brunch plate and a veggie mozzarella plate on the side. The brunch set came with a drink, and I went for a latte.  Scrambled egg, sausage, bacon, salad, croissant and a half of a avocado, the brunch plate was very pretty self explanatory with simple seasoning. The appetizer was delicious, slice zucchini and cooked cherry tomatoes with mozzarella and balsamic vinegar, tasting delicious and light. My friend also got a strawberry smoothie yet he found it quite sugary and unnatural. We stayed for quite awhile and the crowd didn’t seem to go away until late afternoon.

    In general, you may have to get a little cozy with your neighbors on the busy times, but it is overall a great place to have delicious brunch and to enjoy your afternoon with.

    Price: 200 RMB for two

    Summary: A cozy restaurant with open space and delicious food. Friendly and attentive staffs that’re always happy to help even with a full crowd.


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  • Don’t we all love a great outdoor area with city view to dine in? Element fresh on huaihai road is perfect for a little office escape. What’s better? The food is always on point.

    Love pretty much all of their salad since it’s always refreshing and tasty. I love that they have fresh fruits in the crayfish salad, and everything blends perfectly with the sauce. They also have lunch set with one main dish and soup/salad. I had the grilled salad with chicken the other day and it was delicious. I’m impressed with the roasted vegetables baby potatoes in the salad for how golden and crispy they were, which added a great taste to the salad. The pumpkin soup was rich and flavorful with herbs and nuts on top. You can also add another 22 RMB for a juice. The spring roll was filled with all kinds of greens, and had a very strong taste of basil leaves. I personally love it but my friend found it odd. Finally, the classic Cobb salad remains a strong option.

    The prime location and beautiful rooftop terrace is what I love the most, yet the service is always a bit off for me due to the not so attentive staffs.

    • Element fresh offers a selection of great salads and other refreshing dishes, which are all healthy and delicious.
    • Spent around 150 for two with weekdays lunch set

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SmartReviews is SmartShanghai’s crack squad of amateur reviewers, eating their way around the city and writing about it. They have been chosen from a large pool of applicants and given a set of strict guidelines to follow to make sure their reviews are honest, informed and fair to both potential customers and the restaurants themselves.

  • New Zealander

    Anita is a twenty-something Kiwi navigating her way bite by bite around Shanghai. She's passionate about food, the story it tells and always eager to learn about new flavours. Some of her favourite gram accounts are: The Australian Gourmet Traveller, Symmetry Breakfast and The Dogist.
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  • British

    Originally from the UK, first arrived in China in 1989, worked in Beijing for several years, returned to China in early 1997 to Shanghai, and back again in Shanghai since 2007 have worked on four continents and opened seven hotels in Asia for hotel groups in Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai, the Maldives and Malaysia.
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  • Taiwan Chinese

    These three things make make Eating Glace herself: being an insatiably inquisitive omnivore; being an apprentice kitchen elf; and doing heavy-duty recon on the Shanghai F&B scene. Join her as she eats her way through this sweet, savory, sour, spicy, bitter and umami city.
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