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[2017]: Our Favorite 'On the Radars'

SmartShanghai visited some 9 million new bars, restaurants and bars in restaurants in our weekly Wednesday 'On the Radar' column. These are the ones we really, really liked.
Last updated: 2017-12-20
On the Radar is a SmartShanghai column profiling new restaurants, bars, and other new places we find interesting. Sometimes we stumble upon these places, and sometimes we are invited, but in both cases, we are never paid to write an opinion, rather, these are our honest first impressions, and not a formal review.
Take a knee, Shanghai. It's time for the annual barrage of year-end articles. In "2017", SmSh takes a look back at the terrible highlights and wondrous lowlights of city life for the year two-oh-one-seven. It can't get any worse! Can it?


In Shanghai, everyone gets their own bar and / or restaurant in the end. Some... better than others.


Over the course of 2017, SmSh visited 121 new venues for our On the Radar column. Which is maybe half of the new places that opened? Maybe a bit more than half? Like 70% maybe?

Anyways, they were pretty much all cocktail bars. 2017 was definitively the year of the mixologyst bro with the shellacked old timey barber haircut and the tuxedo vest. It was a SHITLOAD of that.

But we digress.

12 venues of the 121 are already no longer with us, incidentally. Alas. But these ones are. Here, in no particular order, are our favorite new venues we visited in 2017. These are the ones that warrant a second visit.

(In our own subjective "first impressions," which you can read by clicking each venue name. Blogging!)

-Morgan Short & Alex Panayotopoulos


Joe's Pizza


Quick Take: Joe's Pizza is a no-frills, by-the-slice pizza joint selling New York style pizza on paper plates. It's the Shanghai expansion of a famous New York pizza place of the same name that's been slinging very tasty pizza in that city since 1975. The verdict from the New Yorkers we've asked: The Shanghai Joe's Pizza is legit.




Quick Take:Big, 20-inch slices on paper plates and a New York state of mind. Here's local restaurateur Nat Alexander's new comfort (budget) pizza restaurant in Found 158.


The Chop Chop Club


Quick Take: The latest restaurant from Shanghai’s most internationally celebrated chef Paul Pairet. The Chop Chop Club is now open in Unico, serving “honest home cooking” in great slabs of meat priced to move, move, move.


Heat French Rotisserie & Bistro

Quick Take: The latest pass on the rotisserie chicken strafing run hitting Shanghai, this spot on Maoming Bei Lu is run by a French-Shanghainese couple with an ex-Chala chef serving up the roast chicken in a laid-back, good-looking environment.


Xixi Bistro


Quick Take: Neighborhood Italian-Chinese fusion quasi-fine dining experience makes a comeback in Xintiandi after a dramatic shutdown last year, doing food that's just as weird as the original.


The Beer Lady (Kaixuan Lu)


Quick Take: The second outlet for OG Shanghai beermart. It's bigger, cleaner, and it has a bakery.




Quick Take:Casual, no-frills German eatery and bar where Bubbly Nation used to be, going for hearty Bavarian fare, and as few tourist-trap trappings as possible.




Quick Take: From the concerns behind Shanghai's seminal underground basement club The Shelter comes their next club: ALL. It's nicer and more grown up, but still, more than ever, wholly concerned with emerging alternative electronic music in this city.




Quick Take: A pretty decent cafe-bar on Yuyuan Lu that does a surprisingly tasty lunch menu and a selection of beer and wine.


Keep It Quiet


Quick Take:The quintessential Shanghai restaurant Yongfoo Elite has opened a speakeasy-style cocktail bar at the back end of their garden called Keep It Quiet. It's a place for Shanghai lifers to live forever.




Quick Take: Cotton Ding's latest project down an alley off Fuxing Lu, this one's filled to the brim with romance, whimsy, references to a pretty lady, and a bunch of lychee-related things to eat and drink.


The Antique



Quick Take: Daniel An's latest joint (until the next one), set in the attic of a coffee/antiques shop, doing your typically Daniel An level of quality.


Le Bouchon



Quick Take: Under new management, Shanghai's oldest French restaurant spruces up its interiors and revamps it's menu. Le Bouchon, in search of les bons vieux jours.


Moka Bros



Quick Take:Beijing healthful power-bowls-and-then-some success story Moka Bros finally opens a spacious cafe and restaurant on Xiangyang Lu. This highly anticipated opening is already finding its audience.


Club 3 1/3



Quick Take:A street-level vintage-y lounge for globe-trotting grownups in the Three on the Bund building.


The Habit Burger Grill



Quick Take: Fuxing Soho welcomes China's first outlet for the Santa Barbara burger chain. It's slowly getting a bit of a foothold, with something like 200 restaurants in the US, one in the UAE, and now, one in Shanghai.


See you all in 2018! Put it on the tab!