This restaurant in the middle of the Yu Garden Bazaar has garnered a reputation in guidebooks for being the place to try to try the famed Shanghai delicacy xiao long bao, or soup dumplings. Truth be told, if you're willing to veer off the gringo trail, there are better places in town for these dumplings. But, if your just looking to tick the box off of your itinerary, and impress your guests with the surroundings, Nanxiang is great.
Not to be confused with the ubiquitous Jiangnan restaurant Jardin du Jade, Jade Garden is a Hong Kong-based Cantonese concept with white table-clothes and very polite waiters. The menu features an array of elegant and contemporary Cantonese cuisine. Yum cha is also an essential feature, with loads of standards like turnip cakes and egg tarts as well as more creative endeavors like deep-fried crab claws stuffed with shrimp paste.
Dirt-cheap, dead-simple but exceedingly good (and popular) Shanghainese eatery. Their specialty is shengjianbao and spring onion noodles, which they dish out to a steady stream of customers twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. This is the finest outlet in the chain, which isn't saying much, but when the average spend is about 26rmb a head, do you care? As good a spot for post-boozer dumplings as it is for a group lunch with your folks.
Din Tai Fung is a Taiwanese chain, but don't hold it against them. Their versions of Chinese snack food -- dumplings, noodles, steamed buns, and simple vegetable dishes -- are impeccable, as is their highly-trained service. You pay for the luxury of all of this. As their always-packed restaurants demonstrate, the high standard is often worth it.
Known in Chinese as Yu Bao Xiang, Imperial Treasure is an quality Singapore-based chain specializing in the cuisine of Canton. It's lux. It's impressive. It's great for wow'ing out-of-towners with their two Michelin stars, which you're expected to pay for. Food offerings are what you'd expect—crispy skin pork, steamed fish, lots of roasted fowl. They do terrific dim sum, too.
This Beijing roast duck restaurant is quite a big deal up in the big smoke. Celebrity chef / owner Dong Zhenxiang's proprietary roasting technique has earned the Da Dong a sterling reputation. Go for the duck; avoid all of the other distractions. Warning! Reservations are tough to come by, so expect long waits.
Guyi is an institution of a Hunan restaurant in Shanghai, among both foreigners and locals, for its upscale environment and excellent fiery food, unaffected by local tastes. It's a step up from almost all other Hunan restaurants in Shanghai, and though quality has wavered in the past, is still a solid bet. Cumin-crusted ribs (ziran paigu) are their signature.
Go for traditional Beijing cuisine highlighting chunbing, also known as spring pancake, with a set going for 15rmb and an extended list of things that you can put in them. Good old fashioned communal eating fun. Plus, you can surprise your parents with those baijiu cocktails they've heard so much about! Tucked away inside Jiashan Market, with a big terrace and has a spacious private dining room.
This is the flagship location of Yunnan restaurant Lost Heaven. They do relatively authentic Yunaan food, and if you wanna do pre- or post-dinner drinks they have a really nice terrace on the roof. Prices are reasonable for the location and views. Definitely a good spot to impress guests from out of town.