It’s been a while since we’ve done a roundup of new openings, and a lot has happened in that time. We’re going to get back to a regular monthly round up. For now, here are some of the biggest openings of the past few months.
Ray Shen of wine distributor Ray’s Fine Wines and Ilya Khokhlov of Botanical Basket are collaborating on a new bar on Changle Lu. Half the space is light, chic and dedicated to the wines. The other half is a moody prohibition-era-style cocktail bar serving modern twists on classic drinks. They have a happy hour until 8pm on weekdays where you can get 40rmb G&Ts, negronis and spritzes.
Open for just a few days but already busy, this new sandwich spot on Wuding Lu right next to SOiF comes from the dream team of Andrew Moo (Taste Collective, Two Hands Burger), Michael Chen (mixologist at the Cannery), and Francois Seguin (SOiF). They do a small menu of four sandwiches, 3 salads and some snacks. There is draft beer and natural wine to accompany, and from a window onto the street they sell coffee. It’s small. It’s simple. And it's damn good. More on this place here.
The bananGG guys are giving that space on Maoming Lu that used to be Kin and then Grumpy Pig another chance. The bananGG brand was born in 2017 when two Eastern European (and very handsome) models quit their day jobs to work on a healthy food delivery service they’d been running from their apartment kitchen. Four years later and the brand is still going strong. They’re still doing simple, straight forward healthy food. This new spot has seating for 60+, is dog friendly and could be a decent spot for a weekend brunch.
The Popolo Group continues their impressive expansion from being a food distributer into an empire of well designed, reasonably priced italian delis. Number five is on Panyu Lu, just outside of Xingfu Li that's getting so popular these days. It’s a little smaller than their other stores but still stocking everything you'd expect from the city’s darling deli; cold cuts, European cheeses, dried pastas, other Italian delicacies, and of course fridges full of cold beers and wines.
The much-awaited arrival of Shanghai’s first branch of Cheesecake Factory outside of Disney Land was big news last month. This one is at Taikoo Hui. Cheesecake Factory are famous for having enormous portions and for being where Penny works in the TV show The Big Bang Theory. There are over 200 items on the menu so you’re bound to find something you like. Just be ready to eat a day’s worth of calories in one sitting. We have an opening-day review; click here to read more.
This new modern-Indian concept is a collaboration between Chef Hardeep Somal from the Bull and Claw, and Geo Valdivieso of Broken Dagger and the newly opened Zodiac, plus a few other well known Shanghai F&b investors. Valdivieso is on the cocktails and Somal is in the kitchen turning out small creative looks at what Indian food can be in a more refined setting. Think lobster masala, truffle cheese naan and butter chicken tacos. They've upgraded their interior since our first visit a few weeks ago, read more about this place here.
Fair to say that Something is the most talked about opening in Shanghai this year. Craig Willis of Wagas group fame is a big name on the Shanghai food scene and the man behind Henkes, Mr. Willis, and a bunch of other projects. Something has been open for a while but only just recently removed the "soft opening" status. It's a fusion restaurant set into a beautiful greenhouse-looking space on Wukang Lu. The dishes are inspired by an eclectic variety of cuisines, such as Italian, Thai, Korean and more. The concept was shrouded in mystery until only recently. You can read about that here.
Yum’s first foray into upscale dining was in 2015, in the form of Atto Primo at 5 on the Bund. While Atto Primo tries to distance itself from its corporate background, the newish French resto Les Élites at Feng Sheng Li proudly sports the "By Pizza Hut" tagline on the venue signage. They are serving things like pizza, pasta and steak with a full wine and cocktail program. A big draw is the domed projection ceiling that, in the evening, takes on the appearance of the night’s sky; Read more about it here.
The latest American fast-food chain to make a splash in Shanghai has been Five Guys. It opened at the beginning of this week and has been the cause for queues around the block. They are known for the customizability of their burgers, the light crunchiness of their fries, and their milkshakes. Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait a while for one of those; Five Guys' milkshake machines are stuck in customs. Read more of this new franchise here.
Aforementioned Geo Valdivieso of The Broken Dagger and Klay has just opened a new bar called Zodiac. The guy is big on the Shanghai cocktail circuit and really knows what he’s doing behind the bar, mixing up well-crafted, often very stylish drinks. As you can probably tell by its name, this new bar is astrologically themed. The drinks are inspired by star signs from the western zodiac calendar. The big thing here though is a DIY cocktail station where you can try your hand at designing and then mixing your own cocktails, with the help of professionals of course.
Coming from the team behind RAC is Crave, a café and wine bar on the corner of Xinle and Fumin Lu, next to O'Delice. It’s a small space, decorated sleekly, with a patio out front. They’re doing breakfasts, sandwiches and cakes. Everything is very photogenic. Currently Crave is only open till 6pm but they say they will be staying open later into the evening and doing a dinner menu by mid-May.
The latest project by Priscilla Young, co-founder of Brut Eatery and Ms P Burnt Basque Cheesecake is Swirlz. The store sells soft serve ice cream in meiji fresh milk, chocolate, strawberry, and daring soy-sauce-caramel varieties. There are also decedent sundae creations using these flavors and a selection of fizzes and coffees.
There's a new wine bar and gallery space on Changle Lu called Reception. It’s only little and they’ve been overflowing with people come the weekends. It opens right out onto the street. Walk past in the evening and you’ll see people lounging on the steps sipping on glasses of wine and chucking back oysters.
Another Bandit has popped up on Julu Lu. It’s three concepts in one; café by day, bar by evening, club by night with a rather whacky décor. It comes from the same group that owns Barbarian, another bar originally from Jing’an that’s putting down roots elsewhere in the city.
Danish microbrewery Mikkeller has also expanded out of Jing’an. They’ve opened a new two-story place in Xintiandi. The concept is much the same, they are still serving their usual array of hoppy beers in typically-Nordic under-decorated setting. This new bar adds a kitchen to the mix though, where a Danish chef will be serving up elevated food from his home country. The kitchen will be open from May 2.
Joining the the densely packed strip of restaurants and bars on Wuding Lu; Bites & Brews, Pho to Shop, the original Barbarian, Alimentari etc. is Mavis996. It’s a bistro that follows the same broad strokes that most of Shanghai’s latest bistros do: bare concrete walls, naked tabletops, chalkboard menus on the walls and a glass fridge full of wine. We recommend the pigeon pithivier, a pie of pigeon, eel, and foie gras. We did an On the Radar of this place back in February; read more here.
A vinyl bar opened up by Gary Wang, also known as DJ VNutz, of the now-closed The Shelter and The Grumpy Pig. This venue is defined as a listening bar, a place where patrons can have a cocktail, listen to records with installed old school speakers, have a chat with mates and whined down. The drinks were designed, and are made, by famous Japanese mixologist Masato "Martsu" Hika. It's a nice spot with great drinks, well worth a visit. Get a glimpse into an evening at this place by reading out On the Radar.
This is exactly what the name says it is. An Izakaya by Atelier. That’s the group headed up by local mixologist Daniel An. The spot used to house his old bar, Arches, that fell on hard times during the pandemic. They now serve traditional Japanese izakaya, and a menu of sexed-up Japanese classics like the chawanmushi, a ubiquitous steamed egg dish done at Atelier Izakaya with toppings of seared foie gras and black truffle. A visual delight as well, see and read more about this place here.
With its 1,588rmb degustation menus and stunning mansion setting, formerly Lapis Thai and boutique hotel B’Lavii House, and long before that home of the legendary painter Zhang Daqian, Le Jardin JR is easily the swankiest entry on this list. They’ve got a garden with a long central pool reminiscent of Balinese villas. The serenity you might find there is in stark opposition to the controversy surrounding the restaurant. They say they are legally entitled to operate under the name of Joël Robuchon, the late, great French chef and restaurateur. The group that operates L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon and other Robuchon venues around town says they aren’t. We’re not legal experts, but we can tell you that the food is very good. More on that coming up on SmartShanghai next week.
While this new edition to Yongping lane ticks all the boxes of date night: a suave bar with an intimate atmosphere, it also doubles up as a brunch spot. They’ve got outdoor seating in a courtyard that packs in the daytime dining crowd and they’re serving poached eggs – one portion comes sat atop a hunk of braised beef cheek on toast.
In the same building as Botanik used to be - In case you don’t remember that was the famed forager restaurant by chef Elijah Holland, that ran a menu made almost entirely from plants picked from the garden terrace – Bisou, two floors below is a bistro concept with a cellar full of wines serving a menu of traditional French food. They’ve put their own terrace to use good use, apparently, it’s dog friendly. Rumour has it a well known Shanghai food blogger is a shareholder in this place.
Yet another restaurant from the seemingly ever-expanding Oha Group. This is the same team that has given us eclectic hipster havens like Oha Eatery, Pass Residence, Bar No. 3 and Dead Poet. 404 marks the group's foray into Japanese izakaya cuisine — grilled skewers and other assorted small plates designed to ballast the belly for a night of protracted drinking. While we really like all of the other venues in the Oha Group, our writer had mixed feelings about this one. Read all about it here.
Besides just restaurants and bars, there are other venues in Shanghai that have debuted. Click here for SmartShanghai's Recently Opened Venue Listing.