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  • Announcing your favorite burger in Shanghai is always going to be a controversial exercise, but for me, Must Grill is it. It doesn't appear in the conversation enough. It all comes down to the quality of the ingredients - the fresh, chewy, perfectly cooked patty, the house-made milk buns and the attention-to-detail toppings. The bacon and the pulled pork they throw on the American Dream, or the fried ball of Goat’s Cheese on top of the Baa Baa, have had thought put into them.

    Which is funny, because it’s not strictly a burger joint. It’s more of a mid-range French grill, with a lot of steak and other meats on the menu alongside some French classics and a pretty decent wine list (if I’m not mistaken, at least one French wine importer owns a stake - always good for pricing).

    The place in general is a pleasant mid-range Euro-style bistro, with a great terrace for summer and an ambience that sits at the right intersection of casual and classy. Good for group meals, good for a date. Great service too, especially if the French manager is around, which he usually is.

    But the burgers are what keep me coming back. Each one will set you back pretty much RMB 100. Hardly a steal - what you need to do is head there on Tuesday, where all burgers are buy-one-get-one-free, and when the place is seemingly at its busiest. It’s my pick for best burger deal in town. If you live or work in the area they do a lunch set, too, starting at RMB 88 for two courses. Again not cheap, but everything is on point - the chicken salad starter is great - and you’ll leave stuffed. 

    The restaurant itself is hidden from the street and so doesn’t get a lot of foot traffic, which means it’s rarely packed. Crowd is predominantly French, often a mix of young professionals there for the b1g1 burgers and well-heeled shirt-and-tie expats enjoying a few bottles of wine and a three-course meal. Whether you’re trying to get some affordable but quality Western food and wine or just want to find your new favorite meat-in-a-bun, it’s worth the trip.

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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.