For a while I tried to visit all new good restaurants in Shanghai. But because there are so many new restaurants each month, and I normally only have time on weekends plus I also want to revisit the best ones, I have given up on that goal. Another thing I gave up on is saying that a certain restaurant is the best in Shanghai in its category (e.g. best Italian restaurant). I think Shanghai has become one of the best cities in the world with regards to good quality food, and a good restaurant here often equals the best restaurant in many other cities on this planet. This weekend I had dinner in three good restaurants, an Indian one on Friday, and Italian on Saturday and a Japanese on Sunday. They are all among my favorites, and if you live in Shanghai and have not visited them, give them a try.
Friday my wife and I went to Bukhara, an Indian restaurant on the corner of Hongmei Lu and Yan’an Lu (3729 Hongmei Lu, inside the International Pearl City complex), in Hongqiao. The restaurants serves authentic Indian food (as least, that’s what an Indian friend tells me, I am no expert), and the fact that a lot of the customers are from India likely confirms that. The decoration of the building is excellent, both the inside and the outside (if you drive on the lower level of Yan’an Lu you can see it on the corner). The service is friendly and very fast, and the waiters all seem to be from India. The food is fantastic, and as usual I ordered and ate way too much. We have 5 different kinds of Naan (bread), two curries (seafood and spinach/cottage cheese), sheez kebab (lamb), and fragrant rice. If you don’t live in the Hongqiao area it is still worth the drive over, at night there are normally no traffic jams, so you can be here in 15 minutes from People’s Square.
Saturday we had our usual Italian dinner at Casanova (see also a review on the predecessor of this blog, dated April 18, 2005). It was the second Saturday in a row that we went here for dinner, but that was mainly due to the fact that it is one of the few good restaurants where you have a (small) chance of getting a table without a reservation on a Saturday night. The restaurant is located in a nice old villa, with a lounge bar downstairs, and the restaurant upstairs. They have good pizza’s, but actually you should go for the ‘real’ food. This time I had foie gras as a starter followed by a salad and as the main course a grilled tuna (medium rare cooked on my request, fantastic!). My wife went for the beef carpaccio and spinach-cheese (I think) ravioli. All excellent as usual, and also here a quite good service. Don’t forget to leave a tip, they even remind you when you get the bill (they put a small note in it, explaining that a tip is not included). Is this a new trend in Shanghai, where tips are normally not expected?
Sunday afternoon we had a photo session that lasted a bit longer than we expected, but at 9:30 PM we managed to arrive at the relatively new Haiku restaurant on 28B Taojiang Lu (close to Hengshan, and almost next to O’Malleys Irish pub). I have to admit that I normally get my Japanese food at one of the many all-you-can-eat (and drink) places, but this place is a different story. Not only pricewise (although it’s not too bad, we paid about RMB 700 without drinks), but especially quality wise. What a fantastic sashimi they serve here, wow… And the hand rolls, simply delicious! The atmosphere of the restaurant is modern, very different from the other Japanese restaurants in Shanghai. The service of the Chinese waitresses is average, but manager (?) Mark compensated that with small talk at some of the tables and giving advice about the food. If you like Japanese food but have not been here so far, give it a try. But be warned: you might not be able to go back to your regular Japanese restaurant without being disappointed about the food!