F&W's travel experts searched the globe for the year's best eating experiences. Here, nine essential spots in trendy, high-drama Shanghai.
Zhenxiang Dong is one of China's most revered modern chefs, renowned for his signature duck roasted over fruit wood. With five branches in Beijing, Da Dong finally debuted in Shanghai. 1601 Nanjing West Rd.; dadongdadong.com
Fifty 8° Grill
This Art Deco room at the Mandarin Oriental speaks to the glamour of Old Shanghai. Jason Oakley cooks the city's best steak: Wagyu from Australia's revered Blackmore ranch. 111 Pudong South Rd.; mandarinoriental.com
Fu He Hui
Buddhist restaurateur Yuan Fang and chef Tony Lu's latest: a Zen temple to haute vegetarian cuisine (like a chestnut napoleon with kumquat sorbet). The room is filled with antiques from Fang's personal collection. 1037 Yuyuan Rd.
Ms. Ding's Dining
In the front of the 1933 building that housed the city's first YWCA: Russian-inspired dishes like borscht with beet foam. Behind a secret door is a cocktail bar with a roulette table. 133 Yuanmingyuan Rd.; light-n-salt.com
Wujie leads Shanghai's new vegetarian trend. Elegant dishes (house-made tofu, mountain yam tiramisu) use ingredients from small farms. Multiple locations, including 22 Zhongshan E. Second Rd.; weibo.com/dashuwujie.
An evening at Ultraviolet is a surreal drama. Every night, a van takes 10 guests to the secret warehouse venue. Paul Pairet serves 22 courses, each a theatrical production with music, scents and video. uvbypp.cc.
In Shanghai, Waiting is Half the Fun
Diners on line for cheap, delicious tea-smoked chicken can play games on computers and surf free Wi-Fi. waipojia.com.cn.
Hai Di Lao
Guests waiting at this hot-pot chain get free manicures, shoe polishes and mobile-phone cleanings. haidilao.com
For the signature barbecued suckling pig, locals wait two hours, mingling in a room that feels like a plush hotel lobby . maxims.com.hk.