Summer is almost here, and those of us who have been in Shanghai a minute will know that patio season here strikes before the hotter months of July and August. Here’s our guide to lazy days catching rays with the family.
A Spanish restaurant we never get tired of, elEfante's gorgeious courtyard patio is easily one of the best in Shanghai. Go in the evenings to dine on hearty paella and jamon under the stars, or partake in their affordable brunch during the weekend.
See a listing for elEfante.
The newest branch of popular Taiwan-export Green & Safe boasts an enormous selection of ingredient-led dishes, with everything from pizza to salads, steak, Thai dishes and beyond. On the street level, a pretty little courtyard terrace provides shaded seating for watching the world go by over brunch, lunch and early dinners.
See a listing for The Barn By Green & Safe.
Standing somewhere between American and Mediterranean food, Calix represents one of the better Xintiandi openings in recent years. Inside, you’ll find comfy seating and even a live music stage, while a gorgeous spacious terrace facing the famous Xintiandi fountain can be found right outside. The terrace is covered too, ideal for keeping little ones away from direct sun. Currently they offer lunch and dinner, with a brunch menu launching in May.
See a listing for Calix.
A must-try for vegetarian meals, Wu Guan Tang operates a strict code of ethics when it comes to cooking thanks to its Buddhist owner. Using minimal salt, no MSG or other artificial additives (even sodas aren’t allowed on the menu!), Wu Guan Tang’s mild meat-free Chinese dishes are a wonderful choice for younger diners. Its rooftop terrace provides a serene environment to enjoy the food as well.
See a listing for Wu Guan Tang.
This hearty American-style diner has a menu teeming with all the requisite comfort foods. We particularly like their burgers (avocado and teriyaki beef is our favorite), crispy loaded nachos and mac ‘n’ cheese. Outdoor seating is available as part of Joy City’s rooftop for you and your kids to enjoy. There’s even a Ferris wheel if you fancy a spin.
See a listing for Urban Diner.
Chances are you’ve already tried Element Fresh’s all-encompassing menus of healthy eats inspired by Asian and Western cuisines and everything in between. The branch at the Shanghai Centre even boasts a sun-soaked balcony terrace that overlooks bustling Nanjing Xi Lu. Parasols are implemented when the day looks like a scorcher.
See a listing for Element Fresh.
Another unimpeachable brunch-time favorite, Commune Social’s enclosed courtyard provides an oasis of shady cool. Their brunch menu gets you three courses for RMB198, which changes with the seasons. We’d say this is an option for older kids, though younger diners can enjoy options like the pork and foie gras burger sliders and Spanish breakfast.
See a listing for Commune Social.
We’ve lost count how many times we’ve recommended Ginger by the Park to brunch hungry friends, and have no plans to stop any time soon. Think Asian-leaning dishes like laksa (one of the best in Shanghai thanks to a Singaporean owner) alongside brunch delights like fluffy ricotta pancakes with raspberry and crispy bacon topped frittata. The terrace is enclosed, and overlooks a small park.
See a listing for Ginger.
Perennial favorite Paulaner offers easy going German food like sausages, crispy pork knuckle, creamy mashed potatoes and sauerkraut. Despite its brewing heritage, Paulaner’s vibe is more family- friendly than raucous, though you’d be remiss not to try one of their draughts. The Expo branch boasts a spacious outdoor patio, and you can walk off lunch along the Pudong riverside afterwards.
See a listing for Paulaner.
Having burst onto the scene late last year, classy but cool Highline’s recently launched brunch is one of the hottest tickets in town. The terrace offers panoramic views of People’s Square and Xintiandi, and the menu offers comforting American food that is good for both kids and families. The restaurant also offers highchairs for toddlers.
See a listing for Highline.
Perfect for lunch and brunch alike, Chicken & Egg’s affordable menus are packed with easy going eats like roasted chicken, avocado toast with poached eggs, warm sandwiches, creamy chicken soup and baked cauliflower. Their cheesecakes are also among the most popular in town. The outdoor patio catches a lot of sun; be sure to go early as the place is always busy.
See a listing for Chicken & Egg.
By night this place has more of a bar atmosphere, but during the day it shows a more sedate family- friendly side. Here you’ll find a menu of casual Italian deli-style eats, like panini, soups, salads, antipasti and pasta. The terrace is partially enclosed from the street and faces a small park. We won’t tell anyone if you enjoy one of their good value spritzes.
See a listing for Funkadeli.
From the center of Jing’an emerges Calypso, supplying customers with a seasonal Mediterranean menu. Calypso’s architecture captivates passerby’s attention thanks to its intriguingly unique design by Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese architect Shigeru Ban. Perfect for lunch or dinner, Calypso is that quintessential little black dress that can be dressed up or dressed down for all occasions. Indulge in beautifully prepared crustacean-studded seafood paella, pastas, pizzas, charcuterie and more. Pair these creations with a wine list of Old World vintages we never get tired of.
See a listing for Calypso.
This subterranean lifestyle hub is home to various restaurants, bars and performance spaces. Previously known as Datong Mill, Found 158 claims a new title fitting its transformation. Nevertheless, the structure retains its quaint open air charm and quirky positioning in the heart of a local park. Enjoy the afternoon in restaurants including Hooked, El Santo, Mito, Cyclo, Pera and more.
See a listing for Found 158.
The Bull & Claw (Opening soon)
Gear up for the return of everyone’s favorite surf’n’turf restaurant—The Bull & Claw. While we are sad to say goodbye to its classic location, we are thrilled for having a taste of the sea in the new place. This charming eatery now claims two floors of El Patio’s luxe Concession-era villa. The attic-style loft, lush green garden, and open-air balconies and patios complete the charming atmosphere for a lovely dining experience.
See a listing for The Bull & Claw.
Situated on the top floor of Three on the Bund, POP Brasserie is a picture perfect scene from the past. The playful interior sparks the memories of an American brasserie in the 70’s. Stepping outside on the terrace or simply looking out the window provides a captivating view of the vigil Shanghai city. The open air seating area has patrons straddling two different worlds while intertwining perfectly to create an authentic experience.
See a listing for POP Brasserie.