Matured to Perfection: Shanghai’s Oldest Restaurants

Matured to Perfection: Shanghai’s Oldest Restaurants
By Susie Gordon ,

Shanghai's restaurant scene is always changing, with eateries opening and closing on an almost weekly basis. If you're tired of the constant flux and want to dine in an older, better established place, try one of the city's oldest restaurants. Here are six of the most well known.

1) Wangbao Hejiu JiaView In Map
If you like hairy crabs (and there are plenty around at this time of year) head to Wangbao Hejiu Jia. It began as a rice wine shop in 1744, and grew into one of Shanghai's best and most popular crab restaurants over the years. As crab season comes around, the restaurant gets busier, especially since it's reputed to serve the biggest hairy crabs in town. Make sure you complement your meal with traditional Shaoxing wine to bring out the flavors. Wangbao Hejiu Jia now has many locations, but the original branch on Fuzhou Lu is the best (as long as you're not put off by the giant neon crab outside…).

Add: 603 Fuzhou Lu, near Zhejiang Zhong Lu, Shanghai
地址:上海市福州路603号, 近浙江中路, 王宝和酒家
Tel: 021 6322 3673
Opening hours: 11:00-13:30; 17:00-21:00

2) Dragon Phoenix, Fairmont Peace HotelView In Map
When Victor Sassoon opened the Cathay Hotel, he was sure to include an upscale Chinese restaurant for him and his associates to enjoy local food. Dragon Phoenix dates from 1930, and reopened in its former glory after the Fairmont Peace Hotel renovations. Renowned for its stunning décor as well as its amazing views, Dragon Phoenix doesn't come cheap, and guests must dress smartly. The food covers Shanghai, Guangdong and Sichuan fare, and the dim sum is particularly good.

Add: Fairmont Peace Hotel, 8/F, 20 Nanjing Dong Lu, near the Bund, Shanghai
地址:上海市南京东路20号8楼, 近外滩, 和平饭店龙凤厅
Tel: 021 6138 6880
Opening hours: 11:30-14:30; 17:30-22:00

3) Shanghai Lao FandianView In Map
This popular Shanghainese haunt opened its doors in 1875 as Rongshun, and moved twice, finally settling in its current location in the Old City in 1965. Be sure to try the tasty Ba BaoYa (Eight Treasures Boneless Stuffed Duck) and the signature croaker, if you can afford it – it costs over 1,000 RMB but is definitely worth the splurge.

Add: 242 Fuyou Lu, near Lishui Lu, Shanghai
地址:上海市福佑路242号, 近丽水路, 上海老饭店
Tel: 021 6311 1777
Opening hours: 11:00-14:00; 17:00-20:30

4) Gong De Lin View In Map
Also known as Godly Vegetarian, this place holds the accolade of being Shanghai's oldest vegetarian restaurant. It was opened in 1922 and now has multiple venues, but each serves a consistently wide and decent selection of meat-free dishes (around 3,000 in total), in the Buddhist tradition. If you tire of simple vegetables, try some of their "fake meat" creations, such as sesame "chicken", and roast "duck".

Add: 445 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Chengdu Bei Lu, Shanghai
地址:上海市南京西路445号, 近成都北路, 功德林
Tel: 021 6327 0218
Opening hours: 11:30-15:30; 17:00-21:30

5) Mei Long ZhenView In Map
This restaurant reputedly gets its name from the Zhengde Emperor of the Ming Dynasty, who is said to have visited the village of Meilongzhen in Shanghai's suburbs. It was opened in 1938, and sits down an unassuming lane off Nanjing Xi Lu. In its heyday, the restaurant was frequented by cultural luminaries and underground denizens. With 600 seats and seven dining rooms, it's a huge space, and its décor just veers on the tasteful side of kitsch. The cuisine covers Yangzhou, Sichuan and Shanghai, in a unique "fusion" style. The prices range from dirt cheap to exorbitant depending on what you order.

Add: No. 22, Lane 1081, Nanjing Xi Lu, near Jiangning Lu, Shanghai
地址: 南京西路1081弄22号, 近江宁路, 梅龙镇酒家
Tel: 021 6253 5353; reservations recommended
Opening hours: 11:00-13:30, 17:00-21:00

6) Hongchangxing Mutton Hot Pot View In Map
Shanghai's oldest Muslim restaurant, Hongchangxing dates from 1891, and serves only Halal food. There are now three branches and two Halal shops dotted around town. As its name suggests, the restaurant's star dish is lamb hotpot, but the dumplings and shashliks are also worth a try, along with the garlic fragrant lamb lei pai.

Add: 10/F, 288 Guangxi Bei Lu, near Nanjing Dong Lu, Shanghai
地址:上海市广西北路288号10楼, 近南京东路, 洪长兴羊肉馆
Tel: 021 6352 9700
Opening hours: 11:00-14:00, 17:00-22:00

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Keywords: Oldest restaurants Shanghai well known old Shanghai restaurants


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