Shanghai expats aren't too keen on eating at home, and if they do, it's likely to be a Sherpa's delivery. While there certainly are foodies and home-cooks out there, most expats opt for the great variety of international cuisines the city has to offer, from the insanely over-priced to the jaw-droppingly cheap restaurants. Parents in Shanghai also love going to restaurants where the kids can play while they relax and have a chat with other expat parents. Here's our recommendation of the best family-friendly restaurants in Shanghai:
1) Chloe'sView In Map
Chloe's is relatively unknown and is just starting to grow in popularity, yet it has everything that kids and parents will love: pizzas, burgers, fries and more – yet their true piece de resistance is their sauce-covered ribs. The slabs of gooey, soft and melting ribs will keep entire troops of kids quiet as they munch their way through the best ribs in Shanghai. Tucked just away from the Lujiazui financial district, it's easy to get to and has plenty of parking outside. With draft beers to keep dad quiet as well, it's a winner for all the family.
Add: 31 Changyi Lu, Lujiazui, Shanghai
Tel: 021 3879 0570
Opening hours: Mon-Sat, 11:00-22:00; Sun, 11:00-17:00
2) Carl's Jr 卡乐星 View In Map
Definitely a treat for once a fortnight and hopefully no more, Carl's Jr is perhaps the greatest fast food in the world. Younger kids will love their ‘star chicken' and older kids will fall in love with their. All burgers are made to order, resulting in a perfect combination of junk food burger: crispy and char-grilled on the outside, thick and juicy on the inside, with freshly-toasted buns and sauces completing the delight. Hand-scooped milk-shakes are a huge hit with kids, and this is a definite winner – even though a worried parent may want to limit the fat, MSG and salt intake to only special occasions!
Add: B1-33, Metro City Mall, 1111 Zhaojiabang Lu, Xuhui District, Shanghai
Tel: 021 6426 2376
Opening hours: 10:00-22:00
3) Ginza Bairin Tonkatsu 银座梅林 View In Map
A healthier option and perhaps not an obvious family one, Tonkatsu Bairin will please kids of all ages, from 2 to 18. Why? Because of their divine, deep-fried pork. Though fatty, deep-fried pork may not sound like a ‘healthy option', parents of kids in the 2 – 7 age-range will know that it's not always easy to get them to eat enough meat. That is no concern at Tonkatsu Bairin where the Japanese specialty is done to perfection with top-quality meat and fine. The rice is also of such a standard that kids of all ages will be shovelling it down. The three different tonkatsu sauces – original, wasabi-infused and sesame will delight older kids and parents alike, while the IFC mall location is incredibly convenient.
Add: 4/F, IFC Mall, 8 Century Avenue, Shanghai
Tel: 021 5015 5083
Opening hours: 11:00-22:00 (Last Order: 21:30)
4) Crystal Jade 翡翠酒家 View In Map
Crystal Jade offers healthier options with their fresh fish, hand-stretched noodles and large menu, varied with different Chinese treats that will tempt kids of all ages. The fresh catches – swimming live in tanks within the restaurant in typical Asian fashion mean that you can get traditional Chinese steamed-fish into your kid's diet as well as a variety of super-healthy soups. Local xiaolongbao and weekend dim sum make all of the Crystal Jade venues hugely popular weekend spots – so if you venture there on a weekend, be sure to get there early – lunch time starts early with queues out the door from 11am.
Add: 2/F, 6-7 Xintiandi Nanli, 338 Zizhong Lu, Huangpu District, Shanghai
Tel: 021 6385 8752
Opening hours: Mon-Sat, 11:00-23:00; Sun,10:30-23:00
5) Bella Napoli 美丽那波丽
Bella Napoli has two locations, Xikang Rd. and Changle Rd. Both are kid-friendly and have great family atmospheres – particularly the Changle Rd location. The Xikang Rd. restaurant offers fun weekend cooking classes for young ones while the parents enjoy fresh Italian food. The restaurant's excellent menu and hearty Italian atmosphere is sure to make this a family favourite.
Xikang Lu branchView In Map
Add: 140 Xikang Lu, Jing'an District, Shanghai
Tel: 021 6253 8358
Opening hours: 11:30-15:30,17:30-23:00
6) The chains: Wagas, Element Fresh, Blue Frog
With multiple venues all over Shanghai, these child-friendly casual restaurants are excellent for expats – a reliable quality of cooking and cleanliness, a decent standard of sandwiches, salads, pastas, smoothies and kids' menus (in Element Fresh and Blue Frog) mean that if your poor parent brain is too addled and tired to put any thought into where to go, these restaurants are instant quick fixes; there's also the added bonus of providing healthy meal options for kids aged 1 to 18!
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Keywords: family restaurants Shanghai western food Shanghai kids’ restaurants Shanghai
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