Top 10 Budget Restaurants in Shanghai

Top 10 Budget Restaurants in Shanghai

This month’s guest expert is Hayley Coleman from TripAdvisor. In this post Hayley introduces us to a selection of the best restaurants in Shanghai that are ideal for travellers on a budget. She takes a look at what’s on offer in each restaurant along with sharing reviews from TripAdvisor travellers. You can also find more great travel reviews and tips from TripAdvisor on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

If a trip to China is on your bucket list, Shanghai is well worth a visit – it’s a firm favourite with our TripAdvisor community of travellers, coming 19th in the world in TripAdvisor’s 2012 Travellers’ Choice Destinations Awards*.

Shanghai is the largest city by population in the People’s Republic of China and offers a mix of experiences. The new Shanghai is a metropolis with sci-fi style cityscapes and shopping galore, while the old Shanghai boasts temples nestled down alleys, street markets and classical Chinese gardens.

For those looking to experience the gastro delights of Shanghai but keep an eye on the purse strings, we have pulled together a list of the top Shanghai restaurants ideal for the budget conscious traveller**. We’ve also included quotes from some of our top contributors who have actually been to the restaurants and are keen to share their insights and experiences.”

1. Din Tai Fung (Xintiandi), 123 Xing Ye Road

Known for its dumplings, Din Tai Fung (Xintiandi) is a bright and spacious restaurant popular with families. As restaurants in Shanghai go, this is one of the best for budget travellers.

What TripAdvisor travellers say:

“The quality of the dumplings is fantastic and every dish I tried was outstanding. It is not common for people in Shanghai to bring home leftovers but here you will see locals and foreigners alike wanting to take home food – it is that good.”

“Their little dumplings ooze a warm soup once you bite into them – simply gorgeous.”

“This is the best Chinese restaurant to try the famous steamed dumpling with soup inside.”

2. La Creperie, No.1 TaoJiang Road

Serving traditional Breton cuisine, La Creperie offers diners the opportunity to sample authentic galettes, oysters from Riec sur Belon and of course crêpes.

What TripAdvisor travellers say:

“A great service, and most importantly great pancakes (sweet or savory). Go to La Creperie, you will not be disappointed.”

“Great food and interior decoration that makes you forget that you are in Shanghai.”

“I lived in Shanghai for one year and I had the habit of going regularly to La Creperie. The food is very good and the service is excellent.”

3. Di Shui Dong, No.56 Mao Ming South Road

Offering an array of spicy Hunanese food, Di Shui Dong is a must for lovers of red chilies and peppers.

What TripAdvisor travellers say:

“This place is all about the food and the authentic level of spiciness. Prices are reasonable and the ambience is good – a must visit for those who love spicy food.”

“Great spicy Hunan cuisine in a casual atmosphere with very affordable prices. You absolutely have to try the spicy dry-rub ribs, simply awesome.”

“I’ve eaten a lot of various Chinese cuisines but this was my first time for Hunan. I love this place and hope to come back to sample more of this delicious food.”

4. Jia Jia Tang Bao, Huanghe Lu (near Nanjing Xilu)

A classic hole-in-the-wall restaurant offering a diverse selection of dumplings that resemble pieces of art.

What TripAdvisor travellers say:

“This is the best restaurant you can find in Shanghai, I’ve been there every week for 3 months, and I’m dreaming about their dumplings every single day.”

“The dumplings were amazing. Definitely worth a visit if you are in Shanghai.”

“Soup dumplings are found all over China, but they have really perfected them at Jia Jia Tang Bao. They are quite reasonably priced and they taste great.”

5. Bella Napoli, 140 Xikang Road, Jingan District

Tucked away in the centre of Shanghai, Bella Napoli’s menu offers Southern Italian cuisine and an array of salads, antipasti and home-made pastas.

What TripAdvisor travellers say:

“From the moment you enter the restaurant you feel a wonderful sense of Italy. The food was excellent and the service was impeccable.”

“After having spent summer in Italy, we were missing some Italian comfort food and Bella Napoli was the cure. Authentic and good quality food.”

“If you want to taste a real Napoli pizza this is your place. The food is excellent with a great selection of appetisers.”

6. WHISK Cafe, No.1250 Huaihai Middle Road

Featuring a comfy café/lounge vibe, WHISK Cafe’s main theme is chocolate. From cakes to tiramisu and hot chocolate, it’s a chocoholic’s heaven.

What TripAdvisor travellers say:

“I have never had hot chocolate like this anywhere else in Shanghai and recommend trying it.”

“This is my favourite dessert place in Shanghai. I love the tiramisu and all the chocolate available.”

“I’m a chocolate addict and was delighted to find this little café. The quality of the chocolate was top-notch – thick and rich.”

7. Yu xin chuan cai, Jiu jiang lu

Spread over the entire third floor of an office building, Yu xin chuan cai serves spicy Sichuan cuisine such as spicy water boiled fish and peppercorn beef cooked in boiling oil heated by hot stones.

What TripAdvisor travellers say:

“Our lunch here turned out to be our best meal in Shanghai and one of our most memorable meals ever. The food was interesting, flavourful and artfully presented.”

“I would strongly recommend this restaurant if you want to eat authentic Sichuan food.”

“We regularly eat at Sichuan restaurants all over the city, but visiting Yu xin chuan cai is always a special occasion. It’s such a perfect place to sample wild Sichuan flavours.”

8. Pizza Marzano Shanghai Centre, Suite 107, Shanghai Centre, 1376 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Xikang Lu

A stylish pizza restaurant set in the Shanghai Centre offering thin-crusted Roman and Neapolitan pizzas.

What TripAdvisor travellers say:

“It’s hard to think that you will be able to eat good Italian food and Italian style pizza in Shangai, but I highly recommend this restaurant.”

“We were surprised how good the pizza was. The pizza crust was crispy and very tasty, and the toppings were nice and fresh.”

“Nice environment with good Italian food. It’s a great option for an easy-going dinner or lunch.”

9. Grape, 55 Xinle Road

Located on the fashionable Xinle Road in part of a former Russian Orthodox church, Grape serves Shanghai Benbang cuisine and is frequented by locals and foreigners alike.

What TripAdvisor travellers say:

“We have been coming here for the past ten years, and the food has always been fresh and authentic Shanghainese.”

“I have dined at this place since the late 90s and I was so pleased to discover that it has remained as good as ever.”

“For Shanghainese dishes at very reasonable prices, our favourite is Grape. This place is great for groups and new visitors in town.”

10. da Marco, 103 East Zhu an Bang Road

Featuring a stylish loft design, da Marco is one of the best Italian restaurants in Shanghai offering up rich and creamy pasta – plus an amazing selection of wines to choose from.

What TripAdvisor travellers say:

“It was a wonderful experience – the pasta was delicious and al dente, and the wine list was very extensive.”

“The carbonara was very tasty with a nice creamy sauce, which is very hard to get in China. It’s worth a try if you’re looking for something different from the usual food fare in China.”

“The food and atmosphere here is very good. It’s one of the best value-for-money Italian restaurants in town.”

So take your pick of cheap places to eat in Shanghai for your trip. Whatever you pick, we’re sure you won’t be disappointed, and it definitely won’t eat into your budget. For more information on Shanghai click here.

*The Travellers’ Choice Destinations awards honour top travel spots worldwide based on millions of valuable reviews and opinions from TripAdvisor travellers.

**List is selected according to the TripAdvisor Popularity Index, correct as of 6th March 2013.

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