The Best Places to Dine Al Fresco in Shanghai

Shanghai | © Carlos Adampol Galindo/flickr
Shanghai | © Carlos Adampol Galindo/flickr | Carlos Adampol Galindo
Photo of Monica Liau
8 November 2017

There are a few months out of the year in Shanghai when the weather is blissful, and every moment outdoors should be enjoyed to the fullest. Here are eleven places where you can take advantage of the lovely temperatures while sipping and supping to your heart’s content.

Ginger by the Park

Restaurant, Fusion, Asian
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A gem of a find, this cozy spot features a pretty outdoor patio that makes fair weather that much more delightful. On the menu, you’ll find an East-meets-West affair of pretty, flavorful dishes in which the Asian offerings often win out. Try the laksa and the tofu salad.

ElEfante

Restaurant, Wine Bar, Spanish
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There’s no better place to sit in the sunshine with a glass of Spanish wine in one hand and a range of elegant tapas on the table. This patio is cloistered from the busy Donghu Road, perfect for a long, lazy lunch or weekend apéritif. If you’re going for brunch, be sure to make a reservation well in advance.

Pop American Brasserie

Bar, Bistro, Restaurant, North American
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Enjoy beautiful, expansive views of Shanghai’s iconic skyline on the roomy outdoor balcony of Pop American Brasserie. Paying tribute to a retro 1970s American vibe, you’ll find comforting fare on the menu, fused with distinctly French sensibilities. On the weekends, reserve an outdoor spot ahead of time to try and get close to the railing for the absolute most perfect of views.

Cottons, Anting

Bar, Restaurant, American, $$$
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This is a long-standing favorite drinking place, presided over by the the illustrious Cotton Ding. Their covered patio is an ideal place to throw back a few beers while listening to live music and perhaps munching on some decent American-style dishes.

Commune Social

Bar, Restaurant, Contemporary, Fusion, Tapas
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A project by famed chef Jason Atherton, Scott Melvin helms the kitchen at this pretty, laid-back spot. Here, you’ll find elegant, clever small plates that fuse influences from both the Asian and Western world, to much success. Their pretty central courtyard is an ideal spot to share food and drink with some good friends. No reservations are taken, it’s first come, first serve – so get there early on weekends.

Light & Salt on the Bund

Cocktail Bar, Restaurant, Contemporary
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Experience the sparkling city lights and views of both sides of the Huangpu River with a well-appointed cocktail in hand. Light & Salt’s small outdoor balcony at the bar is the perfect place for a stunning evening drink before heading downstairs for dinner in the stunning 1920s-themed restaurant.

Table No. 1

Bar, Restaurant, Contemporary
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Another spot by the mind of Chef Jason Atherton, Table No. 1 is set in the stunning boutique hotel, The Waterhouse at South Bund. The chic, minimalist design extends to the dining room, where you’ll find an outdoor patio perfect for nibbling on smoked pork ravioli and some of the best creamed corn you’ll ever have in your life.

Hai by Goga

Restaurant, Contemporary, American
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Set in the heart of the former French Concession, Shanghai restaurant veteran Brad Turley serves up a beloved menu of California-style cuisine, a fusion of American brashness and Asian subtlety. This spot is mostly open-air, so when the weather is fair, this is the perfect spot for brunch and lovely views of the leafy old city.

Tops the Banyan Tree

Bar, Contemporary
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For an exclusive rooftop experience, head to the rooftop of the luxurious Banyan Tree Hotel. Set at the very northern tip of the Bund, here you’ll be treated to posh surroundings and sweeping views all the way down the Bund. Head here at sunset – and call ahead for a good seat.

M on the Bund

Restaurant, European, Contemporary, $$$
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M on the Bund is one of the most iconic restaurants on the Bund, and perhaps all of Shanghai. Set in the Art Deco interior of the old Nissin Shipping Building, founder Michelle Garnaut founded this spot in 1999 and it has been a favorite ever since. Do as the residents do and flock here for their famous brunch – or just pop in later in the evening for a drink. Reservations on weekends suggested.

Calypso

Bar, Restaurant, Mediterranean
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Designer by the famed architect Shigeru Ban, the upstairs lounge is the perfect spot for drinking and dining under the open sky – whether the weather is cold or clement, as the roof is made of glass that retracts when the weather is good. Dine on pizzas that feature excellent, blistered crusts and glasses of wine beneath the clouds. In the wintertime (December to February), the hours shorten to 2.30pm – 11pm (Mon – Thurs), 2.30pm – midnight (Fri & Sat), and 12noon – 11pm (Sun).

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