Shanghaiist recently stumbled upon a couple of little, somewhat inconspicuous spots that seem perfect for hiding away from the obnoxious cold of Shanghai’s deep winter. We’re planning on being regulars at these places not because the food is mind-blowing, but because they’re cozy and warm and, well, we’re softies like that.
Amokka Café on Anfu Lu opened sometime early last year, but it took us getting lost during rush hour to accidentally come across it. Don’t let the tiny configuration on the first floor fool you; the charm of the place is upstairs, where the high ceiling and tall windows give Amokka a spaciousness that is maddeningly rare to find in a Shanghai café. Food-wise, the menu riffs on the standard café offerings just a tiny bit, with competently made sandwiches and basic pasta dishes. We were taken with the big and robust beef hamburger (48 RMB), at least when it’s not undercooked and has to be sent back twice. Management is a former Wagas disciple, so we were a little surprised at the spottiness of the service. Still, it’s a nice wi-fi and book hangout during those afternoons where a cup of coffee and some sunlight are what you are looking for. And judging by the weekend crowds, that combo is in pretty high demand.
Bliss Café and Lounge was an even more fortuitous find. Smack dab in the middle of sleepy yet somehow crowded Jinxian Lu, Bliss is where we currently go for a down tempo glass of wine, shrimp and pesto fettucine (pictured right), and a wicked bagel sandwich. Like Amokka, the menu is on the far side of adventurous, but well made and presented (chef previously from TMSK). Unlike Amokka, the much smaller and more modern space lends itself less for an afternoon of reading than it does for an evening of wine with friends too weary of grinding it out with the crowds. Bliss has not officially opened yet, but stop by after 5 pm (and from noon on during the weekend) and chill out with the super friendly owners and their consistent stream of regulars who, like us, stumbled across this place and decide to relax. Expect the official grand opening and extended operating hours after Spring Festival.
Amokka Café – 201 Anfu Lu, close to Wulumuqi Lu (安福路201号, 近乌鲁木齐中路), Tel: 5404-0998, Hours: 7am – midnight
Bliss – 181 Jinxian Lu, close to Maoming Lu (进贤路181号, 近茂名路),Hours: 5pm – 2am on weekdays, noon – 2am on weekends
Eric Hu is Shanghaiist’s Food Editor. Email tips, recommendations, and news and gossip about Shanghai’s food scene to food at shanghaiist.com.