The That’s Shanghai Food & Drink Award winners were released over the weekend, for all you foodies that are curious about what Shanghai likes. And what Shanghai likes, for the most part, is established chains – whether or not they are actually the “best” in their categories. Hey, don’t get huffy with us. The guys at That’s Shanghai thought the same thing.
Of the chains to make it onto the Food & Drink Awards, there was Element Fresh (of course) for American, South Beauty for Sichuan/Hunanese, Crystal Jade for Cantonese, Xiao Nan Guo for Shanghainese, Simply Thai for Thai food and Paulaner Brauhaus for beer – which for us was the most “Really, Shanghai residents? REALLY?!” win of the night.
That having been said, there were things we agreed with. Da Marco is still the best Italian in town, hands down. The Fat Olive, with its comfy couches and well-priced wine selection, quickly became our favorite for Al Fresco drinking when it opened this year. Cantina Agave has brought to Shanghai something that it was sorely lacking: decent Mexican food, and that earns it its Best New Restaurant title in our book. Our Cali friends will quibble, but they don’t understand what a wasteland it was before. Oh yes, and we love Cotton Ding. If you want to meet the Personality of the Year, come to our happy hours.
- Staff at Boonna have always been much friendlier to us than staff at Wagas, so we’re happy they finally knocked them off their throne for Best Cafe. But come on, That’s. We know hipsters, and that’s not a hipster cafe. No hipster cafe would play that much Britney Spears on repeat – even ironically.
- We love Gary Wang and we love Shelter, but we don’t think numerous mentions in the New York Times makes it qualify as a hidden gem anymore. But then again, we don’t want people publicizing real hidden gems so we’ll let it pass.
- Din Tai Fung got a mention for having the best dish in Shanghai: Xiao long bao. Their xiao long bao are pretty amazing, so we guess there’s not much we can say about that except: Shanghai, how do you feel about a Taiwanese place consistently being recognized for making the best version of your hometown dish?
Read the rest on Urbanatomy.