The glitz and glam of The Bund in China’s most dynamic city is a decadent slice of real estate that boasts one of the most impressive urban views in Asia. Looking out over the Huangpu River, however, is best done with a sumptuous cocktail and a meal fit for a king – or perhaps a president. The diversity of cuisine on The Bund is unsurprising, but for the discerning, there are a few options which stand alone.
Award-winning chef Umberto Bombana opened the original 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana in Hong Kong in 2010, which was certified two Michelin stars within 11 months of its opening, a true feat given the sparse distribution of Michelin stars outside of Italy. After expanding to grace the picturesque Bund, the Shanghai incarnation of 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo garnered two Michelin stars of its own in 2017.
The menu features a variety of gourmet Italian dishes designed by both Umberto Bombana himself and two Michelin Star Chef Riccardo La Perna that range from burrata cheese raviolis to M9 sirloins. In addition to world-class dishes, the restaurant also boasts a wine list with over 700 labels, as curated by professional Sommelier Gian Luca Fusetto. The restaurant is located in the Associate Mission historical building and offers views of the Yellow River and Shanghai’s dramatic Pudong skyline.
Mr. and Mrs. Bund
Located on the top floor of the restored colonial Bund 18, originally constructed in the 1920s, this modern truly unique restaurant blends absurd, chic, and glamor together in a potent cocktail that is certain to not be forgotten. The brainchild of celebrated French chef Paul Pairet, the menu of over 200 dishes is comprised of “populist French favorites, through Pairet’s looking glass.” This means everything from boeuf bourguignon and tarte tatin to frog legs and beef cheek pot-au-feu.
The experience comes with a touch of humor, such as with the “rookie menu” for guests intimidated by the sheer quantity of dishes on the regular menu.
The unique décor features ornate white blown-glass chandeliers above artwork depicting octopus tentacles wrapping around arms or silver cans.
Beautiful views of the Pudong skyline are visible from the open-air terraces, where guests can enjoy a cocktail or a glass of one of the restaurant’s 38 hand-picked wines.
Sir Elly’s Restaurant (Peninsula)
Situated on the 13th floor of the opulent Peninsula Shanghai Hotel, which is at the edge of the historic Bund strip, this Michelin star anointed five-star restaurant pairs stunning views with gourmet flavors. Headed by French-born Chef de Cuisine Hans Zahner and Executive Pastry Chef Lucien Gautier, the restaurant features a refined European menu, though there are also original dishes that fuse French culinary techniques with Asian and European ingredients.
Some of Sir Elly’s signature dishes are an Alaskan royal king crab and a slow cooked black cod confit. There is an expansive wine selection of over 400 labels and a variety of cocktails, all of which pair nicely with the outdoor terrace facing the Huangpu River.
Canton Table at Three on the Bund
Constructed in 1916, the elegant, post-renaissance Three on the Bund building is home to an assortment of premier dining destinations. For tourists craving gourmet Chinese flavors, Canton Table is second to none. Located on the fifth floor, this luxurious Cantonese restaurant is headed by Master Chef Eason Man and seeks to deliver guests with the essence of the lauded culinary tradition hailing from the south of China.
Dishes that range from Cantonese Barbecue Pork with glazed honey to Roasted Goose with hawthorn are composed of the freshest ingredients and prepared with traditional cooking techniques, as perfected by the restaurant’s master chefs. Designed by Lyndon Neri and Rosanna Hu, the décor instills the 1000 square meter space with an iconic style inspired by nostalgic Shikumen and the glamor of the Bund’s history.
Cathay Room, Fairmont Peace Hotel
When it comes to views on the Bund, one can never be quite sure they’re getting the best. Much has been made of the view and the food at M on the Bund – which closed its Capital M location last year. But, while the food may not be as high a pedigree, the more holistic dining experience at Fairmont Peace Hotel’s Cathay Room is something fine diners won’t want to miss. The Cathay Room has been the place for Shanghai high society since the 20s. The architecture much more than the usual imitation of Shanghai’s past, the Fairmont Peace Hotel has played host to leaders the world over. While the food has much to compliment it at dinner time, the brunch comes even more highly recommended with fare from Executive Chef Jean-Luc – though wrap up if visiting in winter.
One, however, can not mention the Fairmont Peace Hotel without commenting on the genuine charm of the Jazz Bar – attended by presidents Reagan, Carter, and Obama. Six elderly musicians and a sultry singer make for one of the most enchanting evenings one is likely to have on the Bund.