Destination: China: Shanghai
Baker & Spice
This bakery and café serves coffee and pastries to rival those of Paris. The interior ressembles a branch of Le Pain Quotidian, with a communal table and congenial vibe, in part because many ex-pats living in the French Concession congregate here in the morning over java and gossip. It’s a lovely perch from which to map out a day exploring this sprawling neighborhood.
Located in the shopping concourse of an office-hotel tower, this restaurant would fit right into many malls in Southern California. It’s famous in Shanghai not for its simple interior but for its fresh ingredients. In fact, before it opened, expats say it was impossible to find tasty salads, sandwiches and smoothies.
Outfitted with low seating areas, mismatched dishes and colorful Communist paraphernalia covering every inch of wall space, this restaurant-café makes a fun pit spot if you’re shopping the Taikang Lu boutiques. The cuisine is mostly Western, with sandwiches, soups and some heartier fare; the coffee is reportedly the best in town. During warm weather, there are small tables on an al fresco patio, perfect for people-watching.
Part of the JiaShan Market, an eco-friendly oasis in the middle of the French Concession, this café is a wonderful enclave when buzzing Shanghai gets too much and you just want to spend a quiet few hours over coffee and homemade cakes. The magazines here are English, Chinese and German; naturally, since the owner is originally from Vienna (but has lived in Shanghai for over a decade).
Tucked away on one of the prettiest streets in the French Concession, this charming café conjures tastes of Vienna thanks to spot-on coffee, homemade cakes and a groovy bohemian ambience. Its owner Peter Kycelt, is an Austria ex-pat who speaks fluent Mandarin (his wife is a Shanghai native) and also runs Melange Oasis nearby. En route to and from Vienna Café, take a peek into the Old China Hand Reading Room next door; it’s one of Shanghai’s last traditional reading rooms.
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