We live and work in Hongqiao, including the Gubei area. This is the western part of Shanghai a little west of the French Concession and before the Hongqiao Airport. It includes places within walking distance of both Line 10 and Line 2. Here are some of our thoughts on dining.
My favorite Chinese place is probably Xibei at Gubei 1699. Every meal is fast, fun, and flavorful, with excellent service. They have the most delicious meat, the large roast beef on a bone that is incredibly tender. Their hawthorne berry (shaji) juice is so flavorful and unique. Their Xinjiang style chicken and noodles is spicy and fun. Their oat noodle soups are rich and filling. Their wild mushroom dish is so delicious. Everything we try is a winner. That keeps the place very busy. But it’s also very clean and fresh. And surprisingly inexpensive. China’s answer to American fast food! But it’s high quality food.
For Thai, I love Simply Thai on Laowai Street (Foreigner Street) and also in L’Avenue Mall. Thai Cook on the 5th floor of Newcore Mall (Tianshan Road and Loushanguan Road) is also very good and fresh, with nice inexpensive set meals for lunch. But I think my favorite is Papa Thai at the M complex above the Hongqiao Station on Line 10 and Lines 3 and 4, with a Huaihai Road address at the corner of Kaixuan Road. Papa Thai is fairly authentic with the same great flavors you’ll find in the curries at Simply Thai, but at a lower price. It’s also less crowded with very fast service. My favorite for taking friends to dinner when they don’t want Chinese.
Hongqiao is the place for Japanese and Korea. So many choices! Gubei 1699 mall has a great Korean restaurant on the 2nd floor and a lovely, high-end Japanese place on level B1, near the Bing cinema. I also really love the Korean place on Songyuan Road at the corner of Hongsong East Road. Such great barbecue and surprisingly inexpensive.
For Indian, Vedas near Laiwai Street is good, but I most often go to Anak Indian on level B1 of the Archwalk Mall, right under the big north tower of the Shanghai Arch. They have the best naan I’ve ever tasted there and excellent curries. Love the owner — such a kind Indian man.
For Western style food, Wagas is fun. There’s one by Carrefour on Shuicheng Road that is fine. Two other Wagas are on the other side of Yan’An Road, in the Maxdo Mall and also in the Newcore Mall lower level foodcourt. The mango chicken salad is a perennial hit with foreigners. I also really like Baker and Spice, though I mostly go there to buy their delicious whole grain bread and sourdough bread. You’ll find one at The Place (Nancheng), a great mall. One of my favorite restaurants with Western food is Element Fresh in the same complex at Yili Road and Yan’An Road, which is committed to very high standards in food quality and safety, with outstanding flavors and presentation. They have fusion Asian cuisine and Western cuisine, a nice mix.
For Italian, the most amazing low prices are at Saizeriya’s in level B2 of the Gubei 1699 mall, and we really like their food. Higher end Italian is found at Fratelli’s at the east end of Laowai Street. They have the best gnocchi we’ve ever tasted! The pasta and pizza are also great. Excellent chef! Inexpensive and pretty good Italian is also at Presto at the Archwalk Mall on the ground level, next to the Arch. Sale e Pepe is a high-end chain with a restaurant on Golden Street in Gubei (the pedestrian street), also known as the Terrace. They have a newer place at Archwalk on level 4. Wonderful salads, great thin-crust pizza, subtle flavors in soup and pasta. For thicker crust pizza, stick with Saizeriya, Domino’s, or Pizza Hut. The higher-end places tend to be thin crust. I like both.
The Spanish place, Me Gusta, on the 4th floor or Archwalk Mall is one of my favorites. They have wonderful set meals with terrific rich soups, salads, and fish or meat dishes. Their avocado bruschetta is wonderful also. Spanish cuisine is available at a new place next to Me Gusta. Appears to have Chinese owners. Tried it and it was quite good, but have a feeling it won’t last long (it is March 2017 as I write). A Spanish place that has lasted for several years already is simply named The Spanish Restaurant at the Garden Plaza area where Yili Road terminates at Yan’An Road, at the northcorner of the New Hongqiao Park. The Obama Club used to be the big draw for this three-story round building with many restaurants. They are on the third floor, facing Yili Road. Inexpensive, flavorful tapas and main dishes.