Shanghai is home to some delicious authentic Chinese dishes. But, being the international hub that it is, it also has some incredible options for Western food, and in particular, cafes. Think beautiful French-inspired cafes, Asian-fusion cafes, Australian-inspired coffee shops and more. After spending two months in Shanghai, here are our picks for the best cafes in Shanghai China. We also include the best coffee shops in Shanghai and the best bakeries in Shanghai, because they all create that same morning magic.
Best Coffee Shops In Shanghai
1. Café del Volcán
To say that Cafe del Volcan takes their coffee-making seriously just be an understatement. The seating in this cafe is so small because their roasting machine literally takes up almost a quarter of the floor space here. It’s no wonder then that you’re going to get a fantastic brew from this giant machine.
Try a premium coffee here that uses beans from as far away as Guatemala and Yunnan.
2. Marienbad Café
Marienbad Cafe also promotes a homey feeling with their cafe thanks to the old rustic couches and minimalist touches. The secret to the success of this cafe is their usage of brewing their coffees using secret recipes, incorporating flavours such as sea salt.
Try one of their more popular orders, Sea Salt Latte here at Marienbad.
3. MO+ Cafe
MO+ Cafe might be a tad bit hard to find as it is partially hidden in a residential neighbourhood. You’ll be thankful once you find it because the coffees here are sublime and their pourovers are the stuff of legends.
Definitely get the pourover here but you’ll have to make arrangements to reserve it before you come into the shop. It’s that legit.
4. Rye & Co
Rye & Co is one of the best coffee shops in Shanghai which brought to you by the same people behind The Nest and The Cannery. Although it’s located in a mall (Xintiandi Plaza), it’s earthy glam design and views over the city still make Rye & Co a beautiful venue. The staff here are so friendly and we loved the service. The menu here is nordic inspired and the dishes are quite unique.
5. Tian Café
A book lover’s hideout set inside a small store on the quiet Wulumuqi Nan Lu, this café is a combination of cosy and warm. Browse the bookshelf tucked away at the back of the café or bring your own. It’s an excellent spot for getting a couple hours of reading in while enjoying a coffee and a bagel sandwich (around 40RMB). Seats can be hard to come by with regulars snagging up seats on the communal table – it’s the best seat in the house with the well-lit ceiling lights perfect for reading late into the night.
6. RootSpace (Paloma/White Bird)
Also known as White Bird or Paloma Cafe, this is one of those cafés you’ve probably walked past a million times without a second glance. The plain brown storefront and narrow doorway are easy to miss. Look for the tiny gold origami crane logo which marks the café’s entrance, and head upstairs through the pastel pink staircase. Then turn right to find a narrow corridor with a wooden door, and open the door to find a rustic wood furnished space with exposed bricks and ceiling lights emitting a warm glow. Try the fragrant rose latte (38RMB) and the red velvet layer cake (42RMB) for a sweet treat.
7. Cafe Chez W
Nestled in between the lively areas of Tianzifang and Huaihai Lu, Cafe Chez W is an unassuming haven from the area’s hustle and bustle. Step inside its birdhouse facade, and you’ll feel right at home in this cosy cat-friendly café. Tinged with vintage charm, the space is decorated with polaroids, vintage postcards and various wooden kitchen utensils. The coffee counter offers house-made baked goods and a menu handwritten on paper, with coffee starting at 25RMB for an espresso. Once you’ve ordered, head upstairs where it’s roomier and people watch through the small window.
8. 1984 Bookstore & Café
1984 is a homely and well-stocked bookstore that serves coffee and encourages lingering over a good read. That, combined with the cute cats that doze on the comfortable furniture, makes this an inviting place to spend a lazy afternoon. The courtyard outside is tastefully furnished with wooden tables and cane chairs – perfect for flicking through some a tome while sipping on a fresh brew. It’s a little tricky to find – look for the inconspicuous black door.
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