8 Cafes in Shanghai to Visit

If you search for the word coffee in the “Dazhong Dianping” app (consumer review platform for businesses in China), there are 7839 results in Shanghai. 738 of them alone is a Starbucks. There is no doubt that Shanghainese love a good cup of coffee. I spent the last 20 days, biking for almost 300 minutes or 36km to visit the following 8 cafes which are highly recommended by people of Shanghai.

I'll also be rating each one of them by the following:

✎ Spaciousness: 1 star = cozy and not many seats, 5 stars = spacious with many seats

✎ Crowdedness: 1 star = you can walk-in and get a seat, 5 stars = it's an hour's wait and you cannot make reservations

✎ Variety (Food and Beverages): 1 star = less than 5 options for food or types of coffee, 5 stars = lots of options, including lunch/dinner options, sodas and alcoholic beverages

✎ Noise Level: 1 star = it's quiet, 5 stars = it's hard talk to your partner and you can hear everyone else around you

One more thing, now that it's autumn, I've been using rental bikes to get around. A lot of the roads near these cafes are those one lane roads with trees on both sides so it's an amazing way to see the city.   

Wukang Road No 202
Shanghai Library Station (Line 10)

✎ Spaciousness: ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ 
✎ Crowdedness: ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ 
✎ Variety (F&B): ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ 
✎ Noise Level:    ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ 
Operated by the Wagas Group, Lokal is the largest out of these four, with around 40 seats outdoor in their courtyard. It’s great for big groups, singletons, moms with babies, anyone really. If you get there before 11am, they’ll be serving breakfast and brunch type food. Two large cases of baked goods line neatly in front of their cashier and coffee station.

One of my favorite is the Strawberry Tart. If you’re like me and cannot stand one of those cakes exploding with sugar, this tart is perfect. It tastes kind of like a muffin tart at its base, and the cream on top doesn’t over power it. I also love the fact that if you order a Mocha, they draw a large M on top of the froth.

After 11am on weekends, it’ll be very tough to get a seat, so make sure you arrive no later than 10:45am. You can start ordering lunch items at 11am, with options such as various pastas, burgers, and even Pho! They also make lots of healthy but tasty shakes.

| Chez Black |
Taian Road No 43-2
Jiaotong University Station (Line 10 & Line 11)

✎ Spaciousness: ✦ ✦ ✦  
✎ Crowdedness: ✦ ✦   
✎ Variety (F&B): ✦    ✧ (no food options)
✎ Noise Level:    ✦    ✧  (ideal for studying)

Looking in from the sidewalk, this café looks pretty small. But there’s so much space once you get inside. In the far left corner on the first floor there’s a single sofa, and upstairs on the 2nd floor there are huge sofas. The back wall is a floor to ceiling bookcase, creating a very welcoming homey environment. This is one of those places perfect for you to pop open your laptop and sit there to work on something for a few hours.

Other than coffee, they also make some teas, and the mint tea is quite good to cleanse your pallet after the 3rd coffee of the day.

Oh, and if you don’t see their dog inside, he’s probably sun bathing just outside.

| Love Concept Café |
XiangYang North Road 68-1
South Shanxi Rd. Station (Line 10 & Line 12 & Line 1)

✎ Spaciousness: ✦    
✎ Crowdedness: ✦ ✦   
✎ Variety (F&B): ✦ ✦   ✧ (low stock on food)
✎ Noise Level:    ✦    ✧ (ideal for studying)

This one is probably not for everyone, mainly because it is smaller. The seats are limited, with 2 long tables that sit 4 each, 2 small tables that seat 2, and two small arm chairs against one of the walls. While they have a lot of “options” for food, it’s a small establishment, so if you go later in the day, you’ll find yourself picking between a chocolate cake or a banana muffin and that’s it.

However, the reason why I love this café is because of the atmosphere. It’s a very friendly and cozy, with board games for you to borrow to play with. Also, the staff here are all hearing impaired, but super friendly. Two walls of the café are filled with hand written menu items so you can point at them to order.

The name captures the essence of this place perfectly, Love Concept. They also have a little stray dog that they’ve adopted, and are often promoting dog owners to meet up, as well as helping stray dogs to find new homes.

| In Dough We Trust |
Yongkang Road No 86
South Shanxi Rd. Station (Line 10 & Line 12 & Line 1)

✎ Spaciousness: ✦ ✦   
✎ Crowdedness: ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ (very crowded in the afternoon)
✎ Variety (F&B): ✦    ✧ (2 cake options, 5 or so types of beverages)
✎ Noise Level:    ✦ ✦   ✧ 

This is a café that because famous because of their Tiramisu cake. People line up and people traveling to Shanghai also visit this café. It is very small as well, with no more than 20 seats in total. If you want a seat without waiting, it’s best to go between 9am – 10:30am. It's also quiet during the mornings so you can enjoy a coffee while you read a book there. 

As their Tiramisu was already famous, I decided to not try that, and try their Pound cake instead. I’ll have to say I was pleasantly surprised.

| Kaffeine Coffee |
North Xiang Yang Rd No.100
South Shanxi Rd. Station (Line 10 & Line 12 & Line 1)

✎ Spaciousness: ✦    
✎ Crowdedness: ✦ ✦    
✎ Variety (F&B): ✦    ✧ (a few cookies, lots of beverage options)
✎ Noise Level:    ✦ ✦   ✧ 

I actually walked by this Cafe while I was bar hopping to the 5 hidden bars in Shanghai (you can read about them in my blog post here), so I'm glad I'm finally able to come back at a more appropriate hour. 

This is a little cozy bar with a Latte Art Champion! The guy isn't always in the shop, but if you're lucky, you'll be able to get a cup of latte that comes with a unicorn, seahorse, monkey.. you name it! I also love that they have a real record player here, and their leather chairs and vintage looking luggage bag table just make the place that much more unique. 


| La Boulangerie |
West Jianguo Road No 480
Zhaojiabang Rd. Station (Line 7 & Line 9)

✎ Spaciousness: ✦    
✎ Crowdedness: ✦     
✎ Variety (F&B): ✦    ✧ (bread, breakfast pastries, cakes, coffee and tea)
✎ Noise Level:    ✦ ✦   ✧ 

If you're missing Parisian Pastries, this is the place to go. It's located in JianYeLi, which is a few block of buildings that used to be housing for low income people and now remodeled and occupied by high-end European establishments. 

They have a variety of teas and coffees, offering flavors outside of the usual. There also have a fully stocked case of breakfast pastries such as croissants, muffins, bagels, baguettes, and another case full of cakes. The one I had was a Orange Jasmine Cheesecake, and I opted for a Cinnamon Latte, perfect in this autumn weather. 

 | METEA |
Dong An Road, Lane 800 No 12 Unit 101 
Middle Longhua Road Station, Exit 5 (Line 7 & Line 12)

✎ Spaciousness: ✦    ✦ (Many private booths, two floors)
✎ Crowdedness: ✦      (reservations allowed)
✎ Variety (F&B): ✦    ✧ (serves tea only but many types, cakes, lunch options available)
✎ Noise Level:    ✦    ✧ 

This is something a bit different, though it doesn't serve coffee, I still listed it in here as it is a very nice space to relax. This is a Chinese tea house that serves at least 20 if not more types of tea, ranging from 100 to 2600+ rmb per pot of tea. With each order of tea, you also get a small dish of fruits, biscuits, and a piece of cake. The will make the tea for you, so it's also a nice thing to watch if you haven't watched Chinese tea making before. 

Private booths are available, even if you go alone. You can use the booths up for 3 hours at a time, and reservations of the exact booth you want is also allowed. One thing to note though is that the individual teas on the menu was Chinese only. You can see the categories of tea such as black, green, or Oolong tea. 

This location is a little bit difficult to find. It's essentially in this residential plus business park area. There's a lot of greenery and walking paths with small shops on either sides. There's also a Shiba cafe nearby, a pet shop, a florist, few other small restaurants. You'll see a carrefour on the North side of Ruiping road which is where exit 5 of Metro station Middle Long Hua road is on. Cross Ruiping road and head south on the walking path, keep going until you pass by a puppy salon or pet shop on the left side, then bank left and it will be in front of you. 


  | Le Petit Jardine |
Longteng Ave No3268 
Middle Longhua Road Station, Exit 5 (Line 7 & Line 12)

✎ Spaciousness: ✦     (Indoor and Outdoor seating
✎ Crowdedness: ✦      (reservations only allowed on weekday evenings)
✎ Variety (F&B): ✦     (tea, coffee, dessert, lunch and dinner)
✎ Noise Level:    ✦    ✧ 

This last location is actually a restaurant, but since it has indoor and outdoor seating, it's perfect for coffee. This is part of a series of vintage restaurants owned by the same owner. Highly successful, the 5 restaurants have been operating for almost a decade and continues to keep its popularity. Though I didn't need to line up, there were no seats outside on a sunny weekday afternoon. It's located right on the waterfront facing Huang Pu River, across from a large park full of kite flyers and dog walkers, so you can imagine how ideal this location is. 

Stepping inside, you feel like you're brought back in time, in a house on the country side somewhere in France. But it's not all looks, the French Strawberry Cake was amazingly delicious. Another plus side - they have English speaking wait staff and a very good selection of western dishes. I'll definitely be going back with my husband and kid to try out their main dishes. 

(Below is the Merry-Go-Round in the park across from this restaurant. The park is called Camp 3399)

Follow me on instagram @ariel.land for more stories on Shanghai 

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