La Strada, Pho Real, Bistro Burger, Lapis Thai

The speed with which restaurants open and close in Shanghai is unbelievably high that even residents like ourselves have a hard time keeping up.  Each week, I have to bike around our neighborhood streets to check out if there are any new store signs put up or constructions started. No wonder every time I went back to my hometown San Jose, California, I was often shocked to see venerable restaurants from my younger days still standing.

This is not to say that new shops are always better than old, but it does speak to the unprecedented number of entrepreneurs who are seizing the opportunity to make it out here in Shanghai. These aren’t the big corporate restaurant chains you see in more matured markets; these are the small guys who started with one concept/location. As the capital to start something in China is still relatively lower than in western countries, many foreigners also jump into the fray. As a result, we witnessed many experiments — some succeeded with flying colors and some crashed and burned. The consumers are (more?) fickle in Shanghai so the businesses have to work extra hard to stay relevant.

Four new additions to our neighborhood show promise and I’d like to introduce to our guests:

1. La Strada - sister cafe of Amokka on Anfu Rd and serves excellent Italian-style thin crust pizzas.  You can also order their pizzas from Amokka, which has a nice upstairs dining lounge.

2. Pho Real - deserves a mention even though it replaced our favorite hole-in-the-wall Xinjiang restaurant.  They serve a set menu which includes light appetizers like spring rolls followed by a bowl of Vietnamese beef noodle soup.

3. Bistro Burger - promises gourmet burgers and fancy milkshakes.  Putting a plug in for our Closed Cafe partner Eduardo and tried out the food at the soft opening.  Reasonable priced and tasty burgers are always welcomed by all ;-)

4. Lapis Thai on Hunan Rd - housed in an ambient villa on Hunan Rd and serving consistent quality food with nice presentation.  I personally think the setting is more beautiful than Coconut Paradise.  Lapis also has another location in Taiking Rd’s Tianzifang.

Judging from the mix, we can use more tasty and stylish Chinese restaurants too~

See more neighborhood restaurants on our Neighborhood Map here.

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