The Best Restaurants near Yu Garden in Shanghai

What are the best traditional restaurants near Yu Garden in Shanghai? The area around Yu Garden is a major commercial centre featuring many local shops, restaurants, street stalls, shopping malls, and local markets. It is a nice place to get some bargain deals, as well as to taste some traditional food. In this post, several traditional restaurants near Yu Garden are introduced. They are all well-known among the locals.

The best traditional restaurants near Yu Garden

Restaurants near Yu Garden offer many tasty traditional Shanghainese food. They reflect one side of the Shanghai traditional lifestyle. Each of them has a story and a piece of unusual history.

  • Huxin Pavilion (湖心亭茶楼),  257 Yu Yuan Rd. Shanghai (上海豫园路257号)
  • Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant (南翔馒头店), 85 Yu Yuan Rd. Shanghai (上海豫园路85号)
  • Ningbo Tangtuan Shop(宁波汤团店), Yuyuan New Rd, (上海豫园老街104)
  • Lü Bo Lang (绿波廊), Yuyuan New Rd,  Shanghai (上海文昌路10号)
  • Chunfeng Songyue Lou(春风松月楼), 23 BaiLing Rd. Shanghai, China (百翎路23号)
  • Shanghai Lao Fan Dian (上海老饭店), 242 Fuyou Rd. Shanghai (福佑路242号)

Huxin Pavilion (湖心亭茶楼)


One of the first traditional restaurants near Yu Garden is Huxin Pavilion. It is the oldest and most famous tea house in Shanghai. Huxin Pavilion is also one of the existing ancient architectural landscapes and one of the earliest commercial chambers in Shanghai.

First built in 1784, it only became a teahouse in 1855. Situated at the center of the Zigzag Bridge (九曲桥) over the lotus pond outside the Yuyuan Garden, the tea house has a long history attracting many political leaders and celebrities from all over the world. For example, it has hosted Queen Elizabeth II on behalf of the city of Shanghai.


The Afternoon tea is in a typical Chinese style. Many renowned teas, such as West Lake Longjing, Anji White Tea, Oolong Tea, Qimen Black Tea, Biluochun, Pu’er Tea, and Taiwan Oolong are available. But the best view is from upstairs. Find yourself a seat upstairs and order a pot of a high-class tea, you can have a break after your visit to the Yu Garden or join the crowds again afterward. Locals will also order several snacks such as small glutinous rice dumplings to accompany the tea.

Huxin Pavilion (湖心亭茶楼)
Huxin Pavilion (湖心亭茶楼) (Source credit)

Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant (南翔馒头店)


This restaurant mainly sells the Nanxiang Steamed Buns. It is located next to Zigzag Bridge (九曲桥). In 1900, the founder Wu Xiangsheng, who had the original restaurant in Nanxiang, Jiading, spotted that many people came here to pray in the temple nearby. As a businessman, he saw this was a great chance to expand his store to this location.

Later, he supplied his buns to the nearby tea houses. The guests in those tea houses enjoyed eating his steamed buns as snacks while drinking a pot of tea.


Sometimes, locals also name the food as Steamed Soup Buns (小笼汤包). The jelly broth is part of the fillings. When the buns are steamed, the jelly broth is melted and turns into soup. The pastry of this type of steamed bun is made from a mix of types of flour. Every 100-gram flour is made into 20 small doughs. Each steamed bun looks like a small pagoda. Nowadays, the restaurant also sells steamed buns with different fillings. It is a usual scene that locals and tourists queue in front of the store.

Nanxiang Steamed Buns
Nanxiang Steamed Buns (Source credit)

Ningbo Tangtuan Shop(宁波汤团店)


Tangtuan (汤团), also called Tangyuan, is a type of glutinous rice balls. It is the main food sold in this restaurant. It looks like Gnocchi and is a type of snack originally from Ningbo, Zhejiang Province.

The glutinous rice balls is traditionally served during festivals such as winter solstice and on the last day Chinese New Year celebration known as Lantern Festival (元宵节). That is why it has another Chinese name, Yuanxiao (元宵). Nowadays, Tangtuan are also served year-round as breakfast, dessert, or snack.


Tangtuan sold in the shop has a round shape. They symbolize the happiness and the unification of the families during the Chinese New Year. It can be in different size. These boiled rice balls are stuffed with all kinds of sweet and meat fillings. But the typical filing is the mixture of black sesame paste and pork lard.

Ning Bo Dumplings (宁波汤团店)
Ning Bo Dumplings (宁波汤团店) (Source credit)

Lü Bo Lang  (绿波廊)


Lü Bo Lang is right next to the Zigzag Bridge (九曲桥). The three-story building has an architectural style of Ming and Qing Dynasties and is in harmony with the artificial lake and its pavilion. Lü Bo Lang has hosted many celebrities, such as the former US President Bill Clinton, Queen Elizabeth, Japanese Prime Minister Takeshita, Prime Minister of Iceland, and Australian Prime Minister.


It is famous for its Shanghai-style of snacks. Its snacks are fresh, each in small size, and beautifully shaped. One of the common snacks locals like to order is Pan-Fried turnip Cake (萝卜丝酥饼). The main ingredients are grated turnips, dried shrimp, mushrooms and little spring onions. Another one is Crispy Jujube Cake (枣泥酥饼), whose main ingredient is jujube paste.

The restaurant also offers Shanghai traditional dishes. Some of its dishes use made from crab meats. The location is absolutely the best. If possible, you should try some food when you are in the area. It is one of the traditional restaurants near Yu Garden whose name is famous both domestic as well as international.

Dim Sum from Lu Po Lang (绿波廊)
Dim Sum from Lu Po Lang (绿波廊) (Source)

Chunfeng Songyue Lou(春风松月楼)


Founded in 1910, this is the oldest vegetarian restaurant in Shanghai. When the owner Xu Huijia was a young man, he was an apprentice and learned how to cook vegetarian dishes. After he had gained enough experience, he opened his own restaurant. He did nearly everything personally, from selecting the raw materials, controlling the quality of the food, and cooking. Soon, his restaurant attracted many elites who became his long term customers.

The common ingredients used in the dishes are Toufu, mushrooms, bamboos and other usual vegetables. Soy protein is mainly used to resembles the meaty texture. Another type of substitute is the wheat gluten, which has a stretchy texture that can be easily altered to get the chewiness of meat.


Some of the Shanghai traditional dishes in vegetarian versions are available from the menu. One of the popular snacks is the vegetarian steamed buns, Su Cai Bao Zi (素菜包子). The fillings consist such as Shanghai green vegetables, mushrooms, bamboos, flavored beancurd, and wheat gluten. The steamed Bao Zi tastes fresh and looks emerald inside. It is cheap, but delicious.

It is quite usual that locals buy some ready-made dishes and eat at home during their family meals. That`s why on the ground floor there is the takeaway area. The food is not expansive but has authentic tastes. Upstairs is the seating area where you can order the dishes and eat there.

Chunfeng Songyue Restaurant (春风松月楼)
Chunfeng Songyue Restaurant (春风松月楼) (Source credit)

Shanghai Lao Fandian (上海老饭店)


Founded in 1875, the restaurant is more than a century old. The founder, Zhang Huanying from Pudong Chuansha, was originally a chef. In 1875, he rented a small house not far from the current location and opened a small restaurant named Rongshun Restaurant. Zhang himself cooked the dishes, and his wife served the dishes. Although it was only a small eatery, he offered some authentic Shanghainese home-style dishes. Soon it became popular in the neighbourhood. Later, he renamed the restaurant into Lao Fandian (老饭店).


Shanghai Lao Fandian’s signature dish is Ba Bao Ya (八宝鸭), Eight Treasure Duck. The duck is stuffed with eight types of ingredients, lean pork, bamboos, gingko nut, dried chestnut, lotus seeds, dried shrimps, dried mushrooms and jujubes. To soak the duck fat, chef will stuff the glutinous rice inside the duck. The stuffed duck will be steamed for a couple of hours so the duck meat tastes soft and tender. And, the charcoal flavour of the duck symbolizes its signature status.

Another traditional Shanghainese dish is Flash fried river shrimp (油爆河虾). The cooking ingredients are, small shrimps from the rivers, vinegar, sugar, salt, soy sauce, spring onions, ginger, cooking oil and cooking wine. But it requires skills to cook because the shrimps’ shell must be crispy. You can eat the shells if you cannot use mouth to take them out, while all Shanghainese can.

It offers good food quality, good service, and a bilingual menu. If you are seeking affordable, authentic Shanghainese cuisine, Lao Fandian is the place to go.

Shanghai Lao Fandian (上海老饭店)
Shanghai Lao Fandian (上海老饭店) (Source credit)

Join a food tour

These restaurants near Yu Garden are very traditional and can be easily found if you visit the area, for example, the Bund, or Waitan(外滩). However, if you don’t visit Yu Garden, you can also combine other sights with a food tasting tour. There are many tours tailored for your need. The following selected food tours provide interesting and uniquely local experience:

these restaurants near Yu Garden offer many tasty traditional Shanghainese food. In a certain way, they reflect one side of the Shanghai traditional lifestyle. Each of them has a story and a piece of unusual history. #china #shanghai #yugarden #food #restaurants #snacks #traveltips #asia


  1. Great listicle of few of the best restaurants in Sanghai. You seem to have put somuch effort in compiling this list and I appreciate that. I specifically loved the ambiance and decor of Chunfeng Songyue Restaurant. However, all of these sound fantastic. Can’t wait to taste each of these cuisines.

  2. What a yummy post. I like the sound of that old tea house. Always wanted to go there, especially after reading memoirs of Geisha. The soupy dumplings is something I did not know off. Quite curious to try that

  3. This post has made me feel hungry! I love trying authentic food when I visit new places so this was right up my street. The dim sum and duck are things I definitely would sample!

  4. I love good food and I think one of the first things I would do is join one of those food tours to get a bit of a taste of everything. Would also love Ning Bo Dumplings and the afternoon tea you described. My mouth is watering just thinking about all the amazing food options you provided.

  5. Thank you for all your information. I am a vegetarian so was pleased to read about Chunfeng Songyue Restaurant. I always fill that I am missing out when we eat Chinese and everyone else has the steamed buns so I am looking forward to trying their vegetarian steamed buns, Su Cai Bao Zi.

  6. I feel quite hungry now after reading this post! Shanghai is a city i’ve yet to visit, so I’m unfamiliar with Yu Garden. I really like the look of Ning Bo Dumplings, they look and sound delicious. A traditional Chinese afternoon tea at Huxin Pavilion also appeals a lot!

  7. Definitely a post after my own heart, or should I say stomach? Lovely to read about your recommended restauants by Yu Garden, and what dishes to try at each one. From the historical Huxin Pavilion for afternoon tea, to the steamed buns (a personal favourite) of Nanxiang, to dim sum at Lu Po Lang (I’ve never tried jujube paste), to Eight Treasure duck at Lao Fandian, I want to eat at each and every one!

  8. I have never been to Shanghai, but I will definitely ue this list when looking for the best restaurants. I particularly like the Huxin Pavilion, it sounds all so tasty! All these dishes just make me hungry while looking at them.

  9. Great Post! I love Xia Long Bao! It is one of my favorite Chinese dishes and I could not stop eating them while there. Also Yu Yuen Garden is a great sight so this is an important guide for many people visiting.

  10. I wish I knew these restaurants few months ago that I was in Shanghai! Especially the oldest vegetarian one – I made me walking on hot coals now haha! I like your photos and your writing too, keep going!

    1. Hi Georgina,

      Thanks! Shanghai is big and that’s why I added orientations in my post. This city has a mix of old and new culture. It is not so easy to tour around, even for those who live there;)-

      Best regards,


  11. What an incredible list of restaurants and eateries. I’m salivating as I read this post. The Dim Sum from Lu Po Lang and Tangtuan look incredible. China is high on my list as countries to visit for food and this article has me tempted!!

  12. All of this food has seriously made me feel so hungry. I would love to eat the dumplings and Tangtuan especially but all the food looks so good. I will be bookmarking this guide for my upcoming trip to China.

    1. I ate these food all the years when I lived in China. I missed them so much now because the same ones outside of China doesn’t taste the same like those in China. Best regards,


  13. These places look so traditional. I’ve always wanted to go somewhere and just do a post about the foods I try and restaurants I visit. I will save this should I ever travel to Shanghai.

  14. I love booking myself on food tours when I travel to new places. It gives you such a good insight into the culture. This looks like it was such a great trip. Definitely a place I’d like to visit one day.

  15. I’ll be perfectly honest, Chinese food sort of intimidates me (like real Chinese food, not takeout from the corner shop). Not that I’m scared of trying it, but that there’s SOOO much variety! Thanks for sharing the great post – next time I go to Shanghai, I’ll have to look some of these up!

  16. All these dishes make me hungry just looking at them. I love how the Tangyuan symbolizes happiness and unification of families. And the food tours sound amazing (and adding a foot massage is right up there with dessert!).

  17. I wish I had known all of these places when I visited Shanghai last year! They all sound delicious, I’m such a foodie so every time I visit a new place I do so much research on the food there. Saving this for next time!

  18. My mouth is watering for those steamed buns already! I love the food tour ideas, such a great way to dive into the cuisine and culture. Thanks for the post!

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