Innovative food, a birdwatcher's paradise, and custom tailoring

Past Perfect
At YONGFOO ELITE, the lacquered, rarefied world of haute Shanghai is alive and well and taking applications for membership. This private club in the former British consulate was the extraordinary vision of Wang Xingzheng, who spent three years and a small fortune lining the place with mahogany and silk and furnishing it with antiques. The result is something between a Ming palace and a Pall Mall club. Members—and visitors who book in advance—dine on Shanghainese dishes such as double-boiled papaya and octopus with pork knuckles, and steamed pear with sticky-rice stuffing. After dinner, late-night revelers head to the courtyard, where paper lanterns hang from magnolia trees and a Buddha keeps watch from the corner. Only card-carrying Elites gain entry to the members' bar; rumor has it that one of the many sixties Gucci sofas is permanently reserved for Jackie Chan. Dinner, $50. At 200 Yongfu Rd.; 86-21/5466-2727;

Deco Du Jour
Shanghai in the twenties and thirties—when the French and British held sway over the city—produced a style of decorative arts all its own, a hybrid of Art Deco and traditional Chinese folk design. Today Shanghai Art Deco furniture has found a new market among young design aficionados in China and beyond. One of the finest places to buy is at ART DECO IN SHANGHAI, an airy warehouse owned by contemporary artist Ding Yi and his wife, Wang Yiwu. Some of the shop's most popular pieces are the leather club chairs, with heavy mahogany and pearwood frames. The store ships worldwide, with pieces reaching the States in about six weeks. $ At 50 Moganshan Rd., Bldg. 7; 86-21/6277-8927.

Where to Get a Foot Massage
The best way to explore the charming tangle of streets in Shanghai's old neighborhoods is on foot. Which makes SENSO, a day spa near the intersection of Huaihai Zhong and Maoming roads, that much more of a relief. Working in a serene and beautifully updated thirties home—velvet pillows here, a flat-screen TV there—Senso's therapists perform traditional foot rubs, hand treatments, and body massages. Foot massage, $13. At 84 Nanchang Rd.; 86-21/5386-2407.

Making a Splash
Michelin three-star brothers Jacques and Laurent Pourcel, of W'Sens in London, have opened SENS&BUND, a French restaurant with an interior as dazzling as anything the kitchen turns out. Designer Imaad Rahmouni, with his playful eye, has created an ultracool space that's more New York than New York: chefs behind rouge-tinted glass, pale gray armchairs with silver trim, and walls of red Venetian vases, each holding a single rose. The pièce de résistance is the gleefully kitsch King Room, in which specially commissioned portraits of French rois hang on fabric-draped walls. The food is no less innovative. Among our favorites are the ricotta ravioli with zucchini emulsion and fava bean compote, as well as the rack of lamb with lemon jus, mashed potatoes, and piquillo peppers. Dinner, $125. At 18 Bund; 86-21/6323-9898.

Chine A La Mode
At her tiny Xintiandi shop, SHANGHAI TRIO, Virginie Fournier has struck the perfect balance of Chinese elegance and French whimsy—or is it vice versa? Either way, the French designer's clothing and home accessories combine chinoiserie-patterned silk and sherbet-colored cotton and linen to create some of the loveliest shawls ($170-$350), bags ($40-$80), and card cases in the city. At 181 Taicang Rd., Xintiandi N. Block, Unit 5, No. 1; 86-21/6355-2974.

So Over Oolong?
Tea may be the national beverage of China, but young Shanghai has begun to cultivate a taste for java. There is no shortage of Starbucks in the city, but real coffee connoisseurs get their fix at BOONNA CAFE (88 Xinle Rd.; 86-21/5404-6676), where the media elite sip a strong brew from the southern Chinese province of Yunnan. And VIENNA CAFÉ (25 Shaoxing Rd., House 2; 86-21/6445-2131), a wood-paneled, Teutonic-centered place, serves a bracing, slightly bitter Viennese brew with a whipped-cream crown called Einspänner.

Chino Mediterraneo
Less than a week after Eduardo Vargas opened his newest restaurant, 239, all 88 seats in the dark wood-and-white leather dining room were booked for dinner. But then the gregarious Peruvian chef has already earned a devoted following with his popular tapas restaurant, Azul. At 239 his fans will find more of his sophisticated Mediterranean-fusion cuisine. This time, though, Vargas has ventured into the realm of organic ingredients—a trend yet to catch on with any vigor in Shanghai. "They cost a little more, but they're so beautiful," says Vargas of the white asparagus, which he drizzles with 25-year-old balsamic vinegar, and the organic salmon, crusted with black olives and slow-roasted. Dinner, $50. At 239 Shimen Yi Rd.; 86-21/6253-2837.

Silk Slippers
Inspired by her grandmother's slippers, 32-year-old designer Denise Huang has almost single-handedly revived a fading tradition. At SUZHOU COBBLERS, her small boutique right off the Bund, Huang and her team painstakingly handcraft these immensely popular silk slides. The colors range from mint green to deep purple, and each pair is embroidered with an ancient motif: fat goldfish, bamboo, even a big red Communist star. Huang also uses silk for totes, hats, and baby gear. From $55 to $85. At 17 Fuzhou Rd., Rm. 101; 86-21/6321-7087;

Savvy Tip
Q Does Shanghai have any good English-language magazines?
A It seems as though one pops up every month, in fact. Still, the three best publications for English-speaking travelers are THAT'S SHANGHAI (, which comes out monthly, the weekly 8 DAYS (, and the biweekly CITY WEEKEND ( All provide listings, reviews, and tips on the city's fast-moving dining, nightlife, and shopping scene. They're free at hotels and restaurants. For hard news there are two state-run English-language newspapers, the China Daily and the Shanghai Daily, but they're subject to censorship.

Drinks with a View
An acolyte of Philippe Starck's is behind the design of BAR ROUGE—and it shows. Blown-up photos of puckering Asian nymphs framed in lipstick-red wood set the tone, acting as screens for the recessed tables and booths. The 33 handblown Venetian chandeliers strike an appropriately cosmopolitan note. The uninitiated usually stand by the windows, taking in the view of the skyline; those in the know step outside onto the terrace—one of the city's best. At 18 Bund; 86-21/6339-1199.

A Bed near the Bund
Until the Peninsula hotel opens in 2009, the WESTIN remains the best hotel near (though, alas, not on) the Bund. The 331 rooms inside one of Shanghai's most recognizable towers—topped by a glowing headdress—are, well, just fine, with big TVs, comfortable beds, and rain-forest showerheads. You can even catch a glimpse of the river from the tub in room 2302. The main reason to stay here, though, is the location. From $360 to $3,800. At 88 Henan Zhong Rd.; 86-21/6335-1888;

A Proper French Facial
In a city full of so many bare-bones clinics dispensing traditional Chinese treatments, the lavish EVIAN SPA seems all the more decadent. In fact, this is one of the few Western-style day spas in all of Shanghai, besides those found in some hotels. The women-only sanctuary in the shopping and dining mecca Three on the Bund features a 115-foot-high atrium, 14 treatment rooms, and a battery of therapies that combine French, Asian, and other, exotic techniques. There are facials and body treatments using Sothys and Darphin products, hydro- and color therapy, as well as a Hawaiian lomilomi massage ($120). Our favorite: the City Relief program ($215), a six-hour ritual including massage, reflexology, an oxygen facial, hairstyling, and lunch. At 3 Bund; 86-21/6321-6622;

For the Birds
Cool green CHONGMING ISLAND, a 40-minute ferry ride from Shanghai, is a birdwatcher's paradise. This 463-square-mile alluvial island, the largest in the world, is home to a mere 650,000 people (compared with Shanghai's 20 million on 2,433 square miles) in addition to China's biggest manmade forest, Dongping National Forest Park. Some 100 species of migratory birds—sandpipers, terns, herons, egrets, plovers, and gulls—alight here yearly. The island also recently spent $1.2 million to conserve an endangered species of Mesozoic-era sturgeon. The ferry runs from Shanghai's Baoyang Port to Chongming's Nanmen (86-21/6969-3666).

A Chic Nightcap
Every night in an old factory in the French Concession, Shanghai's stylesetters descend on MANIFESTO, a swinging lounge that employs a crackerjack team of mixologists. The Belgian-white-chocolate martini is only one highlight of a bar menu that lists such midnight indulgences as freshly shucked Creuse de Bretagne oysters. Arrive around 10 p.m. to get a louche daybed piled high with velvet pillows. But if a night out doesn't appeal, the adjoining restaurant, Mesa, serves one of the best outdoor brunches in town from a delicious modern Western menu. At 748 Julu Rd.; 86-21/6289-9108.

Nouvelle Chinoiserie
Parisian designer Elise de Saint Guilhem carries on the tradition of French-Chinese design with her label ROUGE BAISER ELISE. The shop, which occupies a 1932 Art Deco house in the French Concession, sells a selection of hand-embroidered tablecloths, bedding, clothing, and adorable babywear in linen, silk, and cotton. Guilhem uses her mother-in-law's 18th-century patterns as a starting point, then adds flourishes such as tiny knotted Chinese buttons and lotus-flower embroidery. She also does custom orders and ships internationally. At 299-2 Fuxing Xi Rd.; 86-21/6431-8019.

Haute Yoga
In a city as international as Shanghai, it makes sense that yoga chic has caught on here, too. And the place to balance your chakras in style is Y+ YOGA CENTER. The lovely converted terrace building has three sunny studios (with big antique Chinese doors) for Ashtanga and Hot Yoga classes (for the latter—a Bikram-inspired method intended to make you sweat—the rooms have heated floors). There's also a landscaped terrace for postworkout relaxing. The sessions, taught in groups, are increasingly popular, so reservations are required—the earlier the better for instructors like celebrity yogi Duncan Wong. Ninety-minute class, $20. At 299-2 Fuxing Xi Rd.; 86-21/6433-4330;

"I love going to Rendezvous on Nanjing Road for breakfast. It serves the most authentic American breakfast in town and the fluffiest pancakes I've ever had."
At 1486 Nanjing Xi Rd.; 86-21/6247-2307.

88 Xintiandi
Nothing in Shanghai compares to 88 Xintiandi—it's the David among Goliaths, the antidote to all the towering chain hotels across the river in Pudong. On the edge of the chic Xintiandi district, 88 has only 53 rooms. The scale of the hotel takes its lead from the area's narrow lanes and Old China feel. Ornate wood screens and Art Deco light fixtures fill the small marble-laid lobby. The rooms and suites, among the most stylish of any we sampled in the city, are done in a smart blend of elaborate chinoiserie and minimalist restraint—sort of red lacquer meets black granite—with platform beds, latticework trim, and broadband Internet access (the place is popular with the jeans-and-blazer business set). Though 88 serves a terrific breakfast, it lacks a proper restaurant. Which hardly matters, given the dozens of boîtes nearby and hotel guests' free access to Club by the Lake, a members-only dining room. For some, proximity to such revelry may pose a problem. Don't worry: The karaoke bar downstairs unplugs the mike at midnight. From $260 to $690. At 380 Huangpi Nan Rd.; 86-21/5383-8833;

Strolling and Snacking
For Michelin-starred restaurants, head over to the Bund. But for stellar cooking of another stripe, take to the streets around the Yu Garden. This is the best area to find the street food Shanghai is so famous for. Here, three of our favorite—and, yes, perfectly safe to eat—snacks.

ANCHUN JIAOZI Shanghai's renowned sweet tooth is often slaked by this soft, sweet "pigeon egg" dumpling. It's made with glutinous flour and then filled with fragrant Osmanthus petals and mint.

SHENJIAN BAO Available in virtually every neighborhood in the city, these half-moon-shaped breakfast dumplings are stuffed with pork and dipped in vinegar. Look for the gigantic, crusty black pans in which they're fried and the liberal sprinkling of scallions. And watch out for the scalding-hot broth inside.

TANG YUAN These soft sticky-rice pockets are stuffed with various sweet concoctions—peanuts and black sesame are two popular fillings—and served in fermented rice soup. They're especially popular during Chinese New Year.

With Reservations
The FOUR SEASONS SHANGHAI is the first of the chain in China, and while it does offer the reassuring familiarity of a trusted name, we must say we're underwhelmed. The building feels like an office tower and the rooms lack local color. Still, the service is mostly on par with that of other hotels in the chain and the executive floor, with its Chinese-style breakfast, is top-drawer. From $210 to $6,170. At 500 Weihai Rd.; 86-21/6256-8888;

Pick-Up Sticks
The first floor of SIMPLY LIFE, a store in the shopping/dining complex Xintiandi, looks as if it could be anywhere—a gleaming Danish wine rack here, a sleek Italian desk clock there. But upstairs you'll find examples of fantastic pan-Asian designs. Look for luscious Chinese papers; Grace Liu's bone-china tableware with exquisitely painted butterflies; and the same perfectly sized kaleidoscopic chopsticks used at the Whampoa Club. At 123 Xingye Rd., Xintiandi S. Block, No. 5; 86-21/6387-5100.

A True Taste of Shanghai
At the tiny 15-table JESSE, the interior is defiantly plain: white tablecloths, no napkins, simple white plates. On the walls are black-and-white photographs of Old Shanghai, the only decoration in the restaurant. The down-home Shanghai cooking here, however, is the best in town. Standout dishes include a sweet soy sauce-soaked seitan appetizer; shiny red dates stuffed with sticky rice; sautéed river shrimp; and the famous tipang, a plate of stewed pork that practically melts on the tongue. Reservations are essential. Dinner, $40. At 41 Tianping Rd.; 86-21/6282-9260.

Tai Chi Live
Dawn and dusk mean one thing for Shanghai's parks: dozens of Chinese elders striking "praying mantis" poses and fighting their shadows in slow motion with silver swords. FUXING PARK (located just off the shopping street Huaihai Road) is probably the best place to watch this mesmerizing ancient practice. Shoulder-to-shoulder statues of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels oversee the proceedings, accompanied by little chirping birds whose cages dangle from the nearby trees. Entrance at Yandang Road, near Nanchang Road.

Antiques Advisor
Few dealers in Shanghai know Chinese antiques better than Marybelle Hu. The proprietor of HU & HU ANTIQUES (the other Hu is her sister-in-law, Lin), she has been sourcing, restoring, and selling antique cabinets, dining tables, chairs, beds, and chests from a renovated warehouse in the Hongqiao suburbs since 1998. Hu was born in Taiwan, the daughter of a diplomat who was also Chiang Kai-shek's translator. Educated at Smith College, where she studied art history, Hu learned her craft at Sotheby's in Los Angeles and Taiwan's National Palace Museum, which holds the best collection of imperial Chinese antiques in the world. Hu's customers depend on her because she can spot even the most convincing reproductions and is scrupulously honest about what's antique and what's not. She's also crafty, turning Chinese wedding cabinets into television stands or wine racks ($350-$470) and antique stone water troughs into planters ($40-$1,850). At 1685 Wu Zhong Rd.; 86-21/6405-1212;

The M Factor
Every visitor to Shanghai is bound to end up eating at M ON THE BUND, a dining institution ensconced atop the former Nissin Shipping Building. The only question is when: On Sunday for brunch over perfect Bloody Marys and ricotta pancakes? For a dinner of salt-encrusted leg of lamb? Or for a Winston Churchill martini at the GLAMOUR BAR, where from your cushy velvet chair you can watch the Bund and the Jin Mao Tower light up at dusk? It hardly matters—the place is everything you would expect, considering it pioneered high-end dining here in 1999. After talking with indefatigable manager Bruno Van Der Burg on our visit (for a dinner of beef carpaccio with kumquat fritters and red snapper with braised fennel), we discovered yet another reason to return—Incidental Sundays, a series of classical music recitals and talks by notable writers and curators. Dinner, $90. At 5 Bund; 86-21/6350-9988;

Taking on Taikang Road
Shanghai may be a nakedly commercial city, but it's not without its bohemian charms. Take Taikang Road. Chinese and international artists continue to claim this would-be SoHo, a factory district from the fifties, and they've managed to transform it into a hub of avant-garde studios, galleries, boutiques, and cafés.

In the area's main building, the International Artist Factory, JOOI DESIGN sells Danish designer Trine's exquisite embroidered cushions and silk pajamas ($225). MANDARINE shows off the handsewn lingerie of another expat, Caroline Stavonhagen, while BOUTIQUE CASHMERE LOVER stocks a wide range of stylish tailored sweaters ($115-$150). At SHANGHAI HARVEST STUDIO, Miao women gossip as they sew traditional one-of-a-kind clothing and accessories ($15-$250). Harvest also conducts private embroidery lessons.

The entrepreneurial spirit has caught on in the lanes around the Factory, too. Just across from the studio of the late Chen Yifei, perhaps China's best-known painter, is HANDS IN CLAY, an interactive pottery studio that offers popular children's classes. In front of the charming little THERE ART STUDIO, proprietor Guo Feifei sits on a stool slicing phenomenally intricate paper cuttings, which she sells along with such classic ornaments as lion statues ($25) and wooden combs. A brand-new tradition of craftsmanship is on display at LA VIE: Seven young Shanghai designers have joined forces to sell their experimental creations for women ($25-$250). Although the selection is hit or miss, there's always a perfect pair of fitted pants or a sexy top. The goods offered at SHIRT FLAG are decidedly cutting-edge—graphic designer Zhang Jiji emblazons T-shirts, caps, and even canvas shoes with Communist iconography. Pulling this off without getting kitschy is no easy feat, but Zhang manages. Very cool, and very Shanghai.

Address Book

BOUTIQUE CASHMERE LOVER 200 Taikang Rd.; No. 409; 86-21/6473-7829
HANDS IN CLAY Ln. 210, No. 104; 86-21/5465-4042
SHANGHAI HARVEST STUDIO Ln. 210, No. 118; 86-21/6473-4566
JOOI DESIGN Ln. 210, No. 201; 86-21/6473-6193;
LA VIE Ln. 210, Courtyard 7; 86-21/6445-3585
MANDARINE Ln. 210, No. 318; 86-21/6473-5381
SHIRT FLAG Ln. 210, No. 7; 86-21/6466-7009
THERE ART STUDIO Ln. 210, No. 14; 86-21/6473-1134

Xintiandi Bite by Bite
It's fitting that Xintiandi—the city's hippest hub for splurging, dining, and carousing—is a collaboration between Hong Kong developer Vincent Lo and Boston architects Wood and Zapata. This faithful two-block re-creation of a 19th-century shikumen neighborhood brings together all manner of global good taste; its roster of chefs alone reads like the roll call at the United Nations. (Among Xintiandi's other features are shops selling postmodern Italian tableware, a karaoke bar, and the site of the Communist party's first clandestine meeting in 1921.) We combed the streets and alleys in search of the most memorable meals, from burgers to steamed buns.

BISTRO SHIKUMEN This new restaurant by San Francisco restaurateur George Chen and French chef Jean Alberti pairs idyllic lake views with a fantastic French-Mediterranean menu that includes the deservedly lauded baby calamari stuffed with braised oxtail. Dinner, $60; 86-21/6386-7100

KABB At this American bistro, a Shanghai institution, families and business lunchers alike tuck into stalwart, if not exactly sensational, salads and sandwiches. Almost more popular than the food are the drinks, served to a young and fun-loving nighttime crowd. Lunch, $25; 86-21/3307-0798

VISAGE Pastry chef-cum-genius Eric Perez has given Shanghai a dessert place worthy of the Rue du Bac. His mango cheesecake is divine and the pistachio-raspberry cake delicious—and adorable. The chocolate fondue is in a league of its own. 86-21/6385-4878

YÈ SHANGHAI Serving exquisitely refined versions of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Shanghai cuisine, this dining room recalls the city in the twenties, with dark wood panels lit by a constellation of red lanterns. Notable dishes include spicy Sichuan noodles with peanut sauce. Dinner, $75; 86-21/6311-2323

TMSK Even by Xintiandi's high standards, TMSK (which stands for Tou Ming Si Kao, meaning "Crystal Mind" in English) is quite impressive. Opened by a former Taiwanese movie star, it incorporates handmade glassware into every aspect of the bar and dining room. The shrimp ravioli is superb; the desserts are almost too ravishing to eat. Dinner, $175; 86-21/6326-2227

T8 A neighborhood stylesetter from the folks behind the Fuchun resort in Hangzhou: The glass-enclosed kitchen turns out Asian-Mediterranean cuisine such as miso-glazed tuna with eggplant caviar, roasted peppers, and tomato-and-lemongrass coulis. Dinner, $100; 86-21/6355-8999

SIMPLY THAI A perennial local favorite, this is something of a black sheep in the Xintiandi family of lavish, high-style restaurants. But the pared-down atmosphere only props up what is widely considered Shanghai's best Thai food. The shrimp glass-noodle salad is a must. Lunch, $25; 86-21/6326-2088

ZEN Having conquered London, Montreal, Australia's Gold Coast, and Hong Kong, Zen has proved an essential canteen for Shanghai residents in the know. The Cantonese cooking—braised whole abalone in oyster sauce, for one—is as modern as the sleek interior. Dinner, $40; 86-21/6385-6385

CRYSTAL JADE What weekend brunch is to Americans, dim sum is to the Chinese. Each Saturday at this cheery spot, a smart crowd congregates around steaming baskets of shrimp dumplings and barbecued-pork buns, then washes it all down with longjing tea. Brunch, $25; 86-21/6385-8752

On the Market
It may seem as if everyone in Shanghai is selling something—and that most of it's fake. But even the well-trodden antiques markets near Yu Garden, among them DONGTAI and FUYU, carry some real finds. At the outdoor Dongtai (Dongtai Rd. at Xizang Nan Rd.), drop by stall 88 for Mr. Pan's terrific antique light fixtures. His collection of Concession-era artifacts—signs, statues, fans, phones—is so impressive that Shanghai History Museum workers trawl here, too. Once a street market, Fuyu (Fangbang Zhong Rd. at Henan Bei Rd.) sells mostly reproductions on its first two floors. Collectors should start on the third to find old opium pipes, vintage photos, rare books, and early-20th-century clothes. Today's hot items are antique ivory mah-jongg tiles, which you can have made into a bracelet. The best place to have them strung is across town at Lily's in the Shanghai Center (Ste. 605; 86-21/6279-8987). On the fourth floor toward the back is a wide range of period furniture, much of it in the Shanghai Deco style. As with any market in China, the first price is never final.

Magic Carpets
Chris Buckley's shop, TORANA HOUSE, is Shanghai's exclusive place for intricate hand-spun Tibetan rugs (around $2,000). Displayed like art in a gallery (which it essentially is), Buckley's collection includes carpets he obtains on trips to Lhasa, antique rugs from far-flung Chinese provinces, and those of his own design, such as a re-creation of a traditional Chinese Ningxia rug. "We studied dragons from both old Ningxia carpets and Ming dynasty silks to get the pattern and colors right," says Buckley, who also stocks antique chests and chairs (he recently published a book on Tibetan furniture). In addition to his renovated townhouse store, Buckley has an outpost in Beijing's Kempinski Hotel. At 339-15 Changle Rd.; 86-21/5404-7787.

Peace Hotel
Q I've heard so much about the Peace Hotel's grand past. How is it now?
A Sadly, it's too threadbare to stay at, but the Peace Hotel, right on the Bund, is still worth a peek for its time capsule of a lobby and ballroom with a sprung wooden dance floor. The former Cathay Hotel—built by Victor Sassoon in 1929—held the most glittering parties of the day. Now the Old Jazz Band holds forth nightly in the bar. At 20 Nanjing Dong Rd.; 86-21/6321-6888;

Pudong vs. Puxi
Yes, it's in Pudong, the former rice paddy turned launching pad for skyscrapers, across the river from the Bund. Nevertheless, the GRAND HYATT SHANGHAI is the top hotel on the east bank—and one of the finest in town. Occupying the 53rd to 87th floors of the Jin Mao Tower—that elegantly blooming bamboo shoot of a building—the Hyatt looks over the entire city, its rooms and suites wrapped in floor-to-ceiling windows (we especially like room 6215). The rooms are decked out with panels of carved calligraphy; the bars and lounges, including the swinging Cloud 9, are done in glinting Art Deco. But high-living demands at least a small price: Outside the Hyatt—as with all Pudong hotels—you will find yourself stranded among office towers. Thankfully, a tunnel puts the Bund and Old Shanghai a short taxi ride away. From $255 to $5,235. At 88 Shiji Blvd.; 86-21/5049-1234;

Even though the JW MARRIOTT sits quite a few floors lower than the Grand Hyatt (the lobby is on the 38th), it ranks just as high as its cloud-piercing competitor. The Marriott is inside a rocket-ship tower in the heart of Puxi (in other words, Shanghai proper), near People's Square and the Shanghai Museum. The hotel hasn't gone for overt chinoiserie—a rather smart move, given it's in such a cosmopolitan city—instead decorating the rooms with wall panels of cherry mahogany, delicate floral upholstery, and classic furniture with elegantly bowed lines. From No. 5009—a suite unrivaled by almost any other room here—the view takes in a virtual timeline of Shanghai's architectural history: thirties Art Deco houses, sixties Communist orthodox gems, nineties Chinese modernism, and the skyward creations of the 21st century. From $400 to $4,700. At 399 Nanjing Xi Rd.; 86-21/5359-4969;

Big Deals on the Bund
It's only fitting that Three on the Bund—the dining and shopping mecca that is among Shanghai's most coveted addresses—is home to three of the world's reigning chefs. On the fifth floor is Jereme Leung's WHAMPOA CLUB (dinner, $100; 86-21/6321-3737), which prepares cleverly reworked Shanghai dishes that are low on oil—a rarity in authentic Chinese food—and high on virtuosity. Besides the crispy eel strips and grilled "drunken" chicken, there are extraordinary renditions of Shanghai tea-smoked eggs, Su Dongpo braised pork, and a double-boiled Chinese pear with almonds, silver fungus, and lotus seeds. Whampoa Club's tea sommelier, with his assortment of 40-plus infusions, is a nice touch, as is the mirrored, mystical, thoroughly modern Chinese decor.

After only a year, Australian chef David Laris has conquered the city's fickle dining scene with his sixth-floor restaurant LARIS (dinner, $65; 86-21/ 6321-9922). The crisp white-on-white interior provides a clean slate for the presentation of the chef's colorful takes on haute fusion cuisine: crab with avocado salsa and lemongrass gazpacho, seared scallops surrounded by Kalamata foam, and Parmesan-crusted veal fillet with truffle-bone marrow sauce. Laris also makes his own chocolate, which he'll soon start selling at his new café, Slice.

On the floor below (but really at the top of the heap) is JEAN GEORGES (dinner, $75; 86-21/6321-7733), Monsieur Vongerichten's first namesake restaurant outside New York. Done in luscious leather and wood by architect Michael Graves, the design of Old Shanghai meets la vieille France is gorgeous—one of many knockouts. There's a cellar stocked with 2,500 bottles, an impeccably mannered staff, and sensual Asian-infused French cuisine that elevates the place above numerous other stylish Shanghai dining rooms. Our seven-course tasting menu took us through a spectacular egg topped with caviar and on to lobster tartine with lemongrass, fenugreek broth, and pea shoots. We left as we had entered: spellbound.

The Best Little Table in China

Tucked into a corner of the New Heights' terrace, Three on the Bund's sensational rooftop spot for casual fare and drinks, is a staircase leading up to the building's neoclassical cupola. Behind curtains and locked doors are two private dining rooms: One seats eight people; the other—at the very top of the cupola—seats just two. Dinner starts at $400 and guests can choose from the menus of all three restaurants on the property. For reservations, contact Sonya Qin at 86-21/6323-3355 or Three on the Bund: 86-21/6329-1101;

Fashion Maestro
The only foreign clothier to launch a collection in China, Australian Anthony Xavier Edwards has been a presence here since 1991, when he opened his Xintiandi shop X. The spare, hip space—which displays Edwards's chic sixties-inspired shirts, flowing evening dresses, and the most gorgeous hats in Shanghai—has attracted an international following, including actress Natasha Richardson. Dresses, $200-$800. At Ln. 181, Taicang Rd., Xintiandi N. Block; 86-21/6328-7111.

Where Artists Emerge
In a market where an artist's career can take off overnight like a rocket, 1918 ART SPACE is one of the most exciting launchpads we've discovered. Founded by 30-year-old Zhao Yong-Gang, this is where Shanghai's burgeoning painters, sculptors, and photographers show their work. "I pick artists who have good ideas that can be developed," Zhao says. A visit to this small space in a grand colonial-era building can have a big payoff. At 6 Xiangshan Rd.; 86-21/5306-8030;

Fine China
At BLUE SHANGHAI WHITE, ceramist Hai Chen skillfully fuses traditional Chinese techniques and modern forms to craft her compelling collection of furniture and tableware. Her vases ($35-$60) and teapots ($40-$60) are flecked with delicate hand-painted stalks of bamboo. Her furniture uses American pearwood inlaid with Chinese blue-and-white ceramic tiles ($250-$1,100). "In the eighties China had just opened up and there were all these new influences from outside," explains Hai, "but soon I realized the traditional influence in me is very deep." At 17 Fuzhou Rd., 86-21/ 6323-0856, and 369 Zizhong Rd., 86-21/6385-5406.

City Retreat
Don't let the fact that they're part of a chain put you off: Dragonfly spas are where the movers and shakers of Shanghai catch their breath. These five rustic Asian retreats (we like the outpost on Xinle Rd. in the French Concession best) are all dark wood, lit candles, billowy white fabrics, and otherworldly aromas—a peaceful enough vibe to recharge the batteries, even without the Japanese shiatsu ($15) and hour-long foot massage ($15). Dragonfly also has a nail salon and a room for massage à deux, the Love Nest Crystal House. At 206 Xinle Rd.; 86-21/5403-9982;

Hip Hangout
Built in 1924, Shanghai's only flatiron building is now home to ARCH: café, bar, wireless Internet hookup, bijou theater, and all-around magnet for the city's smart set. The narrow, oblong space looks like a 3-D version of a page in Wallpaper magazine: Framed by the classic namesake windows, Arch is filled with cutting-edge furnishings and stacks of avant-garde design publications. The 24-seat theater in the basement holds private screenings and shows art-house films under the curatorial direction of owners Frank Steffen and Angelo Guese. At 439 Wukang Rd.; 86-21/6466-0807;

Buddha, Confucius, and Beyond
The Jade Buddha Temple near Suzhou Creek may be more famous, but Shanghai's Old City temples are some of the most vital. During the Concession era, the area around Yu Garden was set aside for the Chinese and today tradition continues—particularly in these temples.

BAIYUNGUAN TEMPLE The city's main Taoist temple was built in 1882, having received 8,000 scrolls from the Baiyunguan Temple in Beijing. Few of its magnificent paintings and sculptures survived the Cultural Revolution—only seven bronze Taoist gods remain. But a revived Baiyunguan is now the Shanghai headquarters of the Taoist Association. Open daily 8 a.m.-4 p.m. At 100 Xilinhou Rd.

CHENXIANGGE NUNNERY Shanghai's largest Buddhist convent is a quiet oasis on one of the Old City's busiest streets. Used as a factory during the Cultural Revolution and restored in 1994, the temple has a delightful collection of 384 miniature figures, exquisitely made, each representing one of Buddha's disciples. Open daily 7 a.m.-4 p.m. At 29 Chenxiangge Rd.

CITY GOD TEMPLE At the heart of every city in Old China was a temple dedicated to its protectors; this is Shanghai's, sitting right in the center of the great Yu Garden bazaar. Dedicated to General Huo Guang, the crowded, incense-filled structure was built in 1926. The first hall displays larger-than-life gods, some wearing bowler hats. Open daily 9 a.m.-4 p.m. At the southern entrance of Yu Garden, 249 Fangbang Zhong Rd.

CONFUCIAN TEMPLE Devoted to the fifth-century-b.c. philosopher Confucius, this temple is a student favorite during exam season. The faithful write their prayers on red strips of paper and hang them on the trees in the compound. There's also a Literary Pavilion, a Classics Tower, and, on Sundays, a used-book market. Open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m. At 215 Wenmiao Rd.

Tokyo Comes to Shanghai
Not only is it one of the town's top Japanese restaurants but SHINTORI NULL II also qualifies as a place for high entertainment. The converted cinema near Jing'an Temple provides a dramatic backdrop for the center stage kitchen, where pan-wielding chefs dance around hot orange flames. But this is no Benihana tomfoolery: The compelling nouvelle Japanese cuisine includes salads shaken at your table in a big glass cylinder like a giant maraca, cold noodles served in a bowl surrounded with ice, and a divine tiramisu made with green tea. The best vantage point is from one of the mezzanine tables for two. Dinner, $75. At 803 Julu Rd.; 86-21/5404-5252.

Thrills in Pudong
Considering the slightly cartoonish quality of Pudong—where the Jetsonesque Oriental Pearl Tower dominates the skyline—it's no surprise that the east side of the river offers plenty of thrills for kids.

BUND SIGHTSEEING TUNNEL This new underground train whisks you from the Bund (the entrance is near Chen Yi Square) to Pudong as colored lights flash wildly. It's like something straight out of Disneyland.

ORIENTAL PEARL TOWER The only thing better than staring up at this skyscraper is being inside it. While you can ride all the way to the top—to the third "pearl"—the most spectacular 360-degree views of the city are from the second pearl, at 863 feet. Open daily 8 a.m.-9 p.m. At 1 Shiji Blvd.

SHANGHAI MUNICIPAL HISTORY MUSEUM Housed in the basement of the Pearl Tower, this museum is a physical re-creation of Shanghai before 1949, with wax figures, model streets, and dioramas. Open daily 9 a.m.-9 p.m.

SHANGHAI OCEAN AQUARIUM This gorgeous state-of-the-art facility holds dozens of Chinese sea creatures, among them the endangered Yangtze alligator. Children will love the creepy-crawly Japanese spider crabs and glow-in-the-dark jellyfish. Sharks and giant rays glide overhead in the 500-foot shark tunnel, the world's largest. Open daily 9 a.m.-6 p.m. At 158 Yincheng Bei Rd.

The Ritz Treatment
Having hosted such major domos as Elton John and Luciano Pavarotti (not to mention President Bush), the PORTMAN RITZ-CARLTON is perhaps the most service-attuned hotel we've stayed at in years. Among the many specialists on hand—to, say, draw a ho leaf-and-ginger bath or run a Pilates class—our favorite is the Technology Butler, available to fix a laptop 24 hours a day. And then there are the concierges: Even Shanghai residents call them to get the inside scoop. From $380 to $4,900. At 1376 Nanjing Xi Rd.; 86-21/6279-8888;
Having hosted such major domos as Elton John and Luciano Pavarotti (not to mention President Bush), the PORTMAN RITZ-CARLTON is perhaps the most service-attuned hotel we've stayed at in years. Among the many specialists on hand—to, say, draw a ho leaf-and-ginger bath or run a Pilates class—our favorite is the Technology Butler, available to fix a laptop 24 hours a day. And then there are the concierges: Even Shanghai residents call them to get the inside scoop. From $380 to $4,900. At 1376 Nanjing Xi Rd.; 86-21/6279-8888;

B&Bs Shanghai-Style
A couple of casual yet stylish B&Bs anywhere else might not turn heads. But in a city of 300-room skyscraper convention centers, OLD HOUSE and THE NINE are quite special. They're not for everyone, mind you—no butlers or presidential suites here—but they do offer an authentic experience. Old House occupies a thirties colonial building at the end of a residential alley. Each of the 12 suites is unique, done in lovely Chinese antique reproductions (we like 302, with its big freestanding tub). Also tucked away in a colonial building, The Nine is a well-kept secret among architects, designers, and producers, who check in to its five rooms for the Concession-era vibe. The restored 1937 house is filled with northern Chinese furniture and statuary. Crickets chirp from little cages in the foyer, and in the evening, candles and lanterns light the halls and rooms. Book the Junior Suite; it has its own library. Old House: from $60 to $125. At 16 Ln. 351, Huashan Rd.; 86-21/6248-6118. The Nine: $ from $90 to $160. At 9 Ln. 355, Jianguo Xi Rd.; 86-21/6471-9950.

Mao Wow!
He's been idolized, vilified, and kitschified. But however Mao is remembered, there's no denying he left behind some very big footprints—particularly in these four major Communist China landmarks.

LONGHUA MARTYRS' MEMORIAL In 1927 hundreds of idealistic young Communists were killed here during the White Terror, a few weeks during which the Guomindang party persecuted and killed thousands of members of the party. On the grounds are the martyrs' graves, an exhibition hall, and a peach orchard. Open Tuesday to Sunday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. At 180 Longhua Xi Rd.; 86-21/6468-5995.

MAO TSE-TUNG'S FORMER RESIDENCE Although he lived here for only about six months in 1924, this sparsely furnished shikumen features wax figures of Mao and his family. The house remains an important link to a man who is considered by many Chinese to be the nation's greatest modern leader. Open Tuesday to Sunday, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. At 120 Maoming Bei Rd.; 86-21/6272-3656.

YI DA The site of the First National Congress of China's Communist party, this 19th-century shikumen is probably the most important building of the country's recent past. It belonged to Li Hanjun, a founding member of the congress, which also included a young Mao. In the original structure, the table is set with 13 teacups—one for each delegate. A new exhibition hall displays wax dioramas of key events and various Mao artifacts. Open daily 9 a.m.-4 p.m. At 374 Huang Pi Nan Rd.; 86-21/5383-2171.

ZHOU ENLAI'S FORMER RESIDENCE The first premier of the Communist regime is still loved by his people; he is credited with minimizing the brutality of the revolution and saving cultural landmarks. Zhou lived in the spartan second-floor bedroom of this Spanish-style villa. Underground newspapers were produced on the third. Open daily 9 a.m.-4 p.m. At 73 Sinan Rd.; 86-21/6473-0420

Revolutionary Retail
Somewhere between genuine reverence and eyebrow-cocked irony falls "Maomorabilia," that vast category of Mao-related objects ranging from utter schlock—wristwatches and sneakers emblazoned with his likeness—to the hotly collectible (as in early Communist paintings and period statuary). Examples of the former abound at any flea market. The place to browse a selection of real fifties artifacts is at MADAME MAO'S DOWRY. This cozy boutique in the French Concession overflows with revolutionary ceramics ($400-$500), posters ($150), and clothing ($100-$250)—all of it watched over by a life-size wood replica of the Chairman himself ($14,500). At 70 Fuxing Xi Rd.; 86-21/6437-1255.

Silk Sheets and Shanghaitinis
Like a trophy wife with estate jewelry, nowhere does Shanghai sparkle more than at night. For clandestine martinis, there's the denlike, charcoal-colored DR BAR. Or for Shanghai cuisine that's low on fluff and high on ambience, the low-key yet charming 1931 occupies the parlor of an old Art Deco home. And if you're wearing your dancing shoes, LA FABRIQUE is where the seriously hip sip Shanghaitinis (there's a neat French menu, too).

China's contemporary art is sweeping the globe, and whether your collection is nonexistent, nascent, or world-class, you'd be crazy to miss out on SUZHOU CREEK. The warehouses in this old industrial park are crammed with works by new and established artists. However, a great deal of the art in Shanghai is actually from Beijing, so rather than gallery-hop on your own, call ANY WOOD, who offers a far more personalized approach. She can give advice on acquisitions and even arrange visits to the studios of Shanghai's more elusive artists. (She also does the same in Beijing.)

Now let's talk retail. ARTIQUE, in the hip Taikang Road area, carries gorgeous silk comforters, sheets, and pillows embroidered with Chinese motifs. The shop is also happy to customize. SHANGHAITIQUE is a little treasure trove of vintage thirties objects in the French Concession, while LES AGAPES stocks classic and funky Chinese silk lanterns in jewel-tone colors, ready-to-buy or bespoke. And if you have the time, book a tailored tour of the city with PETER HIBBARD. He can paint a fascinating historical portrait of this swiftly vanishing grande dame.

Address Book

DR BAR Xintiandi N. Block, 15 Lane, 181 Taicang Rd.; 86-21/6311-0358
LA FABRIQUE 8 Jianguo Zhong Rd., Bldg. 7; 86-21/6415-1600
1931 112 Maoming Nan Rd.; 86-21/6472-5264
SUZHOU CREEK 50 Moganshan Rd.
ARTIQUE Taikang Rd., Ln. 200, Bldg. 3, Rm. 3; 86-21/6472-7071
LES AGAPES Dong Ping Rd., Dong Ping Bldg. 15, Third Fl., Rm. A306; 86-21/6437-2732
SHANGHAITIQUE 699 Huashan Rd.; 86-21/6249-5986
PETER HIBBARD 86/1367-151-5636
AMY WOOD 86/1379-532-1267;

Arabian Night
Set deep within People's Park, on the edge of the lake, BARBAROSSA LOUNGE glimmers like a mirage. Indeed, you may hardly believe your eyes, so unexpected is this ersatz candlelit sultan's palace. The three-story space, done in a sort of Moorish-maharaja chic, is filled with North African antiques. But the young swells don't just come for the decor—though they certainly seem to favor the cappuccino-flavored hookah in the Moroccan lounge. They're also drawn to the music: the latest beats from Europe as played by the resident French deejay. At 231 Nanjing Xi Rd.; 86-21/6318-0220.

Extra Help
Fluent Mandarin speaker PATRICK CRANELY (86/1370-168-2037; specializes in the Cultural Revolution—he'll explain the propaganda signs and slogans still visible around town. Texan SPENCER DODINGTON (86/1381-818-7297; is an expert on Old Shanghai architecture and one of few Westerners who speaks the city's dialect. He never fails to open doors to important buildings that are otherwise off-limits.

Ancient Revelations
Hidden away on a narrow lane in the French Concession is HONG MERCHANT, a deeply stylish art and antiques gallery—open by appointment only—owned by archaeologist Pia Pierre. Pierre, a native of France who now divides her time between China and Thailand, was a student on the team that helped excavate Borobudur, the splendid Javanese temple. Today she uses the same keen eye and scholarly acumen to select the inventory for her shop: Tables, cabinets, chairs, birdcages, and ginger pots in classical Ming and Qing styles fill her twenties Mediterranean-influenced house. On the walls hang vibrant contemporary paintings created by emerging Chinese artists such as Ann New and Pang Yongjie, while sprinkled throughout the high-ceilinged rooms is a collection of modern furniture, lamps, and lighting fixtures that Pierre designed herself. To arrange for a visit, call Anne-Cecile Noique, the charming Frenchwoman who runs Hong Merchant on a day-to-day basis. At Xingguo Rd., Ln. 372, House 3; 86-21/6283-2696; 86/1360-1622-322.

In Full Bloom
China's gardeners are renowned for their skills with peonies and jasmine. And the JINGWEN FLOWER MARKET is the place to find the fruits of their labors. Beginning at 7 a.m. every day, the former greyhound racetrack in the French Concession blossoms with nearly an acre of fresh-cut blooms and plants. Lilies, roses, chrysanthemums, and gardenias mingle with more exotic varieties, some of which look almost like fruit (these are in the corridor to the right of the entrance). At Shaanxi Nan Rd. and Yongjia Rd.

China Collected
Designed in the form of a ding—an ancient ceremonial bronze vessel symbolizing social status and power—the SHANGHAI MUSEUM houses a truly monumental collection of Chinese art and artifacts: bronzes, jade, calligraphy, and more. Founded in 1952, the museum inaugurated its current home in People's Square in 1996. The 11 galleries show some 120,000 works of art tracing back to the country's earliest dynasties—there are seals from the Western Zhou, coins from the Silk Road, Tang and Song ceramics, Ming and Qing furniture, and a thousand years' worth of paintings. At 201 Renmin Blvd.; 86-21/6372-3500;

Three Great Links
In Shanghai the growing ranks of newly flush tycoons are full of avid golfers—which means the city is surrounded by excellent places to swing a nine iron. Most courses are about an hour's drive from the city; have your hotel arrange a car.

1 | SHANGHAI INTERNATIONAL GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB has an 18-hole course compliments of Robert Trent Jones Jr., with lakes and undulating terrain. Greens fees, $85-$140. At Xinyang Village, Zhujiajiao, Qingpu County; 86-21/5972-8111.

2 | SUN ISLAND GOLF AND RESORT's 18 holes were designed by Nelson Wright, who included challenging opening greens and plenty of water. Greens fees, $85-$135. At 2588 Shentai Rd., Zhujiajiao, Qingpu County; 86-21/6983-3888.

3 | SHANGHAI SILPORT GOLF CLUB's 27 holes beautifully integrate manmade features with the natural ponds and rivers. Greens fee, $70. Open to nonmembers on Wednesdays and Thursdays; At 1 Xubao Rd., Dianshan Hu, Jiangsu Province; 86-512/5748-1111.

Healing Herbs
Doris Rathgeber trained in traditional Chinese medicine in China, in Chinese. At BODY & SOUL the German now combines her expertise in TCM—the ancient healing practice based on the flow of chi, or inner energy, through the body—with her Western sensibilities of comfort and pampering. In other words, there's not a pickled scorpion in sight at this clinic-cum-spa, which offers therapeutic massage and acupuncture for various ills (smoking cessation is a specialty). There's also an herbal brew to help with jet lag. Prices available upon request. $ At Anji Plaza, 1 Jianguo Xin Rd., Ste. 5; 86-21/5101-9262;

How to Do the Fabric Market
Shanghai has always been home to China's biggest fashionistas: It is where the slinky cheongsam dress was invented and where Vogue launched its China edition last month. If these trendsetting residents have a secret, it's the DONGJIADU FABRIC MARKET (open daily 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Dongjiadu Rd. at Zhongshan Nan Rd.). Selling every conceivable fabric—silk, cotton, linen, wool, cashmere, corduroy, denim—these stalls also have on-site shifu (tailors) ready to take measurements and whip up a garment in just a few days' time.

Stalls to Visit

NO. 5 offers first-rate silk brocades, including embroidered styles.
NO. 141 carries excellent linen in the most interesting assortment of colors you'll find in the market.
NO. 142 specializes in high-quality cashmere in classic shades: gray, black, navy, and camel. The tailors create lovely cashmere coats finished with Chinese buttons.
NO. 155 stocks all manner of wool for men's suits—flannels, worsteds, tropical weights. The selection runs from sober solids to pinstripes in baby blue and metallic silver.
NO. 177 features silk in bright neon shades, the sort you would find at Shanghai Tang.

Shifu Worth Seeking Out

LAWRENCE AT NO. 102 specializes in men's suits and dress shirts. He can conduct his one required fitting at your hotel and deliver the final product there in about a week.
JACK DING AT NO. 142 does dresses, women's suits, blouses, and qipao. After one fitting, he can finish the garment in a week.
MR. YANG AT NO. 155 makes men's suits and shirts. He works fast, completing a suit within three days of a fitting.

Savvy Tips

• Bargain, bargain, bargain. The same routine holds true here as at other markets: The owner punches a figure into a calculator, you punch in a counteroffer. Remember, prices are per meter.

• It is perfectly acceptable to buy fabric from one stall and take it to a tailor at another.

• Bring a sample garment and have it copied. Although some tailors speak English, expressing design ideas may be beyond their vocabulary.

• Most stalls have books of patterns or finished clothing on display that you can replicate.

• Shanghai tailors' tape measures are divided into ancient units called city inches. Each one is larger than an imperial inch, so, no, you haven't gone down a size.

"The Old China Hand Reading Room is a little oasis. A thirties teahouse in a French Concession neighborhood, it's filled with Shanghai antiques and lined with books. You order a drink, pick a book, and suddenly the afternoon has disappeared."
At 27 Shaoxing Rd.; 86-21/6473-2526.

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