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That’s Amore

The cynical among us may think Valentine’s Day was robbed of any amorous notions by turning into an over-commercialised holiday that forces people to declare their love on a pre-determined day. But they clearly haven’t reaped the rewards of a date at one of Shanghai’s most romantic restaurants. Dinner at any of the options below will guarantee you top off your night with the ultimate show of affection, and these dining establishments are all so dimly lit, you might be able to score a little action before the meal is through.

Bali Laguna

For an island vacation that doesn’t require pricy plane tickets, look no further than Shanghai’s own Bali Laguna. Just outside the Indonesian restaurant, twinkling lights illuminate a pond floating with enough water lilies to inspire Monet. Inside, Bali Laguna makes good on its archipelago roots, combining traditional motifs with its minimalist modern décor for an ambience worthy of the Indonesian island. Don’t miss the Indonesian spin on fried rice nasi goreng!

189 Huashan Lu, inside Jing’an Park. Tel: 6248 6970. Web:


Brian Tan’s hoF has proven to many a Shanghai lad that the road to sex is paved with chocolate and alcohol. What girly-girl can resist a rose-scented Shanghai Mei Mei cocktail paired with a slice of orange chocolate mud cake topped with gooey caramel and judiciously sprinkled with sea salt? If you don’t have a sweet tooth, you really can’t go wrong with the small menu featuring savoury classics like Croque Monsieur and lasagne with béchamel.

30 Sinan Lu, near Huaihai Zhong Lu. Tel: 6093 2058; B1/F, DBS Building,1318 Lujiazui Huan Lu, near Dongyuan Lu. Tel: 5010 0800

Napa Wine Bar & Kitchen

Cue the harp-strumming cherubs and garland-wielding doves. Napa Wine Bar & Kitchen is housed in an old three-storey Tudor house complete with a global wine cellar hosting more than 750 bottles of the good stuff. Unsurprisingly, vino is priority number one at this enchanting restaurant, but Chef Matthew Ona’s culinary prowess is guaranteed to leave you with one of the more memorable meals of the year. There’s also an erudite sommelier on hand for any oenophytes.

57 Jiangyin Lu, near Huangpi Lu. Tel: 6318 0057. Web:


Nothing works up an appetite for romance like a stroll through a bamboo grove – unless you’re a reproductively challenged panda. Off the beaten French Concession path, Shintori opens up into a space that deftly manages to be both minimalist and mammoth at the same time. The Japanese restaurant is, in a word, stunning, and the food doesn’t miss a beat. All the Nippon classics are on the menu, from ample slices of fresh sashimi to cold soba noodles presented in a bowl made of ice. The presentation of most dishes is almost as impressive as the elegant ambience.

803 Julu Lu, near Fumin Lu. Tel: 5404 5252. Web: 


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