Sometimes, the urge to have Chinese food strikes, and nothing satisfies until you get it. When that happens, count on 10Best to point you in the direction of Shanghai's best Chinese restaurants. We understand the desire to have a great meal, and we work hard to bring you the top places to eat in Shanghai. We vet restaurants carefully for quality, and when we recommend popular eateries like 1221 or tell you that 881 South Beauty gets good reader feedback, you can believe it. We'll make sure you get - and eat - what's best.

8 People 7
There is one factor that prevents complete relaxation in this restaurant, which adds western influences to contemporary Taiwanese food: visitors must remember the codes that are necessary to gain admission (divulged when you reserve), not only to the dining room, but also to its restrooms. Once ingress to the former is achieved, you will delight in the dishes, especially the fish and particularly the tuna. Many diners also enjoy martinis at the long bar. (21 5404 0707)

7 881 South Beauty
This addition to Shanghai's range of domestic restaurants has a thoughtful selection of classic Cantonese and Sichuan dishes that was developed especially with the Western palate in mind. Happily, this does not signify blandness: the tofu and spicy spare ribs take no prisoners, and the bean jelly, which is heated in a pot with stones, certainly makes an impression. The décor is also arresting, being classic mansion without and sophisticated modern within. (21 6247 5878)

6 Dai Jia Cun
Dai Jai Cun is reminiscent of a traditional Dai village from southern Yunnan — a jungle with lots of vines, trees, and flowers. The waiters here even pour tea from traditional Yunnan teapots that have four-foot long spouts. Popular dishes include their zhu tong qing yu (carp cooked and served with bamboo) and ye shi xiang du (stewed pork tripe in a coconut). There are traditional dance performances nightly. (21-6227-1465)

5 Crystal Jade
Located on the second floor of Xintiandi, the most popular lifestyle center in Shanghai, Crystal Jade is one of the most successful restaurants of its type. The eating area, which is open-plan yet intimate thanks to just the right number of partitions, is ideal for a family gathering. The cuisine is a fusion of Cantonese and Shanghainese, including such delights as shrimp with ham and double-boiled chicken soup. Although not compulsory, it's advisable to reserve, especially at peak times. Metro: Line 1 Huangpi Nan Lu Station (21 6385 8752)

4 Bei Da Huang Bu Liao Qing
This north-side restaurant is located on Zhongshan Bei Er Lu. The restaurant is simply decorated — featuring Mao emblems on the walls — and is extremely popular with the people in the area. The food is influenced by the Dong Bei region in northern China, which means you'll see a lot of cabbage and potatoes as well as some pretty excellent barbecue. Particularly well done is their chao rou la pi (pork with cold noodles) and ji cai fen (shredded cabbage with clear-cut potatoes). (21-6555-9191)

3 Bao Luo
This simple, three-story restaurant, in a renovated French Concession home, features several rooms full of large round tables that can seat parties of up to 20 people. One of the most popular restaurants in the area, wealthy businessmen and convivial parties often come here for dishes such as deep-fried snake. Be prepared: they bring them live to your table in a bucket before shaving off the scales to make a salad and deep-frying the rest! Or try basic favorites such as drunken shrimp or sweet and sour fish. METRO: Chang Shu Lu (21-5403-7239)

2 Xi Jia Hua Yuan
This old building was once the grand home of Mr. Xi, a distinguished and wealthy local banker. The classy decor provides a fitting backdrop for a more refined take on traditional Shanghai cooking. Many of the dishes are lighter, with less oil than at other traditional restaurants. Great options include poached clams on a bed of cucumber covered in a green sauce spiked generously with wasabe, tender beef in a deep red sauce, or pork knuckle in rich brown sauce. METRO: Shanxi Nan Lu or Changshu Lu (21-58827788)

1 1221
With its sleek, modern interior and understated black-and-white color scheme, this is one of the most stylish Chinese restaurants in Shanghai. Housed in a renovated old Chinese mansion, the home-style Shanghainese cuisine includes dishes such as sliced you tiao (fried bread sticks) with shredded beef, a whole chicken in green onion soy sauce, and an impressive stuffed duck. This restaurant is ideal for an intimate dinner or a crowd, thanks to several dining rooms of various sizes. METRO: Line 2, Jiangsu Lu Station (21-6213-6585, 21-6213-2441)

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Maps and Directions

People 7 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
881 South Beauty 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Dai Jia Cun 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Neighborhood: AIRPORT - SHA
Crystal Jade 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: Asian, Cantonese, Chinese
Bei Da Huang Bu Liao Qing 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Neighborhood: HANKOU
Bao Luo 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Neighborhood: Old French Concession
COST: $$$$
Xi Jia Hua Yuan 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Neighborhood: Old French Concession
COST: $$$$
1221 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN-NORTH
COST: $$$$
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