For nearly a hundred years, Shanghai’s French Concession was home to a French community that sprang up due to the demand for silk from its country’s fashion industry. You can still see the French influence in the architecture in this part of the city. You can also taste it at La Cour de Chatelet. This French restaurant on Hongmei Road offers fine dining, a continental atmosphere, and, according to online reviews, great service, which all add up to a great place for date night.
“Cour” means “court”, and the restaurant’s main dining room is set up to look like the courtyard of a French country house, with shuttered windows, stone pillars, and even strings of garlic hanging on the walls. Toulouse-Lautrec era paintings hang over the bar, and there’s the usual blackboard with the daily specials.
Of course, what’s most important is the food, which is classic French. To start off, the two of you can share a plate of hors d’oeuvres for 80 RMB each. Other appetizers include everything from frogs’ legs to a salad with bacon and poached egg, costing from 75 to 130 RMB. There’s a small selection of soups from 55 to 80 RMB.
In main courses, the seafood choices are just a few (but apparently innovative: “This Fish Soup breaks with tradition and comes with its fish!” says the menu). There’s more choice in meat, including the steak with fries that all Western style restaurants in Shanghai seem to have, rack of lamb, and tarragon chicken. A small selection of vegetarian main dishes and vegetable side dishes is also available. Main dishes cost from 110 to 220 RMB, and include choices of three different sauces and four kinds of potatoes.
I was unable to track down a dessert menu, but online reviewers say the desserts look good. You may be too full, however, to want any. Of course there’s wine, and not only from France, but as far away as Chile, and many other countries. The price range is also wide, so whether you want a bottle of Champagne or a simple glass of Chardonnay, you’ll find it.
La Cour de Chatelet is located at 3911 Hongmei Road (HongmeiLu), between Yan An Road and Hongqiao Road. (It’s the former site of another French restaurant, Cafe Montmartre.) SmartShanghai.com has a printable address to show a taxi driver, but it’s just a five-minute walk from Longxi Road Metro station. The restaurant is open every day from 10:30 AM to 11:00 PM.
Editor’s Note: After dinner check out some of these romantic places for nightlife in Shanghai.