Top Family Friendly Chinese Restaurants in Shanghai

So what do we mean by kid or family friendly restaurants in Shanghai - or China for that matter? First of all, if you're traveling in China with your kids, you're going to find - hopefully happily - that kids are welcomed almost everywhere.

The Chinese are very relaxed and open with children and this makes it, almost, a pleasure to bring them with you to restaurants. While the friendly Chinese attitude may not make your child better behaved, at least you don't have to shoulder ugly sneers and the evil eye. Still, sometimes it's nice to go where kids are not only tolerated, they're appreciated.

It is totally common to see a family in an upscale restaurant. The adults in the group may be enjoying a fine dinner and the child or children will be glued to iPads or other screens or running wild around the table.

With this in mind, understand that almost all restaurants you visit in China are completely child-friendly. Note, these restaurants won't have special kids menus...MORE (unless it's a Western-style restaurant or you're in a fancy international hotel). Another thing to note is that not all restaurants are child-friendly in Hong Kong. Hong Kong has a very different culture when it comes to where kids are accepted. So the generalization is for mainland China only.

Western Food or Chinese Food?

You know your kids tolerance and ability to try new food. But you didn't fly all the way to China to eat at McDonald's, right? The list below includes restaurants where picky kids can find food that they like and try to eat. If your kids are adventurous, all the better.

  • 01 of 05

    Din Tai Fung

    din tai fung xiao long bao
    ••• Expert wrappers prepare Din Tai Fung's famous dishes. Photo by Sara Naumann. All rights reserved.
    • Description: Clean bright spot for the delicious dumplings in Shanghai
    • Cuisine: Taiwanese / Shanghai
    • Address: Xin Tian Di South Block, 2F, 123 Xinye Road (there are multiple locations across Shanghai so find the one that is most convenient for you)
    • Opening hours: daily lunch 11am-3pm, dinner 5pm-10pm
    • Features: Super friendly staff, high chairs, plastic dinner ware and a big plate glass window where the kids can watch the magic of dumplings unfold before their very eyes.
    • Comments: This place is always a favorite for our guests who visit Shanghai. Kids love the xiaolongbao dumplings and noodles - it's China's version of comfort food. The restaurant chain is very consistent across the board and very clean and bright. Service is fast so antsy kids won't be too hard-pressed to sit still for long. Bring some pens/crayons along for small kids to color on the paper place mats. Friendly staff usually bring over dumpling dough for kids to mold like modeling clay.
  • 02 of 05
    shumai at Crystal Jade
    ••• Jessica Spengler / Flickr / CC BY 2.0
    • Description: Lively Chinese dining for dim sum and other treats
    • Cuisine: Cantonese / Shanghai
    • Address: Xin Tian Di South Block, 2F, 123 Xinye Road
    • Reservations: 021-6385-8752 (a must - or you will wait in line)
    • Opening hours: daily lunch 11am-3pm, dinner 5pm-10pm
    • Features: Kid friendly staff, high chairs, noisy atmosphere and hand-made noodles that the kids can watch being stretched by expert hands at the entrance.
    • Comments: Beware of friendly staff handing out sweets to the kids, at least make sure they've eaten their dinner first!
  • 03 of 05

    Xindalu Restaurant for Roast Beijing Duck

    beijing roast duck
    ••• Behold the final product, a beautiful roasted duck, Beijing style. Photo by Sara Naumann. All rights reserved.
    • Description: Beijing Roast Duck (also known as Peking Duck) restaurant in the Hyatt on the Bund hotel.
    • Cuisine: Beijing
    • Address: Hyatt on the Bund Hotel, 199 Huangpu Road, Shanghai | 黄埔路99号
    • Reservations: +86 (0) 21 6393 1234
    • Opening hours: daily lunch 11:30am-2:30pm, dinner 5:30pm-10:30pm
    • Features: All of the food here is great but it's known for ​it's delicious Beijing Duck
    • Comments: Eating Beijing Duck is interactive so it can be fun for kids. The chef comes to the table to carve the duck and then kids get to make little burrito-like sandwiches with the meat and condiments. The plum sauce that goes with the duck is quite sweet and usually a favorite for kids.
  • 04 of 05
    Hai Di Lao Hot Pot
    ••• Kai Hendry / Flickr / CC BY 2.0.
    • Description: Hot Pot with a layer of pampering
    • Cuisine: Sichuan Hot Pot
    • Address: many locations across Shanghai
    • Reservations: not possible. Go early.
    • Features: You can have all types of pampering while you wait: manicures, ear cleaning. Kids will be entertained with games and attentive staff.
    • Comments: If you and your kids don't do spicy, order the non-spicy broth. Kids will enjoy cooking their own meal and you'll be sure they eat well as with hot pot, you get plenty of protein and vegetables.

     

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05
    Shengjianbao Untour Shanghai
    ••• Untour Shanghai
    • Description: Shanghai street food tours with UnTour Shanghai Tours are really a fun way to get to know the city and the food
    • Cuisine: Shanghai street food
    • Address: UnTour will let you know where to meet
    • Reservations: untour.com
    • Features: You can choose a tour that interests you but the breakfast tour or the noodles tour might be one your kids would enjoy. The night market tour would be great for older kids.