My wife and I hope to spend eight days in Shanghai in late October, and I have several questions about Shanghai restaurants.
First of all, are there any uniquely Shanghai or just plain extraordinary restaurants that it would be a shame to miss on even the shortest visit to Shanghai? (Here in Vancouver, BC, where I live, for instance, I think it would be shame to visit Vancouver and not have a meal at Tojo's and at Vij's. In both places the food is as good as it gets but without pretension.)
Second, we will be staying at a large hotel downtown, the Central Hotel, about half-way between the Bund and the People's Park. Are there any reliable places to eat in the neighborhood? We'd be especially interested in Shanghai-style Chinese food, since I've found no restaurants of this kind here at home.
We'll hit the standard tourist areas, of course. Any recommendations in the old city or the French concession or Bund? Again, I'm looking for things pecular to Shanghai. I don't mind venturing into a place where there's no English, even though I have no Chinese, as long as it's clean. I have something that will help me a bit with a Chinese menu (MacCauley's Eater's Guide to Chinese Menus). That plus some pointing and smiling should work. I hope. On another hand, there are upscale places with spectacular (I read) views. Should we go to one?
Finally, are there particular (fall) Shanghai specialities that we should be on the look-out for? I've read about hairy crab, for instance, but I've also been told (how reliably I do not know) that parts of the crab are poisonous, so one must be careful where on eats it, especially if communication is limited. Our hotel claims to have a famous crab feast. Has anyone heard of it?
I am beginning to think that Shanghai is a great place for eating, and I will appreciate any advice immensely. I know there have been some previous posts regarding food in Shanghai, but I find it hard to re-organize the information there in ways that will help me, since I have never been to Shanghai before.