Top 10 Vegetarian Restaurants in Shanghai

Written by Ruru Zhou Updated Apr. 22, 2021

Whether you're a resident of Shanghai or just touring the city, you will find numerous restaurants that serve food, especially for vegans (vegetarians). Typical entrées served in these eateries include soups, salads, noodles, salmon, sushi, burgers, desserts, and much, much more. The selection of food is often astounding, giving vegans a great choice of foods to choose from.

Attributes of Vegan Restaurants

There are three major differences between American restaurants and vegetarian restaurants in Shanghai: meat substitutes, quality of service, and the dining environment.

First, some vegan restaurants avoid using meats and animal products in most or all of their dishes. Those who love meats (such as fish, chicken kebab, pork, etc), but must not consume them, can enjoy “mock meat” dishes. Vegan diners have highly skilled chefs whom prepare meat imitations that have the actual tastes and textures of meat but are based on natural ingredients. So well skilled in fact, unsuspecting customers may believe they're really eating meat when they're not.

Second, is the quality of service. Some restaurants go the extra mile to be supportive towards American tourists, while others do not. Hence, it is best to find an eatery that has a menu in English as well English English-speaking waiters/waitresses. Picture menus work great, but better yet, self-serve buffet-style restaurants are ideal for choosing only the dishes you want. While some of the staff are friendly and helpful, others may not be.

Third, the décor and furniture may vary greatly from one restaurant to another. If the dining room's appearance is an issue, you will definitely want to become familiar with each diner you consider eating at. Therefore, we compiled information on ten great vegetarian restaurants in Shanghai to save you, the tourist from unpleasant surprises you may encounter (such as high prices or poor service) by choosing random diners.

Finally, prices on menus are listed in Renminbis (RMBs – pronounced simply as “ar em bees”) and hence are denoted with the ¥ symbol or expressed in yuans (pronounced “you ons”) and with the CNY notation.

Top 10 Popular Vegan Restaurants

1. Chunfeng Songyue Lou Restaurant

Sometimes referred to as the Songyue Lou, this restaurant was originally established in the second year of the Qing Dynasty Emperor Xuangtong, 1910. It serves Yuyuan veggie favorites, traditionally served in an ancient vegetarian culture. The Songyue Lou has multiple locations as inside the Yuyuan Garden Bazaar and the Old Town God Temple. Also, it is a very enticing place for visitors who have just finished touring the temple. This restaurant seats 150.

2. Gong De Lin

The Gong De Lin, often referred to as the Godly Vegetarian Restaurant opened in 1922 and is now known as the oldest vegetarian eatery in Shanghai. This two-story palace is a pleasing and quiet place, decorated in a traditional Chinese style, including a large fountain, small corner gazebos, mahogany furniture, and an altar that honors Buddha. It is especially popular with seniors who maintain a meat-free diet.

3. iVegan

Opened in May of 2013, the vegan established its roots in the Buddhist culture and tradition. What makes its cuisine unique is some of the ingredients of the dishes are cooked to simulate the taste and texture of meat. In fact, their art in meat imitation is so great, that some customers would never suspect this.

4. Jade Buddha Temple Vegetarian Restaurants

Their vegetarian food is based on a mix of traditional Buddhist cuisine along with modern cooking techniques and are composed of sweet, sour, and spicy flavors. After touring the Jade Buddha Temple, there is no place more ideal than taking in some vegan dining here.

5. Longhua Temple Vegetarian Restaurant

Located in the Longhua Hotel, this restaurant is a buffet that is mainly focused on upscale dining. Its dining room consists of tables covered with white tablecloths, chafing dishes, and wait staff dressed in tuxedos. Its many buffet tables host an extremely huge variety of foods that nobody can try everything on a single visit.

6. Ji Xiang Cao (Lucky Zen) Vegetarian Restaurant

The Ji Xiang Cao offers a comfortable and peaceful dining room. Its selections are Chinese foods that are cooked home-style to be healthier and lighter than most other vegetarian restaurants. Hence, you are assured of fine-cooked food that is not excessively oily. Menus are available in English also. While you're waiting for a table or after dining, you may want to check out their selection of books, candies, and antique reproductions which are for sale as well.

7. New Age Veggie

Opened in 2007, New Age Veggie strives to maintain a reputation for preparing food without meat, animal products, pungent plants, or preservatives. For example, there are no eggs in its cakes or meat in its salmon sashimi. However, the New Age can imitate meat sides quite well. In fact, they've fooled past customers into thinking that their meat entrees were real.

Popular entrees with approximate prices (entrees and prices may vary from the time of this writing):

8. Pure & Whole

Established in 2011, Pure & Whole has offered a delicious range of plant-based, ultra-healthy burgers, entrées, salads, soups, wraps, and more. Each dish and drink has been thoughtfully prepared with the most nutritional ingredients available to ensure you will feel your best after you leave.

9. Vegetarian Life Style

The Vegetarian Lifestyle, restaurant goes by other names as Zaozi Shu orJujube Tree. Detoxify with a vegetarian feast here as the prices are reasonable, the service is good, and the environment is clean. This is a non-smoking eatery that does not serve alcohol. Its Yuanshen Sports Center branch also offers delivery service.

10. Veggie Dot

With only two outdoor tables, this cafe doesn't offer much for onsite dining. However, its selection is great. Free delivery is available for customers located within a one-kilometer driving radius and place a minimum order of 50 RMBs.

Specialties: This restaurant is exquisitely decorated, showing a purple hue. Mexican Tostada, Italian vegetable soup, and VeggieDot special baked lavender rice are worth trying. Sandwiches and wraps, such as the Italian BBQ Panini (39 RMB) with 'veggie beef' patty, grilled peppers, tomato, mushroom, and barbecue sauce, are served with a side dish of fresh seasonal fruits, while other dishes include a 'Veggie Chicken Salad' (23 RMB), Classic Hot Dog (18 RMB) with 'veggie sausage', and “Veggie Sheep Kebab” (18 RMB/three). Lunch sets that include a sandwich or wrap, salad, and fresh fruits are available for 37 RMB. On the drinks side, there's a host of fresh juice options (from 18 RMB) along with combos that promise to 'speed up metabolism', 'improve sleeping quality' and give you 'younger looking skin'.

Overall, Shanghai offers a great selection of vegetarian restaurants. The variety of foods to choose from is immense since a great majority of its residents are vegans. So, if you feel that vegetarians have limited diets, think again. Perhaps, you may run across some foods in Shanghai that may be hard to find in the US. And if you become tired of one particular vegan restaurant, there are many more to choose from.

Best of all, the more vegan meals you consume, the more your body can detoxify. Likewise, these foods promote good health as you will feel younger and more energetic afterward. So, if you thought eating healthy was drab and tasteless, think again.

You May Also Want to Read

Create My Trip

Need Help?

Request a custom itinerary today and get one step closer to your personalized trip

Create Your Trip