Sophie Friedman

Correspondent

  • Shanghai, China, Asia

Sophie Friedman is a correspondent who lives in Shanghai and covers hotels and travel trends in Asia for Forbes Travel Guide. The American journalist has covered a range of travel-related topics including the development of the mountain resort town Moganshan, the Chinese fashion scene’s rising international profile, and the expanding craft cocktail and beer scene in Asia. She has written half a dozen Shanghai guidebooks and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the city. When not writing, Sophie loves cycling through the former French Concession and getting bargains on everything from Pellegrino to porcelain.

  • On December 11, 2013
    Sophie Friedman answered the question: Sophie Friedman

    What is the dress code at Shàng-Xí?

    The dress code at Shàng-Xí, Four Seasons Hotel Pudong, Shanghai’s Chinese restaurant, is business casual. This differs slightly from the smart-casual dress code at Camelia, the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant. Shàng-Xí, which seats 22 in its main dining room and has five private dining rooms, is popular not only with hotel guests but also nearby office workers and suited businessmen and women making deals over bamboo steamers of dim sum. Camelia has a children’s menu, so you’re more likely to see families there than at Shàng-Xí, making the Chinese restaurant a bit more formal than its downstairs sibling. That said, kids are welcome, and there’s plenty on the menu for them to enjoy, including steamed vegetable dumplings and fried noodles with shrimp and barbecued pork.
  • On December 11, 2013
    Sophie Friedman answered the question: Sophie Friedman

    What is the scene like at Shàng-Xí?

    The dress code at Four Seasons Hotel Pudong, Shanghai’s Chinese restaurant, Shàng-Xí, is business casual, and the scene is the same. Because the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant, Camelia, has a children’s menu, it’s more popular with families, while Shàng-Xí caters more toward business lunches and private functions. (However, children are welcome, and the menu includes dishes that kids will enjoy, such as fried noodles with shrimp and barbecued pork and delicate steamed vegetable dumplings.) The restaurant itself is quite intimate for a hotel venue — just 22 seats in the main dining room, with additional seating in the five private dining rooms, each of which is named for a semi-precious stone that inspires the lavish décor (Pearl, Amber, Purple Jade, Agate and Jade). Shàng-Xí packs in diners during weekend brunch, but you’ll also find the dining room filled on weekdays, as local office workers file in for tasty Shanghainese favorites like pork wontons in broth.
  • On December 11, 2013
    Sophie Friedman answered the question: Sophie Friedman

    How do I get a reservation at Shàng-Xí?

    To get a reservation at Shàng-Xí, call Four Seasons Hotel Pudong, Shanghai (home to the elegant eatery) at 86-21-2036-8888, stop by the restaurant or book online on the Four Seasons’ website. Shàng-Xí is open daily for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and for dinner from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Because the main dining room seats just 22 (there are also five private dining rooms), reservations are recommended for both lunch and dinner, as well as for the popular weekend brunch. The Shanghai restaurant tends to be booked up by hotel guests, nearby office workers on lunch break and those looking for some of the neighborhood’s top dim sum.
  • On December 11, 2013
    Sophie Friedman answered the question: Sophie Friedman

    What is the dress code at Camelia?

    The dress code at Camelia, Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai, Pudong’s Western all-day dining restaurant, is smart casual. Both hotel guests and locals eat at Camelia, so you may see guests looking informal at breakfast and then sit next to suit-wearing businesspeople at lunch. After work, particularly in temperate weather, Camelia’s 42-seat terrace becomes a happy-hour destination, so you’ll see office workers from the nearby towers mixing with hotel guests in eveningwear. With its excellent children’s menu, featuring dishes like pan-fried beef medallion with mashed potatoes, Camelia is family-friendly, making it a bit more relaxed than second-floor Chinese restaurant Shang-Xi.
  • On December 11, 2013
    Sophie Friedman answered the question: Sophie Friedman

    When is Camelia open?

    Camelia, Four Seasons Hotel Pudong, Shanghai’s all-day dining restaurant, is open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Breakfast is served 6 to 11 a.m., lunch from 11:30 to 2:30 p.m., afternoon tea from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m., and dinner from 5:30 p.m. until close. The bar is open Sunday to Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to midnight and on Friday and Saturday, the hours extend until 1 a.m. Sunday brunch is available 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

    If the Shanghai restaurant’s hours don’t work for you, the Four Seasons offers 24-hour room service. So if you get in late and miss dinner or need to leave very early and want to ensure you have breakfast, call down any time — or use the in-room iPad Minis to place your order.
  • On December 11, 2013
    Sophie Friedman answered the question: Sophie Friedman

    Where is Camelia located?

    Camelia, Four Seasons Hotel Pudong, Shanghai’s all-day dining restaurant, is located in Lujiazui, the city’s financial hub. It is just off the hotel’s ground-floor lobby, so you can sit down for a cup of coffee or tea while waiting for friends or before heading off to the airport for your flight home. The restaurant, which serves French-influenced cuisine prepared by chefs trained at Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris, seats 144 in its dining room and an additional 42 on the terrace. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, afternoon tea and weekend brunch are all served here; with its enticing kids’ menu, Camelia is a favorite of local families and those staying in the hotel. The terrace, a tranquil space that sets the Shanghai restaurant apart from the neighborhood’s other fine-dining venues, is a nice place to unwind with a glass of wine and bar bites after a long day of sightseeing or meetings.
  • On December 11, 2013
    Sophie Friedman answered the question: Sophie Friedman

    What’s the best time to visit Four Seasons Hotel Pudong, Shanghai?

    The best time to visit Four Seasons Hotel Pudong, Shanghai is in the fall and spring. This is when Shanghai is at its best — warm days with cool nights, moderate to low humidity, trees blooming or changing color. Those visiting the Four Seasons in the fall and spring can take advantage of its alfresco dining area, located just off French-influenced Western restaurant Camelia, on the ground floor. Visit the luxury hotel in the winter or summer and you’ll still find yourself comfortable, thanks to in-room temperature controls. The hotel is a quick walk from Dongchang Road metro station on line 2; you can take this across the river and be at the Bund in 10 minutes. For indoor activities even closer to the Shanghai hotel, walk or take the subway one stop to Lujiazui; you can enter glittery IFC mall through exit 6, without ever going outside, to shop at stores like Hermès and Bulgari.
  • On December 11, 2013
    Sophie Friedman answered the question: Sophie Friedman

    What restaurants does Four Seasons Hotel Pudong, Shanghai have?

    Four Seasons Hotel Pudong, Shanghai has two restaurants. On the ground floor is all-day dining restaurant Camelia, whose kitchen turns out French-influenced dishes (such as grilled lobster with garlic and eggplant fondue) whipped up by chefs trained at Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris. A more casual spot, Camelia is also the hotel’s best family-friendly option. Just off the restaurant is an outdoor patio where you can enjoy drinks and appetizers on temperate nights. This is particularly nice during the fall and spring, and sets Four Seasons Hotel Pudong, Shanghai apart from the neighborhood’s other hotels, which do not have alfresco dining. On the second floor of the luxury hotel you’ll find Chinese restaurant Shang-Xi. Go there to enjoy bamboo steamers of delicate dim sum in the intimate dining room or within the five private rooms, each of which is uses a precious stone as inspiration for its rich décor (Pearl, Amber, Purple Jade, Agate and Jade). For lunch and dinner, reservations are recommended for both Shanghai restaurants.
  • On December 11, 2013
    Sophie Friedman answered the question: Sophie Friedman

    What is the design style of Four Seasons Hotel Pudong, Shanghai?

    If Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai, on the Puxi side of the city, is designed in clubby Americana style, Four Seasons Hotel Pudong, Shanghai is sleek and modern, with an Asian flair. On a street and in a neighborhood of glass-and-steel towers, the Pudong hotel fits right in. The first thing you notice about the hotel’s design is that all the surfaces are gleaming — the beige marble floor, the hanging installation of twisting metal strips that backs the reception desk and the double-height staircase that begs to be sauntered down. Chinese restaurant Shang-Xi has a theme of precious stones — in the jade private dining room, everything is that prized shade of green. Western restaurant Camelia’s design scheme is among the more colorful spaces in the hotel, with golden-yellow chairs and red accents.

    The room décor is subdued and classic, a mix of crisp white bedding and grays light and dark, with sleek black desks and red lamps and throw pillows. Plus, you’ll find luxe materials such as stingray leather, ebony wood and marble. For an extra Asian element, along the guest room floor hallways hang four abstract paintings, each showing a Chinese character for north, south, east or west.
  • On December 9, 2013
    Sophie Friedman answered the question: Sophie Friedman

    What is the scene like at Tang Court?

    The scene at Tang Court is chic but subdued. The restaurant, located on the fifth floor of Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel The Langham, Xintiandi, Shanghai, is quiet and serene. The tables are well positioned so the room isn’t silent, but you won’t hear too much chatter from your neighbors. Sitting in the plush dining chairs, you’d never know jam-packed business strip Huaihai Road was a stone’s throw away. The intimate dining room seats 24 and, with high ceilings and walls of windows, is an airy, light-filled space. During the day, the Shanghai restaurant is popular with nearby office workers who come by for Tang Court’s set business lunch. On the weekends, hotel guests, locals, expats and visitors pour in for delicate dim sum and steaming pots of tea.
  • On December 9, 2013
    Sophie Friedman answered the question: Sophie Friedman

    Where is Tang Court located?

    Tang Court is located on the fifth floor of Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel The Langham, Xintiandi, Shanghai. The restaurant, which shares its name with its sister outlet in Hong Kong, has a 24-seat dining room whose high ceilings and glass walls give it an open, airy feel. Tang Court also has nine private dining rooms whose windows overlook great neighborhood Xintiandi and Taiping Lake. From Tang Court’s main dining room, you look out onto XTD Elevated, the hotel’s fifth-floor terrace bar, popular during Shanghai’s warmer months.
  • On July 31, 2013
    Sophie Friedman answered the question: Sophie Friedman

    What are the best riverfront restaurants in Shanghai?

    CHAR Bar & Grill's popular roof terrace. Photo courtesy Hotel Indigo Shanghai on the Bund The best riverfront restaurants in Shanghai overlook the Huangpu River, which divides the city into downtown Puxi and more suburban Pudong. For a superb meal with an equally great view, book into one of these, Shanghai's best riverfront restaurants.

    Sir Elly's
    The Peninsula Hotel's Western fine dining restaurant sits on the 13th floor, offering sweeping views of the Pudong Skyline, the curve of the Huangpu river, and the Bund's colonial architecture. If the weather cooperates, the restaurant's terrace is just lovely. Servers are unobtrusive, but service is impeccable. The menu offers modern European cuisine, with a focus on seasonal ingredients. I could not get enough of the tiramisu soufflé; it comes with a silver spoon heaped with mascarpone which you dip into the soufflé so everything melts together. Throw in the espresso gelato on the side and you're in heaven.

    8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA
    This north Bund Italian restaurant is the sister to the acclaimed Hong Kong restaurant of the same name. Tucked down a quiet cobblestone street, in a sharp brick building, 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo serves classic Italian dishes to Shanghai's most discerning diners. Everything on the menu is superb. Many of the dishes are heavy, and so I recommend ordering a few things and sharing amongst the table. One of my favorite lighter dishes is the burrata-stuffed ravioli, served with eggplant, Taggiasca olives, and cherry tomatoes. It's a deceptively simple dish with a wonderful array of flavors.

    CHAR Bar & Grill
    Hotel Indigo's top floor steakhouse looks more like a chic New York it restaurant than a classic steakhouse, but the cuts of meat say otherwise. The Clare Valley Fillet steak, for example, is a grain-fed beef with a marble score of three. You could easily go to CHAR and not eat steak, though; I was over the moon for the grilled black cod with confit of baby carrots, star anise and lime syrup. It's a fun dish, too; it's served with a little paintbrush so you can keep topping your fish with the delectable sauce. For dessert, the creatively presented cheesecake is a must-order (what it looks like is a surprise).

    Mr & Mrs Bund
    As popular with people coming home from the Bund's bars as it is with couples out for special dinners, Mr & Mrs Bund is the rare Bund-side restaurant that serves food until late. The menu is long, which can make ordering tough. The picnic chicken aioli, a char-grilled cold chicken breast with garlic mayonaisse, is always toothsome. Whatever you order, same room for dessert and pucker up for the Lemon & Lemon, a whole candied lemon that opens to reveal whipped cream, lemon curd, and lemon sorbet.
  • On July 31, 2013
    Sophie Friedman answered the question: Sophie Friedman

    What are the best riverfront restaurants in Shanghai?

    CHAR Bar & Grill's popular roof terrace. Photo courtesy Hotel Indigo Shanghai on the Bund The best riverfront restaurants in Shanghai overlook the Huangpu River, which divides the city into downtown Puxi and more suburban Pudong. For a superb meal with an equally great view, book into one of these, Shanghai's best riverfront restaurants.

    Sir Elly's
    The Peninsula Hotel's Western fine dining restaurant sits on the 13th floor, offering sweeping views of the Pudong Skyline, the curve of the Huangpu river, and the Bund's colonial architecture. If the weather cooperates, the restaurant's terrace is just lovely. Servers are unobtrusive, but service is impeccable. The menu offers modern European cuisine, with a focus on seasonal ingredients. I could not get enough of the tiramisu soufflé; it comes with a silver spoon heaped with mascarpone which you dip into the soufflé so everything melts together. Throw in the espresso gelato on the side and you're in heaven.

    8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA
    This north Bund Italian restaurant is the sister to the acclaimed Hong Kong restaurant of the same name. Tucked down a quiet cobblestone street, in a sharp brick building, 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo serves classic Italian dishes to Shanghai's most discerning diners. Everything on the menu is superb. Many of the dishes are heavy, and so I recommend ordering a few things and sharing amongst the table. One of my favorite lighter dishes is the burrata-stuffed ravioli, served with eggplant, Taggiasca olives, and cherry tomatoes. It's a deceptively simple dish with a wonderful array of flavors.

    CHAR Bar & Grill
    Hotel Indigo's top floor steakhouse looks more like a chic New York it restaurant than a classic steakhouse, but the cuts of meat say otherwise. The Clare Valley Fillet steak, for example, is a grain-fed beef with a marble score of three. You could easily go to CHAR and not eat steak, though; I was over the moon for the grilled black cod with confit of baby carrots, star anise and lime syrup. It's a fun dish, too; it's served with a little paintbrush so you can keep topping your fish with the delectable sauce. For dessert, the creatively presented cheesecake is a must-order (what it looks like is a surprise).

    Mr & Mrs Bund
    As popular with people coming home from the Bund's bars as it is with couples out for special dinners, Mr & Mrs Bund is the rare Bund-side restaurant that serves food until late. The menu is long, which can make ordering tough. The picnic chicken aioli, a char-grilled cold chicken breast with garlic mayonaisse, is always toothsome. Whatever you order, same room for dessert and pucker up for the Lemon & Lemon, a whole candied lemon that opens to reveal whipped cream, lemon curd, and lemon sorbet.
  • On July 31, 2013
    Sophie Friedman answered the question: Sophie Friedman

    What are the best steakhouses in Shanghai?

    The MEET, courtesy Shangri-La Chinese businessmen (Chinese businesswomen are themselves also quite discerning) love a thick steak as much as their Western counterpart, and for that reason Shanghai has quite a few great steakhouses. Here's a roundup of three of the best.

    CHAR Bar & Grill
    On the top floor of Hotel Indigo Shanghai on the Bund, this steakhouse excudes cool while serving prime cuts of meat to its glittering clientele. Book early to secure a window seat and you'll have views of the Bund and the Pudong skyline, which stays lit up until 10pm. In addition to sublime steak, you'll find a plethora of decadent items like foie gras, lobster, and a to-die-for cheesecake.

    The MEET
    Across the river in Pudong, inside the Kerry Hotel, the MEET welcomes carnivores with its cushy banquettes and massive cuts of meat. The MEET is a traditional steakhouse gone contemporary; lots of reds and browns have been used, but it's done up in hunting lodge chic. Beyond meat, which of course plays a starring role in the menu, diners can order seafood and rich sides like truffle mac and cheese.

    Roosevelt Prime Steakhouse
    Tucked inside a lane in the French Concession, Roosevelt is Shanghai's all-American steakhouse, a den of masculinity that has managed to remain welcoming to women and even to kids. Service is superb, from the friendly, effusive owner who's happy to make suggestions to the very knowledgeable and sharply dressed staff. On the menu is steak—there are three cuts, sirloin, filet mignon, and rib-eye—and sides like Caesar salad, which is made tableside with extreme precision.

  • On July 31, 2013
    Sophie Friedman answered the question: Sophie Friedman

    What are the best steakhouses in Shanghai?

    The MEET, courtesy Shangri-La Chinese businessmen (Chinese businesswomen are themselves also quite discerning) love a thick steak as much as their Western counterpart, and for that reason Shanghai has quite a few great steakhouses. Here's a roundup of three of the best.

    CHAR Bar & Grill
    On the top floor of Hotel Indigo Shanghai on the Bund, this steakhouse excudes cool while serving prime cuts of meat to its glittering clientele. Book early to secure a window seat and you'll have views of the Bund and the Pudong skyline, which stays lit up until 10pm. In addition to sublime steak, you'll find a plethora of decadent items like foie gras, lobster, and a to-die-for cheesecake.

    The MEET
    Across the river in Pudong, inside the Kerry Hotel, the MEET welcomes carnivores with its cushy banquettes and massive cuts of meat. The MEET is a traditional steakhouse gone contemporary; lots of reds and browns have been used, but it's done up in hunting lodge chic. Beyond meat, which of course plays a starring role in the menu, diners can order seafood and rich sides like truffle mac and cheese.