Qixi festival on August 17 celebrates the romantic folk tale of Zhinu and Niulang, a weaver and a cowherd. Forbidden to be together, the couple is separated and banished to the opposite ends of the Sliver River, but meet once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month by a bridge formed by magpies. That’s why Qixi is also known as Chinese Valentine’s Day, and while you can’t meet your lover on a crossing made of birds, you can certainly take them to one of these fancy restaurants with Qixi set meals.
8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana
Go big at two Michelin-star Italian restaurant Otto e Mezzo, which is offering an eight-course dinner at ¥3,580 for two. But the dishes are top notch, with Japanese amberjack tartare, homemade tagliatelle, Australian beef striploin, Normandy blue lobster, and Sicilian cassata gelato. Prices exclude a 10 percent service charge, but the restaurant throws in two welcome drinks, canapes, and amuse-bouche.
6/F, 169 Yuanmingyuan Road / 圆明园路169号6楼
If you find charsiu sexy (we do), then Canton Table should be your destination this Qixi. The Cantonese restaurant is doing a set menu for ¥598 per person (minimum two people) that gets you and your beau 10 dishes. Other than the honey glazed barbecue pork, you get chilled foie gras with grapefruit, pan-fried scallops with black bean sauce, double-boiled matsutake with bamboo pith fungus and boiled cabbage, stewed beef cheek, and a dessert of chilled sago cream with pomelo. Prices not including 10 percent service charge.
5/F, 3 Zhongshan Dong Yi Road / 中山东一路3号5楼
Cuivre’s Chinese Valentine’s Day menu is the most affordable here, but that doesn’t mean they’re cutting any corners. For ¥688 per couple, diners get six courses that span house-made smoked salmon, pan-seared foie gras, black truffle and white bean soup, baked halibut, grilled Australian Wagyu beef, and a warm chocolate fondue with fruit to finish. Also includes two glasses of sparkling wine.
1502 Huaihai Zhong Road / 淮海中路1502号
FED by July
Maybe you forgot to give flowers to your loved one, but you can still save yourself by taking them to FED. The restaurant-in-a-floral-shop is serving a Qixi menu for ¥1,314 per couple, with five courses covering Gillardeau oysters, king fish, foie gras, beef tenderloin, and this black cod with charcoal, eggplant, and green curry. End your evening with macarons and a lemon cheesecake, and your partner might forgive you for your botanical discrepancy. Includes two welcome drinks.
918 Changle Road / 长乐路918号
We could write a love letter to Hakkasan’s crispy duck with caviar, but since this is Qixi, we’ll settle for sharing it with our significant other. The contemporary Chinese restaurant has a menu at ¥888 per person featuring nine dishes. Besides their signature, other dishes include a dim sum trio, M9 Wagyu ribeye, sea bass, spring chicken in lotus leaf, ginseng green leaves with papaya and water chestnut, organic five grain rice with XO sauce, and a rose, matcha, and strawberry dessert. Also on that evening: live performances by their resident DJ and a saxophonist. Minimum two people required for the menu and prices excluding 10 percent service charge.
5/F, 18 Zhongshan Dong Yi Road / 中山东一路18号5楼
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon
Just because the French culinary giant is gone doesn’t mean his restaurants are slacking; case in point, this Qixi menu for two at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon. For ¥1,698 per person, dine on seven courses such as king crab and avocado cannelloni, slow cooked salmon, a choice between foie gras-stuffed quail or Wagyu beef tenderloin, and a strawberry compote and honey ice cream. There’s a 10 percent service charge, but you get two complimentary glasses of champagne, a cash coupon and a macaron gift box.
3/F, 18 Zhongshan Dong Yi Road / 中山东一路18号3楼
Mr & Mrs Bund
The modern French restaurant is letting you treat your mister, missus, master, or mistress (we don’t judge) right this Chinese Valentine’s Day with two set menus to choose from. It’s either ¥888 or ¥1,888 per person with the differences mainly in the appetizers and main course, but the menus share oysters, salads, and the restaurant’s highly coveted lemon and lemon tart. Prices subject to 10 percent service charge.
6/F, 18 Zhongshan Dong Yi Road / 中山东一路18号6楼