“THE BEST BURGER & AWESOME FANCY MILKSHAKE IN SHANGHAI” proclaims Bistro Burger’s menu. “If you can prove the others are better than us, we’ll give you one year free burger and free milkshake.”
You can accept the challenge but it looks like you’ll be unsuccessful.
Shanghai has three English language print magazines – Time Out Shanghai, City Weekend Shanghai, and That’s Shanghai – that are widely read in the foreign and expat community. These magazines conduct reader polls to award superlatives to various services and venues around the city, such as “Best Business Hotel” or “Best Italian Restaurant.” Burger Bistro has plaques from all three publications on the walls of its Jingan Temple/French Concession-area location, which is filled with mostly expats seeking a taste of home.
Burger Bistro has an expansive menu chock filled with options for burgers, milkshakes, sauces, salads, sides, desserts, drinks, and more. On Monday evenings, burgers are buy-one-get-one-free, and free milkshakes come with burgers on Wednesday evenings.
I went with three other people on a Monday, which meant we could try a lot of options, starting with an southwest-inspired grilled corn appetizer with slices of glossy, mild cheese melted over it.
I got a Hippie Veggie Burger (mozzarella, cheddar, mushroom/pepper/pumpkin/tofu patty, pesto and grilled tomato, 75 RMB) and a Mexican Burger. Bistro Burger doesn’t cut corners on any of its burgers and this extends to the vegetarian ones. Many burger joints will either use frozen patties from a national brand anyone can buy at the supermarket (such as Morningstar or Gardein) while jacking the price up to what a whole package costs at the supermarket, or they’ll make their own black bean burger. While black bean burgers are nice, that flavor and texture gets boring when so many places default to black bean for their vegetarian burger patties. Bistro Burger’s vegetarian patty is an unusual blend of many ingredients. The pumpkin-y binder needs tweaking, because while the veggie burger is bouncy and firm on the outside, it is gooey and undercooked on the inside. However, the complex, savory vegetable flavor of this patty still elevates Burger Bistro above the competition for taste and effort.
My Mexican Burger (75 RMB) consisted of a thick 200-gram beef patty with plenty of juice, topped with pico and jalapeno salsa, guacamole, and tortilla chips. The burgers come on brioche buns grilled in delicious juices.
My friends’ burgers included French Creamy Burger (garlic cream cheese, bacon, and spinach, 85 RMB); the Perfect Beef Burger (cheddar, mixed mushroom, bacon, and fried egg, 85 RMB); and the Caprese Burger (eggplant and basil pesto, mozzarella, and tomato comfit, 70 rmb). Other intriguing menu options include the Hawaiian burger (mozzarella, grilled pineapple, spam, oregano tomato sauce, 75 RMB); the Aussie Burger (cheddar, raw onion, lettuce, tomato, pickles, beetroot, fried egg, 75 RMB); and Mad Shrimp Burger (shrimp/fungus/mushroom/pepper/pumpkin/tofu patty topped with mozzarella and prawns, 80 RMB), among others.
Bistro Burger’s light-as-air fries (coming with all burgers) are some of the best I’ve had. The seasoned outsides are delicately crisp while the insides are delicately creamy and comforting. We ended up not needing the sauces (in small metal cups) we ordered. Listed on the menu under Dressings & Salsa, these toppings – like guacamole, mango chutney, and chimichurri – are free. For just 5 RMB extra (less than a dollar), you can add sliced avocado, a fried egg, chili, bacon, and more.
The milkshakes, with fun flavors like Coco-Loco (coconut syrup, fresh nata de coco, vanilla ice cream, 50 RMB); Caribbean Dream (Pina Colada mix, Malibu, Melon liquor, vanilla ice cream, 55 RMB); and Nutty Professor (cream cheese, amaretto, vanilla ice cream) are a sweet way to end the meal. There’s a bit extra milkshake in the metal cups you can pour into your glass cup as you drink it, echoing the traditional milkshake presentation which came with an additional portion as well. Skip the lackluster desserts.
With great atmosphere, great food, great variety, and great deals, Shanghai’s Bistro Burger is a real winner.
Wu Jin-century building, 291号 Fumin Rd, Xuhui Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200030