Located within the celebrity-frequented confines of the Peninsula Hotel, Shanghai Terrace serves up Cantonese and Shanghainese (well, obviously) fare in a sleek environment filled with artwork and hand-carved wood. When the weather permits, the fourth-floor restaurant offers cocktails and Asian-inspired iced teas alongside a top-shelf view of the city skyline on its terrace.
But for the other nine months of Chicago weather, there's plenty to enjoy inside. The main attraction, of course, is the menu cooked up by Chef Calvin Soh. With an exotic resume that boasts stints in kitchens across Asia (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Singapore are all on the list), the chef specializes in a style of cuisine that reflects a variety of Southeast Asian cooking techniques. The Peninsula Hotel's roster of Hollywood regulars may be interested to note: Chef Soh's interest in herbs inspires him to design recipes aimed at producing special healing or nutritional benefits (which seems slightly L.A., but in the best possible way.)
Signature dishes on the dinner menu include "dung bo" pork belly, the wok-fried five-spiced duck breast and the steamed Cantonese-style cod fish and dried abalone (shellfish), slow-braised with herbs and served with an abalone jus. A typical three-course dinner, without alcohol, will set you back about $60.
In January 2008, the restaurant launched a Sunday Dim Sum brunch. The upscale take on Chinatown tradition offers "dim-sum portioned" selections that guests order off a menu.
Average cost: $31+
Centerstage Reviewer: Jennifer Berg