During my first week in Shanghai, Lana took me to Zen Café in the French Concession (7 Dongping Road; 东平路7号). I’m so glad that I had her as a guide because I don’t think I would have ever found it on my own. The café is located on the 2nd floor of Zen Store, which sells expensive home items. While I had been to the store multiple times, I never realized there was an actual café located through a back door and up a flight of stairs. I recently took another friend who has been living in Shanghai for years and she never realized there was a café in the store either.
Zen Café oozes charm. It’s the type of place where I feel like you could spend a lazy afternoon reading a book or writing your next novel. It was so cozy with eclectic Chinese furniture pieces mixed in with Western modern art. You can settle down with a cup of coffee, pot of tea or fresh juice. I really loved how the place is hidden, making it feel like a special secret for those privelege few.
While prices are a little bit expensive (50 RMB for a pot of tea, 40 RMB for a medium-sized glass of juice), I feel like you’re paying for the ambiance (and the chance to sip out of fancy china) and for a moment of solitude and quiet.
I think I’ve found my new favorite spot to take friends to catch up on a gossip session or just to enjoy a quiet moment by myself.