There’s nothing more comforting than a cup of hot cocoa to warm up. Here are some of the city's best hot chocolates, enjoyed in the coziest of places.
Address: 30 Sinan Lu (near Huaihai Lu) 思南路30号(近 淮海中路)
hoF is one of the most underrated venues in Shanghai. It’s been around for a while, and it may have lost that new cafe smell, but it still has the best quality and selection of hot chocolates (and desserts). Of the six hot chocolates on offer, their Italian Thick Hot Chocolate (RMB40) is a standout— not too sweet, not too bitter, with just the right acidity. Pro tip: Order it “extra thick.” You can thank us later.
Address: E107, SOHO Fuxing Plaza, 462 Hefei Lu (near Madang Lu) 合肥路462号SOHO复兴广场E107 (近马当路)
Pâte burst onto the scene last February, rolling out trays upon trays of delectable pastries. Located in SOHO Xintiandi, the minimalist cafe and pastiserie skyrocketed to the top of every dessert afficionado's list, famously known for their fig tart and Pêchiers。 They do coffee, juices and ice cream, and of course, hot chocolate. Their hot chocolate (RMB40) uses 70% Valrhona dark chocolate, and you can get free refills every Thursday and Friday from 6-9pm when you purchase any dessert.
Address: 1250 Huaihai Zhong Lu (near Huating Lu) 淮 海中路1250号(近华亭路)
CH2 by Whisk If there’s one thing CH2 by Whisk has got going for it, it’s their Cocoa-Phobia (RMB48). The long-time favorite has gone up in price over the years, and it’s probably because of people like us, who keep coming back for more. It’s a thick and velvety mix served alongside a hearty portion of whipped cream. Add spoonfuls of the cream to sip and savor. Sit back and enjoy the slightly dated, yet cozy setting.
We wanted to steer away from chains and shopping malls, but Awfully Chocolate has made the list regardless. Their hot chocolate (RMB36) comes with a dollop of cold, fresh cream that melts with each sip, and a cube of rich, bittersweet dark chocolate for dipping. The drink base is sweeter than others, and milkier without being overly creamy. It’s also a great option for a hot cocoa on the go.
Address: Rm.1-09A, 1/F, North Tower, Hong Kong Plaza, 282 Huaihai Zhong Lu (near Songshan Lu) 淮海中路 282 号香港广场北座 1 楼 NL1-09A (近嵩山路)
Ocean Grounds is the first cafe to bring fourth wave coffee to Shanghai, combining coffee with mixology techniques. They also do a lovely spiced hot chocolate, the Mexican Mocha (RMB36/46), combining dark and white chocolate with frothed milk, spiced with ancho chili, cinnamon and nutmeg. Both their Xintiandi and Raffles Changning locations have terrace seating, too. So, enjoy it while it lasts.
Address: 2/F, Club House, Shanghai Grand Plaza, 568 Julu Lu (near Shanxi Nan Lu) 巨鹿路568号四方新城俱乐部2楼 (近陕西南路)
Maya serves a Mexican spiced hot chocolate (RMB45) that’s only available during brunch. It’s spiced with chili, ginger powder and cinnamon, condensed milk and fresh milk, and 75% cocoa powder. It’s milky, smooth and mild spiced. Pro tip: you can spike the hot chocolate with tequila. Just ask.
Xiangyang Nan Lu: 500 Xiangyang Nan Lu (near Jianguo Lu) 襄阳南路500号 (近建国路)
Nanjing Xi Lu: 1486 Nanjing Xi Lu (near Tongren Lu) 南京西路1486号 (近铜仁路)
Bread ETC's hot chocolate (RMB30) is served steamed to the top with latte art. It’s creamy, smooth and thick. Despite it’s dark, rich color, it’s not extremely sweet. Bread ETC is a place where we’d come to plant ourselves for an entire day of productivity between mouthfuls of baked goodness and now—affordable and tasty cocoa.
Address: No. 7, Tianzifang, 210 Taikang Lu (near Sinan Lu) 泰康路210弄7号 (近思南路)
This friendly wine bar is the reason anyone would think to go into Tianzifang for boozing. The owner and staff are thoughtful and accommodating, and will offer hot bottles and blankets to patrons sitting outside in the winter and will turn up their outdoor burners to make you feel welcome. Kommune's hot chocolate (RMB48) is served in a huge enamel cup, a chocolate covered marshmallow dangling on the end of twine steeped in mix of milk and cocoa powder. Dunking the chocolate ball is half the fun, but a little messy.
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