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Old Jesse

Overall
Editor
Editor Rating (Review): 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)
Address:
41 Tianping Lu
Address in Chinese:
天平路41号
Directions in English:
near Huaihai Lu, Metro Line 1 Xujiahui Station
Directions in Chinese:
近淮海路, 地铁1号线徐家汇站
Opening Hours:
11am-4pm; 5:30pm-12am
Phone:
6282-9260
Price range:
¥300-399
Category:
Neighborhood:
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Editor's Description

Stepping into this cozy, perpetually crowded dining room is like stepping into a Shanghailander's house during a rowdy game of transcontinental mahjong--the delectable local fare attract expats, local and tourists alike (all with cameras to document their crowded, but delectable dinner). Whether you're craving the eight treasure roast duck, complex wine marinated crab, or the heavenly sweet, sticky red dates filled with glutinous rice, this restaurant has it, and does it better than (almost) everyone else in town.

An old school Shanghai staple

For a quality, mid-range Shanghainese meal, Jesse is a must-try. Stepping into this cozy, perpetually crowded dining room is like walking into a Shanghailander's house during a rowdy game of transcontinental mahjong. The local fare attracts expats, locals, tourists (all with cameras to document their crowded, but delectable dinner) and celebrities too—even Jackie Chan has tasted their hongshaorou. Unlike most Shanghainese joints, the food is so clean and crisp that you’d be forgiven for thinking oil was missing altogether. The dried beancurd with parsley is perfectly balanced with tofu so meaty you’ll consider going vegetarian. The fried prawn and chicken with chili is a highlight, with the biggest and juiciest prawns we’ve had at that price. Other popular dishes include the eight treasure roast duck, soy sauce stewed pork and the complex wine-marinated crab—they do those staples better than just about everyone else. But don’t leave without trying a sweet appetizer of jujubes (red dates) stuffed with glutinous rice. Each glossy, piping-hot jujube is filled with a fresh morsel of rice cake. The rich, earthy dates combined with the satisfying chewiness of pure white rice cake are thoroughly delicious and quite addictive.

Find it: 41 Tianping Lu 天平路41号, Tel: 6282-9260

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Directions in English:

41 Tianping Lu, near Huaihai Lu, Metro Line 1 Xujiahui Station


Directions in Chinese:

天平路41号, 近淮海路, 地铁1号线徐家汇站


Phone:
6282-9260

Comments

Comments

johnnybgood

Inspired to go here by a friend's recommendation and decent reviews on City Weekend Shanghai. Never really wanted to go in given the place looked very cramped. While the place indeed was cramped (thank god no one was smoking), food (steamed fish, crab shreds/dofu) was very tasty. Service was good. Atmosphere busy/noisy. Prices reasonable given the quality of the food (reason for the 5 star value). Recommend it.
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cjanssen's picture

cjanssen

This is the spot for Shanghainese food. What's best about this place is how low-key the decor is. It feels like you are being invited to a local Shanghainese person's home for dinner. The food here is 100% the real deal for SH food and is a great place to bring guests. You need some "guan xi" to get a reservation and you must do so in advance as this place is always packed. I went with some locals who raved about it and did all the ordering, advantage I got to eat all the best things on the menu, disadvantage didn't really know what anything was officially called so would be hard for me to order again by myself. But the braised pork in brown sauce was great, and there is one fish dish that is covered with some type of leaf/grass mixture on top and then served, that was amazing. Sorry for not remembering specific dishes but if you get the chance to eat here go for it, you will not be dissapointed!
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petsrock

Yummy yummy food. Always go there when friends or family visit for some good ol fashioned shanghainese food. Call beforehand to make sure some dishes are reserved because some are gone if you have a late dinner. Love the fishhead! As far as venue goes, it gets a bit crowded and service can improve but the food is more than worth it.
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mikeinchina

We went with Australian visitors who had been recommended Jessie's. The atmosphere was great, the service was a little tentative as his English/my Mandarin was a bit hesitant but it was very efficient and reservedly friendly - nothing to complain about at all. The food was good, appeared to be very Shanghainese - rich, quite sweet - and very good and plentiful - we ordered 1 entree and 3 mains for 3 of us and it was too much so it's excellent value. Wine list limited but frankly, beer was more appropriate with the rich food anyway. I would not hesitate to recommend Jessie Tianping Rd and will definitely take overseas visitors there for a Shanghainese food experience - in a lovely location. It was packed with students, local and international - testament to good value? i think so.
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shinn's picture

shinn

It's good, but not as great as everyone seems to say it is. The food is decent and homey but nothing spectacular. It's definitely a great place to bring people from out of town if they've never been.
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howard_elpato's picture

howard_elpato

One of my favorite shanghainese restaurants. But you do need to call ahead to reserve a table, and preorder some of their more popular dishes otherwise they'll run out. But that means it's fresh daily. The tofu skin starter, big scallion fish head, lions head meatball, fatty pork shoulder, and crab and glass noodles are all fantastic.
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richprze

Yes, you must get a reservation for this place, but it is unbelievably worth it. The smallness only adds to the ambiance. The food is amazing here. I've tried one of the other "Jesse's" in XTD, and it was barely OK and definitely overpriced. This is probably my favorite restaurant in Shanghai. I highly recommend going with someone who has been here before (and knows what to order).
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shpgg's picture

shpgg

Reserve ahead of time for the chicken soup. It's the only place in town I like for the stewed pork, which is just lush, melt-in-your-mouth and perfectly balanced in taste and not too sweet. The vinegar peanuts is not as popular as the stuffed dates, but also something try to spark the tastebuds while you're waiting for the other dishes. Although more expensive than plenty of other Shanghainese places, and it's not a pretty decor that you're paying for. I'd also say the service is rather hit and mostly miss most days. But just one of those old favourites you can take visitors who want to try Shanghainese cuisine.
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bossytoe

Really small place and no frills, but good food. As others have mentioned, some times the popular dishes are sold out, but still a good value for the food.
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alison_lee's picture

alison_lee

This is ridiculous, I wonder where the buzz of this place is coming from? Went there last week - service is arrogant (is that because I'm chinese?), half of the stuff we wanted to order is not available, food is like what I got else where in those little local chinese shop down the alley, but price is sky high!! Will never go back again.
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chsnow

It is delicious Chinese dates jujubees. You must try it. That is why the restaurant is crowde. Strong recommended.
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goatmilk's picture

goatmilk

Oops, my bad. The prices and service are actually much better at this branch. I was thinking of the Xintiandi one.
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goatmilk's picture

goatmilk

The big basket of fried chili chicken and prawns is so good that I endure the ridiculous prices and service every once in a while. And don't forget the cubes of clay pot pig fat... YUM!
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hunter's picture

hunter

for shanghainese food, this is the place i take my friends when they come to visit. its small and you will definitely need reservations. highly highly recommended.
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poonyk

Had heard so much about this place from friends and colleagues tha I had to give it a try. In general it didn't disappoint. In summary, food was good, service was excellent with possibly the friendliest waiter in Shanghai (not hard I know!) looking after our table. On the downside is that the venue is a little cramped but that's about it.
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marcoschow's picture

marcoschow

Am not a local but loved the food at this place. There were 11 of us so we had many dishes and they were all good, my highlights were duck with glutinous rice, desert (we had 2 servings of the same dish, mini dumplings with alcohol inside), a noodle dish where you add vinegar yourself and fish head with reeds covering it. I thought the prawn dish with meat was a novelty. The bill came up to under RMB2000. We were asked politely to leave at the end around 9pm and considering the limited table space and good food it made perfect sense.
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joanney's picture

joanney

**Jesse's Tianping Lu is CLOSED for renovation from Feb. 26th to March 3rd.**
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scorpiodragon

As far as Shanghainese food goes - this is one of the "old school" types and I feel the hype and reputation of this place is a little overstated. Wait staff are snooty and rude (we were told we had to eat and finish in 30 minutes as they wanted to go home...this was at 9pm!) But the food is pleasant enough - hits all the right notes and enjoyed all the dishes. However, none were so good that it was memorable....and we had a whopping bill (over RMB 1,000 for 4 of us!!) for such a place!....the fault was ours as we agreed to 2 dishes recommended by our waiter (a prawn dish that was over RMB 300! and a fish dish that was over RMb 200). Won't be back in a hurry - there's lots of other better, newer and less expensive Shanghai places in town!
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invidia's picture

invidia

Can't partake in the excitement from eating among government officials (true, lots of them live on the few blocks along Kangping Rd.), but my impression of Jesse improved greatly with the last visit. Staff got way more agreeable, and we were pleased with everything we ate: soy-braised pork, pickled eggplant, crab-flavored tofu, onion-oiled noodle. Best restaurant - lord no, but - fine.
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dekcah's picture

dekcah

If you are going to be making your way here, please remember to call for reservations! The place is packed day in and day out - 7 days a week. They have some of the best (if not the best) Shanghainese food in the city. Famous chinese celebs and high ranking officials can been seen dining here once a week. I've been in once to get take out and they refused to even try and take my order down because they were so busy. If you do manage a table please be on time. They literally have people waiting right after you.
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ckhsu32's picture

ckhsu32

By far my favorite Shanghainese joint! I can't get enough of pretty much everything on the menu. Let's see... sweet soy stewed pork, the salty chicken appetizer, the mushroom & bean curd salad, the yi noodle, the hua jiu cooked fish, the tasty poached shrimp dipped in vinegar, the sauteed rice cakes... the list goes on and on. Best of all, be sure to call the day before to reserve the duck and bamboo soup. It's AMAZING with tarot rounds and long bamboo shoots... Always make a reservation! If you don't, you'll end up going home on an empty stomach :)
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invidia's picture

invidia

**Quick and quiet** The staff is a bit haughty, but it's a fine place for a mainstream lunch.
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