Address: No. 41, Lane 248 Taikang Lu (near Sinan Lu) / 泰康路248弄田子坊41号后门 (近思南路)
Tel: 6466 1042
Price: 100~150 RMB/person
Café Dan is small cafe in Tianzifang filled with an abundance of sunlight and the alluring aroma of freshly brewed coffee. Luxurious iced latte, desserts, and down-to-earth Japanese comfort foods that warm you up from the inside. Simply the best in Tianzifang, and might just be the best in Shanghai.
2nd floor, my favorite window seats
The window opens up to a wall of greens
In-between 2nd and 3rd floor
3rd floor, with a ladder leading up to the…rooftop?
Dan Cafe is a 3-story structure. The 1st floor has no seating area and seems to be filled with coffee and coffee brewing apparatus. After climbing the ridiculously steep and difficult stairs, you will arrive at the 2nd floor with half a dozen counter seats and a few 2-person tables that can be combined for bigger parties. The in-between floor and the 3rd floor have additional tables and tatami seating, but the space quickly fills up on a Saturday morning. We arrived before 11am to snatch the 2nd floor window seats because reservations are apparently not guaranteed.
The menus, both for drinks and food, are extensive. With so many appealing choices, even the most decisive minds can become irritatingly fickle. After perusing the menus for a good 20-minutes with plenty of flipping back and forth, we finally settled on the following dishes:
Breakfast set 3 – Japanese style, 60 RMB-ish
The Japanese style egg was fluffy and moist. The rice that comes with all sets, FYI, is a special “embryo budding” rice, which according to Cafe Dan’s grammatically questionable English is “milled the brown organic rice keeping the embryo and budded the embryo rice was boiled, GABA (y amino acid) in the embryo becomes more abundantly”. Basically, it’s good for you, an tastes great too.
The western breakfast set was nothing fancy but thoughtfully prepared.
Breakfast set 1, 50 RMB-ish
The special “healthy” chicken set is one of my favorites at Cafe Dan. The grilled chicken is unbelievably tender and juicy, with crispy and perfectly seasoned skin. The set comes with soup of the day, your choice of spaghetti (+10 RMB for Mentaiko spaghetti), coffee, and dessert of the day.
Special “healthy” chicken, 98 RMB
Dessert of the day was a creamy rare cheese cake with bits of orange zest. A little piece of heaven.
Dessert of the day that came with the chicken set
This soup curry had a unique flavor from unknown spices, and tasted slightly more pungent than the usually mild Japanese curry. Curry with salmon? That’s a first for me.
Hokkaido soup curry
The only dish I was disappointed with was the overcooked oden. Too soft, too bland.
The ramen at Cafe Dan comes with heavenly roast pork, which you can also order a la carte at 50 RMB/5 pieces. Though the ramen is good, I found it to be too pricey at 78 RMB for a medium bowl.
Special roast pork miso ramen, 78 RMB
Close-up: handmade noodle with kelp and melts-in-your-mouth pork slices that take 4 days to roast
The spinach hamburger steak was good but not impressive. Go to Big Apple for the unhealthier but better tasting hamburger steaks.
Spinach hamburger steak Japanese style set, 78 RMB
And of course, the iced latte with ice-cubes made from coffee so that the flavor isn’t diluted as the ice melts. Smooth and aromatic coffee combined with frothy milk that still bubbles as the latte is served to the table. My favorite.
Ice latte, 50 RMB-ish
Cafe Dan really does serve the kind of food that gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling on the inside. Come once and fall in love with it.
Where all the magic happens
Click here to see my second review of Cafe Dan.