Add: No. 41, Alley 248 Taikang Lu (inside Tianzifang)
Tel: 6466 1042
Visited: Dec 2016
In a city like Shanghai, where the F&B scene changes constantly with daily openings and closings, the restaurants and cafes that stick around become all the more rare and precious. Like Cafe Dan. This small cafe in Tianzifang has been there since 2007, and is perpetually filled with the alluring aroma of freshly brewed coffee and delicious Japanese comfort food that I don’t mind going out of my way for.
There are three stories to Cafe Dan. The 1st floor is used mostly as storage, and to get to the seats one must climb up dangerously steep steps to the 2nd and 3rd floors. It’s not an especially spacious cafe, and fills up quickly on weekends.
My favorite area of Cafe Dan is the sunroom on the 2nd floor. It’s filled with sunshine and green shades on sunny days, and the sound of raindrops falling on glass on rainy days. Lovely either way.
Miscellaneous knickknacks render the cafe a bit messy, but real at the same time. The staff are all soft-spoken and friendly, blending in perfectly with the vibe.
Books and vintage decors.
Through the mezzanine window, the pedestrians below.
The menu here is long, and though I’m far from having tried everything, I heard most things are worth trying as the Japanese owner puts his heart and soul into running this cafe. For lunch the other day I had salmon toro roast (128 rmb). From the sweet sour salmon to the healthy embryo rice to the piping hot miso soup to the complimentary coffee at the end, everything was lovely.
My friend’s special hamburger curry and rice (78 rmb) was delicious as well – soft and juicy hamburger patty with Japanese style curry on embryo rice, ultra satisfying.
If you are looking for something lighter, perhaps try the Japanese style chicken hamburger steak (98 rmb) with garlic soy sauce, which can be ordered on the side if you prefer to dip it yourself.
Special oyakodon (118 rmb) is one of Cafe Dan’s signatures, and composes of steam-grilled chicken and smooth velvety eggs over rice – one of my all time favorite Japanese comfort dishes, done well.
Waffle with matcha ice cream (50 rmb). The waffle is made with Japanese rice cake, giving it an interestingly chewy texture, though the combination was a bit dry for me. I heard that Cafe Dan does an excellent tiramisu, which I have to try soon.
Cafe Dan Parfait (65 rmb).
A cute coffee cup and an even cuter hippo sugar jar lid.
It is especially comforting to be able to dine here again and have to same delicious dishes that I remembered from years ago before I left for Paris – not just for the food, but also knowing that there are some things that last in Shanghai after all. Come give it a try and perhaps you will fall in love with it too, though do be patient if it’s your first visit – the cafe is hidden in the labyrinth of Tianzifang, and might be slightly difficult to find…
Cafe Dan 丹咖啡