We included Shanghai Kitchen, a cozy strip-mall eatery at Belleview Avenue and South Yosemite Street in Greenwood Village, on our annual list of the best Chinese restaurants in Denver, mainly for its roster of traditional dishes that go far beyond standard takeout menus — and not its ambience. But the once-tiny joint has completed a major remodel and expansion, and it held a grand opening last night to introduce the space to regular customers.
What was once a pizzeria next door is now Shanghai Kitchen's main dining room, complete with a private room with one large table for special events. A new bar at the front takes up most of what was the original restaurant, and a small patio area lets guests dine al fresco under the front awning.
Owner Harry Zhou welcomed guests last night with a complimentary buffet dinner and a speech explaining that the interior design of the restaurant was intended to capture the spirit of Shanghai in the 1930s. While the furnishings are modern and new, stained-glass light fixtures, vintage photos of Shanghai and a faux-brick wall give the space an old-fashioned charm.
Shanghai Kitchen's online menu features a familiar array of Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese choices, but if you head to the restaurant for dinner, you can order from the Chinese menu, which features whole-fish specials as well as other authentic dishes. During the party last night, an octogenarian Chinese gentleman introduced himself, explaining that he was born and raised in Shanghai and that he always brings friends to Shanghai Kitchen for a true taste of his home city's cuisine.
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The restaurant is open Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9:15 p.m. Keep reading for more photos.