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This café-restaurant hybrid serves as a bastion of China’s mid-’00s approach to Western dining. It is what Time Passage is to live-music venues here, the Lianhua of supermarkets. Almost staunch in it’s refusal to move with the beat of Shanghai’s progress, it stands firm against the city’s evolving dining scene.

That it has survived this far when so many have fallen is not pure coincidence. Tima Harbour probably had well-spoken waiters long before Boxing Cat came into town and a fair cup of consistent coffee prior to the Illy invasion. Under the leadership of a small team of long-running crew members, a Western, mostly Italian menu offers classic dishes. They are churned out off-pat using the same recipes they have been for years.

That’s not to say they’re perfect. A sun dried tomato, feta and avocado salad (RMB58), whilst large and tasty is dressed a little heavy handed and light on key players. A thermonuclear lasagna ragu (RMB60) needs plenty of time to cool before the authentic and meaty flavours can be comprehended. A monstrously succulent NY steakhouse burger (RMB60) served with salad and fries, on the other hand, could be a contender for best in town.

Desserts come from the café and are 85c-like slices of eye candy. Light and palatable is a slice of tiramisu (RMB30) while a wedge of raspberry cheesecake (RMB25) proved a perfect match for a consistent espresso.

All of which is set to a garish and slowly crumbling decor. This is the mom and pop restaurant that has needed a lick of paint since 2009. Some may say it’s a little rough around the edges, but we find it comforting to return to every now and again, especially for their lunch menu. Tima Harbour may not be especially exciting, but it’s constant in a world of change.

  • Tima Harbour
  • 021 6225-8684

  • 11 Zhenning Lu, Shanghai [map]

  • European
  • ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
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