A vibrant neighborhood with everything just a few steps away

Yang Di
Itee Soni has been a Shanghainese for 17 years. She enjoys walks with her dog, Robyn, and finds all she needs, from groceries to a nightcap, not too far from her tiny apartment.
Yang Di
A vibrant neighborhood with everything just a few steps away
Courtesy of Itee Soni

Itee Soni, originally from New Delhi, has been a very happy Shanghainese for 17 years.

Itee Soni, originally from New Delhi, has been a very happy Shanghainese for 17 years. She is the founder of new sustainable gift brand, The Nectar Foundry, and co-founder of one of the very first completely eco-swimwear brands, Loop Swim. Soni is also parent A to her Shanghai dog, Robyn, with both extremely allergic to pollen, a very Shanghai problem.

Could you introduce the neighborhood you live in?

I live on Wulumuqi Road M. between Wuyuan and Fuxing roads. My tiny apartment affords me a very convenient and beautiful neighborhood that I get to enjoy a lot on my dog walks and my bike rides to my studio which is in another equally beautiful and central neighborhood on Julu Road near Fumin Road.

A vibrant neighborhood with everything just a few steps away
Itee Soni

A view of the neighborhood from Soni's apartment.

What's the best thing about living in this neighborhood?

Everything. This maybe a super boring answer, but I truly do love everything about it. The greenery, the convenience, and the extremely vibrant neighborhood make it a wonderful place to be.

I have lived in Xintiandi and Zhongshan Park in my corporate days and then around the Jiashan/Yongkang neighborhood before I moved here seven years ago. People think it might be loud as Wulumuqi is such a busy street, but my building is nestled inside the compound with easy exits to both Wuyuan and Fuxing roads. The fact that I almost never need to order anything to my home as everything is just a few steps away is liberating. I see how much my friends depend on deliveries and as an eco-conscious person not having to do this is gold for me.

A vibrant neighborhood with everything just a few steps away
Itee Soni

Soni enjoys walks with her dog in their beautiful neighborhood.

What attraction here should not be missed?

If you love green spaces as much as I do, I will say that a short walk away is the small park at the corner of Xingguo and Hunan roads. With its majestic old trees, charming seasonal flowers, and the congregation of Shanghai's "golden oldies" who come here for some fresh air with their beloved chirping pets every morning, it is a scene that makes me feel at home.

If you love architecture, literally everywhere you turn in this neighborhood. From the wet market across the street from me on Wulumuqi, to the iconic Wukang Building a short walk away and so many hidden gems on Fuxing, Wukang and Wuyuan roads (like the former homes of Zhang Leping and Soong Ching Ling).

A vibrant neighborhood with everything just a few steps away
Itee Soni

The park at the corner of Xingguo and Hunan roads is where Shanghai's "golden oldies" come for some fresh air with their pet birds every morning,

A vibrant neighborhood with everything just a few steps away
Itee Soni

The iconic Wukang Building

Each person may have different tastes, but they all want a great cafe. What's your favorite cafe near home?

I'm a boring person who likes to drink her coffee/matcha/chai latte at home or at my studio. I can get Jonas Emil Coffee, Sana Matcha and Oatly across the street at Avocado Lady to whip up my own. My favorite chai is obviously something I bring back from India.

I walk a lot around the neighborhood with my dog and most spaces here still want you to sit outside with dogs which is not always possible with the weather and limited seating. Having said that, I like my classics — RAC (1/F, Bldg 6, 322 Anfu Rd 安福路322号6幢一楼), Baker & Spice (195 Anfu Rd 安福路195号), and Alimentari (158 Anfu Rd 安福路158号) on Anfu Road. I have tried more niche and expensive coffee places, but they are wasted on me. I like coffee, but I like wine more!

Where should someone eat around here?

My locals are La Vite (247-2 Wulumuqi Rd M. 乌鲁木齐中路247-2号) — simple Italian fare, Grand Goldfinch (Shangjinque) Cantonese diner (247 Wulumuqi Rd M. 乌鲁木齐中路247号) (both are downstairs from me), and Japanese at Most (1720-3 Huaihai Rd M. 淮海中路1720-3号) just around the block. La Vite is pretty much my extended dining room and folks there know my (and my dog's) name and welcome us like family.

A vibrant neighborhood with everything just a few steps away
Itee Soni

Soni considers La Vite her extended dining room.

For more local fare I love Four Seasons Dongbei (1791 Huaihai Rd M. 淮海中路1791号) and Lao Beijing Shuan Guo (346 Wulumuqi Rd M. 乌鲁木齐中路346号) for lamb broth hotpot. Both pretty brilliant for being loud with friends.

A good tuna sandwich is my kryptonite, and my nearest favorite is Crave (208 Xinle Rd 新乐路208号) which is closer to the studio. Also in that neighborhood, Cantina Agave (1/F, 291 Fumin Rd 富民路291号1楼) and Nepali Kitchen (No. 4, Lane 819 Julu Rd 巨鹿路819弄4号) are other guilty pleasures I often indulge in with my studio partner, Fernanda.

For special occasion options in beautiful settings, I like Ginger (91 Xingguo Rd 兴国路91号), The Merchants (52 Yongfu Rd 永福路52号), Something (2/F, 98 Wukang Rd 武康路98号2楼), OHA Eatery (23 Anfu Rd 安福路23号), and good old Sichuan Citizen (2/F, 378 Wukang Rd 武康路378号2楼).

A vibrant neighborhood with everything just a few steps away
Itee Soni

Lao Beijing Shuan Guo is a good place for lamb broth hotpot.

From high fashion to emerging designers, from flowers to fresh produce, where do you shop in your neighborhood?

Our studio in a quiet heritage lane, 820 Julu Road (House 34 — back door, 2F, The Studio) is a one-stop-shop for original Shanghai designers like me and Fernanda. We offer unique selections of eco swimwear, jewelry, aromatherapy, home and gifts items like organic tea towels, stationery, enamel mugs and more that are not only inspired by our lives in Shanghai but embody the essence of slow lifestyle and fashion in our very hyperactive city.

For fresh produce you can count on the Wuzhong Market (318 Wulumuqi Rd M. 乌鲁木齐中路318号), Avocado Lady (274 Wulumuqi Rd M. 乌鲁木齐中路274号), and several other mom-and-pop grocers at every corner of my two-block radius. I like to distribute my business around as much as possible just to be fair to all.

Same business distribution strategy for flowers. Flower lady next door to Avocado Lady, the tiny florist on Wuyuan Road near TEK Shanghai, or several others at the entrance of each alley all the way from Wulumuqi to Julu roads. I try to support as much as I can, though I am more of a plant person.

A vibrant neighborhood with everything just a few steps away
Itee Soni

Wuzhong Market once collaborated with luxury brand Prada for a pop-up event.

Is there a neighborhood place you recommend for a night out or simply a drink after work?

I'm not a "night out" kind of person. I am more of the "eat, drink, and chill in good company" kind. Just Grapes (162 Anfu Rd 安福路162号) and Alimentari.(158 Anfu Rd 安福路158号) on Anfu Road are perfect to enjoy a glass of wine outside on beautiful Shanghai summer days. Senator Saloon (98 Wuyuan Rd 五原路98号) is my go-to for a nightcap and a snack around my house and Chez Jojo Terrace (301A, 291 Fumin Rd 富民路291号301A) on Fumin Road is my go-to for the same around my studio.

A vibrant neighborhood with everything just a few steps away
Itee Soni

Senator Saloon is Soni's go-to for a nightcap and a snack.

Have you made any new discoveries in your neighborhood lately?

A quirky, tiny art gallery (246 Fuxing Rd W. 复兴西路246号) — Xiqi Gallery. It has ceramic sculptures by the artist Qu Guangci and they are quite fun. I have a feeling I will end up owning one of them.

A vibrant neighborhood with everything just a few steps away
Itee Soni

A quirky, tiny art gallery Xiqi Gallery features ceramic sculptures by artist Qu Guangci.

Special Reports

Top