Eating and Drinking in Qingdao. Nicholas Buckland lists his tips in the Olympic sailing host city
Qingdao is a hub of excellent food, especially seafood, with a range of restaurants serving cuisine from all corners of the globe – these are just a taste of what to expect.
Shang-Pin Restaurant and Tea House
149 Min Jiang Road
Tel.: ( 0086) 532 8578-5626
Specialising in local cuisine, this restaurant has a wide range of food and wine, and is very reasonably priced, with most main dishes around 30 RMB each (2 GBP). Ask for a private room if you are with a group, or alternatively eat in the extremely chilled out upstairs area, complete with pianist and an abundance of greenery to help you wind down after a (hopefully not so) stressful day watching our sailors compete. Also a great place to relax with a range of authentic Chinese teas.
Hong Kong 97
90 Hong Kong Middle Road
Tel.: ( 0086) 532 8588-3388
This restaurant, named after the year Hong Kong was returned to China after 99 years of British rule, serves a myriad of dishes, including Chinese, Western and Japanese food, as well as offering a wide selection of wines, beers and traditional Chinese spirits. The red and black colour scheme, as well as the dim lighting make for a relaxing and romantic ambience, so couples abound. Private rooms are available on request for groups, subject to a 10% surcharge, however you do get your own dedicated waiter or waitress, and a great deal more space.
3 Zhanghua Lu
Tel.: ( 0086) 532 8592-7771
Just down the road from the Sea View Hotel and a favourite with the local Japanese contingent, this restaurant is the most authentic as you will find in Qingdao, with both Japanese and local foods, and traditional Japanese decor. Ask for a private room for the complete shoes-off, feet-under-the-table dining experience.
Cafe Asia/Cafe Yum
Crowne Plaza/Shangri-La Hotel
Tel.: ( 0086) 532 8571-8888/ ( 0086) 532 8388-3838
148-198 RMB/168-198 RMB
If you can’t decide (or, more likely, agree) on which of the many foods Qingdao has to offer, why not try them all? (well, most of them anyway). Both of these in-hotel restaurants offer a-la carte dining to both guests and non-guests with a range of foods, the former featuring Indian/Mongolian/Brazilian dishes, while the latter has Chinese, Japanese, Western, Korean and Thai cuisine.
Hausbrandt Italian Coffee Bar
31 Min Jiang Er Lu
Tel.: ( 0086) 532 8571-6861
Located in an area where coffee shops are plentiful, what sets this cafe/bar apart is its embracing of Qingdao’s fledgling sailing culture. The owner is a sailing fanatic, as well as an avid amateur; as such, the walls are lined with sailing posters and the widescreen TV shows nothing but the sport. You will also inevitably come across fellow enthusiasts, both local and international, with whom to discuss the matters of the day’s events. Add to this a range of European beers and wines and pizza and pasta dishes made with imported Italian organic ingredients, and you’ve found a place where a day of sailing enjoyment can be comfortably extended into the early hours of the next one.
21 Min Jiang Er Road
Tel.: ( 0086) 532 8573-5300
A mere stroll from Hausbrandt lies this intriguing coffee shop; owned by a Korean, she was so determined to make real Italian coffee that she went all the way to Italy to buy a coffee maker. Needless to say the coffee is excellent, and both floors contain big comfortable armchairs to while away an afternoon or evening.
SPR Coffee – May Fourth Square
35 Donghai Xi Road (inside May 4th Square)
Tel.: ( 0086) 532 8578-2296
A chain that started locally and has now spread all over China, the SPR coffee franchise can be seen to bear more than a passing resemblance to another well-known coffee company beginning with ‘S’. This particular branch is no exception, with one major difference; the location. Set against the backdrop of the beautiful May 4th Square and just metres from the seafront, it is worth taking some time to sit and relax in the coffee shop’s outside area. This is a place where the coffee may prove somewhat ordinary, but the surroundings are anything but.
72 Shanghang Road
Tel.: ( 0086) 532 8588-3613
One of the two Amy’s in Qingdao, this site is made instantly preferable by the range of foods food on offer. Foccacia breads, baguettes and even fish and chips are available, and with a multitude of both traditional and western teas and coffees, this is a place where you can remedy that homesickness while not forgetting the majesty of your current surroundings. You can even enjoy an all-day breakfast, for those that will miss that traditional British fry-up.
For those of you who like to party, Qingdao has an array of bars and clubs to dance the night away in. All featured below have free entry.
83-85 Hong Kong Middle Road
Tel.: ( 0086) 532 8593-2929
An underground club featuring loud Chinese dance music, karaoke rooms, dancers and the number one nightclub novelty in Qingdao; a vibrating dancefloor. The sight of hundreds of locals attempting (usually in vain) to dance in unison is usually worth the visit on its own.
Club New York
41 Hong Kong Middle Road
Tel.: ( 0086) 532 8573-9199
A great place to meet both locals and Westerners, this bar features live music every night from 9pm, as well as both Chinese and Western beers, wines and spirits.
Jack’s Restaurant and Bar/Old Jack’s Bar
108 Shanghang Road/ Yan Er Dao Road
Tel.: ( 0086) 532 8592-2968/( 0086) 532 8578-1207
These quiet, atmospheric bars serve food, beer, wines and spirits, and the former is also one of the few in town to show live Premiership football every weekend. Ask to meet Jack, the owner of both, and you’ll quickly realise why many consider him the most charismatic bar owner in the city.