Qingdao is rich in seafood, including fish, prawns,shellfish and sea weed as well as local foods from other areas. Yunxiaolu is a major restaurant area. Qingdao explodes with regional and international deliciousness. By virtue of its seafront location, seafood rightfully dominates the menus, ranging in cooking styles from spicy Sichuan to sweet and heavy Shanghai. There are also plenty of foreign fare options including Italian, German, Japanese and Korean. Prices are flexible enough to accommodate all budgets.
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Shandong Cuisine is known for its excellent seafood dishes and delicious soup and presents its food (usually deep-fried, braised, roasted or stewed) with a strong emphasis on soy sauce, shallots, and garlic. Qingdao, regarded as the "cradle of Shandong cuisine", puts a spin upon the usual Shandong dishes with its concentration on seafood (sea cucumber, scallop, conch, prawn, and red porgy). Well-known dishes include "sea cucumbers stewed with shallots", "stewed salted fish" and "celery with creamy soup". Made in simple style, these dishes are available in most restaurants.
Unique seafood recipes are naturally the best-known Qingdao culinary creations, and vegetarian restaurants offer fresh local agricultural produce, except in mid-winter. Your best choice is to head down to any of the many little seafood restaurants on the shore or around Laiyang Lu to enjoy Qingdao cuisine. For a better (and more pricey) atmosphere, the hotels are a good way to taste seafood with less of the language barrier problems. The Qingdao Seafood Restaurant, on Qingyu Road, is also a more expensive, but better quality, seafood provider.
Qingdao also has a fairly large Muslim population and a couple of Muslim places are scattered about, among which most noticeably are the Donglaishun restaurant (Donglaishun fandian) and the Qinghai Muslim Restaurant (Qinghai musilin fanzhuang, on Dexuan lu), as well as numerous meatstick (Chuanrou) sellers.
Authentic Cantonese dishes can be experienced at the Peacock Restaurant. The menu is ever changing but usually contains such noted Cantonese dishes as shark’s fin and Bird’s Nest. The Shangri-La Hotel’s Shang Palace also delights diners with five star service in a five star setting. Or try the Gloria Inn’s or Jiangnan Gourmet Court. Its regal interior of deep red tablecloths lends the room a stately setting that is not reflected in the price. Eel, crabs and mandarin fish are some of its more popular menu items.
The White Spray Seafood Restaurant offers everything from Sichuan seafood to Beijing duck. Its seaside views and close proximity to the Badaguan Scenic Area makes it very popular with tourists. Or for truly exceptional views ride an elevator to the Rolling Restaurant TV Tower. It sky scrapes at 230 meters inside Qingdao’s Sightseeing Tower. The varying menu offers everything from shrimp and scallops to mutton and beef.
Murano’s, inside the Crowne Plaza Hotel towers as Qingdao’s first and only authentic Italian restaurants. Pizza and pasta rule the menu. The Dongfang Hotel’s Forum Restaurant goes one "western" step further by not only serving Italian fare but also Texas-smiling prime cuts of beef. For pizza and barbecue ribs in a lively setting wander out to the Surf Plaza’s New Orleans’s Music Restaurant. Besides dining, it also offers live music and dancing.
The appropriately named Korean Restaurant offers an impressive menu full of impressive Korean dishes ranging from hot pots and cold noodles to kimchi and fish cakes. And the Shimbashi Restaurant wows the taste buds with impossibly delectable Japanese dishes highlighted by blowfish, the kitchen’s specialty.
McDonalds and KFC are both now resident in Qingdao, almost next door to each other near the train station.
Of the quantity of Muslim restaurants in Qingdao, the Donglaishun, a branch of the popular chain, is of high quality. Specializing in Islamic food, kebabs, muslim bread and decent portioned mutton dishes, the restaurant is a safer and more varied, though more expensive, option than the street vending meat-on-stick sellers.
The restaurant also serves seafood and, surprisingly, fairly decent roast duck dishes.
Address: 7, Haimen Road, Qingdao
Biwan Hotpot Restaurant
Qingdao still has plenty to offer besides seafood. For a spicy hotpot you could do no better than the Biwan Hotpot Restaurant (Bibowan meishichang). The restaurant serves a variety of hotpots, specializing in the spicy. The restaurant also serves authentic Shandong and Cantonese dishes which are decent. This is a popular Chinese venue and so may fill up.
Address: 12, Linqing Road, Qingdao
New Orleans Music Restaurant (Jazz Music and Chinese Cuisine)
- Sun Plaza
White Spray Live Seafood Restaurant (Seafood)
- 8 Nanhai Lu
Blue Wave Gulf Restaurant
Graced with the Taiping Bay as a backdrop this dining pearl looks, smells and most importantly, tastes like an authentic seafood restaurant. The kitchen favors Sichuan and Cantonese styles, giving diners a wide choice of options. Those with flameproof tongues will enjoy some of the spicier dishes from its ever-changing menu, including bean curd and hot pots. Shark’s fin and Bird’s Nest are some of its more popular dishes. Tourists favor this restaurant, especially those returning from a day at the beach or from the Zhanshan Temple.
All of the seafood is flopping fresh, which is not surprising considering that if it were any closer to the Taiping Gulf its fa ade would be lined with barnacles. The seaside views are outstanding, making it extremely popular with tourists returning from a day at the nearby Zhanshan Temple.
Address: 29 West Hong Kong Road, Qingdao
Telephone: +86 (0)532 387 4792
Qingdao Seafood Restaurant
An ideal place for marine dishes, this restaurant towers top the others. Shandong, Yangzhou and Cantonese are the main influences equating to an array of spicy dishes, with an emphasis on garlic and soy sauce. Scallops, sea cucumbers, prawns, red porgy and conch are just a few of its expected dishes. The menu is pricey, but few diners ever complain. Reservations are suggested, especially if you want to snare a window table affording postcard type views of the beach.
Address: 20, Qingyu Road, Qingdao
Telephone: +86 (0)532 296 1958
Average Cost: 150
Qilu Chinese Restaurant
The Qilu Chinese Restaurant also is worthy of a visit. Its location inside the Qingdao Ocean Hotel does not afford seaside views, but compensates with superb cuisine.
With the Yellow Sea in the backyard, it comes as no surprise that seafood and more seafood dominate this restaurant. Cantonese and Sichuan styles are the preferred cooking angles meaning diners can choose between sweet and lava-hot spicy dishes. Tilapia, sheephead, rock cod, clams, crabs, and shrimp are just some of the dishes that the kitchen steams, sautés and braises. For those with asbestos tongues there are several hot pots to choose from as well.
Address: 61 Xianggang Zhong Road (Ocean Hotel), Qingdao
Telephone: +86 (0)532 571 7888