Dining in Hangzhou

Dining on Boat
Hangzhou cuisine, being the most important part of Zhejiang cuisine, are noted for its elaborate preparations, sophisticated way of cooking and its most refreshing taste. It is not only delicious but extremely elegant in appearance also. The local specialties include Beggar's Chicken (an entire chicken cooked in a ball of mud), West Lake Fish in Sweet Sour Source (vinegar coated fish from the lake), Dongpo Pork (braised pork) and Fried Shrimps with Longjing Tea Leaves, and many others.
Kuiyuan Restaurant
124 Jiefang St, Hangzhou, China  0571-7065921
Started in the mid-1800s during the Qing dynasty, this notable restaurant specializes in the world renown cuisine of Hangzhou. The restaurant's chefs prepare only the finest and most authentic dishes. Their specialty is noodles, and a signature dish is the Shrimp and Fried Eel, a classic Chinese favorite.
Louwailou Restaurant
30 Gushan Rd, Solitary Island, Hangzhou, China ? 571-8796968
Dress: Business Casual
Louwailou Restaurant is the unparalleled favorite dining spot to visit while in Hangzhou. Located on the city's picturesque Solitary Island, this classic restaurant is reported to be one of the area's oldest and offers outstanding views of West Lake. The menu is classic Hangzhou and includes such famous dishes as Beggar's Chicken, Shrimp with Dragon Well Green Tea and Sister Song's Thick Fish Soup.
Shan Wai Shan
8 Yuquan Rd, Hangzhou, China ? 571 8702 6621
From the same owners of the exquisite Louwailou, this restaurant offers a delectable mix of Sichuan, Shandong and Cantonese dishes. The menu makes your mouth water at first read. Start out with a hearty bowl of Jingpin Babao Yutou Wang soup (king sized fish soup) and then opt for any of the chicken, pork, seafood or vegetable selections available. This popular eatery is situated next door to the city's lovely Botanical Gardens.
Shang Palace
78 Beishan Rd, Shangri-La Hotel, Hangzhou, China 310007 ? 571 8797 7951
Located on the edge of West Lake, the Shangri-La Hotel houses the Shang Palace dining room, one of the city's best options for tasting expertly prepared Hangzhouese and Cantonese cuisine. Live musicians playing both national and international music set the tone for an elegant meal, perfectly accompanying the well-appointed surroundings.
Tianwaitian Restaurant
2 Tianzhu Rd, Hangzhou, China 310013 ? 571 8796 0599
The doors of Tianwaitian first swung open in 1910, allowing visitors to sample outstanding seafood dishes and experience gracious service by attentive hosts. This tradition of excellence in both cuisine and service continues today, making it one of the city's finest dining rooms. Enjoy such dishes as Dongpo Meat, Beggar's Chicken and Braised Bamboo Shoot. The restaurant is situated right outside the popular sightseeing spot, Lingyin Temple.
Zhi Wei Guan
83 Renhe Rd, Between Hubin Rd & Yan'an Rd, Hangzhou, China ? 571 8781 8702
At Zhi Wei Guan, start out with some delectable dim sum while perusing the traditional Chinese menu that's filled with goodies such as their signature, award-winning dishes of fried cod, Yinsi Rolls and the Sanxian Shaomai (steamed buns filled with pork, shrimp and eggs). Locals also agree that the lotus root served alongside sweet glutinous rice is also a taste treat. Don't be surprised if the tab here is a bit higher than at other places; it's well worth every yuan.
Tianxianglou Restaurant
166 Jiefang Rd, Hangzhou, China ? 571 8703 3388
A vast menu includes over 400 selections at this authentic Hangzhou restaurant. Only the freshest of ingredients are used at this area favorite. After perusing the menu, select one of the vegetable only dishes, a noodle dish, or a poultry, pork or seafood selection. If you simply can't decide, try the Dongpo Pork, Tianxianglou's signature item.
Va Bene
No.147 Nanshan Rd, House 8, Xihutiandi, Hangzhou, China 310002 ? 571 8702 6333
Enjoy authentic Italian cuisine in the elegant surroundings of a lovely antique Chinese mansion that's situated on the southern side of the famous West Lake. The area is known as Xihutiandi and provides impressive views of the water. This bar and grill includes an open kitchen and a glass-topped conservatory as well as an outdoor dining terrace, ideal for warm weather dining. In addition to a well-rounded roster of Italian favorites, pastas, pizzas and more, the menu also includes traditional desserts and coffees.
Hupanju Teahouse
23 Hubing Rd, Hangzhou, China 310007 ? 571 8702 0701
Dress: Casual
Perched along the northeastern edge of Hangzhou's West Lake, this three-story tea house is a popular spot to sip tea with friends and munch on goodies from the well-stocked buffet. It's a relaxing place that affords great views of the lovely West Lake. The eye-catching location, along with the large variety of teas, quells worries and melts away anxieties, leaving you refreshed and renewed. Here you'll find the famous Dragon Well Tea made with the infamous Tiger Spring water.
77 Nanshan Rd, Hangzhou, China  
Dress:  Business Casual
Sophisticated and authentic, Haveli restaurant serves Indian cuisine, complete with belly dancers and an exotic ambiance that captures the feel of the country that gives the world delightful dishes such as tandoori chicken, dalchini palau (cinnamon fried rice) and dal fry (spicy fried lentil soup). Unusual for the area, a non-smoking rule stays in effect until 9pm, making for comfortable dining for non-smokers. Both indoor and outdoor seating is available.