Despite being nestled in the very bosom of China, the capital of Hunan province (Changsha) now has a number of restaurants serving French, German, Italian, Korean and Japanese cuisines, catering not only to foreign tourists, but also sparking interest from locals who are looking to branch out from their diet of fiery red peppers, and onto something slightly more refined. Here we take a look at the top picks.
1) Bené Italian Restaurant 班尼意大利餐厅 View In Map
Situated on the 3rd floor of the Sheraton 5 star hotel, Bené’s oozes style. With soft ambient lights illuminating oil paintings, fancy tableware and shiny cutlery, it makes for a quiet atmosphere where your dinner certainly won’t be spoiled by someone on the table next to you yakking on a mobile phone! The only noise breaking the silence will be the in-house jazz band, who play diligently throughout the night. Bené’s signature dish is the deep-sea silver cod served with truffle, marinated in tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. Vegetables are sourced locally; some ingredients (like the truffles and olive oil) are imported from Italy.
Add: No. 478 Furong Middle Road, Sheraton Hotel (3F) Yunda International Plaza, Changsha
Tel: 0731 8488 8888
Opening times: 11:00-22:00
Getting there: Take bus no. 9, 109, 115, 116, 128, 142, 159, 348, 402 or 807 and get off at South Wujialing station.
2) Sun Young Restaurant松雅中西餐厅 View In Map
Sun Young is another restaurant serving up good quality Eastern/Western cuisine, but the real kicker here is the extensive wine list! Francophiles will be glad to see many of France’s best wines here, and they even have an in-house sommelier to help you decide which wine compliments which dishes (probably the first of its kind in Changsha.) For those who prefer Eastern cuisine, Sun Young has its very own teppanyaki chef, on hand to prepare anything you pick right in front of your very eyes. They too can recommend drinks based on what food you order. You’ll never have to decide again! To be whisked away to a world that feels a million miles from China, head to the second floor balcony and sit outside on the ‘authentic European style furniture.’
Add: No. 101 Venice City Commercial St, Bigui Yuan, Xingsha Avenue, Changsha
Tel: 0731 8433 3399
Opening times: 10:00-23:00
Getting there: Take bus no. 127 or 501 to Changsha Weijiao, or take the 503 or 703 to Shanshui Furong, and walk the rest of the way.
3) The Bavarian Beer House巴伐利亚啤酒馆 View In Map
A unique establishment (being the only one in Changsha), this bar-cum-restaurant is manned by a genuine Bavarian who likes to meet and greet customers, (so don’t go criticizing the authenticity of the dishes in front of the staff!) He also takes requests, so you can get your food cooked exactly how you like it. This is a great place to come with friends, and breathe in a whiff of southern German charm. Lederhosen optional.
Add: (Second floor) No 219 Middle Shuguang Rd, Yuhua District, Changsha
Tel: 0731 8443 3886
Opening times: 10:00-23:30
4) Crowne Plaza Hotel Pattaya Thai Restaurant皇冠假日酒店芭堤亚泰餐厅 View In Map
You will find Pattaya Restaurant on the 8th floor of the Crowne Plaza hotel, and it is (as far as we know) the only authentic Thai restaurant in the city. Despite being inside the cavernous Crowne Plaza, Pattaya only has room for about 50, so it’s best to book a table before arriving. The restaurant is furnished with Thai style adornments meaning no matter where you sit, you’ll get a taste of Thai. A nice feature of this place is the open kitchen, where you can see exactly how the chefs prepare the food. It also means you get to smell everything that’s cooking, so bring a clothes peg if you don’t want to be tempted by someone else’s food! The signature dishes here include a mouthwatering soft-shell crab curry, fried beef brisket with mango, and classic Thai hot and sour shrimp soup.
Add: Crowne Plaza Hotel (8F), 868 Wuyi Avenue, Changsha
Tel: 0731 8288 8888
Opening hours: Lunch: 11:00-14:00, Dinner: 17:30-21:30
5) Qiao Zhi Wen French Restaurant乔治文法国餐厅 View In Map
The French are stereotyped as passionate, romantic types, and at Qiao Zhi Wen they don’t miss a trick: the restaurant was opened by a French gentleman and his girlfriend. Soft music, mood lighting, and vases of flowers create an atmosphere to melt even the coldest of hearts. Menus and service is provided in one, two, or three languages (English, French and Chinese.) Seeing as it’s a French restaurant, you’d probably expect stereotypically French cuisine. And you’d be right! Imported French cheeses, foie gras, red wine, and for the big-spenders, even champagne! For something a little different and a little special, definitely try this place out.
Add: No. 101, 7 West Xinjian road, Yuhua District, Changsha
Tel: 0731 8675 2468
Opening times: 10:00-22:30
Getting there: Take bus 123, 703, 803, 912 or 915 to Qilimiao, or take 107, 116 or 803 to Yuhuating (East).
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Keywords: Western restaurants Changsha Foreign food in Changsha Hunan Western food
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