This year has heralded an El Nino of a summer in Chengdu, with the sun only popping out for moments (which is normal) between sandwiches of summer showers (not so normal.) Still, we all know that the reason Chengdu girls are the most beautiful in the world is because their skin is not prematurely aged by horrible UV rays, so we’re not complaining. Here’s the list, in no particular order, of Chendu’s best locations for outdoor dining.
1) Tongzilin Dong Lu 桐梓林东路
Nestled in the residential Tongzilin neighborhood, just east of the Great World Carrefour, this is the most convenient place for most of Chengdu’s south-centric expat community to grab a quick bite. The standard stop is usually Peter’s Tex-Mex for a burger and a mango margarita, or an Oreo flurry if it’s too early in the day for tequila. However, this stretch of real estate also houses Grandma’s Del Mar, which has some excellent Mediterranean dishes as well as coffee specials, and is usually not as crowded. Tongzilin Dong Lu also has some excellent Sichuan cuisine. Grandma’s Soup Kitchen has a beef in a basket dish that is always delectable, and the Performance Optima Lifestyle makes ribs that would even be worth eating in the rain. The only downside to this area is the lack of parking has turned the sidewalks into car parks, and the streets into sidewalks, so be prepared for a lot of honking to complement your appetizers.
2) Blue Caribbean 科华北路蓝色加勒比
On Kehua Bei Lu, the area beneath Cafe Paname, Jellyfish and Xiongmao has some great and cheap outdoor food. The Green Forest Heart BBQ and He’s BBQ have great barbecue late into the night, which is perfect if you’re famished after a night of drinking upstairs, and they’ll give you a chance to practice reading Chinese characters – just don’t do what I did and order based on the one character that you recognize. (I soon found that the character I couldn’t read was “intestine”!) There is also chuanchuanxiang (stick hot pot) and a duck neck stand (久久丫) where you can get those delicious spicy peanuts.
3) Shua Du 耍都
This massive complex is host to several outdoor hotpot, drypot (ganguo), cold dish and barbecue restaurants. Just do things the local way: walk around until you find the restaurant that is the most crowded and wait in line for that one. This is also where you can find Salut, a Spanish -owned and -operated restaurant, and still the only place in town to get decent sangria and tapas.
4) Manhattan on Xinxiwang Lu 新希望路曼哈顿
Another excellent location for dining al fresco is over towards the B&Q off of Hangkong Lu. Between the Manhattan towers you can find several cafes, and私家小厨(Si Jia Xiao Chu) an excellent home-style Sichuan restaurant () with a spicy chicken dish, and also a dried dofu, that are so good you shouldn’t leave Chengdu until you’ve tried them.
5) Peter Pan Italian Restaurant 小天竺西街彼得潘意大利餐厅View In Map
As you may have noticed, every other location on the list has been a group of restaurants together. The advantage of that is you can pretty much just head in that direction and find something that everyone will like. However, Peter Pan Italian Restaurant is off on its own, nestled on a quiet street just inside of First Ring Road, north of Yulin. It goes without saying that Claudio makes the best Italian food in Chengdu, but the quiet location with plenty of mature trees makes it the nicest sidewalk dining in town as well. Although it’s a little bit off the beaten path, it’s always worth the trek.
Add: 8 Xiaotian Xijie, Chengdu
Tel: 028 8557 7058
Of course, this list only scratches the surface of great outdoor eating in Chengdu. In the city with the most outdoor teahouses per capita worldwide, it stands to reason that the restaurant patrons will want to enjoy the skin-friendly climate as well. The important thing to remember is that as soon as the temperature drops, we’re all going to be stuck indoors again, so keep an eye on the weather forecast and seize every fleeting moment of beautiful weather that happens to come our way.
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Keywords: restaurants outdoor seating chengdu Al fresco dining chengdu eat outside Chengdu best outdoor dining chengdu
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