There are some pleasant places to eat out in Chongqing’s Shapingba city centre, but they take some finding. We’ve scouted the area and compiled this dining guide to make choosing your next dining excursion in the city just that little bit easier.
1) Yin Tian Fashion Café 胤天风尚茶餐厅
Hidden high on the 7th floor of the New Century building, is one of the most pleasant looks in all Chongqing. The Yin Tian Fashion Cafe mixes quaint, eccentric and elegant into a dulcet haven secluded from the frantic melee of the city centre below. Comfortably ensconced in its tall chairs, eith pleasant music adding a gentle backdrop to the conversation, this is the place to get away from it all.
An excellent variety of Chinese and Western meals will set you back some 100-150 RMB for two, the western dishes moving creatively away from standard Chinese-Western fare. A selection of coffees are reasonably priced – around 25 RMB per cup – and if you are feeling extravagant, 20-30 RMB will buy you a few mouthfuls of some exquisite puddings, ices and other palatable dreams, (or dietary nightmares if you happen to be on one).
The menu has English captions for Western food but is not so obliging with Chinese meals and coffees, (though the friendly staff and accompanying pictures can help out). There’s also a selection of wines and spirits, but be wary; The Yin Tian is a place in which to mellow, not to party. Relaxation in a refined, welcoming, and secluded atmosphere is the key.
All in all, an exquisite little hideaway and a welcome break from the blare of Shapingba’s pedestrian area that’s well worth checking out.
Yin Tian Fashion Café View In Map
Add: 9-10, 7 F, Huang Hua New Century Building, Sanxia Square, Shapingba District, Chongqing
Tel: 133 6808 1260
2) Basa Steakhouse 巴萨牛排自助
If you want to pig out, the Basa Steakhouse, is a quaint, queerly-decorated place, relatively secluded if a little wilder than the Yin Tian. You buy your steak, ranging in size and quality through 48-78 RMB – then you hit the all-you-can-eat buffet from which you can load your plate until you regret it.
Basa is becoming increasingly popular and suffers from very limited opening times; 11.40-14.00, 17.40-21.00. It’s worthwhile getting there early if you want to splurge and leave yourself with enough time to recover before waddling out of the door and heading back down into the Shapingba maelstrom.
Basa Steakhouse View In Map
Add: 4 – 6 F, Huang Hua New Century Building, Sanxia Square, Shapingba District, Chongqing
Tel: 400 1111 441
3) Bohemian Restaurant波西米亚
More centrally located is the eccentric Bohemian Restaurant. The menu is in English and Chinese, the food a fairly standard but very acceptable mix of Chinese and foreign dishes and there's a bar if you want to make a night of it. What makes the Bohemian interesting is the décor. Plants aplenty are interspersed with wind-up gramophones, ancient telephones and other such bric-a-brac. Somehow this all harmonises with the experimental art on the walls and it’s as pleasant a place to go to alone as in company with a large selection of (Chinese language) magazines. I found one devoted entirely to fashionable attire for dogs; utterly useless, but interesting pictures. Take a break at the Bohemian with a coffee, eat out at around 100 RMB for two or, if you’re in the area and sleepless, just hang out in there until it closes at 02.00.
Bohemian Restaurant View In Map
Add: 4th floor, Saibo Square building, Shapingba District, Chongqing
Tel: 023 6540 6189
4) Food Republic大食代美食广场
For an entirely different experience, Food Republic is very popular with expats. Fairly fast food with a difference, Food Republic had a number of small outlets surrounding a central eating hall. It’s all very functional, but price and variety make up for the lack of atmosphere. Upon entry you buy a card – which you can keep and use again – upon which you pay a deposit and then money for the food itself; from 20 RMB to 500 RMB if you intend returning again and again. If not, you hand back the card upon departure, retrieve your deposit and any food money remaining. (Don’t worry if this all sounds complicated; instructions are on the wall in English as you enter).
Then comes the interesting part: as you travel the perimeter of the eating hall looking at what’s on offer, select what you want from a wide variety, discover half way round you’ve already got too much but want more, return to the entrance to put more money on your card and finally sit down with two people trying to eat food for 17.
Alternatively… proceed cautiously on an initial reconnoitre, remember the few dishes which interest you most and then go back for them. With practice, two people can end up with food for three for around 50-75 RMB.
Food Republic View In Map
Add: 3, basement floor, Carrefour Precinct, Huayu Square, Shapingba District, Chongqing
Tel: 023 6541 3067
5) KFC (only because of its English Corner)
Finally, though normally we wouldn’t even mention this place, but one branch of KFC in Shapingba stands out for having a long-running, no-sign-of-ending English Corner. Just the place to go if you want to make new friends; Just the place to avoid if you want to eat without being harassed. The English Corner runs from 20.00-22.00 every Wednesday night.
Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) (肯德基)View In Map
Add: 2 F, Xinyang Square Building, 8 Shazheng Street, Shapingba District, Chongqing
Tel: 023 6540 3458, 023 6547 2381
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Keywords: Shapingba Chongqing eating out Chongqing restaurant in Shapingba Chongqing
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