Best restaurants in Shandong

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Qingdao

    Shawn Tren's

    Housed in a former electrical office building dating from 1909, this super little restaurant, with big-window street views, knocks out delicious but affordable Shandong cuisine from its small open kitchen. There's a good selection of noodles, and the English menu makes ordering Qingdao's famous seafood much easier than at other places.

  • Restaurants in Qufu

    Zi Yue Man Ju Restaurant

    This clean, modern restaurant attached to Zi Yue Man Ju Hotel does ordinary Chinese fried dishes and noodles, as well as Confucius Cuisine. Staff are welcoming, but there's no English here. Confucius Cuisine dishes to look for include yīpǐn dòufu (一品豆腐, stuffed tofu, ¥48) and shénxiān yāzi (神仙鸭子, fragrant, crispy, steamed-duck soup, ¥88), aka 'fairy duck'.

  • Restaurants in Yantai

    Xiāngfǔ Ròudīng Shuǐjiǎo

    At the south end of Fulai Lijie, this tiny restaurant draws foodies from afar with its speciality dumplings (水饺,shuǐjiǎo); the ones stuffed with tender bàyú (鲅鱼; ¥40 per jīn, more than enough for two), a locally caught mackerel, are delicious. A half portion ( bàn fēnr) is plenty for solo diners. There are other dishes too, with a photo menu on the wall.

  • Restaurants in Yantai

    Róngxiáng Hǎixiān

    At this perpetually packed local institution, the seafood is crawling/swimming/blinking at one end of the room where you put in your order. Everything is priced, even the veggies; you just point at what you want, and they'll go off and cook it.

  • Restaurants in Qingdao

    Mix C food court

    Do as the locals do and escape the heat by taking the metro out to the city's most dazzling shopping mall where a 5th-floor food court is waiting to wow you with flavours from across China – Shanghai dumplings, Chongqing noodles, Hong Kong roast duck... Dishes are clearly priced and displayed, so are easy to order.

  • Restaurants in Qingdao

    Jiāngníng Huìguǎn

    The drama stage inside Jiangning Assembly Hall has been a long-time draw for renowned performers in Qingdao, and they still perform for diners here. Lunchtime shows (noon to 1pm) are Peking opera, while evening (6.30pm to 7.30pm) is cabaret-type singing. The buffet-style food is easy to order, and diners get ¥5 cups of green tea with unlimited refills from metre-long dragon-spout teapots.

  • Restaurants in Yantai

    No 9 Courtyard

    Set back from the promenade, but still with a view of the sea, this place comes alive in the evening when the barbecue is wheeled out, and punters sit in the courtyard enjoying grilled skewers (lamb chunks, chicken wings, tofu), pints of craft beer (¥25) or just plain old bottles of Tsingtao (¥12).

  • Restaurants in Tai'an

    Lǐjì Miànguǎn

    This no-frills noodle shack is one of numerous noodle joints on and around the non-signposted lane Yunzhou Jie (云舟街), out the back of Tai Shan International Youth Hostel. As with all of them, there's no English menu, but tasty offerings include hóngshāo niúròu miàn (红烧牛肉面, braised beef noodles), dāo xiāo miàn (刀削面, knife-sliced noodles with pork) and chǎo miàn (炒面, vegetable fried noodles).

  • Restaurants in Penglai

    Xī'ān Xǐchángcháng Miànguǎn

    On the right as you walk towards the beach, just past Joy Plaza, this unassuming Shaanxi noodles joint is easily the best of the numerous restaurants on this stretch of Zhonglou Beilu. There are many types of noodles, but the house-speciality yóupō làròu miàn (油泼辣肉面, slightly spicy, flat noodles with beansprouts, spinach leaves and succulent chunks of cured pork; ¥16) is not to be missed.

  • Restaurants in Qingdao

    Huangdao Market

    In the heart of Old Town, this long-standing, often frenetic street market is chock-a-block with vendors selling everything from squirming seafood, fried chicken and pancakes to fruit and soy milk. It’s all cheap, so just stop when something catches your fancy. Come evening, sit-down curbside joints (look for a ‘加功' – jiā gōng – sign) will prepare whatever seafood you bring them for ¥5.

  • Restaurants in Tai'an

    Jiānbing Guǒzi

    You find jiānbing (savoury pancakes sprinkled with chives, coriander, spring onion and a light chilli sauce) all over northern China, but Tai Shan folk are particularly proud of theirs, which they wrap around yóu tiáo (油条, fried dough sticks). Mrs Li fires up her pancake griddle from 5.30am and serves jiānbing all day.

  • Restaurants in Ji'nan

    Lǎopáifāng

    Just inside the low-key food street called Daguan Gardens, this is a decent place for a refined take on Lǔ (Shandong) cuisine. Order the unpretentious classics like sweet and spicy cabbage with glass noodles (¥22) or lamb (braised or sautéed, from ¥19), accompanied with sesame cakes (¥2) – not rice. Chinese menu with pictures.

  • Restaurants in Qufu

    Late-night barbecue stalls

    Street-side vendors are banned from Qufu these days, so the barbecue crew now set up their smoky grills just off the road in this large car park immediately northeast of the walled town's north gate. Barbecue skewers are the order of the day (veggie/meat ¥1/2), and they're all on display; just point and choose.

  • Restaurants in Qufu

    Qing Lu Tea Restaurant

    One of the few places in town with an English menu, this friendly cafe-bar-restaurant attached to the town's excellent youth hostel does a mix of Western (pizza, pasta, salads, sandwiches) and Chinese (noodles, dumplings, rice meals) food. Also good for a morning coffee, or an evening beer over a game of pool.

  • Restaurants in Qingdao

    Wù Yuán

    This upmarket cafe-restaurant isn't quite on No 3 Beach, but it sure is close. The coffee is excellent, as is the Western food (sirloin steaks, lamb chops, salads and soups), and there are sea views from the 1st floor, though it also has a large ground-floor terrace.

  • Restaurants in Qingdao

    Pichaiyuan Food Street

    Off Zhongshan Lu, an archway with a plaster motif ‘1902’ leads to a vast warren of street-food stalls that buzz with hungry tourists looking for seafood skewers, pig's trotters, dumplings and more. It's especially lively come evening.

  • Restaurants in Ji'nan

    Furong Jie

    Heaving with hungry punters in the early evening, this raucous, pedestrianised street-food alley is lined with hole-in-the-wall places to eat servings clams, stinky tofu and barbecued skewers. Unashamedly touristy, but lots of fun.

  • Restaurants in Ji'nan

    Ronghui Jinan Old Commercial Port

    This rebuilt restaurant enclave, with attractive treaty-port-style architecture, is dotted with upscale restaurants, bars and cafes and is a popular hangout come evenings.

  • Restaurants in Qingdao

    Chun He Lou

    In the old quarter of town, this Lǔ (Shandong) cuisine institution was founded in 1891 and is known for its delicious dumplings. Choose either shuǐ jiǎo (水饺, boiled dumplings) or zhēng jiǎo (蒸饺, steamed dumplings). Fillings include ròu sān xiān (肉三鲜, pork, dried shrimp and mushroom; ¥30), xiā rén (虾仁, fresh shrimp with chives; ¥48) and báicài dà bāo (白菜大包, pork with cabbage; ¥20).

  • Restaurants in Ji'nan

    Yǐnhǔchí Jiē

    Evenings used to be smoky on Yinhuchi Jie in the Hui district near the Great Southern Mosque, with hawkers fanning the flames of charcoal grills lining the street, roasting up all manner of shāokǎo (barbecue skewers). Sadly coal-fired barbecues have been banned – too polluting apparently (though cars seem to be OK!) – but small restaurants do the same job on indoor electric barbecues.