Like reading F&B reviews in That's PRD? We get it, there are a lot of them. Here's a list of the ones from 2017 we liked the best (so far), taking into account selection, atmosphere, service and value for money.
These are our favorites, but what places are we missing? Tell us about your favorite new restaurant in the comments section below and the most beguiling commenter will receive a bottle of Dona Dominga wine. That's better than a kick in the teeth, no?
Tucked away on the third floor of Agile Center in Zhujiang Xincheng, this eclectic canteen welcomes guests with a well-stocked salad bar (RMB58/lunch, RMB78/dinner for unlimited servings) and hot and cold fridges touting grab-and-go options like roasted tomato and vegetable soup (RMB28) and Sichuan style crawfish and cucumber sandwiches (RMB48).
Lunch deals are abundant and priced on the lower side; try a crisp salad, a soup of the day and either tea, coffee or dessert for just RMB38. The juice bar is a whimsical nod to your daily dose of vitamins; get superpowers (RMB45), a mix of ginseng, ginger, apple and carrots, so you can fight the tropical storm (RMB38), a concoction of coconuts, pineapple and whey. For dinner, the incredibly juicy meat mains such as the 48-hours barbeque ribs (RMB158) – cooked sous vide so that the collagen that binds together strands of muscle melts away – is worth ordering. The due of earthy cumin and sesame seeds add a supernova of aroma and piquancy, giving it a finger-licking quality.
Who’s going: global villagers, inspired distinctions
Good for: bold combos, fun mashups
We’re big on tapas, especially exotic ones. You get loads of delightful variety, and as Mama always says, sharing is caring. By the masterminds behind Le Saint Maxime, this part restaurant, part lounge, part nightclub on the sixth floor comes blessed with expansive, uninterrupted views – reason enough to turn heads. Its varied, modern menu is designed to share, as is most of Cocina’s food, which we quickly realized is as stimulating to the eyes as it is to the palate.
Down some anticuchos (skewers) to whet your appetite for more solids – try the salmon cubes (RMB48/2) drizzled with a peppery sauce (amazing), followed by some of the most delicious ceviches you could imagine this side of town. Be sure to try the Pescado (RMB48): fish of the day served in a small bowl with peppers, onions, corn and micro herbs in a bath of leche de tigre. It sounds strange, but we would fish and/or swim across the Pearl River just for one bite.
Who’s going: those with trained taste buds
Good for: ceviche, tempting tapas and late-night patio parties
After opening several branch restaurants around the world in metropolises like New York and Hong Kong, Inakaya has finally brought its treasured fireside cooking to Guangzhou, setting up shop in IGC mall last November. Located on the fifth floor of the luxury shopping center, Inakaya invites patrons past a wooden Japanese-style facade towards an interior that boasts eight private dining rooms, a killer view of downtown Guangzhou and a second story for parties of up to 150 people.
The price of a spread at Inakaya, not surprisingly, is spectacularly high – well, at least for the majority of China’s laobaixing. “This is imported from Japan – it’s 88 kuai,” we’re told of a sweet potato. Though brutal on the wallet, the teppanyaki course (RMB680 for one person) is well worth the splurge and includes an appetizer, salad, seasonal seafood (scallop in our case), roasted king prawn, beef tenderloin chops, fried rice with beef, seasonal vegetables, miso soup and fruit.
Who’s going: the well-off, foodies following Inakaya’s fame
Good for: teppanyaki dishes, sweeping your date off their feet
Situated in the charming dining area of Lingnan Tiandi, The Locksmith’s exterior vaulted façade draws one’s attention first. The impressive deco design originates from Australian firm Studio Y, and is just one indication that The Locksmith is pushing the boundaries of the F&B scene in Foshan. Australian chef E.J. personally cures eye-of-round, as well as dry-ages beef, pork, chicken, goose and pigeon himself before cooking it in a Josper oven from Spain – one of only five in China.
For a main, try that giant river prawn (RMB58) and the somewhat ominously-named ‘Leather Jacket fish’ (price varies by size), both of which are excellent. The fish, though somewhat bony, is doused in a creative mix of spices and garnish that has us eagerly pining for the very last bits of meat on the platter.
Who’s going: foodies in the know, anyone visiting Foshan
Good for: a classy evening out, home-grown produce and herbs
5. Kitchen More
Situated on Huandao Lu in Haizhu District, Kitchen More lacks the kind of competitive location that its neighbor – the restaurant-packed Taigucang Wharf – enjoys. To win diners’ hearts, therefore, the venue needs an especially appealing menu, and in that, its chef Dannies is confident. The former sous-chef to a Swedish chef at the Grand Hyatt, Dannies is no stranger to fine cuisine.
The main source of his confidence, it turns out, is beef Wellington (RMB188). Complex and demanding, this is a dish scarcely seen in Guangzhou’s restaurants (partly because it requires 40 minutes just to cook). We can also recommend the Iceland scallop with orange, caviar and fennel (RMB68) and the beautifully presented smoked salmon (RMB60), imported from Norway, which boasts an oaky, fresh flavor.
Who’s going: In-the-know foodies, couples on dates
Good for: sampling beef Wellington, gastronomic pleasure
6. La Medina
It used to be craft beer (Tipsy) and specialty coffee (Pressroom) that brought us to 289 Art Space. Now, it’s falafels, hummus, lamb tagine and cocktails, in a setting that works just as well for lunch as it does late-night drinks. La Medina – named after the maze-like medina (or ‘old city’) quarters in Morocco – is set away from the road in a quiet section of the park, making its outdoor patio secluded enough for working or gazing into the eyes of your unexpectedly chivalrous Tinder date.
It’s also one of the only establishments in 289 with its own bathroom, so you don’t have to trek halfway across the city when nature calls.
Ordering a round of tapas is essential to experiencing all that La Medina has to offer. Try the shrimp chermoula (RMB58), marinated in a pungent herb sauce, and, for large groups, the mezze platter (RMB110), a collection of homemade hummus, carrot chermoula, taktouka (a zesty puree of tomatoes and green pepper), homemade marinated olives, Moroccan salad and homemade merguez, or mutton- and beef-based sausage.
Price: RMB250 for dinner, drinks
Who’s going: anyone who misses homemade hummus, falafels and couscous
Good for: Moroccan cuisine, an intimate bar experience
Located in the Canton Place space that originally hosted Bocca, this new – or more appropriately, remodeled and rebranded – restaurant is dedicated almost exclusively to Mexican cuisine. Start with the tortilla soup (RMB52), which comes served in two parts: a bowl containing crispy tortilla strips, chicken, avocado and sour cream, and a miniature porcelain jug holding the hot tomato soup. When mixed together, greatness ensues.
The ceviche appetizer (RMB68) is made with red snapper and lemon and comes garnished with red onion, cucumber, coriander, green chilis, avocado puree and micro grains of beet root. It comes with freshly made tortilla chips and is the perfect size for a pre-main snack for two to three people.
Our main of choice is the slow-cooked Mexican-style lamb shank (RMB168), which is cooked for 24 hours in banana leaves before being flash-fried to ensure a crispy outer layer. For all intents and purposes, this dish may be the best slow-cooked meat in town – it literally melts in your mouth, releasing a medley of soft – yet lingering – flavors.
Price: RMB200 for a main and a drink
Who’s going: anyone with a hankering for tequila or tacos
Good for: authentic Mexican margaritas and guacamole
If you haven’t ventured down Huajiu Lu recently, you might be surprised to know that one of the area’s oldest pubs is gone, its recognizable green and orange sign replaced with a new emblem sporting seven glowing letters: Morgan’s.
While there are some holdovers from the ol’ Tavern days (like the invigorating chicken tikka masala, RMB78), Morgan’s culinary offerings are categorically more robust than that of its forerunner – you might even go as far as saying the menu is a quasi-United Nations of pub food. Case and point: there’s a kids’ menu, vegetarian and health-conscious options, six (sometimes seven) Tex-Mex dishes and a sashimi-style tuna appetizer.
For those craving for a filling, no-frills main, the meatball sandwich (RMB65) is going to impress. Made with a fresh French baguette rammed (with care) full of near-pool-ball-sized orbs of tender beef, marinara sauce and a generous portion of mozzarella cheese, this is the Italian-French hand-cannon hybrid you’ve been waiting for.
Who’s going: monks, pool sharks, old timers and young whippersnappers alike
Good for: good banter, homely atmosphere, comfort food
It’s with great excitement and relief that we announce Guangzhou now has a Morton’s of its own – excitement because the setup in IGC looks absolutely stellar, and relief because we finally have a restaurant that fills the gaping void between lackluster Western pub food and unaffordable five-star hotel fare.
Morton’s famous happy hour is on every day from 5-7pm, serving a selection of drinks at RMB38 and bar bites for RMB28-48 instead of the usual RMB78-98. If you’re looking for the legendary free-flow steak sandwiches offered at locations back home, however, you may be disappointed to learn that the Guangzhou branch (like Shanghai’s) doesn’t offer the complimentary snack. But don’t fret: every meal begins with a generous loaf of warm onion bread free of charge.
Who’s going: anyone serious about steak, local high-rollers
Good for: the tastiest red meat in South China, epic city views