China

Restaurants in China

If you must eat a meal before you get on the plane, choose carefully as the Beijing Airport’s options are middling at best. Prik Thai is the top Asian choice. Sit and look out over the ticketing hall next to a faux gold–topped Wat temple set among potted palms and silk-shaded lamps.

Chef Paul Pairet's lively, modern French restaurant offers all-day people-watching. The staff is knowledgeable and the food delicious; try the steak and foie gras.

This leisurely coffee shop is Asia’s answer to Starbucks; sip tea, sit under slow-moving wooden fans and imagine the Repulse Bay beach scene 80 years ago.

China is a popular place for tea so it’s no surprise that teahouses abound across the country. After a flight of stairs to the second floor, this Old Shanghai establishment opens up and surrounds tea-lovers with an array of antiques, such as maps and posters from the 1930’s and 1940’s.

Japanese architect Sakea Miura designed this bunker-like restaurant, which was once a movie theater for retired government officials. Guests enter down a concrete walkway through a bamboo garden and by Shintori’s sole sign, a large white stone.

Soup noodles with braised brisket, sweet spices, and tangerine peel is a steal at just $2.

Part of the Elite Concepts group, this restaurant has sister locations in Hong Kong and Kowloon. Housed in a brick mansion in the Xintiandi district, the interior has a nostalgic vibe with mid-century decorations and traditional artwork.

Graffiti art covers the walls of Ireland-born chef Brian McKenna's 2010-opened restaurant/lounge, which turns out whimsical, Chinese-inflected creations (chicken wontons with avocado-and-lime dip; raspberry-and-herb-infused chocolate pop tarts).

Sample local specialties include stuffed-beggar’s chicken and fatty dongpo pork at the great Louwailou restaurant.

On Sunday mornings, young expat families brunch on the terrace of M on the Bund, Shanghai’s first fine-dining Western-style restaurant, framed against the pink TV tower and other kitschy buildings of Pudong across the Huangpu River.

Americans may not happily push their bowl of Lucky Charms aside for rice porridge, but in Hong Kong congee is the breakfast of champions.