Something for everyone
While Dalian's richly-flavoured indigenous cuisine is everywhere, from small dumpling and noodle stalls to swanky dining rooms, if the visitor craves something more international there are several restaurants and bars that hit the spot.
Popular places in the sprawling downtown Zhongshan District include Barolo Italian Restaurant (14 Zhongnan Road) with its warm wine bar-cum-eatery atmosphere; more for fine dining Mediterranean-style is local expat-owned Riviera (G/F, Gold Name Tower, 68 Renmin Road) with a good wine list, and popular dishes on the French and Italian menu include escargot and foie gras, and pan-fried and home-made terrine; Olive Garden (9 Zhigong Street) is known for its good value Mediterranean fare, notably pasta and pizza; and Cafe Copenhagen (125 Tianjin Street), a relative newcomer, serves more European-wide food than its name suggests, including some of the best pizza in town , in a minimalist white interior.
Elsewhere, for a quality international buffet spread with a sea view in Xinghai Square, head for La Gauche De Malin Restaurant (1/F, 527 Binhai West Road). Brooklyn Bar & Restaurant (184 Bulao Street, Phase 2 Wanda Huafu, Shahekou Dist), as its name suggests, is a slice of American. Talking of slices, its pizzas are recommended as are its burgers, served in a simple environment.
Visitors wanting to try Chinese food in restaurants outside of hotels that are used to serving foreigners have a few options where bilingual menus exist and a few words of English are spoken.
Star Seafood Restaurant (1/F, 571 Binhai West Road, off Xinghai Square) serves excellent renditions of local seafood favourites - its fried crab is outstanding.
For something a little different, try refined and flavourful traditional Manchurian cuisine at Royal Restaurant of China (519-1 Binhai West Road , Shahekou District) - immaculately presented in an antique furniture setting that features several pieces that are over two centuries old.
For a drink and a boogie with the city's beautiful people, try 2046 Club (2 Tangshan Street, Xigang District) which offers a taste of nightlife among Dalian's 20s to 30s crowd, where live bands and DJs play beneath its chandelier bling. Alice Night Club (12 Minzhu Square, Zhongshan District) is more earthy and popular with an older crowd.