Amidst the myriad sights in China and the things to do, no trip is complete without checking out their rapidly growing food and beverage scene.
Besides offering top-notch cuisine showcasing both regional and international fare, these restaurants have taken care to elevate your dining experience with impeccable design. On top of the usual spots such as Beijing and Shanghai, here are some other places with stunning interiors where you can truly feast all your senses.
1. Aranya Kid’s Restaurant, Hebei
Wutopia Lab created a children’s restaurant by turning a clubhouse into an art deco playground that is as striking from the exterior as interior. A bright yellow staircase invites one to enter the polycarbon wrapped cube, winding along richly imaginative spaces such as a dark room with PVC hollow balls and a starry sky ceiling, before ending at a red minihouse on the roof. In the circular dining hall and two private rooms, the use of PVC pipes, balloons and diffused white lighting allows one to break away from the normative ideas of scale and direction.
2. Waka Haiku Setsugekka, Jilin
Hip-pop Architectural Decoration Design Co. conveys the traditional Japanese value of “setsugekka”, (“Snow Moon Flower”), the pairing of seasons of the year to the three whites: winter (blue-white), autumn (yellow-white) and spring (pink-white) through the use of LED lights and modern design psychology. With careful consideration of colour, light and layout, this unlikely trio is combined for an eye-catching entrance and a zen-filled dining space. The result is an awe-inspiring ode to Japanese culture: against the midnight black walls, the blue LED light band vividly illuminates the sakura cherry blossoms engraved upon the ultra clear glass partitions.
3. Longxiaobao Restaurant/ Noodle Diner Sanlitun SOHO, Beijing
The humble noodle making tradition is given a modern update by LUKstudio’s revised “noodle rack” concept. The 200-sqm space is divided by rust-coloured metal frames, strands of steel “noodles” hanging from the ceiling, and a double height stairwell. On the first level, there are three sections with canteen-style long tables and group seating. It is the last section that is most sought after: the sole table under the signature “noodle pendant.” On the second-floor private dining space, the noodles drape to the ground in a cascading manner as uniquely beautiful screen dividers.
4. Yong Yi Ting, Shanghai
The renowned Chinese restaurant of Mandarin Oriental Pudong restaurant has a modern Chinese imperial style courtesy of a collaborative effort between Dash Design and Brandimage. A specifically designed sunken patio allows natural light to filter through the floor-to-ceiling panels of the Jiangnan eatery, which sits 21 feet underground. The airiness is further accentuated by the cream colors of the Chinese wine jugs hanging from the ceiling, silk dividers for individual booths, white marble tops, pale leather, and wooden lattices tastefully decorated with Chinese motifs. There are eight private rooms, including ones that overlook the patio or peek into the kitchen.
5. Ultraviolet, Shanghai
Lauded as the most avant-garde restaurant experience in the world, the secret location of Ultraviolet is revealed to 10 guests per night, where high-concept Western food is served in a high-tech room. Dinner becomes a production with video screen walls, surround sound speakers, bespoke lighting and even scent emitters, operated by a team of chefs and technicians who indulge guests with a fully immersive experience that they will not soon forget. Unsurprisingly, the post-modern restaurant helmed by chef Paul Pairet was the winner at the 2016 Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards.
6. Blufish, Beijing
Wangfujing Street’s APM shopping mall boasts a beautiful new addition in its basement in the form of an underwater fantasy world by SODA Architects. Inspiration for the warm-toned scene was drawn from aquatic plants, coral and fish. The French restaurant embraces the natural curves of the space for a streamlined flow of space, with the sense of continuity is enhanced by the same chairs in differing hues for the four dining sections. The predominantly pink and blue-coloured laser-cut mesh extends from the ceiling to the white walls, anchoring the design together for an overall gorgeous effect.
7. Lady Bund, Shanghai
Shanghai based French designer Thomas Dariel was invited to create an East-West fusion for this fusion restaurant situated on the fourth floor of Bund 22. The resulting design is akin to an art showcase; with so many different rooms presented, there is something for everyone. From the herringbone-panelled reception desk underneath interlaced copper pipes, to the main dining room with its Chinese inspired wall coverings, and a brass bar with hanging rice paper as a centrepiece, the restaurant is truly a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach.
8. Nous, Dongguan
This floral restaurant is the result of a partnership by Shenzhen’s 0321studio with Nous that pairs the visual, functional and emotional elements shared by food and flora. The translucent pink glass-walled portion in the centre of the restaurant serves as a floral display space, and is harmoniously juxtaposed against the grey terrazzo of the dining area where the enlarged white aggregates enhance the sense of space without encroaching on comfort. This colour theme plays off of the uniform grey furnishings to allow the pink staircase to stand out as a three-dimensional decorative piece.