A recent online vote by expats revealed some of the best non-Chinese restaurants in Hangzhou loved by foreigners.
More than 200 expats nominated 45 dining outlets in town, which featured a wide variety of cuisine ranging from Indian, Australian, Italian, French and American food.
Last week, Shanghai Daily checked out some of those top-ranking restaurants on the list.
This week we delve deeper down the list and take a look at some of the other choices.
The nightlife scene and alcohol are also an indispensable part of expat life in Hangzhou, and Shanghai Daily introduces two popular pubs frequented by foreigners.
The shop front of Mislead is tiny, squeezed between a bubble tea shop and a store hawking spicy duck necks. The cool, black signboard implies that it is different from the other two establishments.
“The place has been a pub since 2000,” Luna Mei, owner and boss of Mislead, told Shanghai Daily. “We are the sixth host of the place.”
Mei and her Italian husband, Stefano De-Carlo, took over the place in 2015. They’ve made a few modifications but other than that the pub hasn’t changed much.
“This was made from a billiard table, which was here before we came,” said Mei pointing to a long dining table on the second floor.
Mei is in charge of the drinks on the first floor, while her husband looks after the food on the second floor. Many have said he makes “the best pizza in town.”
The pizza dough is prepared for at least 24 hours in advance to allow for proofing. The prepared pizza is then put into a traditional no-timer two-deck oven on a large wooden peel.
“I check it with my eyes, you know,” the chef told Shanghai Daily. “The oven is my baby. If it’s not in a good shape the food is no good.”
They also do other classic Italian dishes, from pasta, cheese and ham plates, eggplant parmigiana to desserts like chocolate salami and tiramisu. Everything is fresh and homemade.
As one reviewer said: “Stefano does a really authentic ‘osteria’ Italian family-style buffet,” which refers to a small place serving local specialties and quality wine in Italy.
In Mislead, the drinks are as important as the food. While guests can enjoy recommended bottles from the chef’s selection on the second floor, the pub on the first floor is equally as charming.
Mei is the only bartender here who, like her husband, serves customers in person. She boasts to have probably the most complete collection of single malt whiskey bottles in southeast China.
“Each bottle is genuinely produced from its country of origin,” added Mei.
The “Mislead Special” is a drink every guest needs to try. It is a mixed drink custom-made by Mei, impromptu after she knows about the guest’s requirements and preferences.
Mei learned how to mix drinks from her own traveling experiences. The free-spirited wanderer has been touring the world ever since 1992. And she picked up advice and tips from bars and bartenders on her travels.
“A bar is a place where people put down their masks and let their emotions go,” said Mei. “The most important thing is to be true to yourself and to everybody else.”
Opening hours: 6:30pm-2am
Address: 168 Baochu Rd
Midtown Brewery, part of the dining facilities at Midtown Shangri-La Hangzhou, was opened in 2016 as an upmarket gastro pub on Yan’an Road in the center of the city.
Designed by Ryoichi Niwata from Japan, the place can accommodate 300 people inside and out, should the weather be good.
The area is divided into two sections: a dining area for tapas and a craft beer bar. The crisscrossed black iron pipelines on the ceiling and nine gigantic metal beer barrels, imported from Canada, accentuate the industrial feel of the design.
A brewing team of three, led by the resident American brew-master Eric White, is in charge of the conception and production of the beer.
The bar features a range of house-brewed craft beer pitchers, from ales, red and pale ales, porters, pilsners to India Pale Ales, each representing variations in style and production methods.
Each craft beer is named after a certain subway station in Hangzhou, for example, Wulin is the busy city center where the bar is located and “Wulin Wheat” has a yeast character of banana and clover with a crisp dry finish. The beer is popular among the ladies.
Apart from a fixed menu, there are seasonal beer choices to integrate local ingredients that are only available in certain seasons of the year. The beer of the season is the Kumquat Wheat Ale, which distinguishes itself by the fruity fragrances of the orange peel and kumquat juice.
Last year, they collaborated with a Chicago-based brewing company, Moody Tongue, to produce two new craft beers, featuring Longjing tea and osmanthus, which are both typical plants in Hangzhou.
“They are a tribute to Hangzhou as we aim to bring new experiences to beer lovers here with a creative mind and abundant taste options,” said White.
Prior to working for the Shangri-La Hotel in Hangzhou, White gained some rich experiences in the brewing industry. As a brew leader at the Boxing Cat Brewery in Shanghai, he and his team have earned several international beer medals.
The pub offers multiple choices of food and snacks to go with the quality beer, from German-style pork knuckle, Mexican quesadilla, Italian pasta to the Japanese sushi and skewers.
You can also try the most common Chinese tapas for beer, including spicy edamame, spicy duck tongue, chicken popcorn and honey glazed chicken wings, which are available on the menu every day after 10pm.
A live band performs at the pub every day from 8:30pm to 0:15am, except on Mondays, while free drinks are offered on Thursdays for the ladies.
As one reviewer concluded: “Midtown Brewery satisfies across the board and lives up to the expectations of a five-star service, style and atmosphere from the Shangri-La brand.”
Opening hours: 11:30am-1am
Address: 6 Changshou Rd
Tel: (0571) 8159-0433