Hangzhou's best restaurants

Hangzhou's best restaurants

There's something special for every day of the week in Hangzhou

First-time visitors to Hangzhou will quickly realize there's no shortage of restaurants to visit and amazing local dishes to discover. In other words, there's precious little time to waste on hit-or-miss culinary misadventures. That's where we come in.

To guide you round the city's best eateries, we've compiled a seven-day Hangzhou food checklist that will serve up the best without breaking the bank.

Monday: Grandma's Kitchen (外婆家)

Hangzhou restaurants -- Grandma's Kitchen Stir-fried cauliflower and bacon is one of the most popular dishes in Hangzhou.
With its multitude of convenient locations throughout Hangzhou, this successful Chinese chain restaurant is the order of the day for visitors who want to dine like a true local.

Grandma’s Kitchen is a quirky phenomenon that must be experienced to be believed, with legendarily long wait times during the dinner rush that only seem to underline its reputation as the undisputed champ in mid-range family restaurants.

The restaurant presents a large menu full of clear photos and reasonable prices.

Just point at what you want, be prepared to wait, then dig in and chew on the fact that you've got six more days of fun ahead.

More on CNNGo: Shanghai's best food deals: A 7-day guide

8/F, Bldg. B, Hangzhou Tower, No. 1 Wuling Square, near Huancheng Bei Lu 武林广场1号杭州大厦B座8楼, 近环城北路, +86 571 8517 5778, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., 4 p.m.-9 p.m., www.waipojia.com

Tuesday: Green Tea (绿茶)

Hangzhou restaurants -- Green Tea Northern Chinese crispy lamb gets a local twist with Hangzhou ingredients.
Hangzhou's local cuisine doesn't need to be mired in stuffy mainstays like West Lake sour fish or stir-fried Dragon Well shrimp.

Thanks to visionary local restaurateurs who have taken things to the next level with daring dishes that break away from tradition, tourists can enjoy more creative culinary expressions made with locally sourced ingredients.

Green Tea Restaurant has become recognized as a revered innovator that takes healthy risks in designing its foods, often delivering delicious rewards to those who take a chance.

With two locations to choose from, visitors can decide if they wish to dine in the city or, if they prefer, make a voyage up winding mountain roads to the restaurant's original location.

Either way, reservations are recommended before dropping in, as there will likely be a lengthy line at the door.

More on CNNGo: 35 Shanghai street foods we can't resist

83 Longjing Road, opposite the back door of Zhejiang Hotel 龙井路83号, 浙江宾馆后门斜对面, +86 571 8788 8022, 10:30 a.m.-midnight

Wednesday: Yun Shui Yao (云水谣)

Hangzhou restaurants -- yun shui yaoOne of Yun Shui Yao's greatest attractions is the picturesque backdrop contrasting modern and historic Hangzhou.With two venues in Hangzhou, Yun Shui Yao brings inspired dishes with all the flavor and character of China's famously remote regions, including Yunnan and Guizhou.

The restaurant serves some of Hangzhou's best fusion at prices that don't soar through the roof.

Both of the small, understated locations provide an experience that feels a lot less like being in the city and a lot more like being tucked into a hideaway destination.

The recommended best-seller is the fish-head platter, which may sound freakish to some, but doesn't disappoint, with tender, flaky meat in a rich and spicy broth.

More on CNNGo: 5 most scenic spots in Hangzhou

17-23 Donghexia, Xiaohe Lu 小河路东河下17-23号, +86 571 8694 9407, 9:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.

Thursday: The Vineyard (味雅咖啡)

Hangzhou restaurants -- The Vineyard The Vineyard provides authentic American pub foods that are hard to find in Hangzhou.
On your fourth straight day of Chinese fare, The Vineyard provides a chance to recalibrate those tired taste buds.

The restaurant's food has gained well-deserved notoriety amongst Hangzhou's expat community. Thursday nights are set aside for the weekly trivia competitions that keep them coming back for more.

It's comforting to find a venue in Hangzhou that provides consistently authentic Western fare with a healthy dose of American attitude.

Vineyard has fulfilled many a deprived diner's needs, with classics like bacon mushroom melt burgers, Philly cheesesteak sandwiches and New York-style pizzas.

Drinks are a straightforward affair, with a decent selection of imported and domestic beers and an enormous wine list.

Located near Zhejiang University and some of the most popular bars and clubs in town, Vineyard is a great launchpad to start a big night.

More on CNNGo: The 5-minute Hangzhou guide

1/F, Zhongtian Mansion, 173 Yugu Lu, near Tianmushan Lu 玉古路173号中田大厦1楼, 近天目山路, +86 571 8763 2388, 10 a.m.-midnight (kitchen closes at 10 p.m.)

Friday: Hubin 28 (湖滨28)

Hangzhou restaurants -- Hubin 28 Hubin 28's spacious and elegant interior provides a perfect backdrop for dining.
Returning to Chinese food on your fifth day should be done in style.

Hubin 28 is the perfect way to segue into excellent Hangzhou regional dishes prepared to Hyatt's international standards.

While this isn't the cheapest venue, the value for the money is excellent if you're in the mood for a high-level experience that makes the most of local cuisine and fusion concepts.

Along with the tantalizing menu, the decor will transport diners to a place that reeks of refinement without making them feel they have been disconnected from the roots of Hangzhou's unique flavor.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of dining at Hubin 28 on a Friday night is being smack in the middle of Hangzhou's tourism and nightlife district and right next to virtually everything worth seeing.

More on CNNGo: Hangzhou's best nightlife

1/F, Hyatt Regency Hangzhou, 28 Hubin Lu, near Pinghai Lu 湖滨路28号杭州凯悦酒店1楼, 近平海路, +86 571 8779 1234, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m., www.hangzhou.regency.hyatt.com

Saturday: Sawasdee Thai Restaurant (萨瓦迪泰国餐厅)

Hangzhou restaurants -- Sawasdee Thai RestaurantSweet and spicy chicken is a popular favorite, while shrimp cakes on sugar cane take taste to the next level.
Since opening in 2009, Wyndham Grand Plaza Royale West Lake Hangzhou has quickly become one of the most important landmarks for tourists who don't want to stray too far from the city center.

You can still sample a bit of Hangzhou's nightlife at safe distance from a venue where helpful and friendly English-speaking staff are on hand.

Besides having a fabulous buffet, the Wyndham (as locals refer to the hotel with the longest name in town) brings Thailand's trademark cuisine to visitors and natives alike, with authentic dishes that are simply some of the finest available for the price.

More on CNNGo: Hangzhou's newest weekend retreat: Naked Stables Private Reserve

2/F, 555 Fengqi Lu, corner of Fengqi Lu and Huancheng Xi Lu 凤起路555号, 凤起路和环城西路路口, +86 571 8761 6888, 8 a.m.-8 p.m., www.wyndham.com

Sunday: Crystal Jade Garden (翡翠花园酒家)

Hangzhou restaurants -- Crystal Jade GardenThe Japanese-designed interior provides a natural skylight during the day and an amazing view at night.
It's your seventh day on the prowl through Hangzhou's best-loved local spots, and an authentic Cantonese/Shanghainese meal is a good way to round out your culinary adventure.

Crystal Jade Garden is tucked within the picturesque tree-lined walkways of Xihutiandi on the edge of West Lake.

Probably the best part of dinning at this venue -- besides the comfortable and inviting decor -- is the fact that you can have a full-blown banquet fit for a king. Alternatively, take things in smaller bites with a dim sum menu that rivals anything you'll find in Hong Kong.

It's easy to spend a leisurely afternoon in Crystal Jade Garden's elegant dining room, which will give you a perfect chance to reflect upon your week spent rubbing shoulders with the foodies  of Hangzhou.

More on CNNGo: Insider's guide to Hangzhou West Lake

Building 10, Xihutiandi, 147 Nanshan Lu, near Xihu Da Dao 南山路147号10号楼, 近西湖大道, +86 571 8702 6618, +86 571 8702 7887, 10:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m.

Rueben Marley is a U.S.-born Hangzhou-based chef. 

Read more about Rueben Marley