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Dali Old Town Restaurants

Restaurant Details

In the old town, Western food is widely available and cheap. For a traditional Chinese meal served catering for four people along with beer expect to pay ¥80. Western meals average around ¥25, including a bottle of the local beer. Breakfast prix fixe menus are served everywhere and average around ¥25 including coffee.

Fruit stands and corner stores abound. Try to get a feel for prices before buying if you want to avoid paying exorbitant prices. You can buy apples for ¥1-2/shijin (a half kilo), a bottle of water for ¥1.5 and noodles/dumplings for ¥4/plate.

·         Serendipity, corner of Yangren Jie & Guangwu Lu (walk up Foreigner's Street from Yeyu Lu). Great American-style diner. Very good breakfast special. 


·         再回首 (Zai Hui Shou), Renmin Road (Walk east down Renmin Road just past Fuxing Road, traditional noodle stall on the left hand side). Spicy cold noodles with chicken strips, very well known locally. There is only 1 thing to order.

·         色了木 (Se Le Mu), Yu Er Road (Walk east down Yu Er Road, just past Fuxing Road, open restaurant on the right hand side.). Name literally means Salaam. Delightful eatery serving Dali Muslim food. Pictures are on the walls. Noodles only during breakfast hours while rice dishes are available for the rest of the day. Ask for chicken leg from the back kitchen.

·         Golden Local-Style Noodles, Renmin Road (Near Fuxing Road, several storefronts to the left of Bad Monkey). Noodle shop that specialized in Cross-the-Bridge Noodles, a local specialty where a bowl of hot broth is brought to the table, and then the rice noodles and a number of plates with small quantities of other foods is immediately added by the waiter. The menu is all in Chinese, but there are pictures displayed throughout, and ordering should be no problem. 

·         Vegetarian, Beef and Pork Dumplings, Renmin Road. Great place for fresh homemade dumplings. Nine dumplings with sauce just made and freshly steamed only cost ¥3.5. 

·           Vegetarian Buffet (一然堂), Boai Road (north of Mingcheng Art Garden Hotel, just off of Boai Road). 11:30AM - 1PM, 5:30PM - 7PM. All-you-can-eat vegetarian buffet operated by Buddhists, the choices are usually four different vegetable dishes, soup, rice, and pickled vegetables. 5. 



·         Sun Island Cafe (太阳岛; Tàiyángdǎo), 324 Renmin Road (Towards the East Gate),  +86 872 2676075. A couple of steps away from the main tourist avenues lies this hybrid of Chinese and Japanese culture. This is the place to go for some genuine Japanese food cooked up the Chinese/Japanese/English speaking owner or to relax to some chilled out music. The Japanese crew that manages the place might even throw a Jombei, Didgeridoo, Jews harp party which guests are more than welcome to join in on using any of the plentiful instruments. If the night creeps up on you after to many drinks or smokes then there is also a dormitory for ¥20 a night. 

·         Marley's Cafe, Huguo Road (Central Old Dali Town cross with boai),  +86 872 2676651. Excellent first floor restaurant. Very good Bai dishes. Nice decor. Cheap and has a narrow balcony great for people watching. Currently under construction 4.29.2011 

·         Om Shanti, 245 Renmin Road (East, down towards lake),  +86 872 2679306. Vegetarian restaurant which serves great food and has a great, laid back atmosphere. The staff are very helpful too and can give you loads of helpful information. 

·         September +86 872 2670266. Sichuan food. 

·         Dali Cookery School, East Gate Village, Dali Old Town, e-mail: Why not try to cook several Chinese dishes? Great time and good food. Several courses available with four dishes in each. Visit the local market to buy all the fresh veggies. Can be booked direct or through several guesthouses in Dali. Courses not running at the moment. Oct'10. 


·         Ruben's Belgian Waffles (红龙井比利时挖福饼; bǐlìshí wāfúbǐng), Corner of Fuxing Road and Honglong Jing (waterfall street), next to Dico's (红龙井和复兴路的十字路口,德克士边), +8613577015005, e-mail: Open everyday from 14:00. This small waffle place which is run by Belgian expat Ruben offers delicious Belgian waffles, with several toppings available.

·         The Sweet Tooth (Sweet Tooth 甜点屋; Sweet Tooth Tiándiǎnwū), 52 Boai Road (博爱路52; Bó'àilù) (On a corner in Dali Old Town). This cafe specializes in pastries and desserts. The cafe is owned and operated by local hard of hearing people. Serves delicious and high quality desserts, coffee and milkshakes. 

·         Cafe de Jack (樱花园咖啡; Yīnghuāyuán Kāfēi), 82 Boai Road (博爱路82; Bó'àilù),  +86 872 2671572. Dali's oldest Western cafe. Has a fireplace, great apple pie, pleasant atmosphere and a great rooftop garden. While the menu is a little tired, the breakfast is good, the chocolate cake legendary, and the lasagne just delicious. Spread over three levels, Cafe de Jack is the largest and most successful of the backpacker cafe/bars in Dali. Very popular with locals and travellers alike. The owners, local brothers Jack and Tim, are often on hand to provide good travel advice. 

·         Bakery 88 (88号西点店; 88hào Xīdiǎndiàn), 88 Boai Road (博爱路88; Bó'àilù) (Next to Cafe de Jack). This German style bakery is easy to spot and has a great cake selection visible from the street. Run by a long term German resident, Karine, and is popular with both foreigners and locals. 

·           Black Dragon Cafe (墨龙咖啡馆 mòlóng kāfēiguǎn), No.42 Centre Square, Foreigner Street 人街中心广场42 (In the alley two doors down from Bakery 88),  +86 13330556685+86 872-2670535. 09:00 to late. The best coffee, and generous, mouth-watering meals - the wraps (chicken, beef, smoked tofu) are a speciality. A good selection of books to borrow or buy. 

·         Jim's Peace Cafe (大理吉姆和平饭店; Dàlǐ Jímǔhépíng Fàndiàn), Boai Road (With Jim's Guesthouse). Excellent Tibetan goulash, vegetarian or with yak meat. All-you-can-eat banquet for groups of four or more, ¥30 a head. Various other dishes. One of the town's oldest traveller hangouts. 

·         Old Dali Four Seasons Inn (四季客栈; Sìjì Kèzhàn), 55 Boai Road (博爱路55; Bó'àilù) (Near East Gate),  +86 872 2670382. Great place to meet people and pick up travel tips; the Inn is a major backpacker hangout and people discusses their next expedition over breakfast. Has relocated and no longer provide all-you-can-eat breakfast. 

·         La Stella's Pizzeria (新星比萨房; Xīnxīng Bǐsàfáng), 21 Huguo Road, Dali Old Town (护国路21, Hùguólù),  +86 872 2679251. A well-run operation making generous portions of delicious woodfired pizzas, pastas, salads and Chinese dishes at good-value prices. They also have a wide selection of alcoholic beverages. The staff speak English, and there is a travel agent out the back of the three-storey restaurant. Worth a visit. 

·         LP café (咖啡), A18 Hong Longjing Road (红龙井A18). Is the sort of place every neighbourhood would be lucky to have. The staff are friendly, the food thoughtfully composed and prepared. Serves deli style sandwiches and snacks made with high quality ingredients. Has a good selection of imported wine and liquors. 


     Dali Wall Hump Garden (驼峰厨房-点苍虹鳟). 53 Hong Long Jing. At the top of Hong Long Jing (waterfall street), right before the Hong Long Jing gate on the right. This newly opened restaurant specializing in Rainbow trout is set in a beautiful garden built over the remains of the original Dali wall. Dali's rainbow trout is considered the best in China, and spring water carried down from the mountains is used for every step of the cooking process. This is sure be one of your best dinning experiences in China.

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