Best Hotel Dining in Suzhou

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An updated list of best hotel restaurants in Suzhou

Your lust for gastronomic adventure might see you feasting on street foods from roadside carts and slurping down hearty noodle soups from dingy alley stalls every once in a while. But sometimes, even foodie thrill seekers need a night off from barbeque skewers and takeaway boxes. If it’s a special occasion, we even think it’s a worth a splurge at a fancy restaurant. Most of the time, the best dining establishments in Suzhou can be found in the city’s premium hotels. Hotel restaurants may charge prices that are a little higher than in your average city joint, but when it comes to food quality and service standards, they’re probably hard to beat.

Your lust for gastronomic adventure might see you feasting on street foods from roadside carts and slurping down hearty noodle soups from dingy alley stalls every once in a while. But sometimes, even foodie thrill seekers need a night off from barbeque skewers and takeaway boxes. If it’s a special occasion, we even think it’s a worth a splurge at a fancy restaurant. Most of the time, the best dining establishments in Suzhou can be found in the city’s premium hotels. Hotel restaurants may charge prices that are a little higher than in your average city joint, but when it comes to food quality and service standards, they’re probably hard to beat.

Bacio
The ubiquitous ‘Italian-in-a-5-star-hotel’ has become such a fine dining cliché, one imagines there must be some kind of industry-wide template to follow when embarking on such a venture. Thankfully, the people behind Bacio (Italian for ‘kiss’) at the recently opened DoubleTree by Hilton in SIP have steered clear of any such rules, creating a homely and welcoming environment that serves fuss-free Italian dishes at competitive – for a hotel – prices. In fact, the marble-effect flooring and walls is the only concession to luxury in an otherwise unpretentious setting that seems well suited to both large parties and romancing couples.

The menu is equally inviting. Sure, there’s the obligatory pastas and pizzas, but also an appetizing array of seafood on offer, including grilled fillet of snapper with bitter greens and caramelized red onion (148RMB), and pan-fried king prawns with basil and beetroot cous cous (168RMB); for our money two of the better value dishes. The kitchen is open, the lighting is moody, and the music is smoochy classics by the likes of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett. We suspect this restaurant is one kiss that will linger on the palate.

China Spice
This restaurant lacks the size that one usually expects at a hotel establishment, but at China Spice we think that’s a good thing. The premises may be small, but the setting is by no means shabby. The interior décor is classic yet modern, and the restaurant bathes in a pleasant, soft glow under the reflection of warm lighting against dark wood partitions. In addition, the restaurant layout, with booth seats and private spaces, allows your dining experience to remain cozy and intimate. The food is also good, with the menu featuring a selection of Cantonese dishes as well as local and regional specialties. A cozy restaurant and good food. We think it’s a great place to bring a date.

Danny’s Kitchen
Danny’s Kitchen is a lovely find in Suzhou’s dining scene, one of a rare breed of restaurants that makes eating out feel like a sinfully indulgent experience. The kitchen serves some clever interpretations of popular classics: think thick, creamy, foamy mushroom soup served in a cappuccino coffee cup, or a seafood-risotto-inspired dish adapted to local tastes. Instead of the usual Arborio rice, this dish is cooked with orzo, a short-cut pasta with a tender texture. Other French and Italian dishes on the menu include caramelized foie gras with candied fruit, and braised rack of lamb. Desserts are just as decadent. The soufflé with ice cream is fluffy and pillowy soft, and a hint of orange zest provides a delightfully refreshing lift to the flavors. Prices are reasonable considering the quality of food. Set dinner menus are priced from ¥588, and lunch sets are available from ¥168.

Hua Chi 88
The Chinese restaurants in the Hyatt brand of hotels are widely recognized for serving some of the best roast duck you could find in China. In Suzhou, this is no different. A seven-ton brick oven imported from Beijing fires up these succulent morsels, and for ¥288, diners get a whole bird that’s deliciously roasted to perfection, with crispy, thin skin wrapped around plump, juicy flesh. While the duck is certainly the star of the restaurant, it’s also worth noting that the establishment is also known for a range of Chinese culinary delights that focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients. We recommend bringing a dining party of at least six to eight; this will allow you a generous sampling of the restaurant’s best dishes.

Nishimura
Japanese dining options are aplenty in Suzhou, but quantity is seldom a substitute for quality. Nishimura happens to be one of the very few Japanese restaurants in the city that makes good on its promise of fresh ingredients and authentic flavors. Our favorite order at the restaurant is the fresh sashimi platter. Each slice is always cut to the perfect thickness. Service here is top notch. Waiters are warm and friendly without being obsequious, and they are attentive enough to notice when a tea cup needs to be refilled. After dinner, linger around and knock back a few glasses of sake. Additional tip: the restaurant gets its delivery of fresh fish every Wednesday morning, so this is probably the best day to make a reservation.

Riva Steak House
This is indisputably the best steakhouse in Suzhou. The restaurant boasts an open kitchen, and design magazine-worthy interiors of brick and plush leather. The main attraction, however, is the steak. Once you’re seated, you’ll first get to choose a steak knife. After you’ve selected your choice of meat, it’s brought to the table piping hot on a butcher’s block, then branded with the Riva logo. The lovely juices of the meat sizzle into a huge cloud of charred smoky awesomeness, and at this point, you’ve become quite delirious with the anticipation of beef, beef and more beef. But save space for dessert. The homemade chocolate flower pot sundae is a perennial favourite. It looks like a potted flower, but the entire creation—even the pot itself—is actually made from ice cream, chocolate, cookies, gummies and mint. Truly decadent!

TBoat
This is one of the few casual restaurants in Suzhou you can trust to cook up decent versions of classic Western meals. The interiors are bright and spacious, with full length floor-to-ceiling glass windows that allow a pleasant view of the gardens outside. There’s also an outdoor patio if you choose to dine outside. Service is brisk but friendly, and we like the semi open kitchen that allows customers to watch the chef at work. During the evening, the restaurant transforms into a sports bar, with live screenings of sports games and events. TBoat serves some regional Asian dishes, but we feel that the restaurant does better with classic bar favorites. There is also a range of American craft beers, as well as more famous brews from Germany and Belgium. Overall, a good place for a casual, after-work dinner catchup with friends.

The Fireplace
It’s seldom you meet a chef as affable as the one at The Fireplace, and we dare say that his big personality is a large part of the restaurant’s success. Rather than hide behind his team, Ahmet is fond of popping out of the kitchen from time to time to talk and interact with his guests. Originally from Turkey, Ahmet Bilgen oversees a kitchen that serves some delicious international classics. We cannot get enough of the lobster bisque, a bowl of golden orange liquid with all the sweet, rich flavors of a freshly harvested sea crustacean. Other must-orders include the Wagyu beef sirloin and the cod in seven-herb salt crust. Leave room for dessert. The tiramisu is one of the best we’ve tried. If you’re looking for some drama, however, try the baked Alaska. It’s undoubtedly a visual treat—layers of ice cream wrapped in sponge within a shiny, glossy Italian meringue. Even if you don’t have much of a sweet tooth, it’s still a great conversation piece to round off the evening.

WUGU Restaurant
This newly opened restaurant is worth at least a visit to view its beautiful interiors. WUGU Restaurant is the latest offering in the host of dining establishments at Fairmont Yangcheng Lake, and we dare say it is by far the most striking. The concept of the restaurant is refreshingly modern and progressive: the kitchen uses only ingredients sourced from within a 150-kilometer radius, and this helps to reduce the restaurant’s carbon footprint and ensure environmental sustainability. The restaurant serves affordable local and regional dishes that are themed around wugu, or the five grains used in traditional Chinese home cooking: rice, wheat, millet, barley and soybeans. Dare we say it? We think this restaurant will likely become one of Suzhou’s favorite culinary hotspots. Visit before the crowds descend!

Xiu
If you love Chinese food for the dimsum, Xiu is probably your best bet for satisfying those siewmai cravings. We all love buffets. But all-you-can-eat dimsum? We say, bring it on! There is a total of nearly 50 items available at this buffet, which also includes a choice of fruit juice, and fresh and soya milk. Must-orders include steamed shrimp dumplings, deep-fried spring rolls stuffed with shredded chicken, and of course, barbecued pork buns. Each serving comes in small portions, making it easy to sample a great many dishes in just one gluttonous feasting session. We think the buffet dimsum is hands down the best in Suzhou. But if you prefer, the restaurant also offers an a la carte menu featuring both Cantonese and Suzhounese regional specialties.