Dali Restaurants & Dining

Where and What to Eat in Dali

Food is an integral part of Chinese culture and Dali in particular has culinary delights exclusive to the area. Many famous dishes of Dali feature fish, such as fish cooked in earthenware pot and hot and sour fish with greengage. Travelers can also try various kinds of food with strong Bai and Zang ethnic group flavours. The characteristics of Yunnan cuisine make up a moderate balance of sour and spicy, tender and sweet.

Yunnan Cuisine strives to keep the original taste of each of its ingredients. There are many small restaurants and street stalls in the Ancient Town selling cheap food. Traditional dishes of the area include Stewed Carp Casserole, which features no less than 28 ingredients. Steamed chicken, which is thought to have medicinal qualities and Xizhou Town Ba Ba, a kind of savoury snack made from wheat flour.

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All Restaurants in Dali

Café de Jack

In business since 1989, Café de Jack manages to roll with the times. It still serves some of the best coffee in town, but now it also has a free Internet station and a Wi-Fi connection. The first floor feels like a bar, whereas the second floor is more like a restaurant.

Kick back with a beer on the rooftop on afternoons when the weather's good. On the menu is a mixture of Chinese, western and local Bai cuisine for average prices. Local beers are well priced but there is also a small selection of imported Belgian brews on offer.

  • Location: 82 Boai Lu, Dali
  • Remarks: Credit cards are not accepted
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Clock Tower

Clock Tower has three stories, consisting of a ground-floor kitchen, a first-floor dining area overlooking the local croquet ground and a rooftop bar. Western breakfasts are reliable and the salads full of local produce are very refreshing. The menu ranges from traditional Cantonese and Bai fare to pizzas, pastas and burgers. Popular with backpackers due to its friendly services and pricing.

  • Location: Yang Ren Jie Zhong Xin Guang Chang

Go Go Café and Restaurant

This simple two-storey café affiliated with the Friends Guesthouse serves perhaps the best bacon and egg breakfasts in Dali. Although the portions are rather small, the quality is some of the best you’ll find in the area. Go Go Cafe also has a small range of local dishes and standard western meals (pizza, burgers, etc) for standard prices. There’s a public computer to use if you can get the staff off it and there is a movie viewing room upstairs. Go Go Cafe is best for breakfasts, but reliable for any meal.

  • Location: Renmin Lu
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Sweet Tooth

One of Dali’s newer additions to the scene – Sweet Tooth is a popular choice with tourists but is lacking in a locally based clientele, and this is probably due to the fact that Chinese fare is not sold here. Set up by an American entrepreneur, this is the place to head for sweets including brownies and a killer chocolate cake. Sweet Tooth also actively employs many of Dali’s deaf community. Situated in Old Dali, this is the place to head for an afternoon coffee and cake.

  • Location: Renmin Lu
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The Lazy Book

The Lazy Book has pretty much the same menu as most other cafes and bars in Dali that are oriented towards westerners. This cafe has a cosy interior and large selection of DVDs to view. Chinese, western and local Bai meals are on the menu.

  • Location: 15, Huguo Lu
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Tibetan Café

Featuring Tibetan, Chinese and Western cuisine, the Tibetan Café has long been a popular Dali choice. The brightly coloured and understated décor add to the unique ambience of the establishment, and on entering you feel incredibly welcome in the homely atmosphere.

The café is popular within the city of Dali and is definitely worth checking out, even just to try the unbeatable Dalai Lama's Breakfast Slam consists of Tibetan oats, fresh fruit, yogurt, and jasmine tea. 

  • Location: Renmin Lu
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Yangguang Café

Situated in the middle of Foreigner Street, Yaguda serves a mixture of Bai, western and Tibetan specialties. One of the best dishes on the menu is the clay pot chicken. The décor is traditional and cosy, with colourful lanterns hanging from the ceilings and a porch where diners can eat outside and watch passersby making their way through the Ancient City. Both western and eastern breakfasts are served from 07:30 onwards.

  • Location: Dali old town, 63 Huguo Rd
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