Best Of

Best Chinese Restaurant

by

With its soft glow, French flourishes, and literary adornments (have a glance at the shelves full of books if you’re caught waiting for your dining partner), Café China channels the romance of 1930s Shanghai, when that city earned its reputation as the Paris of the East. Don’t be fooled into thinking you’re going to get Shanghainese food here, though — while the menu dabbles in many Chinese regions, the owners hail from Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, where food is best known for its fiery chiles and tingly spice. Stick to those specialties, and you can’t go wrong — we recommend the heady dan dan noodles slicked with mouth-numbing sauce; smoky twice-cooked pork; prickly ma po tofu; and the whole Chungking fish bathed in spicy red soup. The breadth of wine offered here will delight your oenophile friends, but you’d be better off starting with a cocktail and then switching to cold, light beer — it makes this food sing. 13 East 37th Street, Manhattan 10016, 212-213-2810, cafechinanyc.com