Tianjin's Best Restaurants for Travelers on a Budget

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/xelp/7158250949">Tianjin Food | Jun Wang / Flickr</a>
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/xelp/7158250949">Tianjin Food | Jun Wang / Flickr</a>
Photo of Jon Santangelo
4 September 2017

Being a cosmopolitan city with a long history of foreign influence and ancient culture, there are a plethora of restaurants to choose from in Tianjin. From Latin to local, no matter what mood you’re in, a sumptuous meal won’t deplete your travel budget by much. Here are some of the best affordably-priced restaurants to try during your trip to Tianjin.

Alibaba

Bar, Restaurant, Fusion
Map View

This hometown bar, with a loyal following has been open since the 1990s. Serving both international and Chinese food, Alibaba is where visitors from all over meet and share their stories and experiences. Make this pub a must if you are in Tianjin and want to enjoy a mix of just about any kind of cuisine while striking up a conversation with a fellow student, teacher, or traveler. Its eclectic menu will be a welcome change after days of dumplings. Prices are friendly too.

TJ Tex Mex

Restaurant, Mexican
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Serving fresh guacamole daily, a rarity in China, TJ Tex Mex provides the comfort food that most American expats and travelers crave. At reasonable prices, menu items are usually cheaper than you’d find in southwest U.S. Here you can dine on steak quesadillas, chicken burritos, and enjoy an appetizer of nacho chips. Finding this kind of cuisine in China is quite a hard feat, so savor this delicious Tex-Mex while you’re here! Average meals are priced around 10 USD.

Kai BiLe DIY Barbeque Restaurant

, $$$

At just 68 RMB ($10) per head, you’ll be able to stuff your face and leave Tianjin well-satisfied. Kai BiLe DIY buffet is loaded with all kinds of roasted chops, cuts of meat and plates of seafood. It’s also all you can drink and there are countless desserts. With its increasing popularity, you may expect a 30-minute wait at peak times.

XinJiang FengWei Restaurant

Restaurant, Chinese
Map View

One of the most authentic Xinjiang restaurants you can experience, this is a must-try on a trip to Tianjin. Derived from the ethnic minorities of China’s western province, the food here is full of Xinjiang characteristics. Try lamb skewers, beef, pastries, yogurt, hand pilaf, and more. You’ll leave totally stuffed but wanting more. The best part is it’s definitely doable on a budget. XinJiang Feng Wei restaurant is located in the Tianjin Railway Station Square.

Goubuli

Restaurant with Rooms, Chinese, $$$

If you really want to experience local luxury food at an acceptable price, Goubuli is a staple restaurant of Tianjin. Consisting of multiple rooms and floors, the building is a bit run-down due to its old age but the food is still delicious. The outside of the building resembles historical China, and the restaurant’s signature dish is the steamed bun. Be sure to try the clams. Average price, 220 RMB for three ($11 each).

Helen's

Bar, Restaurant, Fusion
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If you’re out and just want simple and inexpensive Western food, Helen’s is an excellent place for hamburgers and fries. Geared towards universities, the prices are kept at student-friendly levels. Opposite to its noisy nightlife scene, during the day it is a quiet place to eat lunch. Great if you’re roaming the university area and want to catch a glimpse of international student life in Tianjin.

Din Tai Fung (Bin Shui Road Branch) Restaurant

Bistro, Restaurant, Chinese
Map View

Steamed dumplings, Chinese desserts, and a variety of Taiwanese cuisines make this cafe a favorite for affordable dinners. Get a taste of Taiwan at Din Tai Fung, a restaurant that consistently delivers great food and exceptional service. A must-try for some of the best dumplings in Tianjin, but be aware, you may run into a short line due to its notoriety. The average price of 100RMB (around $15) is the most you’ll pay on this list.