whoever said avoid guangzhou for food just doesn't have the palate for cantonese.
gz has brilliant treasures. i'd go more often myself if it weren't for the pollution.
my faves are:
bing sheng - sprawling local mid-range family restaurant chain, no reservations, get there early (5.30-6pm).
yin ji - steamed rice paper rolls (chang fen of cheung fun in cantonese).
most locals and hotel concierges will know these places, but they're not touristy (non-chinese visitors to gz tend to stick with room service - sad but true).
the chinese resto at the white swan hotel is also v good for dimsum, but quite pricey and i would really only go if i had clients to take out or something.
about 45 mins drive from gz (depends which part of gz you're coming from) is panyu. there's an excellent but very drab looking restaurant on the main highway called "ji cun" (lit. chicken village)
more details here: http://weblog.xanga.com/e_tingfood/65...
I've eaten at Ban Xi several times in the last two years, always for lunch. The food has been very good, and the tea service is outstanding.
Another restaurant I have enjoyed several times is Dong Jiang (东江) on YanJiang Lu (沿江路). The restaurant offers many sorts of live fish, shellfish, etc. An enjoyably bustling place.
Guangzhou is a terrific eating city. What follows is a middle-of-the-road tour of Cantonese-style restaurants: Among the many wonderful things in Guangzhou is the evening tradition of "ye cha" (夜茶). This is dim sum at night and starts around 8:30 or 9:00 pm. Unlike the US, you take your bill and go up to the tables or counters where the food is prepared. It makes for a very noisy, lively experience, and it's a lot of fun. One good place is Xin Yun Lou (辛运楼) (also called "Lucky Fellow Restaurant" on their business cards, but good luck trying to find the place by that name) at 322 Ren Min Middle Road (人民中路), phone 8322-0738. I'm a fan of sweets, and their "double skinned milk" (双皮奶) and water chestnut cake (马蹄糕) are terrific. Of course, you can get these things in the States, but the price in Guangzhou is very reasonable and the quality good.
There is also a row of small restaurants on Pan Fu Road (盘福路), just south of Yue Xiu Park (越秀公园). Also, on the second floor of the International Financial Building (国际金融大厦), there is a large restaurant whose name I can't recall, but it's quite well known among the locals and gets crowded. The stuff we ordered was just so-so, but I'm told it actually is quite good, and it's possible they may have ye cha, too. It's a little pricy by China standards.
The Guangzhou restaurant 广州饭店 on Shang Xia Jiu Bu Xing Jie (上下九步行街) (pedestrian street), at the corner of Wen Chang Nan Lu (文昌南路) enjoys a good reputation, and when I went a year ago, it was not bad and reasonable price-wise. Finally, the Mei Jing (美景) Restaurant on Ren Min Bei Lu (人民北路) across from the Liu Hua Park (流花公园) is an affordable lunch and dinner option. They have a wide selection of live underwater creatures (and a few land creatures) for also examination and consumption, and they have ye cha, too. Speaking of Liu Hua Park, I hear there is a congee restaurant called Zhou MFEMF (粥城) ("Congee City") that is good, but I didn't have a chance to go there.
One restaurant to be avoided is the Ban Xi Restaurant next to Li Wan Hu Park (荔湾湖公园). It's been around for a long time and I am told has over 100 rooms. The food, sad to say, is very disappointing.