Seven others were injured, one critically, local officials said.
Photos from the scene show the front of the restaurant in disarray and debris on the floor as emergency services pull people out of the building.
According to a fire department report, two employees reported smelling gas about an hour before the explosion, and a gas tank valve was found to be broken and sent to be replaced. Xinhua reported that the explosion occurred while the valve was being replaced.
The news agency reported that it took firefighters about 40 minutes to put out the resulting fire.
China’s top leader Xi Jinping called for all efforts to treat the injured in the blast area and strengthen security supervision, state broadcaster CCTV reported Thursday morning.
Bee-Lin Wu and Vic Chiang contributed to this report.