Restaurants in Beijing
The multitude of local dishes in Beijing has made for some of the longest menus in the world. Whether diners choose traditionally cooked meals or new takes on old favourites, eating out in Beijing will be like nowhere else in the world. From ingredients meant for royalty in Imperial Cuisine to the more 'mysterious' ingredients of a street-side Jianbing (savoury pancake), food preparation in Beijing adheres to old traditions that reflect culinary styles from all over China.
Chinese food in Beijing differs dramatically from the fare in Chinese restaurants worldwide. Beijing's famous Peking roast duck is the star attraction, with several restaurants devoted entirely to the one dish. For a chance to sample many different kinds of local food, visit one of the 'snack streets', like Guanganmen Snack Street, or Gui Street, all with dozens of vendors plying their specialties. The more adventurous visitors can peruse the Donghuamen Snack Night Market in Wangfujing, which is famous for Chinese delicacies such as centipedes, grasshoppers, sheep privates and offal soup.
Migrants have infused the city's cuisine with new cultures and tastes, reflected in the blossoming choices in Beijing restaurants. International-style restaurants are popping up all over the city, with top international chefs enjoying great success.
More expensive restaurants in Beijing will generally accept credit cards, but street vendors and takeaway joints will expect cash. While hotel restaurants will sometimes include a 10 to 15 percent service charge, tipping is not generally expected in Beijing.
The word is that this modest looking little courtyard restaurant has an impeccable menu and flawless delivery. Everything from their kangkung belacan (water spinach) to the spicy signature dish, the Kapitan chicken, is exquisite as their Malaysian chef takes great pride in his work.
Address: 43 Doufu Chi Hutong
Telephone: (0)10 6400 4875
Chinese royalty were renowned picky eaters and ate only specialty dishes with carefully selected ingredients and even more carefully selected names. Such dining gave way to its own culinary tradition, which can be enjoyed at Fangshan's enormous banquet-style dining hall with such imperial classics as 'jade phoenix returning to the royal'. Choosing from a huge selection of dishes is a perfect way to go back in time and eat like an emperor.
Address: Beihai Gongyuannei, inside Beihai Park's south gate
Telephone: (0)10 6401 1889
Providing top-notch international cuisine in a uniquely Chinese setting, TRB is set in a 600-year-old temple which has been tastefully renovated to create a modern fine-dining haven. The food is mostly European but with a bit of local flavour thrown in. The restaurant is open for lunch and supper on weekdays and brunch, lunch and supper on weekends. Reservations are recommended.
Address: 23 Songzhu Temple, Shatan North Street, Dongcheng District
Telephone: +86 10 8400 2232
Sixty six floors above the sparkling city makes any dish seem dazzling, but the views aren't the only reason to eat at China Grill. The international menu is a simple selection of fine dining with both Chinese dishes and grilled western classics. The romantic ambiance is set by a surprisingly cosy interior surrounded by floor to ceiling windows for a 360-degree view of the city.
Address: Park Hayatt, 2 Jianguomenwai Street, Chaoyang District
Telephone: (0)10 8567 1838
Centrally located near Tiananmen Square, the lovely outdoor terrace at Capital M is a popular place to have Sunday brunch in Beijing. The menu offers modern European food including Crispy Suckling Pig, Hot House-Smoked Salmon, and the restaurant's famous Pavlova. They offer a special afternoon tea as well, with a selection of fresh-baked scones, finger sandwiches, and pastries that add up to a perfect mid-afternoon break for tired sightseers. Open daily 11:30am-10:30pm.
Address: 2 Qianmen Street, Pedestrian Area
Telephone: (10) 6702 2727