Best Beijing Restaurants Reviews| From cheap food to fine dining

China Mike’s list of Beijing’s best restaurants (as rated & reviewed by the major travel guides):

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Yotsuba $$$$ (Fodor’s Choice)
2 Xinyuan Xili Zhongjie, Chaoyang District
Fodor’s: “This tiny, unassuming restaurant is arguably the best Japanese restaurant in town. It consists of a sushi counter—manned by a Japanese master working continuously and silently—and two small tatami-style dining areas, evoking an old-time Tokyo restaurant. The seafood is flown in from Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market. Reservations are a must for this dinner-only Chaoyang gem.”

Din Tai Fung $$$ (Fodor’s Choice)
24 Xinyuan Xili Zhongjie, Chaoyang District
Cuisine: Shanghainese
Fodor’s: “The arrival of Din Tai Fung—one of Taipei’s most famous restaurants—was warmly welcomed by Beijing’s food fanatics. The restaurant’s specialty is xiaolong bao (juicy buns wrapped in a light unleavened-dough skin and cooked in a bamboo steamer), which are served with slivers of tender ginger in a light black vinegar. Xiaolong bao have three different fillings: ground pork, seafood, or crabmeat….This restaurant is frequented by both Beijing’s up-and-coming middle class and old Taiwan hands, who are fervently loyal to its delicate morsels.”

Shin Yeh $$$ (Fodor’s Choice)
6 Gongti Xilu, Chaoyang District
Taiwanese cuisine
Fodor’s: “The long line proves that Shin Yeh diners are hooked. The focus here is on Taiwanese flavors and freshness. Caipudan is a scrumptious turnip omelet. Fotiaoqiang (“Buddha jumping over the wall”) is a delicate soup with medicinal herbs and seafood. Last but definitely not least, try the mashu, a glutinous rice cake rolled in ground peanut. Service is friendly and very attentive.”

Maison Boulud (Frommer’s “Best European”)
Qianmen Dong Da Jie 23 (Southeast corner of Tian’an Men Square)
Meal ¥500-¥600
Daily 11am-2:30pm and 6-10:30pm
Frommer’s: “Housed in the former pre-1949 American embassy, the restaurant’s refined ‘soul’ food—brought by New York celebrity chef Daniel Boulud — brilliantly gleams amid a landscape of mediocre French restaurants in Beijing. Everything from the food to the wine list to the service to the atmosphere is top-notch….. All of this comes at a hefty price, but you can expect to pay 25% less here than at Boulud’s New York flagship, Daniel, which some would consider a bargain….lunch and weekend brunch menus include set meals, which go for around ¥200.”

Li Qun Roast Duck Restaurant $$ (Fodor’s Choice)
11 Beixiangfeng, Zhengyi Lu, Chongwen District
Fodor’s: “Juicy, whole ducks roasting in a traditional oven greet you upon entering this simple courtyard house. It’s a family-run affair, far from the crowds and commercialism of Quanjude, Beijing’s most famous Peking duck eatery. Li Qun is a choice option for those who enjoy a good treasure hunt: the restaurant is hidden deep in a hutong neighborhood….Sure, the restrooms and dining room are a bit shabby, but the place is charming. “

Bei (Frommer’s “Best Asian” non-Chinese)
Sanlitun Lu 11 (In the basement of the Opposite House hotel)
Meal ¥200-¥250
Daily 5:30-10:30pm
Frommers: “Stylish decor and stunning sushi make Bei the best Japanese option in Beijing…..It’s a good concept — blending the cuisines of Korea, Japan, and China, given the restaurant’s location in the heart of China’s capital, but the dishes are hit-or-miss. …a visit is worthwhile if you like sushi, which is Tokyo-quality in freshness and cut.”

Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant
9 Shuaifuyuan Hutong
Set duck meals Y168
LP: “Less touristy than its recently revamped Qianmen sibling”

Jenny Lou’s
Ritan North Road
L. Planet: “Expat lifeline…has an excellent selection of cheeses, sausages, cereals and pasta, plus an entire wall of wines and spirits”

Yu Xiang Ren Jia $ (Fodor’s Choice)
5/F, Lianhe Daxia, 101 Chaowai Dajie, Chaoyang District
Sichuan cuisine
Fodor’s: “There are many Sichuan restaurants in Beijing, but if you ask native Sichuanese residents, Yuxiang Renjia is their top choice…..the restaurant does an excellent job of preparing provincial classics such as gongbao jiding (diced chicken stir-fried with peanuts and dried peppers) and ganbian sijidou (green beans stir-fried with olive leaves and minced pork). Thirty different Sichuanese snacks are served for lunch on weekends, all at very reasonable prices.”

Noodle Loft (Frommer’s “Best Noodles”)
Xi Dawang Lu 20
Shanxi cuisine
Meal ¥40-¥50
Daily 11am-2:30pm and 5:30-10pm
Frommer’s: “Unheard of outside China and rarely found in such stylish surroundings, Shanxi cuisine is noted for its vinegary flavors, liberal use of tomatoes, and large variety of interesting noodles….Available in dozens of shapes and sauces, Shanxi-style noodles at the fashionable and aptly named are among the most satisfying in Beijing, and without the crimes of hygiene perpetrated by the more typical noodle joints.”

South Silk Road (New York Times Pick)
3/F, Building D, 88 Jianguolu Rd (Soho New Town)
About ¥80/meal
NYT: “This spot is the Beijing art world equivalent to the Ivy in Los Angeles, where power curators and collectors from Hong Kong, Seoul and the West wine and dine with the art elite. Set on an upper floor of an office tower, the room is a soaring loftlike space with black lacquered furniture and chic waitresses in brightly colored folk outfits….Dishes include caterpillar fungus chicken soup in steam pot, made with four varieties of Yunnan mushrooms.”

Three Guizhou Men (New York Times Pick)
1-2/F, Building 7, 39 Dongsanhuan (Jianwai Soho)
About ¥50/meal
NYT: “In 2003 an artist collective from Guizhou — a poor province in south central China — arrived in Beijing to sell their paintings. To pay the bills and to keep from getting homesick, they opened this 24-hour restaurant…their art careers never took off, but their restaurant now has five branches. And they are always packed. The sleek gray dining room serves nouvelle Guizhou specialties like sour fish soup, lavender tea with milk, and mango and ice purée.”

Luige Jaiozi
85 Nanheyan Sajie
Meals Y20-40
Dumpling specialist (forget English tourist menu). No English sign (opposite the building with sign on roof that reads “Hualong Street”. L. Planet: “Aim for the lamb and onion or even the roast duck dumplings”.

Xiabu Xiabu
2nd floor, Henderson Center, Jiangguomennei Dajie
Meals Y25
Fast food Hotpot (single small hotpots). Over 40 branches in Beijing.

Ajisen Noodle
Basement, Oriental Plaza, 1 Dongchang’an Jie
Dishes about Y30-50
Popular chain (one of my favorites in China!) serving noodle soups and other Japanese fare. L. Planet: “Dishes are miraculously as tasty as they appear on the photo menu and tea comes free with cups punctiliously refilled.”

Basement, Oriental Plaza, 1 Dongchang’an Jie
Dishes from Y10
LP: “Perfect for on-the-spot dining, huge food court has point-and-serve Chinese and other Asian dining options all under one roof.” Purchase cards with credits at the kiosk.

Bianyifang Kaoyadian
2a Chongwenmenwai Dajie
economy/standard half duck Y44/69
Lunch & dinner
LP: “Duck is excellent, but be on your guard if waiting staff immediately steer you towards the pricier fowl.”

Wangfuling Snack Street
Lunch and dinner
Kebabs from Y3, dishes from Y5
Located west off Wangfujing Dajie.
LP: “Bustling and cheer corner of restaurants and stalls….great for Xinjiang or Muslim Uighur staples such as lamb kebabs and flat bread….(also) steaming bowls of spicy noodle soup”


The Source $$$$ (Fodor’s Choice)
14 Banchang Hutong, Kuanjie, Dongcheng District
Sichuan cuisine
Fodor’s: “Serves a set menu of Sichuan specialties, completely changing it every two weeks. The menu includes several appetizers, both hot and mild dishes, and a few surprise concoctions from the chef…..The Source’s location was once the backyard of a Qing Dynasty general regarded by the Qing court as “The Great Wall of China” for his military exploits. The grounds have been painstakingly restored; an upper level overlooks a small garden filled with pomegranate and date trees.”

Red Capital Club $$$$ (Fodor’s Choice)
66 Dongsi Jiutiao, Dongcheng District
Fodor’s: “Occupying a meticulously restored courtyard home in one of Beijing’s few remaining traditional neighborhoods, the Red Capital Club oozes nostalgia. Cultural Revolution memorabilia and books dating from the Great Leap Forward era adorn every nook of the small bar, while the theme of the dining room is imperial.”

Huang Ting $$$$ (Fodor’s Choice)
010/6512-8899 Ext. 6707
The Peninsula, 8 Jinyu Hutong, Wangfujing, Dongcheng District
Cantonese cuisine
Fodor’s: “Arguably Beijing’s best Cantonese restaurant, serving southern favorites such as braised shark fin with crab meat, seared abalone with seafood, and steamed scallop and bean curd in black-bean sauce….the dim sum is delicate and refined, and the deep-fried taro spring rolls and steamed pork buns are not to be missed.” LP: “Despite its artificiality and location (in a 5 star hotel), the ambiance is impressive.”

Mei Fu $$$$ (Fodor’s Choice)
24 Daxiangfeng Hutong, south bank of Houhai Lake, Xicheng District
Fodor’s: “In a plush, restored courtyard on Houhai’s south bank, Mei Fu oozes intimate elegance. The interior is filled with antique furniture and velvet curtains punctuated by pebbled hallways and waterfalls….Diners choose from set menus, starting from Y300 per person, which feature typical Jiangsu and Zhejiang cuisine, such as fried shrimp, pineapple salad, and tender leafy vegetables. A Y200 (per person) lunch is also available.”

Black Sesame Kitchen (one of Frommer’s Best Dining Bets)
Heizhima Hutong 3 (Just off of Nan Luogu Xiang, Back Lakes & Dong Cheng)
Homestyle cuisine
Set meals ¥250-¥300 per person
Frommer’s:A cooking school that also takes dinner reservations, Black Sesame Kitchen will give you a front-seat view of the inner workings of a Chinese kitchen in a century-old courtyard — and a delicious home-style meal….. Signature dishes include pan-fried pork and pumpkin dumplings, fried shiitake mushrooms seasoned with bamboo shoots and coriander, and cashew kung pao chicken.”

95 Donghuamen Dajie
Meals from Y200
Lunch & dinner
LP:  Excellent location by the east gate of the Forbidden City…the view and international menu that hog the limelight. Sunday lunch is an affordable option.”

Dali Courtyard (Frommer’s “Best Quintessential Beijing Setting”)
Xiaojingchang Hutong 67 (Gulou Dong Dajie, Back Lakes & Dong Cheng)
Set meals ¥100-¥300 per person
Daily 11am-1:30pm and 5-10pm
Frommer’s:Dali Courtyard has a beautiful courtyard setting and decent Yunnan (southwest Chinese) cuisine to match…..Romance, romance! Old jazz tunes play in this traditional Chinese courtyard decorated with coal furnaces and Art Deco furniture…The food is perfectly fine, but nothing will knock you out of the courtyard.”

Café Sambal
43 Doufuchi Hutong
Set lunch Y80
11am- midnight
LP: Brings Malaysian food to Beijing with panache..good wine list”

Hutong Pizza
9 Yindingqiao Hutong Hou
Meals Y80
LP: “Worth the wait….large choice of meaty pizza and burgers” (also tasty vegetarian pizza)

Kong Yiji Jiudian (New York Times Pick) (one of Frommer’s Best Dining Picks)
Desheng Men Nei Dajie (next to the octagonal Teahouse of Family Fu on the northwest bank of Hou Hai)
Meal ¥50-70
Frommer’s: “Offers an enjoyable dining experience, although it is somewhat weighed down by its own popularity. Service is not what it once was….highly recommended, are the mizhi luyu, a whole fish deep-fried then broiled in tin foil with onions in a slightly sweet sauce; and the youtiao niurou, savory slices of beef mixed with pieces of fried dough.” NYT: “The aniseed-flavored kidney beans and scallion oil yellow fish are good, and the yellow rice wine is sweet.”

Otto’s Restaurant
Di’anmen Xidajie (east of north gate of Beihai Park)
Meals Y60
LP: “Loud and cavernous…constant waves of diners piling in for its flavoursonme Hong Kong dishes…no-nonsense and tasty food with decent helpings”

Xiao Wang’s Home Restaurant
2 Guanghua Dongli
Meals Y70
LP:   Treat yourself to home-style Beijing cuisine at this excellent restaurant …outside seating and a further attractive branch in the Ritan Park”

Grandma’s Kitchen
47-2 Nanchizi Dajie
Meals Y40
LP: “Certainly homely with an excellent no-nonsense menu and efficient staff” (2 other Beijing branches)

Chuan Jing Ban Canting (Frommer’s “Best Sichuan”)
Gongyuan Tou Tiao 5 (Back Lakes & Dong Cheng)
Meal ¥25-60
Daily 10:50am-2pm and 4:50-10pm
Frommer’s: “Sichuan food has conquered the capital, and this ubiquitous cuisine, loved by Beijingers and Sichuanese alike, is best enjoyed in this chaotic, crowded restaurant owned by the Sichuan Provincial Government. It will also be one of the cheapest meals you can have in Beijing, with the price of an entire meal averaging no more than ¥40 per person.”

44 Guanghua Lu
Sandwiches Y25
LP: “Satisfying coffee and deservedly popular sandwiches…the vegetarian sandwich was a stunner.”

Donghuamen Night Market
Dong’anmen Dajie
Snacks from Y3
LP: “A sight in itself…a food zoo: lamb kebabs, beef and chicken skewers, corn on the cob…grasshoppers, kidneys, chicken hearts, pita bread stuffed with meat, shrimps and more.”

Baguo Buyi
89-3 Di’anmen Dongdajie
Dished from Y8
Lunch & dinner
LP: “Popular Sichuan restaurant has a marvelous Chinese inn-style setting with balconies and a central stairway…. ambiance bursts with both character and theatre…great range of good-value dishes.”


Beijing Dadong Roast Duck Restaurant
3 Tuanjiehu Beikou
Duck Y100
Lunch & dinner
LP: “A long-term favourite of the Peking Duck scene….has a tempting variety of fowl. The hallmark bird is a crispy, lean duck without the usual fat content.”

Pure Lotus (New York Times Pick) (Frommer’s Best Vegetarian)
10 Nongzhanguan Nanlu (China Wenlian Courtyard, Changhong Bridge)
Meals Y100-150
NYT: “The décor of this vegetarian restaurant— a lotus motif stenciled from Silk Road grottoes, an altar of fresh flowers, candles in bamboo holders — seems destined for Manhattan. Loyal to the monastic ethic, the restaurant serves no alcohol…try the creamy pumpkin porridge and the zen spicy stewed vegetarian fish….Reserve a table in the beautiful main dining room, where the servers sing folk songs.” Frommers: “Delicious veggie fare in a stylish environment…visit the Holiday Inn Lido location for a particularly meditative, dimmed atmosphere that’s perfect for dinner.”

Purple Haze
Along small lane opposite of Workers’ Stadium north gate
Dishes from Y24
LP:A stylish foray into the world of Thai cooking”

Xinjiang Red Rose
5 Xingfuyicun (opposite north gate of Workers’ Stadium)
Meals Y40
LP: “the full-on gregarious Uighur dining experience with nightly Xinjiang tunes and dancing”

1a Xinzhong Jie
Meals Y50
LP: “Hearty north-eastern bandwagon rumbles into Beijing….with trademark festive spirit”

April Gourmet
1 San litun Beixiaojie
LP: “Ex-pat oriented deli with fine wines and cheeses; four branches in town. Does deliveries.”

6b Beisanhuan Donglu
Huge French-based store (like a smaller Walmart but with groceries). Has an ATM and accepts credit cards. Other Beijing branches.

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