If you're new to the city and looking for some great restaurants that exude "Beijing", these are for you. Many are difficult to find but all are worth the trip. These are especially great places to take visiting friends and family. Enjoy!
This is as close to experiencing the Chairman Mao’s days as you can get in today’s Beijing. At times I felt a bit uncomfortable not because the neighbors at the next table were eyeing me as a capitalist high roader but because the old anthems and cultural revolution songs were sung with such zeal and energy that at any moment they would take to the streets. Reliving their youth was fun to watch. Shows begin at 7:00 pm each night and reservations are a must! Be prepared to dine on old Beijing dishes and buckets of the local liquor – Baijiu. One or two small cups and you’ll sing as if you were there when the great helmsman declared the east is red.
Pizza has spread across the globe because it’s simple and convenient. This location is neither simple nor convenient. The pizza however, is good. It’s square shape brings me back to the good old days when everything was handmade. They are generous with the tomato sauce, cheese, and toppings. Service is good. The environment / decor and pizza are an odd juxtaposition but it works.
Now that the French wine bar next door is closed there are fewer reasons to make the trek.
I agree with the previous reviews that, it's a perfect place to go for a date, colorful, romantic, great background music. However, I was so disappointed with their food.
Wednesday night around 7.30pm, we are the only table there. I started to wonder how long this business can last. The foods are not cheap, but with so many good reviews, we still quite excited to give it a try.
I don’t want to go through all the details,maybe we just ordered wrong dishes. basically we have to return one of the mint with beef dish. Beacuse it feels like I am chewing a leather jacket, and another beef with banana leaf taste like they didn’t clean it properly and left soap in it.
In the end of the day, I felt sick and according to my friend, he will write a review about this place when he gets out of the toilet.
All in all, I think it maybe a good place to go for a drink and escape the craziness of Houhai area. But I suggest you stay away from the food. They are so many great Yunnan restaurants in Beijing, ask me if you want any suggestions.
Admittedly, I always thought that Café Sambal was more on design than food. After the last visit my thoughts were confirmed. More than once during dinner some type of 6-8 legged insect ran over my flip-flop clad feet. Even in Beijing that is just unacceptable. I have heard others say that this is mall quality Malaysian but I find many of their dishes quite good. Shame they can’t bring the other things up to par. It is quite an attractive space.
Was called a Stupid Bitch, xiabi and Fuck You by the manager. Very shocked and insulted. The food is average at best. The wrong dish was brought, but we didnt complain, just ate. The noodles tasted of nothing and the spring rolls were bland. the guy could not flambe the flambe bananas - instead he just tipped them off the pan (not lit) and the piled the pure alcohol (that is usually burnt during the flambe, giving a nice crispy texture) on top. Of course this tasted terrible so we sent them back. When coming to paying the bill (350 rmb) they wanted to charge for flambe and two drinks that we didnt have. We had to send two terrible drinks back, and instead we just had two laoshans, which a foreign manager said he would gladly replace. The rude Chinese girl manager said that we had dranken four drinks. I said that we were happy to pay for the two drinks, but not the extra flavourings of the drinks that were so terrible. We gave her more money than the bill and then left as we had been talking with her already for 15 minutes. She ran after us with five staff screaming at us down the street - "fuck you, xiabi, stupid bitch". I would give negative stars, but can't. For some reason we accept this behavior in China but we don't have to. Don't go to this poorly-run, terrible attitude place
Dōngchéngqū Dōng Sì Běidà Jiē Liù Tiáo Hútòng 16 Hào
One of the best Muslim restaurants in Beijing despite its horrible lighting and location. Staff barely speak Chinese and don’t speak English. They are all from Xinjiang. If you decide to go, try the dapanji, the xinjiang salad, and the chao mian pian. Unfortunately, in keeping with authenticity, they only offer beer from Xinjiang. At least it’s cold…
I wanted this experience to be impressive but mostly it wasnt. The name and location way down a hutong suggest a potential hidden discovery. Sadly the execution is just quite not there at the moment.
On the upside the menu is lengthy with a multitude of options both hot and cold. The space resembles a typical hutong style venue as found often on NLGX, with a few rooms scattered around a small central courtyard (alot like cafe sambal). I had a chat with the owners after dinner and mentioned a few things that didn't match my expectations, which may have been unrealistic upon reflection.
For starters it took a long time for the dishes to arrive- at least 15 mins between each round. Apparently they were short staffed on the night, which happens. One of the owners was filling in so they deserve some credit for pulling the wagon. The first dish we got, salsa and chips, was pathetic. I'm sorry but you cant serve lays bbq crisps along with salsa in a bath of olive oil at a proper restaurant. I had ordered it thinking 'Whoa so they have chips n’ salsa too in Guangdong, cool' . Next thing there will have tailgating and pabst. Nope, I asked and its on the menu for people who dont like traditional Guizhou food. As is the case with the other western options. The owner informed me that earlier they had complaints about the food being spicy so decided to add a few middle of the road options. Well duh, it’s a spicy food restaurant what did they expect, pancakes & dumplings ? We also tried what turned out to be basically hash browns ( pretty good), fried rice (excellent btw) and chicken wings. I dropped my one on the floor but one of the three dogs ate it under the table(They don’t get in your way and keep to themselves, although a bit strange to see at first) The one thing that was Guizhou was the special rice wine, which tasted like cranberry juice.
My local dining companion suggested at the end of the dinner that I ordered all the western sounding dishes because I’m a laowai and I got what I deserved. She has a point: I got fixated on the prospect that maybe Guizhou food has some common dishes with western food. Doh! So I went for an authentic provincial experience and due to my own prejudices I wound up missing out on all the good menu items. I only have myself to blame in this regard. As per.
The interior is for me a bit tacky featuring a hodgepodge of random bits and pieces you would see in the front room of a semi in Norwich. However, it’s seems this is a particular style the owner likes and is in keeping with the ‘fusion’ theme on the menu. So to be clear it’s down a Hutong, in a Hutong type dwelling with many Hutong type features but it’s not meant to be just an authentic Guizhou or even solely Chinese dining experience. As long as you keep that expectation in mind it will work for you. It’s a place you go if you’re situated in the nearby area and know the menu. My advice to the owners, which everyone is entitled to at all times, was to focus on authenticity seeking customers. And perhaps I need to shut up and let someone else do the ordering next time.
Beijing has two Sichuan representative offices – restaurants setup by the government to feed Sichuan folks relocated to Beijing for work. The other outlet by Jiang Guo Men gets all the press for a two reasons: it’s located in the middle of the city so it’s easy to find and there is a festive chaotic restaurant feel that most love.
This branch, however, possesses none of those qualities. It’s in the middle of nowhere. From Sanlitun it is a RMB40 cab fare each way and the drive isn’t pretty. Our taxi driver took us through several neighborhoods in the process of being ripped down. As you can imagine traffic wasn’t exactly speeding along.
Shortly after arriving the mystery began. There is more than one restaurant that represents (Sichuan that is). There is a hotel on the premises but it is the amusement park of restaurants that causes the most confusion. Each refers to their establishment as The Sichuan Representative Office restaurant. According to the staff, each has the same menu. Each, however, does not offer the same environment. I asked for the most chaotic one and was sent to building #6. It took about 25 minutes just to get to find the restaurant.
Inside building #6 there is a smallish room on the first floor with only about 30 tables. This is the restaurant. It’s cold inside much like it would be if we were eating in a Sichuan restaurant. I ate with my jacket on. To my left, right, and front other patrons had their jackets on as well.
The food was fantastic. I would even go so far as to say it was much better than what they make at the other location. We ordered spicy chicken (Lazi Ji - almost an imperative), dry toufu in a hot oil, spicy pork wanton (hong you chao shou) and (Jielan) a spicy stir-fried vegetable dish (Jielan). Each dish was spicy but not overly so and the spice tasted different between the dishes. Often the same type of hot peppers are used in different dishes to produce the same basic taste. That was not the case here.
The real shame was discovering the Xiao chi / “snack menu” after our order was being prepared. There were a ton of small and inexpensive dishes that I would have ordered instead of the mains.
Service was very good. We ordered a dish that came as another dish but we didn’t notice. In the middle of the meal the waiter apologized and offered to exchange the dish for free. It seems like this should be the case anywhere but experience has shown otherwise.
Beers are cold despite the cold.
Prices are very reasonable especially for the smaller dishes. Expect a feast for RMB150
I loved the food but the ride was a bit long, ugly and expensive for me to return.
This is a crazy place, and in a good way. Just down a hutong its built around a giant tree and was packd when i was ther on saturday. There are a handful of rooms off the main landing each sporting a kitsch collection of wall hangings and random collectibles sitting on an ikea book shelf.
I chose the roof to enjoy the last of the summer weather (good timing) which doesn't boast much of a view but has a nice come as you are feel to it. Across from me was a full table of what seemed to be a band plus female friends. They spontaneously asked me where i was from and what i was doing in Beijing, which i think is the first spontaneous interaction i have had with other dining guests in Beijing. What a friendly place i thought at the time, and if only i knew more Mandarin...
Its all about the wings here and i ate a bunch- they come two to a skewer sat in a champagne bucket. There's a handful of varieties ranging from spicy to tomato, bbq and korean: I tried them all and was not disappointed. At 4rmb ish a pop i stuffed myself with numerous re-ups and with a couple of big tsingtaos the tab was only 60rmb. Oh and i ordered a side of black pepper mash potato which was useful in dampening the fire in my mouth at times.
Two of the blokes that own it were on duty and its great to see this kind of creativity and initiative come to life. I had read the anecdote below and it helped in framing my expectations when i was there. Sure the beer glass is a melamine sippy cup, the menu was hand made and the WC is down the st. That and the rest fit with the 'its all about the food' and 'we dont take ourselves seriously' vibe that make it worth the trip when your in keepin it real mode. The experience reminded me why i like Beijing.
I wish i had the cojones and vision to realize something as original and happening as Hot Bean. They deserve your patronage and will make sure you walk out with a smile on your face. If your a fancy western restaurant manager go pay a visit and take it all in. They probably built it all for the cost of one of your daily lobster & caviar shipments.
If you are a spice lover in Beijing, the Chongqing Banshichu should be high on your must-try list, especially if you've ever visited what I consider to be the over-hyped Sichuan Banshichu, which doesn't compare to this more secluded and more quaint restaurant setting.
The specialty here is the fatty or lean beef pieces, which are renowned for never becoming tough, even when left in the broth for much too long. In fact, they seem to become even more tender.
Be warned, this is high octane hot pot. But for the veteran spice eater, might not be spicy enough. What I didn't realize is that Chongqing hot pot utilizes mass quantities of ma (huajiao or prickly ash) that can leave your head swimming by the end of the meal. In truth, half-way through my first meal here, I felt like I was inhaling mentholated angel dust with every bite. Pretty much everything is available for the pot that is available at other hot pot restaurants. All things beef, including all types of beef offal, seem to be best kept and prepared here.
There is regular Chongqing specialty fried food available, but I have only ever eaten the hot pot here.
Wow wow wow! Why isn’t anyone talking about this restaurant? This is, hands down, the best hotpot I have tried in Beijing. Have you ever heard of anyplace offering lamb sushi? I’ve never even heard of lamb sushi but after trying one dish, ordering a second, and then being turned down for a third (limit two dishes per table), I am sold! They don’t have a ton of vegetable options but everything on the menu is excellent. If you have never tried this restaurant, enjoy the traditional shuang yang rou hotpot, and don’t want to spend a ton on dinner and beer, this is your starting point. Downside is it’s very difficult to find and about as far away from the Sanlitun center as one could get. Still, worth the trip
I tried dinner here with 4 of my friends and 2 out of town guests. It has been quite a while since I last visited and I’ve heard a lot of murmuring about it not being good anymore. But we needed a “Beijing experience” for our 2 guests and that’s how I was convinced to go. To my surprise the evening was very enjoyable. First, the restaurant both expanded in size and in class. The tables were nicely appointed, wines from around the world were on the menu, and the service had improved. The set menu was a nice touch but it wasn’t executed that well. The food came in waves and sometimes we see a dish for 30 minutes even though those on our table had long since been finished. By the end of our meal the dishes came out with greater regularity. Food wise, what we had was a good variety of dishes that pleased everyone at the table. It certainly wasn’t the best meal I’ve had in Beijing but it was far from the worst. Combined with the nice courtyard surroundings the night was a resounding success. I would recommend this for guests and those that aren’t Chinese food foodies.
9 gates snack street is fun…but not that fun. I went again this weekend and while walking around from vendor to vendor searching for sumptuous snacks is fun waiting 30 minutes with my tray in hand to get a table was not. I would recommend going on either off hours or during the week. Also, don’t make the mistake of strolling up to a Muslim vendor with pork products on your tray – they don’t appreciate that much. Lastly, RMB 50 is enough for two people. Don’t put more than RMB than that on the card otherwise it’s just a waste.
I have heard so much about Lei Garden but not seem to have read very little about it (on review). Now i know why... I was there last Sunday for a much needed "dumpling brunch" and found that this outlet is NOT for a novice. being an asian to have tasted the "good,bad and ugly" re: cantonese food, i found this place to be rather refreshing. not quite a "school canteen" experience (too subdued to be) but rather "just about right" and authentic. only one bad, that one will feel rushed... but then again, to some, that would mean "good service".... ah. touche.
The best place to sit, in my opinion, is the smaller and newly renovated area to the right. The one to the left is okay for bigger groups but it feels very much like a cave. Either place serves the best jiaozi in the city. In fact, suggest you use this Jiaozi restaurant as a barometer of your friend’s taste. If they say it’s not good don’t use any of their restaurant recommendations. Favorite combinations change over time but my current ones are the spicy eggplant and the smoked tofu, celery and vermicelli noodles.
Along this strip there is plenty of hit and miss but this restaurant is always a hit. I have been eating here probably once every three months since the restaurant opened more than five years back and I have never had a bad experience. Some of the other reviewers mentioned the fish head soup. It arrives cut in half in a huge plate. The fish is good but the real treat is the sauce that it comes in. After finishing the fish be sure to have the waitress add noodles to the broth. It’s the cherry on top. Other tasty dishes include the bacon with celery and the dumplings served in a wok. During the summer is the best time to go because of the rooftop, the breeze, and the view of the lake.
This place is such a gem! As the other reviews have mentioned, you can't go wrong here. Everything is unique and full of flavors which are so different from other varieties of Chinese food. You can't help put eat a lot and still feel healthy!
Before I left Beijing 5 years ago, wenyu was my favourite place, nailou was great and I DO MEAN GREAT... in a little bowl.. customers were rare 南锣鼓巷 was quiet back then, apart from occasional western tourists with CCCP shirt (get the country right mate..) or hat with red star
yea... we all know what happened to that last time i went.. seriously WTF the line was long even by chinese standard, even the public toilet in the hutong nearby had a massive line in front of it...
Nailou is not in a little white bowl anymore, they came in commercialised paper cup... i think they are setting up a franchise now.. Im happy for the owner, after all these years, they deserve the success
I took my family here yesterday. This restaurant is a crowd pleaser especially if the crowd is from out of town. I usually reserve this place for the last night – to send my guests off in style. The dishes tend to be on the large and ornate side while the portions are regular sized. Do yourself a favor and ask for them to replace the dishes for smaller ones after the wow appeal wears off otherwise you will end up with a table full of large porcelain, gourd, or wood serving dishes but nowhere to put your own plate. Originally it was said that the staff was all Buddhist but that is no longer the case. This is a business built around a solid concept and the waiters and waitresses are not monks as earlier indicated in the reviews. Some of the drinks that claim to help your femaleness feel a bit gimmicky. The names of the dishes are also a bit overdone. Recommend the dish that resembles kung pao chicken and the lion’s head meatballs. Stay away from the tea unless you want to double the bill.