Delicious food tends to come at a cost, but not all the time. In Beijing, it is relatively easy to come across really great, really reasonably priced places to dine, and contrary to popular beliefs, chain restaurants aren’t always low-quality, unhealthy establishments. For traveling foodies looking for a tasty meal in Beijing that won’t drain the wallet, we’ve compiled a list of the city’s top inexpensive and delicious chains.
Annie's Italian Restaurant
Restaurant, Italian, Vegetarian, Vegan, $$$
With nine locations scattered across Beijing, Annie’s Italian Restaurant is practically everywhere, and we’re glad it is. Best known for its incredibly reasonable prices, as well as for its quality food, Annie’s is a favorite when it comes to chain restaurants. Its menu is an impressive six-plus pages of Italian cuisine, from creamy gnocchi to freshly tossed salads. Even better, Annie’s average dish won’t put you over RMB 40, which is a steal
for Beijing dining. Between their all-day delivery, bargain prices, and downright delicious food, Annie’s Italian Restaurant is certainly one of the best chain restaurants in Beijing.
Restaurant, Chinese, Asian, Dim Sum, $$$
Best known for its variety of quality soup dumplings, Yipin Xiaolong is a chain restaurant throughout Beijing that serves up huge portions for a reasonable price. What makes this chain so wonderful in comparison to others is the sheer amount of food that comes with each serving; one order of dumplings is more than enough for a hungry traveler. Not only are the generous helpings impressive, but also the quality of food and its rapid preparation speed. Upon ordering, a line of chefs can be seen quickly stretching and folding soup dumplings behind a glass wall. Moments later, a steaming hot bowl of soup is presented. From shrimp dumplings to seaweed salad, everything offered at Yipin Xiaolong is just plain good.
Zhou Hei Ya
Restaurant, Chinese, Asian, $$$
Unlike many of the other chain restaurants throughout Beijing, Zhou Hei Ya specializes in a variety of ready-to-go meats cooked in a variety of ways. It supplies adventurous customers with traditional Chinese dishes like fried duck neck and congealed animal blood. Although the restaurant isn’t for everyone, customers who do pick up a quick, cheap snack at Zhou Hei Ya, absolutely love it.
Restaurant, Italian, American, $$$
Quality pizza can be hard to come by in China, but Tube Station has provided a solution. With locations all over the city, customers flock here for the spot-on American-style pizzas, as well as for the funky vibes and amazing happy hour specials. Tube Station has consistently earned “best pizza” in Beijing, winning awards and keeping customers in its restaurants. Using fresh ingredients, the chain creates everything from out-of-the-ordinary pizzas with authentic ingredients to more traditional Western-inspired pies. With half-priced drinks during happy hour every day, and delicious food from early afternoon until evening, Tube Station continuously proves to be one of Beijing’s most delicious and cheapest chains.
Restaurant, Chinese, Asian, Vegetarian, Vegan, $$$
Xiabu Xiabu is a major
hot pot chain that operates throughout China’s capital city. Modeled after a traditional hot pot restaurant, Xiabu Xiabu encourages customers to choose any and every ingredient to boil in the hot pot water of their choice. With burners at each table, patrons get the experience of cooking their own meals in a friendly, open setting. Like many other hot pot restaurants, the prices are reasonable and the meal itself is unlike any other! A perfect place to catch up with friends or go out with family, Xiabu Xiabu is another great chain to try in Beijing.
Restaurant, Fusion, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-free, $$$
The name says it all. Element Fresh is one of Beijing’s healthiest chain restaurants. Offering customers insanely fresh fusion dishes, smoothies, and juices, Element Fresh is a fitness enthusiast’s heaven. In a city that offers meat and gluten with almost every meal, this restaurant stands out. With vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options available, everyone who dines here can enjoy something refreshing.
Although prices here run a bit higher than at other chains, Element Fresh offers fitness-inspired incentives and a restaurant membership to encourage diners to live a healthy lifestyle at a discount. For a healthy alternative and a beautiful setting, Element Fresh will surely satisfy!
Restaurant, Chinese, Asian, $$$
Offering customers reasonably priced, rapidly prepared Chinese food, Kungfu is a highly recognizable Beijing restaurant; it also has a cartoon of Bruce Lee punching the air as its logo. For an average cost of about RMB 30, customers can walk away with a hearty, rice-based meal, a drink, and a side. Although finding vegetarian options here is problematic, meat eaters have a decent variety to choose from. Kungfu’s food is a convenient and highly satisfying quick bite to grab while in Beijing.