Temple Restaurant Beijing
This sleek, seductive restaurant is set on the grounds of an ancient Tibetan temple, though sadly the said sanctuary of tranquility is now reserved for private functions. The Australian architecture is soothing and balanced with this spiritual setting and the food is a delight. Small gifts are showered on diners from the moment they sit down, including marshmallows, mise-en-bouches, and other surprises to complement European dishes such as lobster with smoked aubergine caviar and pan-fried foie gras with cepes purée. Temple Restaurant Beijing‘s wine cellar focuses mainly on wines from Champagne, Burgundy and Bordeaux.
Brian Mckenna @ The Courtyard
Chef Mckenna says of his Beijing-based restaurant project, ‘Cuisine is designed to be tasted.’ The signature dessert is a chocolate terracotta warrior wading in chocolate soil under layers of mandarin-flavored jellies and sorbets. Just nine tables welcome guests: there is also a basement bar and a smoking room adjoining the Forbidden City, for those looking for an after-work cocktail in a low-key but sophisticated historical ambiance.
What used to be a royal storeroom is now a unique dining venue for traditional Chinese cuisine with a modern twist, created by chef Zhang Shaogang. As you step through the imposing doors of Tiandi Yijia into the ultra-regal interior, gentle spice-infused aromas and ornate carvings, glass ceilings and attentive service greet you. The backdrop of the Forbidden City only adds to the flavor of the umami-imbibed dishes. Try the house specialty: a creamy, sake foie gras.
With four different locations, the light and crispy roast duck served at Da Dong is one of Beijing’s culinary highlights. The modern and inventive Chef Dong Zhenxiang serves his succulent duck to hoards of hungry customers every day, but he also cooks up elaborate and satisfying specialties such as blow-torched steaks, lobster noodles, and other re-imagined Chinese dishes.
A steaming hotpot is an international dish of wholesome nourishment, and Haidilao – an Asian chain with branches all over China – makes this simple, homely dish into a positive and memorable dining experience. What makes the service even more satisfying is that the workers are also rewarded amply for their service, and the management of each branch truly values their staff.
Haidilao, 2A, Baijiazhuang Lu, Chaoyang district, Beijing, China +86 10 6595 2982
Black Sesame Kitchen
Black Sesame Kitchen offers intimate dining sessions. By appointment only, customers are invited into the kitchen and dining room for a true Chinese culinary experience, with the possibility of tailor-made menus and themes.
Crescent Moon Muslim Restaurant
The feature dish of this restaurant is mutton in all its varied permutations: skewered, stewed, spiced, sauced and then devoured. Crescent Moon specializes in Xinjiang cuisine from the northwest of the country. A predominantly Muslim region, local menus are meat-heavy with aromatic infusions – even the bread is stuffed with meat.
Image Courtesy of Red Capital Club
Red Capital Club
There are a spate of communist-themed restaurants springing up and rising in popularity around Beijing, all harking back to the era of Chairman Mao and honoring his tastes, appearance, legacy, and rule. While the decor and the ethos will certainly not be to everyone’s liking, the themed evening is an unusual and highly cultural escapade at Red Capital Club.
Grandma’s Rabbit Head Restaurant (Shuangliu Laoma Tutou)
This restaurant’s menu is quite self-explanatory; pay a visit to Grandma’s Rabbit Head Restaurant for a traditional Chengdu dish of spiced rabbit head. It comes highly recommended for its reasonable prices, delicious flavors, and the social draw of delving into a rabbit head with friends. Of course, gloves and aprons are provided.
Kiev serves Ukrainian specialties in an atmosphere that transports diners to Eastern Europe. Customers are immediately greeted by Ukrainian opera music or live medleys from a traditional band, and tables full of happy customers dining on Russian soup, baked fish, or braised ox in cream. Top off your meal with an authentic shot of Russian vodka. Chinese dishes can also be ordered.