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A Food Lover’s Guide To Beijing

A Food Lover’s Guide To Beijing

Picture of A. J. Samuels
Updated: 26 October 2016
Beijing has many signature dishes and there are hundreds of places to sample everything from crispy duck to hotpots, noodles and broths. Serving fantastic street food and fine dining establishments with international twists, here are 10 of the best restaurants in Beijing.

Image Courtesy of Temple Restaurant

Image Courtesy of Temple Restaurant

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.

Temple Restaurant Beijing, Songzhusi Temple, 23 Shatan Bei Jie, near Wusi Da Jie, Beijing, China +86 10 8400 2232

© Brian Mckenna / The Courtyard

© Brian Mckenna / The Courtyard

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.

Brian Mckenna @ The Courtyard, Donghuamen Avenue, East Gate of The Forbidden City, Beijing, China +86 10 6526 8883

Tiandi Yijia© Pixelflake/WikiCommons

Tiandi Yijia

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.

Tiandi yijia, 140 Nanchizi Dajie, west of Changpuhe Park, Beijing, China +86 10 8511 5556


Image Courtesy of Da Dong

Image Courtesy of Da Dong

Da Dong

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.

Da Dong, 1-2/F, Nanxincang International Plaza, 22A Dongsishitiao, near Dongmencang Hutong, Beijing, China +86 10 5169 0329


Image Courtesy of Haidilao

Image Courtesy of Haidilao


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


Image Courtesy of Black Sesame Kitchen

Image Courtesy of Black Sesame Kitchen

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.

Black Sesame Kitchen, 3 Heizhima Hutong (inside Nanluoguxiang), Dongcheng District, Beijing, China +86 1369 147 4408

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.

Crescent Moon Restaurant, 16 Dongsiliutiao Dongcheng district, Beijing, China +86 10 6400 5281


Image Courtesy of Red Capital Club

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.

Red Capital Club, 9 Dongsi Jiutiao, Dongcheng District, Beijing, China +86 10 8401 8886

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.

Shuangliu Laoma Tutou, 48 East Third Ring Road (south of Shuangjing Subway Exit C), Chaoyang District, Beijing, China +86 10 6540 5858


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.

Kiev, 13 Puhui Nanli, Yuyuantan Nanlu (west of the Millennium Monument), Haidian District, Beijing, China +86 10 6828 3482