The 30 Best Chinese and International Restaurants for Beijing Visitors and Tourists
Beijing is blessed with a fast-paced, diverse restaurant scene home to everything from high-end Western fine dining to authentic regional Chinese cuisine. However, this can make choosing a restaurant from one of the thousands available a daunting prospect. To help you out, the Beijinger has put together a list of the restaurants we consider essential eating on any visitor's Beijing itinerary, whether you are looking for a quick snack or a slap-up meal.
The restaurants are grouped by area and each is marked with the cuisine they serve, along with a rough indicator on how much a meal there will set you back.
$ less than RMB 100 per head
$$ RMB 100-200 per head
$$$ RMB 300+ per head
The food at Bottega serves as a reminder that there’s more to pizza than mounds of toppings and masses of cheese; a good quality base doesn’t need much more adornment. Bottega’s Salvo brothers should know a bit about dough – their family has been in the Naples pizza business since the 1920s. With a bustling dining room and reliable menu, Bottega is a great casual dining choice in the heart of Sanlitun.
Daily noon-3pm, 5.30-11pm. 18 Sanlitun Lu, Chaoyang District (6416 1752)
$$ // Pizza // Vegetarian options available // English menu
This time-tested stalwart has become a veritable institution in Beijing’s dining scene. Hatsune’s elegant decor and neo-Japanese fare have aged well in its 14-plus years of operation – expect a huge selection of mouth-watering California rolls, fresh sashimi, creative salads, and regular seasonal specials. Their branch in the Kerry Center is well-located for business travelers.
3/F, Taikoo Li Sanlitun South, Sanlitun Road, Chaoyang District (6415 3939)
$$ // Japanese // Vegetarian options available // English menu
In & Out
Not to be confused with the Californian burger chain, this Lijiang-themed restaurant staffed by various ethnic minorities of Yunnan decked out in their traditional costumes affords a great introduction to the cuisine of the southern Chinese province. The seasonally rotating menu boasts Dai minority favorites such as fried potato balls and rice with pineapple, along with a mish-mash of Naxi, Bai, and Wa minority staples including Xishuangbanna roast fish bundled with lemongrass, and rich, leathery Shangri-La dried beef. Don't miss the fried goat's cheese slices.
Mon-Fri 11am-2pm, 5.30-9.30pm, Sat-Sun 11am-9.30pm. 1 Sanlitun Beixiaojie, Chaoyang District (6467 5235)
$$ // Chinese, Yunnan // Vegetarian and vegan options available // English menu
Jing Yaa Tang
The menu at the Opposite House's sophisticated Chinese restaurant Jing Yaa Tang offers a panoply of pan-Chinese dishes, from Peking duck to dim sum, making it a good one-stop shop if you don't have time to tour Beijing's restaurant scene. Be sure to try the three cups cod fish and the "mouthwatering spicy chicken” (a Sichuan-style specialty).
B1/F, Opposite House, 11 Sanlitun Lu, Chaoyang District (6410 5230)
$$ // Chinese, pan-Chinese // Vegetarian and vegan options available // English menu
Shaanxi Noodle King
This noodle restaurant looks humble but packs in the crowds for its true-to-form renditions of the noodle dishes of Shaanxi province in northwestern China. A bowl of noodles won't set you back much more than RMB 20, including their signature youpo (literally "oil-pulled") noodles, which feature thick, belt-like noodles in an addictive savory-spicy sauce.
Daily 10am-10pm. B1-4, Topwin Center, Chaoyang District (5722 2029)
$ // Chinese, noodles // English menu
Mama de Weidao
For well-priced Chinese food in the Sanlitun area, you could do worse than Mama de Weidao. This small, two-story restaurant serves classic homestyle northern Chinese dishes (the name literally translates as "mother's flavor") in a minimalist setting that is a cut above the usual cheap Chinese diner. Try the red-braised pork and the aubergine slices stuffed with minced pork.
Daily 10am-2pm, 5-10pm. Unit 110, Bldg 6, China View, 2 Gongti Donglu, Chaoyang District (8587 1822)
$ // Chinese, Beijing // Vegetarian options available
Mosto (pictured at top) has been one of Beijing's hottest restaurants ever since it opened in 2008. The bustling open kitchen serves modern cuisine with eclectic influences from South America, the Mediterranean, and Europe. Open daily for lunch and dinner, they also serve brunch on Saturday and Sunday, with an á la carte menu of upgraded comfort food (try the eggs Benedict or the wagyu beef burger) and the option to add two-hours of free-flow sparkling wine.
Daily Lunch 11.30am-3pm, Dinner 5.40-10pm, Brunch Sat-Sun 10am-3pm. 3/F, Nali Patio, Sanlitun Lu, Chaoyang District (5208 6030)
$$ // International // Vegetarian and vegan options available // English menu
This pumping spot in Sanlitun serves up arguably Beijing's best tacos, alongside lashings of tequila. Packed pretty much every night of the week, be sure to make a reservation, or go early between 5-7pm, when you'll get a free taco with every alcoholic drink (cocktails or draft beer only) ordered. Tacos aside, don't leave without trying the queso fundido, a super indulgent cheese and chorizo dip, served with freshly fried tortilla chips.
Tue-Fri 5pm-late, Sat-Sun 12pm-late. Unit 10, Courtyard 4, Gongti Beilu, Chaoyang District (6501 6026)
$ // International, Mexican // Vegetarian options available
Beautiful, stylish Sichuan restaurant serving upgraded versions of classic dishes. Dishes stay true to form but use high-quality, and sometimes unexpected, ingredients such as organic chicken, Malson sea salt, and Cognac. Try the spicy cold chicken (pictured above), the seabass poached in chili oil, and the braised eggplant with minced pork (Note: While Transit was temporarily closed for renovations at the time of writing but we were informed that their overall concept will not change).
Daily noon-2pm, 6-10pm. N4-36, 3/F, Taikoo Li North, 11 Sanlitun Lu, Chaoyang District (6417 9090)
$$ // Chinese, Sichuan // Vegetarian options available // English menu
Local restaurant chain Xiaodiao Litang serves modern Beijing dishes that capture a little of the eclectic spirit that makes the city's cuisine so great. Their signature dish is litang, a traditional pear soup sweetened with rock sugar. Other top menu picks include flash-fried prawns with pears and peanuts, braised rice with beef brisket, and "cheese fish," a creamy jelly-like set dessert inexplicably shaped like a fish. There are several branches around town, of which the most convenient is in Tuanjiehu southeast of Sanlitun.
Daily 11am-3pm, 5-9.30pm. 4A, Baijiazhuang Dongli, south of Tuanjiehu subway exit C, Chaoyang District (6582 1348)
$ // Chinese, Beijing // Vegetarian options available
This raucous, modestly decorated dining hall has been around for years but is still frequently cited as Beijing’s best Sichuan restaurant, partially thanks to being part of the Sichuan provincial government representative office. Sichuan cuisine is famous for its spicy, numbing flavors, which you will find in abundance in dishes such as mapo tofu (má pó dòufu 麻婆豆腐), kungpao frog (gōng bǎo niúwā 宫保牛蛙), and deep-fried chicken with chilies (làzǐ jī 辣子鸡).
Daily 10am-10pm. 5 Gongyuan Toutiao, Jianguomen Neidajie, Dongcheng District (6512 2277 ext 6101)
$$ // Chinese, Sichuan // Vegetarian options available
Consistently well-executed imperial cuisine – specifically, Manchu cuisine – without the swanky atmosphere. Dishes here are quite novel, including ingredients such as venison that are not commonly seen in modern Chinese cooking. Be sure to try the crispy skinned prawns and the braised eggplant. Make a reservation or be prepared to wait, but the wait is worth it.
Daily 11.30am-9.30pm. 10 Yonganli, Jianguomen Waidajie, Chaoyang District (6567 3663)
$$ // Chinese, Beijing // Vegetarian options available // English menu
Head to Baoyuan in the Liangmaqiao area for a healthful rainbow of cheap dumplings, their dough dyed with vegetable and fruit such as spinach and carrot. Fillings are just as creative – kungpao chicken dumplings, anyone? – and there are plenty of vegetarian options packed with ingredients such as smoked tofu, celery, mushrooms, eggs, chives, cabbage, carrots, and cellophane noodles. The crispy rice and cabbage is a long-time favorite.
Daily 11am-2pm, 5-10pm. 6 Maizidian Jie, Chaoyang District (6586 4967)
$ // Chinese, Dumplings // Vegetarian and vegan options available // English menu
Cai Yi Xuan
The Chinese restaurant in the Four Seasons Beijing serves upgraded versions of traditional Cantonese dishes in a dramatically decorated space. Look out for dishes such as soy-braised pork belly with abalone and black truffle sauce and sautéed king prawns with black garlic and dried chili. The dim sum – similarly adorned with high-end ingredients such as truffle and lobster – is exemplary.
Daily 11.30am-2.30pm, 5.30-10.30pm. 2/F, Four Seasons Beijing, 48 Liangmaqiao Lu, Chaoyang District (5695 8888)
$$$ // Chinese, Cantonese // Vegetarian options available // English menu
A true hidden gem (the restaurant is tucked away down an alleyway once you reach the address below), Vin Vie is an unpretentious izakaya serving Japanese dishes with a Western touch. Alongside a menu of excellent yakitori, you'll find dishes such as horse meat carpaccio, foie gras pate on toast, and beef tongue braised in red wine. There is an extensive and reasonably priced wine list, alongside sake, soju, and whiskey. The space is small and popular, so be sure to book in advance.
Daily 6pm-midnight. In the allweyway north of 8 Maizidian Jie, Chaoyang District (6508 5517)
$$ // International, Japanese // English menu
Since it first opened more than 15 years ago, Yotsuba has garnered a reputation for high quality at its three Beijing branches. At the Liangmaqiao location, grab one of a handful of intimate sunken booths or perch at the counter and study the surgeon-robed Japanese chefs at work. The menu focuses on the classics, such as the freshest sashimi flown in from Japan, and there is a good value set lunch featuring multiple small dishes for around RMB 200 and up.
Daily 11.30am-2pm, 5.30-10pm. 39 Maizidian Xijie, east side of FX Hotel, Chaoyang District (6586 7166)
$$$ // Japanese // English menu
FORBIDDEN CITY/JINGSHAN PARK
A bright and clean restaurant just west of the Forbidden City specializing in Beijing roubing – the eponymous “Beijing pie,” a wheat pancake stuffed with pork, beef, or vegetables – alongside other classic homestyle dishes such as kungpao chicken and stir-fried eggs with tomatoes. English menu and English-speaking staff make the dining experience smooth.
Daily 10am-10pm. 159-2 Beiheyan Dajie, Dongcheng District (6528 2187)
$ // Chinese, Beijing // Vegetarian options available // English menu
Black Sesame Kitchen
A Beijing institution, Black Sesame Kitchen moved from their original spot on the eponymous Black Sesame Hutong in 2014, eventually relocating to a quiet hutong just east of Jingshan Park and the Forbidden City. They hold communal Chinese dinners every Tuesday and Friday night. The meal includes 10 courses, cooked in the open kitchen by their experienced chefs, as well as generous pours of two paired wines. Sample dishes include red-braised pork belly and kungpao shrimp.
By appointment only. 28 Zhonglao Hutong, Dongcheng District (136 9147 4408)
$$$ // Chinese, pan-Chinese // Vegetarian and vegan options available // English menu
There is nothing better after a long day of touring the Forbidden City than retiring to the terrace at Capital M for a sundowner overlooking Tiananmen Square. This long-running restaurant serves reliable international cuisine that boasts Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences. In addition to cocktails and dinner, Capital M is open for weekend brunch and afternoon tea. Both of the latter are extremely popular, so you'll need to book in advance.
Daily 5-10pm, Sat-Sun brunch 11.30am-3pm, afternoon tea 3-5pm. 3/F, 2 Qianmen Pedestrian Street, Xicheng District (6702 2727)
$$$ // International // Vegetarian and vegan options available // English menu
Get a real taste of old Beijing at this venerable hot pot restaurant located just north of Jingshan Park. The hot pot at Manfulou is served the traditional Beijing way, in a heated copper pot. Unlike Sichuan-style hot pot, the broth here is unadorned with chilies and other spices, allowing the flavor of the ingredients to be dipped in – of which mutton is the most popular – to shine through.
Daily 10.30am-10pm. 38 Di'anmen Neidajie, Xicheng District (6403 0992)
$$ // Chinese, hot pot
TRB Hutong serves contemporary European cuisine in a lovingly restored 600-year-old temple. The stunning setting, exemplary service, and extensive wine list add up to make this Beijing's best fine dining spot. There is a second location, TRB Forbidden City, located at the east gate of the Forbidden City, with great views over the palace moat.
Mon-Fri 11.30am-2.30pm, Sat-Sun 11.30am-3pm, Mon-Sun 5.30-10pm. 23 Songzhusi, Shatan Beijie, Dongcheng District (8400 2232)
$$$ // International, European // Vegetarian options available
Da Dong might be best known for serving Beijing's leanest roast duck (you'll barely find any fat between the moist meat and shatteringly crisp skin) but the rest of its innovative modern Chinese cuisine is equally as noteworthy. The menu is full of high-end ingredients like lobster, foie gras, and sea cucumber, so best to save this one for a special occasion or when someone else is picking up the bill. There are several locations of Da Dong around town; we favor the Dongsishitao branch, one of the older locations, or the tuhao-chic branch at the east gate of the Workers' Stadium.
1-2/F, Nanxincang International Plaza, 22A Dongsi Shitiao, Dongcheng District (5169 0329)
$$$ // Chinese, Peking duck // Vegetarian options available // English menu
A fixture in Beijing guidebooks for years, this Xinjiang restaurant is less rough-and-ready than some of its counterparts, despite its location down an anonymous hutong alleyway. Tuck into hearty portions of dishes such as chicken and potato stew alongside lamb kebabs, grilled naan bread, and homemade yogurt. Complement your meal with a Xinjiang beer.
Daily 11am-11.30pm. 16 Dongsi Liutiao, Dongcheng District (6400 5281)
$$ // Chinese, Xinjiang // Vegetarian options available // English menu
Set in a warren of restored courtyards just east of Beixinqiao subway station, Hua's Restaurant serves upgraded homestyle Beijing dishes. This is a good place to try Peking duck (which here comes with batons of hawthorn jelly alongside the traditional accompaniments), as well as other popular local dishes such as boiled crayfish. There are nightly music performances in the open-air courtyards in the summer months.
Daily 10.30am-4am. 235 Dongzhimen Neidajie, Dongcheng District (5128 3315)
$$ // Chinese, Beijing // Vegetarian options available // English menu
Think you know vegetarian food? Think again. This upscale courtyard restaurant near the Lama Temple serves plant-based dishes that will surprise and delight even the most ardent of carnivores. Rather than relying on mock meat products like many other restaurants, King's Joy uses creative seasonings and cooking methods to fashion vegetables into meat-like arrangements. Not one for the budget conscious – set menus start from around RMB 400 or you can choose from the extensive á la carte menu.
Daily 10am-10pm. 2 Wudaoying Hutong, Yonghegong Dajie, Dongcheng District (8404 9191)
$$$ // Chinese, vegetarian // Vegetarian and vegan options available // English menu
Located in a well-preserved courtyard near the old imperial wall, this restaurant serves delicious and authentic Yunnan dishes with a cozy setting, perfect for friendly gatherings or a romantic night out. Menu highlights include the Naxi-style prawns stir-fried with mint and the pineapple rice. They also brew their own rice wine. They now also have a second, larger venue west of Dongzhimen (pictured above) but we still prefer the original location for its more rustic atmosphere and covered courtyard.
Daily 10.30am-10pm. 28 Donghuangchenggen Beijie, Dongcheng District (6401 9498)
$ // Chinese, Yunnan // Vegetarian and vegan options available
Down a deserted alley, just at the point that doubt starts to creep, Susu welcomes you into her twinkling, ever-so-modish folds. With a beautiful open courtyard and stylish design, Susu makes a supremely assuring first impression. The menu features pho, banh mi sandwiches, banh xeo crepes, caramelized claypot dishes, Vietnamese stews, and "the fabled La Vong Fish."
Daily 11.30am-10pm. 10 Qianliang Hutong Xixiang, Dongcheng District (8400 2699)
$$ // International, Vietnamese // Vegetarian options available // English menu
Expect long queues at this tiny, and incredibly popular, Sichuan joint. Grab a beer from one of the nearby convenience stores while you wait – you'll need it to fan the flames of their spicy dishes. Must-order dishes include dandan noodles (dàndàn miàn 担担面), mapo tofu (mápó dòufu 麻婆豆腐), and twice-fried belly pork with chilies (huí guō ròu 回锅肉).
Daily 10.30am-10.30pm. 4 Fensiting Hutong, Dongcheng District (137 1785 0992)
$ // Chinese, Sichuan // Vegetarian options available
Hot pot chain Haidilao is as famous for its hospitality as it is for its spicy Sichuan hot pot. You'll be in for a long wait for a table, but you won't mind when you're getting your nails done or enjoying a fruit plate while you wait. Don’t forget to ask for the noodle show – an energetic waiter will pull noodles right at your table. There are more than 10 branches around town, including one south of Sanlitun, many of which are open 24 hours a day.
24 hours. 8/F, In88 Shopping Center, 88 Wangfujing Dajie, Dongcheng District (5762 0741)
$$ // Chinese, hot pot // Vegetarian options available // English menu
For Peking duck in a fun "old Beijing" atmosphere, head to Siji Minfu. The duck is consistently good and much better value than some of Beijing's touristy "time-honored brands" (we're looking at you, Quanjude). This is also a good place to order other traditional Beijing dishes such as zhajiang noodles. There are several branches around town, of which our favorites are the raucous Dengshikou branch and the Forbidden City branch, which has views over the moat surrounding the palace. Note that none of the branches accept bookings for small groups so you may have to queue.
32 Dengshikou Xijie, Dongcheng District (6513 5141)
$ // Chinese, Peking duck, Beijing // Vegetarian options available
More stories by this author here.