Selling itself on the claim that its birds (RMB 198 per whole duck) are leaner than those of other roast duck joints, Da Dong’s two classy branches more or less bookend the 2km strip between Changhong Qiao and Dongsishitiao. Arguments will never cease as to which kitchen produces Beijing’s best roast ducks, but Da Dong’s ability to transcend the duck genre is marked by its repeated wins as "Best Chinese Restaurant of the Year" in the Beijinger’s annual Reader Restaurant Awards. Try dipping a slice of duck in the sugar provided alongside other condiments – somehow, it works beautifully. The 160-page menu is a work of art in itself, with a plethora of duck dishes backed up by vegetable dishes, soups and more. If you’re only going to eat duck once in Beijing, book a table – or else be prepared to wait for one – at Da Dong. Voted best "Chinese Restaurant of the Year," "Beijing Duck" and "Best for Impressing Visitors" in the 2011 Reader Restaurant Awards.
No event here now.
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User reviews of Da Dong Roast Duck 北京大董烤鸭店
Ate her in a private room with about 7-8 colleagues. The private room has a surcharge, but is nice if your group is large and gets you private servers. We were fawned over, excellent service. Beer flowed freely as continuously different dishes were rolled in.
The menu is extensive, large with page-sized pictures, with many things none of us had ever heard of before. Elegant plating. We considered the turtle soup but by then we'd ordered so much food we were afraid we wouldn't finish it. Had my "braised jellyfish" here, which was tasty and a very interesting texture. Also some spicy fish, lotus hearts, a couple of ducks, etc. etc. In total we must have ordered around 12-15 different dishes.
Whole meal took us probably around 3-4 hours, but was totally worth it. With all the restaurants in Beijing to choose from, I wouldn't be surprised if someone found something better, but for somebody in town for a week or so, this is an excellent place to have quite spectacular Chinese food in a fancy setting.
When you dine at Da Dong, you're definitely paying for the service and atmosphere. The duck is good, but its not the best in town. They have a plethora of other options on their menu, but I feel that sometimes less is more. When you're eating at Da Dong you know the food is going to be good, but you just don't want to spend 40 min pouring through every menu option. This restaurant is definitely a must-try though, especially for out-of-towners visiting.
Can't deny that Da Dong is up there with the best duck restaurants in Beijing. Not sure that the hype is totally justified - I don't think there's much setting it apart from the likes of Duck de Chine and even Quanjude (Made in China is for my money the best, though again it's a matter of details) - but haven't been let down by the few visits I've paid to their Nanxincang branch.
I think the sheer size of their menu is a big plus and points to possible great things. Only problem is that you never get the chance to order anything else because, well, you come for the duck, right?
One of my least favourite Peking Duck in town. I am aware of what a GREAT selection of other dishes they have got. But when it comes to DUCK, I never think of Dadong.
The problem is TOO skinny. Maybe many people think less fat is a good thing. But many other people and me just happen to be cholesterol and food lovers. If you imagine a skinny human being, the type skinnier than super models. That's right! It won't feel good to touch or look. When it comes to skinny duck, no good to bite or taste. That's what dadong's duck is - air dried duck sausage!
But it doesn't matter because Dadong's specialist is in other dishes anyways where he wins over other dedicated duck restaurants. I am serious! But bile ginseng and shark fin? Are they necessary? And now Gras? Their latest Dongsishitiao mansion is just a stone away from turning into a western restaurant(shock).
A plate as large as my feet-washing-tub back in college with some random colorful little things in is a typical Dadong dish now. Is it western style or maybe they are just trying to reverse Chinese cuisine back before Song Dynasty(960) when Chinese people ate individually like westerners do today. I don't get it and I don't like it.
We've been to two Peking Duck restaurants in Beijing and although we have our favorite of the two (Xi He Ya Yuan in ZhongGuanCun: http://www.xiheyayuan.com/demoe.htm), we wanted to give other restaurants a try. So we made a reservation at Da Dong in DongSiShiTiao. It was a little hard to find (the entrance of the restaurant is on the back side of the building), so I stopped a couple and asked them if they knew where the restaurant was. I said the name (not knowing the tones) and they had never heard of it! So I said "very famous Peking Duck restaurant". They laughed and said, the most famous restaurant was QuanJuDe! Luckily, they saw from a far the name of the restaurant in Chinese and pointed us in the right direction.
We saw others comment not to even try too many of the side dishes as they look better than they taste, so we stuck to the duck. We ordered half a duck (99RMB, literally half the price of a whole duck), a side of pea vine (42-ish RMB), and Yangzhou Fried Rice (18RMB per bowl). The duck was very good, but honestly, we couldn't differentiate between Da Dong's duck and Xi He Ya Yuan's. So here's why we choose hands-down Xi He Ya Yuan over Da Dong.
1) Condiments: At Da Dong, you pay 8RMB each for a plate of condiments. With half a duck, I had to ration my condiments or I'd run out. At Xi He Ya Yuan, you're given a huge rotating tray of condiments, included in the price, and you won't run out. And if you did, I'm sure you could ask for more w/out being charged.
2) Soup: Duck soup is included at both restaurants. At Da Dong, you're given one individual bowl of broth and maybe a few pieces of greens. At Xi He Ya Yuan, you're given a large bowl (enough to feed the entire table PLUS) including broth, meat, veggies, etc. The soup is quite bland at Da Dong and flavorful at Xi He Ya Yuan.
3) Price: If we went to Da Dong to eat duck only, we would pay for half a duck 98RMB, 2 plates of condiments 16RMB, and 10% service charge on all foods, totaling: 125.4RMB. At Xi He Ya Yuan, a WHOLE duck costs 138RMB, includes condiments and there is NO surcharge. So, 125.4RMB for half a duck verses 138RMB for a whole duck at Xi He Ya Yuan.
4) Ambiance: Da Dong's restaurant is nice and clean, no qualms there. I didn't use the bathroom, thank goodness, so I can't comment on that. Xi He Ya Yuan's restaurant is a bit cozier, however, and is built inside of an old Chinese courtyard (very historic, very beautiful). It's very clean, as are the bathrooms, and doesn't feel touristy at all. I've been there a few times and haven't seen any other foreigners but us.
So if you're willing to take a little trek out to ZhongGuanCun for duck, you will not regret it! Choose Xi He Ya Yuan over Da Dong!