Beijing Restaurants

Since imperial times, Beijing has drawn citizens from all corners of China, and the country's economic boom has only accelerated the culinary diversity of the capital. These days, diners can find food from the myriad cuisines of far-flung regions of China, as well as just about every kind of international food.

Highlights include rare fungi and flowers from Yunnan, chili-strewn Hunan cooking from Mao’s home province, Tibetan yak and tsampa (barley flour), mutton kebabs and grilled flatbreads from Xinjiang, numbingly spicy Sichuan cuisine, and chewy noodles from Shaanxi. And then there are ethnic foods from all over, with some—notably Italian, Japanese and Korean—in abundance.

You can spend as little as $5 per person for a decent meal or $100 and up on a lavish banquet. The variety of venues is also part of the fun, with five-star hotel dining rooms, holes-in-the-wall, and refurbished courtyard houses all represented. Reservations are always a good idea, especially for higher-end places, so ask your hotel to book you a table.

Beijingers tend to eat dinner around 6 pm, and many local restaurants will have closed their kitchens by 9 pm, though places that stay open until the wee hours aren’t hard to find. Tipping is not the custom although some larger, international restaurants will add a 15% service charge to the bill, as do five-star hotel restaurants. Be aware before you go out that small and medium venues only take cash payments or local bank cards; more established restaurants usually accept credit cards.

Yanjing, the local beer, together with the ubiquitous Tsingtao, is available everywhere in Beijing. A growing number of imported beer brands have entered the market, and Beijing has a burgeoning craft beer scene of its own. And now many Chinese restaurants now have extensive wine menus.

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  • 1. King's Joy

    $$$$ | Dongcheng District | Vegetarian

    The miracle-worker chef transforms tofu, wheat gluten, mushrooms, and other vegetarian ingredients into delectable "fake meat" dishes at this...Read More

  • 2. Temple Restaurant Beijing

    $$$$ | Dongcheng District | Modern European

    Worship at the altar of Epicureanism, and surround yourself with serenity at the city's best international fine-dining restaurant, nestled in...Read More

  • 3. Baijia Dayuan

    $$$$ | Haidian District | Chinese

    Staff dressed in richly hued, Qing-dynasty attire welcome you at this grand courtyard house, the Bai family mansion. Featured delicacies (ordered...Read More

  • 4. Barolo

    $$$$ | Chaoyang | Italian

    Well executed Italian food in plush surroundings makes this luxury hotel restaurant as appropriate for a power lunch as for a romantic dinner...Read More

  • 5. Cai Yi Xuan

    $$$ | Chaoyang | Chinese

    Asian-style orbs bounce light across the gold and marble furnishings and plush rouge carpets of this dining room at the Four Seasons hotel....Read More

  • 6. Huang Ting

    $$$ | Dongcheng District | Chinese

    Beijing's traditional courtyard houses provide an exquisite setting at this elegant hotel restaurant. The walls are constructed from gray hutong...Read More

  • 7. Lost Heaven

    $$$ | Dongcheng District | Chinese

    The city’s finest Yunnan restaurant is in an elegant compound just east of Tiananmen Square that was once used by the former U.S. legation....Read More

  • 8. Mio

    $$$$ | Chaoyang | Italian

    Playful creativity is the hallmark of this upscale Italian restaurant in the Four Seasons. Tokyo-based Spin Design Studio has taken colored...Read More

  • 9. Naoki

    $$$$ | Haidian District | Japanese

    Few restaurants in the capital are able to approach the level of refinement found at this Japanese haven, set in the restored imperial grounds...Read More

  • 10. Opera Bombana

    $$$$ | Chaoyang | Italian

    Although this Italian restaurant is in a shopping mall, it has a gorgeous interior and serves decadent food. Langoustine carpaccio, Wagyu beef...Read More

  • 11. Pure Lotus

    $$$$ | Chaoyang | Vegetarian

    You'd never guess, but this glamorous vegetarian haven is owned and operated by Buddhist monks. The warm jewel tones and traditional artwork...Read More

  • 12. Rumi Persian Grill

    $$ | Chaoyang | Middle Eastern

    Soaring ceilings and enormous mirrors decorated with Arabic script create a casually exotic atmosphere at this all-white Persian favorite. Portions...Read More

  • 13. Sheng Yong Xing

    $$ | Chaoyang | Chinese

    Of the branches in this classy, Beijing chain of Peking-duck restaurants, this one is the most popular thanks to a prime location in the Sanlitun...Read More

  • 14. Transit

    $$$ | Chaoyang | Chinese

    This is one of Beijing's hottest contemporary Chinese restaurants, and we're not just talking about the chilies. Located in the upscale Sanlitun...Read More

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