Quanjude is the best restaurant in Beijing, serving roast duck with a difference. You might hear that there are others of the same standard ... but you have to come here. It was founded in 1864 during the Qing Dynasty. Every year, the restaurant serves more than 2 million ducks to 5 million customers. I recommend going to Beijing a day early to book a table, because of the huge queues that tend to form quickly. In fact, I would suggest going to their website and making a reservation online. If this sounds like a lot of effort, don't forget that we're talking about the best duck restaurant in the world.
It's not too expensive - certainly not when compared to Europe - and the duck is just divine. First they serve the crispy skin, separate from the tender, juicy skinless breast, with pancakes, vegetables and sauce on the side. A true delight! You roll up the pancakes filled with the ingredients yourself. After that comes vegetable soup, using the thighs of the bird. The Chinese eat everything! The head, legs and tongue are served, but tourists who prefer not to try these parts of the bird can request the service without them. The restaurant is in Quianmen Street, one of the most famous streets in Beijing.
One of the best alternatives in the Chinese capital of Beijing for day and night activities is a street called Nanluogu Xiang. This street is located in the Dongcheng district. In one of the traditional houses along this street, you will find a good restaurant where you can enjoy some of the best Chinese food dishes. Its interior is very inviting, but if you have time and the weather is good I recommend you dine on the terrace instead, where there is a young and international environment. One of the most popular dishes is Luoguo lemon chicken, a specialty, but you also can't go wrong with the rice or noodles with vegetables. The waitstaff is very attentive and they speak a little English. Oh, and is one of the few places where you can order Mahou beer in China ... The prices are very reasonable.
The restaurant in the Sanlitun district of Beijing is one of the best memories I have of all of them when I ate in the capital. Its specialty is the famous Peking duck (北京 烤鸭), which was cooked here as well as in other places. I recommend ordering a full duck: they will bring it to the table to see it before cooking. If you don´t ask it just means you will not have the opportunity see this interesting scene ... Also you can enjoy all the dishes of Peking and many others from other parts of the country. The menu is very extensive, as it usually is customary in Chinese restaurants. The place is very clean and is always crowded with people, and the atmosphere is lively and sometimes there is even live music. There are reasonable prices here as well.
This restaurant is on the street Xinjianés Guangming Lu Beijing and has in its menu all delicacies from the Chinese province of Xinjiang. The food of Xinjiang, one of the biggest provinces and one of the most unknown in China, just north of Tibet and predominantly Muslim, is very different from the typical idea of "Chinese food" that we have in the West. It was one of the most delicious cuisines in this country. Dishes are of Uighur ethnic majority in the province, and are tasty: noodles, lamb, chicken, polo, beef kebabs, lamb kebab, bread, Chuchura. Xinjiang also has a clear influence on the Chinese which makes it an even more interesting. And prices, they are unbeatable, you can eat for only 2 euros.
This Japanese restaurant specializing in sushi is one of the best dining options near Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Situated on Dongchang Street, about 10 minutes walk the north of the square, where you will find the portrait of Mao. You can eat sushi from a place where the food rotates with small sushi dishes where you can choose what you like, or sit on a table if not. The plates are of five different colors, and each color has a different price. A meal there usually goes for about 6 or 7 euros a person.
If you want to escape from the crowds of the Great Wall near Beijing, the best option is to go to Simatai, about 2-3 hours from the capital, depending on traffic, where we will be able to walk for a while almost single-handedly by the Great Wall, and there's even the option to go to Jinshanling, about 10 km walking down the wall to Simatai, where the bus can pick you up there. This tour is offered in all of the YHA in Beijing. I also recommend staying overnight at Simatai, where we can walk by the wall at night, and if the moon is out it is an incredible experience. There are not many places to stay in the area of Simatai, but one of the most recomendable is the restaurant and hostal Sima, from the YHA chain of hotels.
Restaurant No Name (无名 餐厅) in Beijing is a break from all the noise and bustle of the nearby tourists and Sanlitun glasses where people flock to enjoy. It is situated in a traditional Beijing house that is in a hutong (a little hidden), and specializes in food from the Chinese province of Yunnan, southern China. If you have time I recommend you eat outside on the terrace, which is great, it very tranquil and well decorated with wooden floors and furniture. All in all the restaurant is very cozy and friendly with dark lights, perfect for a quiet intimate dinner or with friends. Prices are not the cheapest but they aren´t unaccessible and the food is of high standards. Being quite hidden, perhaps it would be advisable that you take the address in Chinese: 大 金丝 胡同 1 号 银 定 桥南 50 米 in order to find it.
In the area of Sanlitu (Chaoyang), an area of bars and drinks with a variety of styles, we found a great Italian restaurant which has won numerous awards including Best Italian restaurant in Beijing. It is a quiet atmosphere where you can enjoy high quality food at a very affordable price. Personal recommendation: ravioli ricotta and spinach for 43 yen.
Andingmen nei is one of the oldest neighborhoods or hutongs in Beijing and it represents the most ambient and traditional character of the city. Unquestionably, one of the greatest pleasures of the Chinese capital is wandering these hutongs of low, black brick houses and narrow streets, which, of course, are full of restaurants with food stalls on the street. Even in winter barbecues take to the streets roasting the delicious meat skewers or rouchouar, always washed down with Tsingtao or the excellent Beijing Yangying classic beer. These street vendors are fantastic and very unique.
We had a real surprise with this restaurant. The truth is, it can be hard to find a Chinese restaurant where you can eat well, due to the language barrier. But here the menu has pictures of everything, and beside the entrance you can see an aquarium where the seafood is kept. The service is great, and it was super cheap ... I don't think we paid more than six or seven euro a head. The dishes were very small, but they were great, and we kept asking for more! We went in off-peak time - that is to say, we got there at five o'clock, and we were told that we'd have to be quick, as the table was reserved for six thirty. A nice spot.
The Soloist Coffee Co. is a coffee bar located in one of the old hutongs near Tiananmen Square. It can go unnoticed as its on a side street, but its worth visiting if you can find it. It was opened by a group of young people passionate about coffee to serve a mix of the world's best coffee beans served in a variety of ways, from traditional espresso to the more complex Chemex process. They also have special coffee tasting and coffee making courses.
Isshin Restaurant is situated in the Wudakou district (Ward, well known by students). This restaurant offers Japanese cuisine, that is refined and of high quality. I loved it. I tried a plate of sushi (salmon, tuna and vegetables), a Japanese salad and a plate of cheese rolls. Everything was delicious. The décor was very elegant. The meal came out to about 110 yuan for 3 of us (with ice cream for dessert), or 35 yuan per head (only € 3.5)!
This is a Chinese restaurant with a classic kitchen but it is fantastic. You cannot stop eating pecking duck, which they prepare exquisitely and with such cleanliness that it is rude to take a video. Also, it is cheap.