A PEKING DUCK RESTAURANT WITH A DIFFERENCE

Nestled in the capital’s “party” district, this restaurant serves both traditional and Western-style duck against a backdrop of cool music and champagne.

A TEMPLE TO WESTERN FLAVORS

Quality Western cuisine is served in a space transformed from an old television factory.

A TASTE OF HOME

A private kitchen experience just off the popular Nan Luo Gu Xiang alley, this is where gourmet meets home-style.

A FOLKLORIC WONDER

A sumptuous introduction to regional and minority cuisines, running the gamut from Yunnanese to Tibet, whets appetites.

Beijing is traditionally associated with crispy duck, but the capital has so much more to offer than this famous dish. From a variety of quality Western restaurants to wilder flavors on the Chinese menu, from home-style kitchens to luxe emporiums, the dining scene is, like the city itself, an eclectic mix between old and new, the glossy and the obscure.

DINNING RECOMMENDATIONS

1949 Duck De Chine

Turning the traditional concept of a Beijing duck eatery on its head, the Sanlitun-located 1949 Duck de Chine is China’s most innovative and stylish duck restaurant. Combining both Chinese and French duck-roasting traditions, the menu offers an intoxicating mix of East and West, contemporary chic and age-old tradition. In a dining experience like no other, the restaurant also features a noodle bar and club, as well as China’s first Bollinger Champagne Bar.

As part of the 1949 – The Hidden City dining and nightlife concept, the restaurant is nestled between skyscrapers in the heart of Beijing’s party district, and is an exemplar of industrial chic. For visitors who want to soak in China’s young and “happening” nightlife scene while indulging in classic Peking duck, Duck de Chine is the place to dine in style.

1949 – The Hidden City, Courtyard 4, Gongti Beilu, Chaoyang District, 100027 Tel.: +86 10 6501 8881 / +86 10 6501 1949. Hours: Daily, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; 5:30 to 10:30 p.m.

TRB (Temple Restaurant Beijing)

Transformed from an old television factory that produced the capital’s first black and white TVs into a clean, light-filled and thoroughly modern space, Temple Restaurant Beijing merges an intriguing locale with quality contemporary European cuisine that reaches exemplary levels of service.

The history of the Temple Restaurant Beijing compound is of particular note to those who are interested in China’s colorful past. Spanning 600 years, the area includes ancient halls of worship, factories constructed after the Communist takeover, and slogans left over from the Cultural Revolution. Renovation began in 2008, with the aim of preserving all the different layers of history, and keeping as much as possible of the original structures. A pod of modernist calm in a neighborhood full of historical pedigree, this is a worth a trip for both gourmands and China aficionados, amongst others.

23, Shatan Beijie, off WuSi DaJie, Dongcheng District. Beijing. Tel.: +86 10 8400 2232. Email: meet@temple-restaurant.com. Hours: Monday to Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Monday to Saturday, 6 to 10 p.m.; Saturday to Sunday, Brunch 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Black Sesame Kitchen

Serving home-style Beijing and Sichuan cuisine in a residential courtyard located just off the popular alley Nan Luo Gu Xiang, Black Sesame Kitchen offers a home-like private kitchen dining experience for guests, where simplicity is key. The restaurant was originally a cooking school founded by Jen Lin-Liu, author of Serve the People: A Stir-Fried Journey through China, and inspired by the private dinner parties she held at home. As such, there is no menu, although diners can inform the kitchen ahead of time if they have any particular dietary preferences or restrictions. The restaurant itself is compact and cozy, seating only 20 people in a lofty eat-in kitchen and a lounge area.

The emphasis is on fresh, healthy cooking, using organic local produce, non-genetically modified cooking oil and sparing use of MSG. Signature dishes include pan-fried pork and pumpkin dumplings, fried shiitake mushrooms seasoned with bamboo shoots and coriander, as well as cashew kung pao chicken. On Friday nights, exclusive 10-course gourmet feasts are prepared right in front of guests. Diners are advised to reserve early, as the tiny space is often booked several weeks in advance.

No.3 Hei Zi Ma Hutong, Dongcheng District,Beijing. Tel.: +86 136 9147 4408. Email: reservations@blacksesamekitchen.com. Hours: Thursday 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (classes and events); Friday 7 to 10 p.m. (dinner); Saturday 1 to 4 p.m. (class); other times by reservation.

Lost Heaven

Offering an upscale folkloric dining experience, Lost Heaven is an adventure in alternative flavors. With a menu of modern-creative food inspired by the legendary Ancient Tea Horse Trail that runs through Yunnan, Burma and Tibet, the focus is on regional dining and minority cuisines. The kitchen, led by young chef Li Zhire, aims to make provincial ingredients exciting again, and to take neglected Chinese flavors – those from the Dai, Bai, Yi, Miao and Naxi groups, out of the shadows.

Close to Sadler, the restaurant’s interiors are the epitome of tribal sophistication – cultural curios, bold patterns and ethnic mystique. On sunny days, the outside terrace offers the ultimate al fresco dining experience, befitting the fresh and authentic food.

Unit G, 23 Qianmen Dong Dajie. Tel.: +86 10 8516 2698. Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., 5:30 to 10:30 p.m.

Private Kitchen No. 44

Located in a maze of hutongs and infused with great traditional character, this is a gem on Beijing’s gastronomic scene. Once the former residence of Tianhan, a famous dramatist and a founder of Chinese drama, this rustic space is now transformed into a restaurant specializing mainly in traditional cuisine from Guizhou’s ethnic Miao tribe. Distinctive and upscale, the restaurant exudes a country-style ambience that will make guests feel right at home – additionally, screens, quaint furniture and a part-collapsed wall are on hand to provide both charm and privacy. A must-try for diners is the suantang yu, or fish in a sour tomato broth, a signature Guizhou delicacy.

44 Xiguan Hutong, Dongcheng District, Beijing. Tel.: +86 10 6400 1280. Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 4 to 10 p.m.