Everyone knows a great restaurant in their neighbourhood that they return to time and time again. But short of knocking on doors when you’re in a new area, it can be hard to know a local’s favourite haunts. Here are the best of the west side gathered from the people who know. Edited by Manuela Zoninsein.
Everyone knows a great restaurant in their neighbourhood that they return to time and
Xi’An Restuarant 西安饭庄
Opened back in 1956, this unassuming state-run restaurant serves hot Xi’an dishes and was a favourite of Chairman Mao. Today, the place still bustles with local gourmands in search of the city’s best mutton soup and roasted bread.
20 Xinjiekou Nandajie (a few metres south of the Xinjiekou and Xizhemennei intersection on the east side of street), Xicheng district (6681 1476 / 8168 3476). Open 10.30am-10pm daily. Meal for two around 40RMB. 西城区新街口南大街20号.
‘I recommend this Mongolian restaurant as its food not only tastes great but is also elegantly presented. Most importantly, the quality of ingredients is consistently good. For those interested in Monglia’s culture, they have the region’s dances and songs performed for the diners each night,’ says Chef Jin Qiang from Made in China
2 Wanshou Lu (1,000m north of Xicui Lu), Haidian district (6828 8322). Open 11am-2pm, 6-10pm daily. Meal for two around 250RMB. 海淀区西翠路北1000米
Aimo Town 埃蒙小镇
‘Named after its owner and musician Aimeng, Aimo is a quiet place with good, home-cooked Yunnan dishes. My picks are the xiangmaocao kaoyu (grass grilled fish) and mixian (rice noodles). They sometimes have live performances at night so call ahead to check,’ according to Chef Chen Mingding from Dali Restaurant.
Building B, Meigui Yuan, Jiexin Huayuan, Northeast corner, Madianqiao, North 3rd Ring, Haidian district, (6205 9410). Open 11am-12am daily. Meal for two around 100RMB. 海淀区北三环马甸桥东北角街心花园玫瑰园B座
Xidan Chiku 西单翅酷 (pictured)
Their chicken wings are hotter than KFC’s in taste – and in spice too. Try the biantai (perverted) wings, which are just covered in peppers. People make reservations up to two weeks in advance but it’s worth trying your luck at the door.
15 Zhongsheng Hutong, 17 Xi Chang’an Jie (walk east of Xidan Book Mansion about 200 metres), Xicheng district (6603 2605). Open 11am-10.30pm daily. Meal for two around 70RMB. 西城区西单图书大厦东侧钟声胡同15号
Ma Bashi Restaurant 马八十餐厅
This non-descript eatery is nevertheless always packed with locals. We recommend trying the beef noodles and Xinjiang noodles, both big favourites amongst the customers.
37 Xinjiekou Dongjie (close to Jishuitan Hospital), Xicheng district (6617 8481). Open 10am-10pm daily. Meal for two around 40RMB. 西城区新街口东街37号
Though not famous in the area, locals who know better throng to this 20-year-old eatery for its rice casseroles and hearty rice noodles.
72 Xinjiekou Dongjie, Xicheng district (8322 1893). Open 9am-10pm daily. Meal for two around 40RMB. 西城区新街口东街72号
Huifeng Hot Pot 惠丰涮肉
Classic, no-frills Beijing hot-pot served in traditional copper-cone pots and served by nice, friendly waitstaff.
115 Xinjiekou Beidajie (a few meters north of the McDondald’s at Xinjiekou and Xizhimennei intersection on west side of street), Xicheng district (6221 8978). Open 11am-10pm daily. Meal for two around 100RMB. 西城区新街口北大街115号
Qingzhen Xiaochi 清真小吃
Always crowded with discriminating local elders from the neighbourhood who come here for hearty northern fare such as the Dingding chaomian(fried noodles).
68 Mianhua Hutong(on the corner of Mianhua and Hangtian hutongs), Xicheng district (6617 6299). Open 6am-9pm daily. Meal for two around 40RMB. 西城区棉花胡同68号
Shaoguo Ju 砂锅居
It’s been around forever; 1741 to be precise. This restaurant is perfect for trying out authentic Manchurian dishes. Don’t leave without having a go at its delicious bairou (white meat pork).
60 Xisi Nan Dajie, Xicheng district (6602 1126). Open 11am-10pm daily. Meal for two around 100RMB. 西城区西四南大街60号
Tulu Fan Restaurant 吐鲁番餐厅
‘This restaurant specialises in smokey, savoury halal Uyghur food. I like the Ma tofu – fried tofu with lamb fats and green beans, and the pa peng ji, Muslim-style braised chicken, which is so succulent and tender,’ says chef Aurubind Wilsun of the Shangri-La.
6 Niujie (north entrance), Xuanwu district (8316 4691). Open 11.30am-2pm, 5-10pm Mon-Sat. Meal for two around 100RMB. 宣武区牛街北口6号
Daxue Cai Dian 大学菜店
Named ‘The Secret Jiaozi’ by the students who frequent it, Daxuexue is an authentic Chinese eatery that only sells jiaozi and baozi (4RMB for 10). Don’t let the obscure campus location put you off, it’s a hidden gem worth finding.
BLCU West Gate, Chengfu Lu, Wudaokou (located in the back of a fruit and vegetable shop, on the road from the Beijing Language and Cultural University West Gate entrance towards the Xijiao Hotel), Haidian district. Open 8.30am-9pm daily. Meal for two around 15RMB. 海淀区学院路15号北京语言大学西门菜店内
Hot & Tasty 知味麻辣小厨
This two-month old Sichuan Restaurant is new to the Financial Street area, but it established itself with locals in a nearby hutong where it first operated four years ago. Since its relocation, it’s managed to attract a new following (including an increasing number of foreign customers) but maintains its popularity among locals. Authentic Sichuan flavoured dishes average out at around 50RMB per dish.
Exchange Walk (opposite the Ritz Carlton Hotel, next to KFC), 9-7 Jingchengfang Jie, Xicheng district (6629 0268). Open 9.30am-10.30pm. Meal for two around 100RMB. 西城区金城坊街9-7号
This buzzing restaurant is part of a Chinese franchise located all over China. A firm favourite with locals, Koufuju is busy night and day. It specialises in hot pot (39RMB), with an impressive meat selection, but still caters for other tastes with traditional Chinese cuisine as songrou (sauced pork) and zhutourou juanbing,/i> (pork head meat roll).
93 Taipingqiao Dajie (across the road from CPPCC), Xicheng district (6606 2251). Open 10am-11pm daily. Meal for two around 100RMB. 西城区白塔寺太平桥大街93号