As the capital city of China, Beijing offers a huge variety of food options. Not only is there local Beijing cuisine to try, but there are also restaurants featuring dishes from provinces all over China: Sichuan, Yunnan, Hunan. You name it, Beijing has got it!
Whenever someone visits Beijing, they often ask me for restaurant recommendations and where to eat. Now, I’m no Chinese food connoisseur, but I am a huge fan of Chinese food! I have lived in China for 4.5 years and have been in Beijing for almost two years, so I have had lots of time to sample and explore many of the local restaurants and various cuisines here.
Beijing is a big city though, so it can be hard to choose where to go! If you’re wondering what food to try in Beijing or where the best restaurants are, check these out.
Note: These are not 5 star fancy restaurants, but rather local restaurants where you’ll find amazing food for very affordable prices. If you’re looking for expensive restaurants and fine dining you’ll probably want to look elsewhere, but if you’re looking for a local expat’s perspective, I’m your girl 😉
10 of My Favorite Chinese Restaurants in Beijing:
- Huda Restaurant (胡大) on Ghost Street
- Mr. Shi’s Dumplings: Jiaozi（饺子）
- Hot Pot: Hu Guo (火锅)
- Peking Duck: Beijing Kaoya (北京烤鸭)
- Little Yunnan (云南菜)
- Zhang Liang Malatang（张亮麻辣烫）
- Lamb Skewers – Chuan’r (串儿)
- Wudaoying Hutong Area
- Xinjiang Restaurant Yī Lóng Zhāi (伊隆斋)
- Zhang Mama (张妈妈特色川味馆)
When my sister visited we went to one of my favorite dumpling restaurants (listed below!)
1. Huda Restaurant (胡大) on Ghost Street
For a classic Beijing restaurant experience, visit Huda on Ghost Street. There are several chains of this restaurant on this street, all offering a casual Chinese dining experience at a traditional round table where you order many dishes to share. One of the most popular dishes to order is the spicy crawfish – grabs some friends, order some pijiu (beer), and enjoy the ambiance.
Ghost Street is a popular street in Beijing stretching between Dongzhimen and Beixinqiao metro stations and is called Ghost Street because during the day it is empty and at night comes alive. If you walk down Ghost Street you’ll find many other restaurants like hot pot, Chinese barbeque, and other traditional restaurants where you can order many dishes to share.
2. Mr. Shi’s Dumplings: Jiaozi（饺子）
Dumplings are a must-try in China! One of my favorite dumpling restaurants is Mr. Shi’s Dumplings (老师饺子). There are many locations, but the most popular one with a great outside ambiance is in the hutongs by the Bell and Drum towers.
There are many dumpling options, including traditional pork/vegetable boiled dumplings, as well as some interesting “Western” flavors like chicken and cheese and chocolate and apple.
3. Hot Pot: Hu Guo (火锅)
Restaurant 1: Jingge Chongqing Hot Pot 井格重庆火锅(北新桥店)
This is a restaurant nearby my hutong apartment, so it’s very convenient for me to stop by. They have a menu with English and Chinese on it which made it easy to translate.
Many Other Restaurant Options: Haidilao 海底捞 is a popular hot pot chain you can find all over the city, and chances are if you’re in a restaurant area like Ghost Street or near a mall you’ll find so many hot pot options. There are many variations, like Sichuan hot pot, Mongolian hot pot.
4. Peking Duck: Beijing Kaoya （北京烤鸭）
As a classic Beijing dish to try, there are many places to try Peking Duck. It depends on your budget and the kind of guests you are with. I prefer more affordable places a shorter wait time – but still just as delicious food!
Restaurant 1: Jing Zun Roast Duck (Chun Xiu Road) 京尊烤鸭店(春秀路店)
This is a great low-key local Peking duck place. It’s very affordable, and where I usually take friends when they visit. There might be a wait time, but it’s usually not long. There are many western bars nearby that you can walk to afterwards for a drink, like Paddy’s. Read more here.
Restaurant 2: Four Seasons Minfuku Roast Duck Restaurant 四季民福烤鸭店(东四十条店)
This restaurant is a bit more pricy, but still not as expensive as other Peking Duck options. The wait time is usually longer, but the dishes are worth the wait! I went with friends to celebrate Chinese New Years and we had a great time. See more information here.
Restaurant 3: Xiheyaju Restaurant
I’ve actually never been to this one, but it comes highly recommended from a friend.
4. Little Yunnan (云南菜)
Yunnan in a Province in southern China that features dishes that are very different than other Chinese provinces. The food is very fresh and light, featuring lots of vegetables and ingredients not often found in other Chinese cuisines. Little Yunnan is a great restaurant in the hutongs where you can enjoy a lovely atmosphere and try some of these dishes – I recommend the Granny Potatoes and fried cheese!
6. Zhang Liang Malatang（张亮麻辣烫）
You can find malatang everywhere in China! It’s one of my favorite Chinese dishes. When you enter a malatang restaurant, you fill a bowl with a variety of noodles, vegetables, and meats, then hand it to the kitchen to cook with a spicy broth. It’s so good, especially in winter! A very basic Malatang chain called Zhang Liang can be found all over the city, as well as many other Malatang restaurants.
7. Lamb Skewers – Chuan’r (串儿)
You can find traditional lamb skewers, or chuan’r, all around Beijing in street food markets like Nanluoguxiang and street side BBQ restaurants. These skewers are cooked over an open flame then topped with cumin, chili peppers, and other spices to really accentuate the flavor.
8. Wudaoying Hutong Area
Wudaoying is a renovated hutong area near Lama Temple with many shops and restaurants. You can find Chinese restaurants, as well as other cuisines like Thai, American, and Japanese and a host of bars and cafes.
9. Xinjiang Restaurant Yī Lóng Zhāi 伊隆斋
Xinjiang Cuisine comes from the Xinjiang province in the far western region of China. The cuisine features lots of spiced meats, potatoes, bread, and noodles.
One of my favorite Xinjiang restaurants in Beijing is called Yī Lóng Zhāi 伊隆斋 and is located nearby Shichahai Lake.. A must try dish is the Big Plate Chicken 大盘鸡 . It’s esentially big chunks of flavored chicken and potatoes over thick noodles, and it’s a large dish so grab some friends to share with you!
10. Zhang Mama (张妈妈特色川味馆)
If you’re looking for the best Sichuan food in Beijing, most people here will say Zhang Mama. This restaurant is owned by a native Chengdu woman who cooks up some of the spiciest and most delicious Sichuan food around. Richelle from Adventures Around Asia wrote a great list of dishes you should order when you visit.
10. Other Restaurants
There are so many other delicious restaurants in Beijing to choose from. For more options check out Eater’s The 38 Essential Beijing Restaurants.
Also if you’re interested in taking a Chinese cooking class, The Hutong offers cooking classes (in English) where you can learn how to make some traditional Chinese dishes and then eat them.
Best Beijing Restaurants to Try
Food is one of the best ways to learn about a new city and culture! I highly recommend trying these amazing restaurants in Beijing, whether you’re a local Beijinger or it’s your first time to China.
These are places I take friends when they visit and restaurants I recommend to other expats living in China or travelers passing through. Most of these restaurants are located in the Chaoyang District near Dongzhimen area, or the hutongs near Gulou and Beixinqiao.
For other things to do in Beijing, check out my other Beijing blog posts:
- 25 Best Things To Do In Beijing
- Which Section of the Great Wall Is Best To Visit?
- The Ultimate 7-Day Beijing Itinerary