You voted for your favorites, and now here are your winners of the 2012 City Weekend Readers' Choice Awards. Do you have a regular hangout that you think should have been in the running? Let us know in the comments below.
The Tree has finally been dethroned as Beijing’s king of pizza. “To me, seeing the smiling guy from Gung Ho through the peephole makes me feel warm and fuzzy,” writes reader Meguminosa. “I believe they have the healthiest pizzas in town, and that whole-wheat thin crust is amazing.” We can’t wait for the Shuangjing branch to open this summer.
Editor's Pick: Nasca Café
Honorable Mention: Bene
Yes, a pizza delivery service has snatched the Best Service award from Maison Boulud this year, and by just four votes. But with excellent bi-lingual phone operators, online ordering, the ability to pay by card from your own home and the fastest, cheeriest delivery boys in town, it’s no wonder this is the service Beijing residents love most.
Editor's Pick: Temple Restaurant Beijing (TRB)
Honorable Mention: Aria
This is the first year Cepe has won the Best Italian award, but it's about time they get the recognition. There are few restaurants on our website with such glowing reviews. "Truly fantastic," writes Justinr. “We practically ate the meal in silence, just enjoying the flavors and textures." Chef Omar Ugoletti is an artistic genius in the kitchen, and his beautiful gourmet creation graces our cover this issue.
Editor’s Pick: LMPlus
It was a big year for Beijing’s most successful Indian restaurant chain. They moved their Wudaokou branch into a new, improved location, and opened a new branch on Dongzhimen Wai. The response has been very positive. “Living in Bangkok for a year, I got to experience a lot of Indian food and I can honestly say that Ganges is better than most of the places there,” says reader Penelope31. “I couldn't believe how good their dal makani is here. It is definitely my go to place for Indian,” agrees Discostar.
Editor’s Pick: Indian Kitchen
Purple Haze again held onto its position as the top expat pick for Thai food this year. This place has been delivering consistent, delicious food since 2005, with curries, soups and appetizers that have gained it a serious following. Service is good, and the environment is very comfortable. Don’t miss the tom ka gai soup or the satay, which comes with excellent peanut sauce for dipping.
Editor’s Pick: Very Siam
Honorable Mention: Serve the People
The city’s first Persian restaurant is still a top pick for expats after deliciously spiced, unique food, elegant ambiance and great people watching from the outside terrace at Rumi. Reviewer Isadora writes: “I especially liked the hummus—it really is so smooth and tasty. The lamb kebab was perfectly cooked and tender. The chicken stew with walnuts and pomegranate was so good—a bit sweet, with a nice walnut flavor and juicy chicken pieces.”
Editor’s Pick: Biteapitta
Honorable Mention: Al Safir
The restaurant from three Michelin-starred chef Yannick Alleno made a splash on the Beijing dining scene this year with both innovative, contemporary dishes and perfectly executed French classics. "For me without a doubt the best restaurant in Beijing!” writes Lolita22. Don't think about leaving S.T.A.Y. without a visit to the Pastry Library for the stunning cheesecake à la fraise.
Editor’s Pick: La Taverne
Honorable Mention: Brasserie Flo
Saveurs relocated from Nanluoguxiang to a beautiful courtyard complex on Ju’er Hutong this year, and readers love it. “I took a group of friends [there] two weeks ago and went back there three more times with different people. It turned out everyone loved the non-MSG but tasty fine Korean food!” writes Xiaochangyu. Don't miss the kimchi hobak, made with pork and pumpkin.
Editor’s Pick: Ssam
Honorable Mention: Iki Barbeque
Flamme’s à la carte brunch is available both Saturday and Sunday. The menu offers a good variety of Western brunch favorites, from house-made granola to steak eggs Benedict. This year they took things up a notch with new dishes like banana pancakes with maple syrup, and the Flamme Monte Cristo sandwich, which comes with grilled chicken breast, bacon and cheddar cheese. But the best thing about Flamme for brunch? This place is home to one of the tastiest Bloody Marys in town, made with fresh cherry tomatoes and spiced to order.
Editor’s Pick: Vineyard Café
Honorable Mention: SALT
The killer combination of Bei, Sureño and the Village Café makes the The Opposite House the hotel of choice for Beijing foodies. Sureño stuns with special guest chef events throughout the year, with highlights including Director of F&B Philipp Blaser’s father, the legendary Hong Kong-based Chef Jurg Blaser, visiting in December. Bei’s new chef Xavier Mauerhofer has maintained the menu of exquisite contemporary North Asian dining the restaurant is known for, while adding more gourmet French-influenced fare. And the Village Café’s new chef—Australian Darren Greenwood—this year put the Opposite House on the map as home of the best fish and chips in town. Beautiful, unique ambiance in all three restaurants adds to the allure.
Editor’s Pick: Ritz-Carlton, Financial Street
Honorable Mention: Kerry Hotel Beijing
The Hilton Capital Airport goes all out to accommodate families. They’re the first to offer a hotel Champagne Sunday brunch in the Shunyi area, and the event features a supervised playroom with an adventure play area, ball pit and Wii stations. 360° also has a special catering program set up for birthday parties, with fun add-ons like pizza making class and cotton candy.
Editor’s Pick: The Filling Station
For the fifth time since 2007, you’ve overwhelmingly chosen Hatsune’s modern, California-influenced fare as your favorite Japanese food in Beijing. “The only problem with Hatsune is that half the time I can’t get a table! So, make sure to call ahead,” advises Zowens. “Other than that, I love Hatsune. The food is insane. The staff are fun and seem to enjoy their jobs. The design of both restaurants is thoughtful and creative.”
Editor’s Pick: Sake Manzo
Honorable Mention: Nishimura
The Westin Chaoyang’s Bubbalicious holds its ground to once again be named best hotel brunch in the city. It’s certainly among the biggest and most popular, drawing diners with everything from Mongolian barbecue to pizza to Indian dishes. A great kids play area also makes this a good pick for families. The food on its own is excellent, but getting bubbly is certainly a big draw for Beijing brunchers, and here you’ll get free-flow Moet-Chandon.
Editor’s Pick: Vasco's (Hilton Wangfujing)
With award-winning Spanish chef Aitor Olabegoya helming the kitchen, as well as culinary trendsetters Carles Tejedor and Txema Martinez visiting throughout the year, Migas' culinary offerings are always fresh and exciting. “My wife and I had a wonderful meal last night as always in this stunning restaurant where the food and service are exemplary,” writes City Weekend reader Edinburgh.
Editor’s Pick: Agua
Honorable Mention: Niajo
Mosto and Modo’s Daniel Urdaneta won 2012’s Chef of the Year title by a landslide, taking more than twice as many votes as the nearest competitor. A chef who has done a huge amount to develop Beijing’s contemporary Western dining scene over the past six years, Urdaneta stands out for fresh, South American-influenced flavors and inspiring and innovative combinations of ingredients. We’re happy to report that Mosto has recently expanded, and both Modo and Mosto now offer early bird deals so you can try his award-winning cooking for less.
Editor’s Pick: Paulo de Souza (Terra)
A few other places in town offered wines in Enomatic machines before Modo did, but this restaurant is the one that got Beijing hooked on the idea. With a fantastic by-the-glass selection which changes every two months to highlight different areas of the world and grape varietals, Modo’s wine list is engaging and diverse, and the Enomatic machines allow oenophiles to really explore their palates. Competitive pricing and a daily wine happy hour from 6-8pm on weekdays also make these wines more accessible to Beijing diners.
Editor’s Pick: Pudao Wines
Honorable Mention: Aria
Famous for hosting the Westin Financial Street’s ever-popular Sunday brunch, the Senses buffet stands out on the other days of the week, too. They've got a terrific salad bar, great seafood, an excellent cheese selection, noodles made to order and a changing selection of hot mains. The dessert counter is always impressive here, stocked with seasonal treats, a chocolate fountain and a first-class ice cream selection.
Editor’s Pick: Feast
This New York bistro-style restaurant is still going strong with its quality ingredients, charismatic chef/owner and intimate environment. Chef Billy has always been fanatical about sourcing, so you can expect great flavors and freshness at Chef Too, and he even grows some of his own ingredients. It’s a commitment you can taste. “I always leave happy and well satisfied. I really cannot say that about too many places in this dusty old city,” writes longdong1975.
Editor’s Pick: Union Bar and Grille
The Saddle Cantina took things up a notch when it came to food this year. Tex-Mex staples like tacos improved dramatically, and new chef JP also added his own, more high-end dishes to the menu. “What an improvement!” raved Olli. “From mediocre, expensive Tex-Mex food to now one of my new favorite spots to eat. ¥20 tacos are reasonable value, but the surprise hit was the burger. The meat is tasty and juicy, and the jalapeno/avocado mayonnaise that comes on it makes for a taste orgasm.” Service is on the ball despite this place’s popularity, and the location in the heart of Sanlitun and one of the most extensive outdoor decks in the city give the Saddle an unbeatable venue.
Editor’s Pick: Peter's Tex-Mex
Honorable Mention: Tim's Texas BBQ
Din Tai Fung wins our Readers’ Choice Awards year after year, and with good reason. The food is fresh, clean, consistent and tasty, and the service impressive. And while xiaolongbao might be DTF's claim to fame, “you can pretty much order anything off the menu, and be guaranteed a satisfied tummy," writes Amayola. "The absolute MUST is almond shaved ice dessert. It's painfully good. I have practically dug a hole in my kitchen trying to replicate the soft, creamy, flavorful, chewy almond goodness." This is also an ideal place for China newbies. “Usually I am not a fan of Chinese food, but Din Tai Fung convinced me to love jiaozi,” writes Gastronome.
Editor’s Pick: Qi (Ritz-Carlton, Financial Street)
Lollipop Bakery won our Readers’ Choice Award for Best Dessert in 2011—the year owner Lexie Morris started the Beijing cupcake craze. But a second win this year shows that the cute, pretty dessert wasn’t just a phase. Beijing is hooked on these gorgeous sweets. “I thought I wasn't much of a cupcake person. That was until I'd tried the ones from Lollipop Bakery,” writes Rebeg.
Editor’s Pick: Divina Cakes
Honorable Mention: Kempi Deli
Da Dong is a household name among expat readers looking to eat their fill of Beijing’s iconic dish: roast duck. The restaurants are large but still offer a classier ambiance than other major kaoya chains, and the price is right in the middle of the spectrum. The Nanxincang branch always draws the most foreigners, out for crispy skin, a low-fat bird, and a traditional assortment of condiments.
Editor’s Pick: Duck de Chine
Honorable Mention: Hua's Restaurant
Ignace Lecleir’s restaurant was definitely the most anticipated opening of the year, and its name is still on everyone’s lips and racking up five-star reviews on our website. Temple is not just a restaurant, but an entire dining experience, with a breathtaking venue that used to be an ancient temple, service that continues Lecleir’s unsurpassed reputation in this area, and wonderfully presented European cuisine. “We were a table of seven, and all of us enjoyed every morsel, sip of wine and sweet to the very end,” writes Doublevision. Smaki agreed: “Everything starting from the door man to the take away box given to us on our way out was enjoyable. The food was savory, the wine list is probably the best in town, and the service was professional and impeccable.”
Editor’s Pick: Iki Barbeque
Winner for the third year in a row, the Westin Chaoyang’s Grange Grill is Beijing’s king of meat. But this year, in addition to the gargantuan tomahawk steaks, chop shop and surf and turf platters, the restaurant has also taken things in a more delicate, fine dining direction with the addition of a range of beautifully presented, gourmet appetizers.
Editor’s Pick: The Cut
In the only category of our Reader’s Choice Awards in which the nomination is completely open to voters, a majority of you showed your love for Ch’ienmen 23’s Maison Boulud. This place gets universally high praise from what is probably the hardest-to-please crowd in town: French foodies. Online reviewer Gastronome writes: “Our dessert was a moment in seventh heaven.” But it’s also adored by all other nationalities for top quality fare from Chef Brian Reimer, excellent service and a special environment. “The venue is exceptional, service was outstanding, and food simply delicious,” writes Lolita22. “I've been there three times, and quality is constant.” With universally high praise since its opening in 2008, Maison Boulud has earned a special place in the hearts of Beijing diners, and consistently lives up to its fine reputation.
Editor’s Pick: Terra
Honorable Mention: Grill 79
Do you have a regular hangout that you think should have been in the running? Let us know in the comments below.
About The Author...
Dining editor Sienna has lived in Beijing over six years, and been with City Weekend since she started as an intern in 2007. Her interests and hobbies include cooking, wine, history and dinosaurs. Find more news and photos on Weibo or Instagram under "siennapc."
Articles You May Like...