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Carmen Tapas Spanish Bar

Nali Patio, 81 Sanlitun North Bar Street
6417-8038
Spanish
Overall
Editor
Editor Rating (Review): 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Address:
Nali Patio, 81 Sanlitun North Bar Street
Address in Chinese:
三里屯北街81号,那里花园北侧一层
Cross Street in English:
Between 3.3 and American Apparel
Cross Street in Chinese:
3.3 与American Apparel 之间
Opening Hours:
12pm-2am
Phone:
6417-8038
Price range:
¥200-299
Category:
Neighborhood:
Posted by:

Description

This lively spot brings the atmosphere of a Spanish auberge to the heart of Sanlitun. The great location and live flamenco guitar draws in the crowds, and tasty sangria and the excellent and generously portioned tapas, salads and paella keeps customers coming back.

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Cross Street in English:

Nali Patio, 81 Sanlitun North Bar Street , Between 3.3 and American Apparel


Cross Street in Chinese:

三里屯北街81号,那里花园北侧一层, 3.3 与American Apparel 之间


Phone:
6417-8038

Comments

Comments

sssfhh01

Music very loud. Food inexpensive compared with other Spanish set-ups but food is average. Good to visit in the evening with friends for the atmosphere. Rather quiet during day time.
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3
Average: 3 (1 vote)
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3
Average: 3 (1 vote)
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3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

butters

Music is loud, service not that great but efficient. Food a mixed bag. But get a couple of jugs sangria, a few friends, some simple tapas. Is a good night out. Paella is nice not wow
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3
Average: 3 (1 vote)
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3
Average: 3 (1 vote)
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3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

juliagulia

What a disappointment. I have heard so much about this place from the food and service to venue and entertainment so I decided to try it out. never again. The food tasted like it was a day old, the music was so loud we couldn't hear each other at the table so ended up sitting in silence, most of the wine on the menu was out of stock, but the staff were nice and helpful. Won't be going back any time soon
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3
Average: 3 (1 vote)
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3
Average: 3 (1 vote)
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1
Average: 1 (1 vote)

channono

Heard about this restaurant for long and have been trying to find the time to visit. Was disappointed two weeks ago as when we tried to book a table on Friday night, that was fully booked and we had to shift to Agua for dinner that evening. Managed to visit during the lunch time with no requirement for booking. Restaurant was full with few tables occupied. While we have heard quite some compliments on this restaurant, our lunch was not impressive. Food quality is was a bit low though when looked at the pricing, we could not compliant. Still good value for money but a bit disappointed on overall quality. We were told that most people come here in the evening to enjoy the atmosphere and food is simple and inexpensive. The washroom was a bit dirty but overall the staff were friendly and helpful.
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3
Average: 3 (1 vote)
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wayneliam67's picture

wayneliam67

I've been there around 5 times and what I can say is: it was great, become everything but great. I don't know why or what happened but one of my favorite restaurant just lost it all. I hope the management will do something as they have a nice location and used to be super busy every night. Like always, standards are so difficult to keep in China.
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Average: 2 (1 vote)
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liubov68's picture

liubov68

I think it's the cheapest Spanish restaurant in the neighborhood, and I think it's the best. I love their Gazpacho soup, they serve it with little chunks of tomato, cucumber and croutons. Tapas are simple and tasty, love their Spanish potato salad with garlic dressing, surprisingly it reminds me of home, I'm from Russia. Live Music in my opinion is too loud for such a small place, only if you sit far away from the player, only then it's ok. I go there very often and 1 time out of 5 they mix up my order or put smth on my bill what I didn't order, or forget to bring smth, but I guess bad service is very common for China.
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4
Average: 4 (1 vote)
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Average: 5 (1 vote)
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5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

butters

Late night spanish tapas, paella, live music and sangria with friends. What is not to like? Tapas decent, Paella OK, Sangria should be cheaper. Other than that no complaints. Fun night out, not expensive if sharing as a group.
Service: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)
Value: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)
Quality: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

daniela01

I loooove Carmen, especially for late-night tapas and paella feasts. Their tapas are all pretty standard, but inexpensive compared to a lot of other places, and still good, with some unique ones. Their paella is an excellent deal for 2-3 people to share - plenty of seafood and packed with flavour. Their other rice dishes are also great. Haven't tried many others, simply because these are so tasty…Their wines and sangria are also well-priced and good.
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4
Average: 4 (1 vote)
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Average: 5 (1 vote)
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4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

ukralia

Thats all how i imagine Spain to be:loud,bright,full of tastes and colours.Never boring.was there on a Thursday night and there was only 1 table for 2 left.the place was packed.Found ot difficult to squiz in between the tables to get to our place.Tapas were delicious.We looked around and saw that everyone had a seafood/chicken paella ,so we went with it too.Slightly disappointing choice.the flavour was strong,but there was no variety.All the right ingredients were there but somehow it didnt turn out the way youd want them to taste.That was the only disappointing part,but the rest was great and ive decided im certainly coming back!one thing i would particularly want to highlight is the live band.I dont know who they are and what they are doing in Beijing instead of touring the world,bringing stadiums to their feet.They played some well recognized tunes and it was done so professionally,with so much passion.Each time they finished the song there was a big explosion of applauds. Id recommend tapas, croquettes..See u next time,Carmen!
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juzi

Seafood fried rice is VERY salty. The explaination is 'this batch of seafood itself is too salty'?! So I understand, Carmen has no quality control of their dishes. We finally got a bowl of water to wash the salt out from the rice by ourselves. The recommendation is you will have to ask if the batch of seafood is salty or not before any orders.
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emf's picture

emf

The interior is pretty cool, the music is great and the food is also very good. Go early as it gets very crowded and not easy to find a table even for one. The salads are good and the calamari, fried or grilled, are excellent. Do not go there if you are having a business dinner because it is very noisy and the tables are all very close. But if you want to take business guests for a fun dinner where there is no need to talk business then its a good place to go.
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isadora

Went straight to my top 3 restaurants in Beijing after visiting for the first time. Gazpacho was as delicious as everyone says. Tuna filled eggs were my favorite tapas. Mussels with tomato was amazing. Goat cheese&raspberry toast and beef salad were good, made with fresh ingredients, but something I would die for. Good service and nice athmospere with the live music. Cant wait to go again!
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lolita22

GREAT AMBIANCE, good tapas, excellent paella, reasonable prices. If I may suggest scallops look nice in the paella and I love them but would prefer to have some good chorizo instead, just my humble opinion. Been already twice definitely will continue to come back! Would love to try a menu degustation with a wine tasting. Good service!!!
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gastronome's picture

gastronome

After an scooter accident, I received a compensation of 300 yuans. I decided to spend this money in something I miss: spanish food. We took a lot of tapas. Patatas Bravas are really great, I don't remember well all the tapas, most of them were good, some rwere great. However dessert , creme brulée & an another I forgot, good but with really too sugar inside... Decor is nice, looks like a little auberge and the music band with guitare create a good ambiance.
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citybeijingvin's picture

citybeijingvin

Loved that place! Great Paella, good tapas, good wine at decent price, staff is exceptional and smart in its service. The best is the live band which gives a great ambiance. We had a good night, and it feels like an evening trip to Spain. Glad that I finally could get a seat as I passed by a couple of times during summer but it was full! Paella serving for 2 was way too much for 2 people, I recommend it for 4 people! Maybe the tapas choice could be more creative and some have a better taste. The cheese anchovies tapas was rather blank.
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vicentemuedra's picture

vicentemuedra

Wanna feel like Spain without leaving Beijing? Just come to Carmen. The owner of this place is like a Film director. Everthing makes sense; decoration, lights, colors, ambience, food quality, prices, service. The most accurate example of a real TAPAS BAR/RESTAURANT that you could find in the South of Spain. Prices are very reasonable and suitable for everyone, as you can have dinner here for 100 rmb or go up to 500 rmb.
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janebeijing

Best mashed potatoes + 'chicken chop' in Beijing.
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camillebo

This restaurant is not for everyone, music is loud and the tables are really close to each other, things that can be bad for some people. Personally I love this place, it has a nice ambiance and I think they have the best tapas in town, I love the raspberry and goat cheese toast, the gazpacho is to die for, the lamb skewer is good and the egg with tuna and aioli is amazing. I don't care for the paella, it tastes nothing like the real thing but everything else its pretty damn tasty. I always make reservation so I've never had any big problem with the service, they can get a bit slow when its full but the ambiance is great so you wont even notice.
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petri71's picture

petri71

We had a pretty good experience the last Saturday night although we did not try all the dishes. The decor is nothing traditional for a tapas place even if it looks like they tried to do smth. The service was very good, no problem with that. The tapas are nothing special and they are expensive The three ouïghours who were playing were doing a good job but the music was not flamenco but some cheezy covers with a latino style... Overall, I had a nice evening in a noisy place with people singing and claping....for the ones who like that kind of atmosphere from time to time and are ready to pay the price !
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chrissy_ysy's picture

chrissy_ysy

Real tapas with absolutely amazing Qi! Really no complaints about the quality and taste of their food. Service can be a tad-bit slow, but its absolutely worth the wait! Things they could do better... the bread (always found it too dry and rubbery) and the limited seats during colder months.
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siennapc's picture

siennapc

I've been to Carmen maybe 10 times since it opened, and I really have no complaints. I always order the exact same things, and I've never had a problem with the service. Perhaps, given the other reviews, I am extraordinarily lucky. Last night, the waitress took my order almost immediately, and our food and drinks arrived in about 5 minutes. The gazpacho is incredible. The other things I get are: garlic chicken toast (so garlicky! so delicious!), the goat cheese and raspberry toast, and the beef salad, which is huge and comes with super tender, nicely marinated beef and a fairly generous portion of goat cheese. I like the outdoor area close to 3.3 and never have problems getting a waiter or waitress out there. Also, they always have fapiao. There aren't a lot of places in Beijing where I eat regularly, but this is one of them.
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officiallyforeign

Great place to go if you only want to do drinks and light tapas, but if you go for a meal, you'll leave disappointed and still hungry. Many of the tapas were drenched in mayo - which was disgusting. I found it to be very expensive for the quality of the food. The paella was the worst I've ever had - it was overpoweringly fishy. I will not be back.
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seacucumber

The food was above average. I haven't had any Western food that is outstanding in Beijing and I've been to many restaurants from cheap to expensive (perhaps I am being too hard on Beijing because I am comparing it to my hometown NYC) But this place is a place that I would recommend for it's tapas. It was reasonably priced and delicious albeit the portion sizes are a bit small. The atmosphere is warm and cozy. Overall it is a cozy place to have dinner with friends.
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billyboy's picture

billyboy

calamary was too salty and croquette was small and flavour was so so
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billyboy's picture

billyboy

Well, croquette was small and so so in flavour, calamary was too salty.. we came last saturday, and had a average tapas experience
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beijingprincess's picture

beijingprincess

If waiting 2.5 hours for tapas that will never come is for you, then this is your place. We were a table of 10, with only light tapas and we were missing 4 different tapas. Not a big deal except that a set of them were the goat cheese tapas with raspberry sauce. No big deal except that a monkey with a paint kit could have whipped those up right fast. For an area redolent with competition, you would think the owner would care alittle more about good service and food.
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beijing812

Have been twice in the past month and both time we thoroughly enjoyed it. Great food (quality and quantity), and excellent music. Only 2 negatives: One is the speed of service. The waiters/waitresses were trying hard, but there are just too few of them to cope. Even at 7pm when the place was half full, they were struggling, so by the time it filled up, every request took 10 - 15 minutes. They needed at least 2 more. And then there's the smoke. Tables are so close together, that you really can't escape if the table next door are smoking. Despite that, we'll definitely be going back.
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teacheroo's picture

teacheroo

Great tapas, good price, loved the sangria, hated the service.
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tpg

Just been there. We had had great food & great service. The atmosphere was perfect - we are definitely going back.
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paultergeist

Are they competing for the worst service in town or what ?? Most of the time this place is half empty but you won't get a seat without reservations. However if you insist you'll get one and notice it stays half-empty! Anyway if you really try, you'll be ignored by waiters most of the time, will wait hours for ridiculous portion of food, and much more! And no, the food is really not worth the experience.
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olli's picture

olli

Have been 3-4 times since my girlfriend took me here - and been impressed each time. Given the very reasonable tapas prices, it's a great restaurant with a lively atmosphere and above average food. Would not hesitate to go back!
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vikki557788's picture

vikki557788

food is soso, although the garlic prawns is tasty, music is way too loud, terrible service (the waiters ignored us the whole night, so you do have to shout!)...also when i called to make a reservation, the lady who picked up the phone refused to give me the table i want....hello, that's why people make reservations in the first place!!
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guilty_b's picture

guilty_b

Carmen is great! Relaxed, cosy, and friendly, the food is well priced and tasty, the wine and beer selection is excellent, while the live, energetic Spanish guitar performances (although slightly loud) creates a fun, delightful atmosphere! Oh, and did I mention the sangria...
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leemack

Had a range of tapas last night, best was the beef in tomato sauce, worst was the some sort of peppers dish. Everything else was in between. The gazpacho is definitely a must order as well. It's a solid option if you're in the area. It's not expensive. Asahi is RMB20. The ambiance is 4 stars. It's fun, relaxed, very well executed. The Spanish guitar is pretty good too but if you want to talk, you'd better sit on the other side of the room.
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sleeplessinbj's picture

sleeplessinbj

First walked in to this place, I fell in love with the ambiance right away. Their tapas were good but agree with baobabs, didn't leave me thrilled either. I like their seafood soup. A comfort food for me. Good sangria. Good service. The Spanish guitar performance top it all. Will still come back.
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saturdaynuy's picture

saturdaynuy

Good quality tapas and Spanish fair at a reasonable price! my boyfriend loves the Maho Spanish beer here which is a big hit for beer fans and the atmosphere is romantic with a good Spanish atmosphere created on an average budget. we'll be back!
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baobabs's picture

baobabs

I forget to add, the ambience is perfect.
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baobabs's picture

baobabs

We had Chinese seafood fried rice masquerading as paella, which was palatable nonetheless and a variety of tapas that didn't leave us thrilled. I wish they did better bread tho. It was really the excellent, obliging service that won us over... given that we sent back our dishes twice--nothing beats friendly, good service with other kind recommendations from the waiter!
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