The good, the bad and the ugly. The weird and the wacky. As is the That’s tradition, we’ve compiled our 2019 China Year in Review series. Below, in no particular order, we share our favorite spots for everything from casual bites to elegant dinners.
It's hard to keep up with Beijing's everchanging gastroscape. But hey, that's our job. This year, we've seen some exciting new food concepts and welcomed a lot of new players with open arms and stomachs. But who are the newcomers that really left a mark in Beijing's food scene in 2019? Here's a list for you foodies.
Image via Kup Kup Kup
When the Thai street food-inspired eatery Cacha Cacha decided to close down, we were pretty bummed. We weren’t ready to say goodbye to its hip party vibe and tasty offerings. Luckily for us, when one door closed, another opened. After taking some time to regroup, the same team behind Cacha Cacha launched another Southeast Asian street food concept in its place – Kup Kup Kup.
See a listing for Kup Kup Kup
Image via Mina Yan/That's
It’s clear this French bistro located inside the PuXuan Hotel and Spa doesn’t stick to classic recipes. They’re more about updating old favorites with some fresh twists. Go for the food and enjoy the tasty experimental dishes whipped up from the innovative mind of Chef Ivan Miguez.
See a listing for Rive Gauche
Image via Zhazha Bistro
Sandwiched between empty-looking hutongs, Zhazha Bistro, helmed by ex-Ramo owner Paca Li, is a hidden gem. Aside from some downright delicious Southwestern Chinese fare, Zhazha as a whole is a relaxing escape that fits every kind of mood.
See a listing for Zhazha Bistro
Image via Cravings
A few blocks away from the Jing-A Taproom is a Yunnan restaurant by former Chaoyang Park favorite Cravings. The new joint is decked out in true Cravings style. Bold yellows and greens accent the space, with funky art like vibrantly painted fruits, strangely shaped animals, and kitschy prints of chubby Chinese babies (you know the ones) plastered on the walls. Cravings to Longfu is dedicated to serving light and fresh Yunnan fare with subtle flavors that surprise the palate rather than overwhelm it.
See a listing for Cravings to Longfu
Image via Tease by CreatureS
Originally known for its innovative modern cuisine back in Singapore, Creatures’ Beijing project, located in the hutongs of Wangfujing and adoringly named Tease by Creatures, brings over a touch of their fun signature Singaporean dishes as well as adaptions of Beijing classics.
See a listing for Tease by Creatures
Image via Noelle Mateer for That's
The theme of Pushkin Literature is 19th-century Russia, and the restaurant clings to this theme like a dollop of sour cream to the filmlike surface of borsch. Plush chair cushions, bookshelves and frilly drapes lend it the air of an old-timey salon, or at least a movie set for one – the black ceiling with exposed industrial piping occasionally breaks the fourth, er, wall. Food here sticks mainly to classics – but also pizzas, bizarrely.
See a listing for Pushkin Literature
Image via Furongji
With dumpling-making classes and pizza dinners in full swing at their covert neighboring venue space on Baochao, The Orchid team is shaking things up in the hutongs, no doubt. Early last year, they unveiled Furongji, a laidback dim sum spot, steps away from the charming boutique hotel – essentially completing the trifecta.
See a listing for Furongji
Image via Keaami by Tiago
The mall-dwellers, Mediterranean cuisine veterans at Tiago opened Keaami, their very first venture into Thai cusine. Tiago’s take on Thai is carefree, colorful and hip. With vibrant couches, crocodile prints and bamboo details all over, from a distance it looks like someone dropped buckets of paint on the dull Chaoyang Joy City corridors. But far from being overwhelming, Keaami’s attire looks so fresh and compelling, it begs you to enter and peek at the menu.
See a listing for Keaami Thai by Tiago
Image via Merci/TRB
When TRB opens a new restaurant, we’ve got to try it. This one had us hiking to Chaoyang Joy City, all the way to the fifth and sixth floors (yeah, the restaurant is two stories), to find European-style food that is–pardon our French – just damn delicious.
See a listing for Merci
Image via Curtis Dunn for That’s
Turkish Feast is enchanting: The entrance is bejeweled with mosaic lamps and the entire decor has a strong Turkish feel. A blend of traditional and ostensibly Top 40 Middle Eastern songs blare throughout the restaurant, but it’s hardly bothersome. The atmosphere is unique and lovely, the food equally so, and with just enough kitsch to help it stand out in Beijing’s crowded culinary scene, Turkish Feast is a feast well worth it.
See a listing for Turkish Feast
Image via Ling Long
No a la carte orders here: Ling Long only offers five, six or seven courses, complete with wine pairings. The creative re-imagining of Chinese dishes and exquisite plating are delightful, and the chef’s techniques and artsy flair certainly show there is potential for Ling Long to become a popular fine-dining venue in Sanlitun.
See a listing for Ling Long
Image via Gyu Tetsu
From the moment we walk into Gyu Tetsu, the Japanese barbecue joint in Maizidian, we’re greeted by warm smiles and the tantalizing smell of sizzling beef in the air. With sleek wooden tables and minimalist decor, the vibe is understated and tasteful (aside from the enormous bull head at the entrance). Gyu Tetsu fuses a traditional izakaya, or Japanese pub, with a slightly elegant dining experience.
See a listing for Gyu Tetsu
Image via Boey for Burger Box
Courtesy of the Mosto Group, Burger Box is a tiny chic burger joint right beside the group’s recently relocated Moka Bros inside Nali Patio. The funky concept and their use of fresh Aussie beef, matched with our unwavering loyalty to anything the Mosto team comes up with, had us ready and willing to get into these burgers in a big way.
See a listing for Burger Box
For more 2019 Year in Review coverage, click here.