There are so many new bars and restaurants opening up in Beijing every month that sometimes even we find it difficult to keep up. Need a refresher? Here's a roundup of all the new restaurant and bar openings we featured in our March 2017 issue.
Here’s the reason Cinker is cool: It doubles as a movie theater. By the entrance, a vintage movie sign advertises the titles playing in classic stick-on letters. But this is no grubby neighborhood cinema. It’s a sleek space screening critically acclaimed pictures in picture-perfect surrounds. But there’s more to Cinker than just a movie theater – it doubles as a swanky restaurant too. All dishes are tasty and hearty – but they lack the complexity you’d expect to accompany their price tag. This is why we like the movie theater portion of this venture best. Sip on craft cocktails or order a bottle of wine, and you can booze your way through the film. And there’s no plastic seating here – the leather couches are ridiculously comfy. Cinker is, without a doubt, the hottest place to catch a flick right now.
Hoping that Beijingers’ hearts can be reached through their stomachs is Mojo, an ambitious new Gongti venture serving high-end Italian food and aspirational living. Found at the stadium’s southwest corner, the self-proclaimed gastro lounge shares its impressive premises with a number of upscale restaurants, including Jasmine Restaurant and Lounge (which – ‘concept’ alert – is more restaurant than lounge). From first taste, we can report plenty of merit to be found here. The selection of pastas, meats and seafood is certainly more than passable, though it’s not yet outstanding. The ravioli stuffed with slow-cooked duck and foie gras (RMB188) is as wonderfully indulgent as it sounds; the pizza (RMB118 for a Margherita; RMB128-288 for other varieties) is pretty well done.
Out of Step opened quietly last month on Sanlitun Dongsanjie, a quiet street leading past Sanlitun DRC. The capital has plenty of nerd-worthy brewpubs, but Out of Step is not a typical one. Rather than brewing its beer here in Beijing, the bar imports kegs of beer exclusively from Vancouver, where the Chinese-Canadian founder is from. The Pacific Northwest produces some of the finest beers in the world, and Vancouver is its de facto brewing capital. Our hands-down favorite is the Black Kettle IPA, which has to be one of the best brews in Beijing, even if it’s not brewed in Beijing. The Lychee Sour is truly sour – but smooth and surprising enough for it to work. It’s all a delight – but it comes at a cost. Plenty of Beijing breweries sell RMB60 pints, but none of them list an RMB60 pint as the cheapest.
This new carb shop on Xingfu Lu is refreshingly candid about its offerings: There Will Be Bread. So, help yourself to stacked trays of fresh pastries and other baked goods, but choose wisely or you’ll be in for a mixed bag. The cinnamon rolls (RMB22) are underwhelming and overpriced, but thankfully the almond croissants (RMB28) pack more of a flavor punch.
See a listing for There Will Be Bread.
Quick: Can you name the capital of Qinghai without Googling it? No matter, Gewa brings noodles from that capital (and no, we’re not telling you its name) to the Chinese capital. And they are a delightful, if barebones, introduction to Qinghai cuisine. Wheaty and with a surprising amount of heat, these fat noods are sure to keep you warm. If they work on the Tibetan plateau, they’ll work here.
See a listing for Gewa.
We’re still working our way through the new restaurants in Sanlitun’s Topwin Center. If you are too, here’s a life hack: Head to the third floor and hit up Beyond Yakitori. While traditional skewers are cooked with aplomb, it’s the inventive signatures that have us excited. Marked ‘beyond’ on the menu, the restaurant’s original creations include chicken skin with ponzu sauce and orange peel (RMB22), miso cream cheese (RMB22) and a gooey yakitori Scotch egg (RMB38). Extra points for great service and the unexpectedly sumptuous salted chicken neck (RMB16).
See a listing for Beyond Yakitori.
TRIBE is taking over. Its latest conquest: Solana, where the health-conscious brand has installed its third Beijing outpost. This space, the largest of them all, features a play area for the kiddies and a bar for the adults. And its Solana location means it’s practically made for you to stop in after your Chaoyang Park run.
See a listing for Tribe Solana.