Restaurants will be really busy during the holiday season, especially on Sunday, Spring Festival Eve. So it's advisable to book your table in advance.
Peking roast duck giant Quan Ju De has just opened its 10th branch in Beijing at Shuangyushu, North Third Ring Road. Apart from trademark closed oven roast duck, it offers a "complete banquet of duck dishes", including duck claw, duck liver, duck roll with egg yolk and quick-fried duck heart. It also has classic dishes from Sichuan, Cantonese and Hunan.
The restaurant takes up the 3rd and 4th floors of Henrun International Building. There are 32 private rooms and a public area decorated in traditional Chinese style. It has a lucky draw during the Spring Festival and several set menus to choose from.
11am-2:30pm, 5-9pm. 3/F, 4/F, Henrun International Building, Western North Third Ring Road, Haidian District. 150 m east of Shuang'an shopping mall, on the southern side of the road. 6219-9990/9099.
Li Chun, which falls on February 4, is a solar calendar term marking the beginning of spring. The day is associated with a dining tradition in Beijing called "bite spring".Hong Zhuang Yuan, one of the biggest specialized congee chain restaurants in Beijing, will be serving chun bing, a spring pancake with potato starch noodles, leek and egg, bean sprouts and pork slices. The stuffing is wrapped inside two pancakes and is a delicious seasonal dish.
Also available is the restaurant's "spring greeting" congee, which has chicken broth, chicken slices and dried scallop slices with rice. The restaurant's Li Chun set meal features the congee, as well as deep-fried spring roll and spring pancake with fried stuffing. The average meal will set you back less than 30 yuan.
Dongzhimen branch: 1/F Yuanjia Apartment Building, Dongzhong Jie, southeast corner of Dongzhimenqiao on East Second Ring Road, Dongcheng district. 5169-2753. Chaoyangmen branch: 1/F Kuntai International Building, B12 Chaoyangmenwai Dajie, Chaoyang district. 5925-1249.
The Royal Restaurant is known for its "Buddha jumps over the wall" soup and its imitation Chinese imperial banquet in a Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) dcor. The restaurant has a special feast for Spring Festival Eve and the holiday, at 1,500 yuan per table.
Its emphasis is on quality ingredients and healthy meals. At the same time, its imperial dcor adds an authentic Beijing festive touch. It also offers Spring Festival takeaway gift baskets and you can even organize for a chef to cook for you at home.
China World Center branch: 6505-6139; Wangfujing branch: 6559-7671. Xihai branch: 8328-4099
Wan Liu Ge
Restaurant is located inside Longtan Park near Southern East Second Ring Road. It is decorated as a traditional Beijing-style courtyard house (siheyuan) but serves authentic Cantonese and Sichuan dishes, as well as Hong Kong hot pot. One tasty seafood dish is prawn balls with sliced squid and the Cantonese-style deep-fried dough stick is also a must-try. Other seafood dishes like the abalone, shark fin and crabs are also good. Hot pot lovers have a rather special version to sample: a healthy millet-based soup, plus lamb slices, beef rolls, mashed prawns and squid noodles.
Several of the 8 private rooms have good views of a nearby lake. Average bill: 100 yuan per person. 10am-2pm, 4:30-9pm. 6719-2882.
Quan Fu Ju is a Beijing traditional-style hot pot restaurant with a big copper pot, heated by charcoal in the middle. One of the best meats available is the freshly cut lamb (鲜手切), while other must-try options are the frozen beef, lamb rolls and the house specialty, the sesame cake (芝麻火烧), which has a crunchy shell but is soft inside. You might also try the duck's head, sugar-marinated garlic, lamb and chicken wing kebabs. The dcor is a plain, Chinese community style. Average bill: 30 yuan.
10am-10pm. Food Street, Sanhuan Xincheng, 7 Fengqiao Lu, Western South Third Road, Fengtai district. 6338-9388.
Dong Lai Shun, Xinyuan Xili branch
This is a hot pot restaurant that is more than 100 years old and is a great place to be if you are not in a hurry. The Xinyuan Xili branch is not as busy as other Dong Lai Shun branches. The big copper pot and fast-heating charcoal gives the meal a traditional feel. What's more, once you are there, you can rest assured the lamb rolls and freshly cut lamb strips are high quality. And try the sesame and chili oil sauces - they're both great with the boiled lamb. Breakfast is also available.
6-9:30am, 11am-2pm, 5-9pm. 12 Xinyuan Xili Zhongjie, Chaoyang District. 6467-3707.
If you love hot pot lamb but are wary of the grease, this is the perfect place. Kagen's kimchi (Korean pickled cabbage) is a good starter. Besides the ordinary lamb rolls, try the pork strips or the Korean grill. Average bill: 150 yuan each.
11:30am-2pm, 5:30-10pm - but closed on Jan 26th. B1, Block C, Heqiao Mansion, A8 Guanghua Lu, Chaoyang District. 6583-6830.
The restaurant's dcor borrows a lot from the Confucius Temple in Qufu, and the cuisine is Shandong-style. Famous dishes include the braised sea cucumber with spring onion, soft stewed pork, and scallop with lotus seed. Average bill: 60 yuan each.
Daily 11am-9pm. 45 Southern West Fourth Ring Road, Fengtai District, next to the Fengbeiqiao exit.
Yi Jin Yuan Muslim Restaurant
This fine Muslim restaurant offers classic dishes like a complete roast lamb, lamb back, lamb soup, beef tail soup, as well as popular Cantonese, Sichuan and Shanghai dishes. Its dcor is Chinese imperial-style and there is a dance show every evening by beautiful Uygur dancers.
10:30am-9pm. Opposite the south gate of the University of International Business and Economics, Yuan Da Du Relics Park, Beitucheng Donglu, Chaoyang district. 8465-0088.