Best Family Eats 2009 – Chaoyang Park

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South German Bakery, Cafè Konstanz and Bodenseestube Bakery
Bread lovers know that the bakery and café why the on the first level of this two-floor eatery is the place to go for fresh, crusty loaves and alfresco dining in warm weather. Upstairs, the restaurant offers a quiet and relaxing dining experience with German food at reasonable, if not exactly cheap, prices. There’s no separate smoking area in the restaurant, but the menu offers perfect fare for battling winter’s chill. And the range of hearty breakfast options will satisfy both hungry meat lovers and those on a health kick (try the “Vital Breakfast” of muesli, fruit, honey, cheese and bread). Takeout or delivery service available with minimum orders of RMB 300. MN


Daily 7am-10pm (bakery), 9am-10pm (restaurant). 28 Zaoying Lu (Lucky Street, near Solana shopping mall), Chaoyang District (5867 0201) $$ 朝阳区枣营路29号好运街27号

Best Cure for Homesickness
The Annie’s restaurants have long been favorites for expat families thanks to their unpretentious atmosphere and efficient service. The staff at the Chaoyang Park location speaks excellent English and can offer recommendations and accommodate special requests. The food is tasty and reasonably close to authentic Italian cuisine, though no one would mistake it for gourmet. Adult diners can choose from an extensive selection of antipasti and entrees, and children can select one of four set meals on the kids menu or explore some healthier options from the regular menu like the minestrone soup, verdure alla griglia or prosciutto and melon. Highchairs are available to keep small children secure, and a small playhouse in the corner will keep older ones entertained until the food arrives. Just make sure they wash their hands before eating – the playhouse appears to be only sporadically cleaned and the stuffed animals inside have seen better days. AE

Daily 11am-11pm. A1 Nongzhan Nanlu (near the west gate of Chaoyang Park), Chaoyang District (6591 1931) $$ 安妮, 朝阳区农展南路甲1号 (朝阳公园西门南侧)

Healthiest Desserts
The Gwyneth Paltrows of Beijing will delight in the arrival of Veg-On, a vegetarian oasis in the middle of Solana. The interior of the restaurant isn’t exactly designed for children, but a small seating area just outside the restaurant provides a more casual atmosphere and is a great spot for people watching. The menu consists of simple, flavorful vegetarian fare with a Vietnamese twist, and kids will enjoy the bright-colored pumpkin dumplings, spring rolls and surprisingly tasty roast cabbage with cheese. But the dessert menu is where Veg-On really shines. Neon hues add an element of fun to the healthy selection of sorbets, and the Black Forest version would likely please even the pickiest eater. AE

Daily 11am-10pm. Solana, 6 Chaoyang Gongyuanlu, Chaoyang District (5905 6301/6) $$ 家乡素食, 朝阳区朝阳公园路6号蓝色港湾国际商区

Latin Grillhouse
Best Churrascaria
Located on the west side of Solana, the Latin Grillhouse surprises with an extensive and satisfying buffet. Kids will especially enjoy the chicken nuggets and french fries (not to mention the assortment of fried temptations), while the fresh fruit selection will help parents promote healthy eating. Leave lots of room for churrasco, the house specialty of Brazilian barbecue. You can choose small portions of different kinds of meat, so kids can have their meals personalized just-so – no need to order full portions for small ones. Although clearly designed as a live music hangout for adults, this place doesn’t forget family-friendly elements and the staff is attentive to children. Kids will enjoy the restaurant’s warm and lively ambience and large, green couches. Katharina Schulz

Daily 11am-3pm, 5-11pm. C1-11, Block 1, Solana, 6 Chaoyang Gongyuanlu, Chaoyang District (5905 6126/8) $$ 拉丁餐厅, 朝阳区朝阳公园路6号蓝色港湾国际商区1号楼C1-11

Best Seafood
Todai’s concept of an upscale all-you-can-eat seafood buffet has proven successful for more than two decades, spreading from the US to Korea, Hong Kong and finally landing in Beijing last summer. If your kids enjoy seafood, this is the right place to go for a nice weekend brunch or a fun ”20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” dining experience. Children will love the maritime atmosphere, the large, snug sofas in the non-smoking section and of course watching the chefs prepare food at the different stands. The restaurant is arranged like a food court and showcases a variety of different cuisines. Despite Todai’s reputation as a haven for sushi lovers, there’s much more than Japanese food here – one is spoiled by the choice of Indian, European, Chinese and many other cuisines from around the world. The friendly staff is used to catering to children. Half-price for kids if they stand between 0.7 and 1.2 meters tall, or nothing at all if they’re under 0.7 meters. KS

Daily 11.30am-2.30pm (lunch), Mon-Thu 5.30-10pm (dinner), Fri-Sun 5.30-10.30pm. Solana, 6 Chaoyang Gongyuanlu, Chaoyang District (5905 6888) $$ 都太, 朝阳区朝阳公园路6号蓝色港湾商业区

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