Da Dong Roast Duck
Best Peking Duck
Consistently voted one of Beijing’s best duck restaurants, Da Dong is also popular with families. Peking duck is always a winner with kids – the process of filling and folding the pancake is always good entertainment and the staff will happily oblige with a demonstration. In addition to the signature dish, Da Dong’s menu has many appealing options for children, such as the crispy skin chicken, stir-fried veal with shallots, and numerous vegetable dishes. The restaurant is equally famous for its lines, so it’s best to reserve a table (6.30pm or before for dinner; 12.30pm or before for lunch) or arrive early to beat the crowds. At the Dongsishitao location, children love watching the bustling kitchen through the see-through windows. Both restaurant locationes have highchairs, good bathroom facilities and a no-smoking policy throughout. Angela Snowball
Daily 11am-10pm. 1-2/F, Nanxincang International Plaza, 22A Dongsishitiao, Dongcheng District (5169 0329) $$$ 北京大董烤鸭店, 东城区东四十条甲22号南新仓国际大厦1~2楼(立交桥西南角)
See Directories for Tuanjiehu location.
Din Tai Fung
Best Shanghainese Comfort Food
When you’re craving Chinese comfort food, look no further than the masters of xiao long bao, Din Tai Fung. Everyone loves this buzzy Shanghainese restaurant and it’s easy to see why: The food is consistently good and the staff is friendly and attentive. Kiddies love the dumplings, noodles and fried rice, while the Taiwanese shaved ice and fruit dessert is always a fun way to finish the meal. While you’re waiting for your steamer baskets, head downstairs and gawk at the sheer number of white-gowned chefs deftly wrapping dumplings. Then, skip back upstairs to the kids’ room for toys and DVDs. Clean bathrooms, highchairs, and plastic cutlery and crockery are all part of the experience and there are non-smoking areas at both locationes in Dongzhimen and Shin Kong Place. AS
Mon-Fri 11am-2.30pm, 5-10pm; Sat-Sun 11am-10pm. 24 Xinyuanxili Zhongjie, Chaoyang District (6462 4502) $$ 鼎泰丰, 朝阳区新源西里中街24号
See Directories for CBD location.
Comptoirs de France
Best Chocolate Desserts
Serving classic French café fare such as quiches, baguettes and pastries, Comptoirs de France is the perfect choice for families looking for a light lunch, an after-school snack or a nosh for the backpack. Children will love the ice creams in summer and the daily soup specials in winter. Take home a quiche for dinner, or one of the delicious tarts or gateaux for a special celebration. The chocolate fondue is an indulgent treat to share on a wintry day. While there are no highchairs at the cafe, there is plenty of room for strollers and the spacious booths are great for families. All locations have non-smoking areas. AS
Daily 7am-9.30pm. 1/F, East Lake Club, 35 Dongzhimenwai Dajie, Dongcheng District (6461 1525) $ 法派, 东城区东直门外大街35号东湖俱乐部1层
See Directories for CBD, Lido and Shunyi locations.
Hua Jia Yi Yuan
With its carnival-like atmosphere, Hua Jia Yi Yuan will keep the little ones amused while parents wine and dine. Check out the crustaceans in the fascinating “fish tank” room or catch the antics of the Chinese acrobats and musicians, performed every night. The Beijing and Sichuan-style dishes include kid-friendly staples such as spare ribs, Peking duck, fried noodles and steamed buns. The downstairs area is often patronized by heavy smokers, so it’s best to request a table in the smoke-free rooms upstairs. Highchairs, clean on-site bathrooms and English menus are other draws for families. AS
Daily 10.30am-4am. 235 Dongzhimennei Dajie, Dongcheng District (6405 1908) $$ 花家怡园, 东城区东直门内大街235号
See Directories for Dongzhimen and Sanyuanqiao locations.
Best Classic American
Grandma’s Kitchen’s homestyle American cooking is a favorite among expat families, winning “Best Brunch” in the 2008 Reader Restaurant Awards. Think “down home” comfort food: classic American breakfasts, burgers and shakes, pizza, steak and salads. While there is a kids’ menu with smaller portion sizes, children also love the “hot off the griddle” selection – waffles and pancakes with fruit and maple syrup. The English-speaking staff is warm and attentive, and coloring supplies are helpfully produced on arrival to keep the little ones entertained. Grandma’s Kitchen’s newest restaurant, tucked in the alley behind Beixinqiao subway station, is smaller and less accessible for strollers; however, the sunny glassed-in patio is lovely in winter. Plastic kids’ cutlery sets and highchairs are available; all three locationes are non-smoking and have clean facilities. AS
Daily 10am-10pm. 28 Shique Hutong, Beixinqiao, Dongcheng District (8403 9452) $ 祖母的厨房, 东城区北新桥石雀胡同28号(地铁五号线北新桥站C出口)
See Directories for CBD, Dongcheng, Jianguomen, Tian’anmen and Wudaokou locations.