English menu: Yes
Kids’ menu: Kids’ brunch menu is available on weekends.
General kid-friendliness of menu: Very kid-friendly. Portions from the main menu will be too large for tots but kid-sized portions can be made to order for half the listed price.
Kid-friendly staff? English-speaking staff is friendly and happy to accommodate you.
Bathroom: Clean bathroom with sit-down toilet.
Best items for kids: Burgers, penne with meatballs, homemade ice cream or any of their brunch offerings – try the blueberry pancakes.
Kids’ play area: There’s a small backyard for kids to roam around in but space is limited inside the restaurant. Chaoyang Park and Solana are right across the road.
Seating: Standard chair-and-table set up and highchairs are available.
Price: RMB 350
Accepts credit cards? Yes
Must-order item: Their imported Australia steak, served medium-rare. Follow it up with a serving of classic apple pie.
Award: Best Authentic American
In a nutshell: Home-style meals served just as they should be. This restaurant has a warm, cozy atmosphere and its location makes it the perfect choice for a day of brunching followed by a stroll through the park. The weekend brunch (served until 3pm) is a highlight.
Tue-Fri 11am-2pm, Sat-Sun 9.30am-3pm, Tue-Sun 5-10pm. Chaoyang Gongyuan Xilu (north of Block 8), Chaoyang District (6591 8676, email@example.com); 朝阳区朝阳公园西路 (八号公馆北)
William Bolton aka Chef Billy,
owner of Chef Too and father
Where did you grow up?
I grew up on Long Island, New York (US).
What was your favorite food as a kid?
As a kid, my favorite was cream of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich after a day of sleigh-riding or playing in the snow. In the summer, it was corn on the cob and fresh sliced tomatoes.
Where can you find that favorite childhood dish in Beijing?
I make my favorite dishes all the time in my restaurant for me and my kids.
What do you miss about old-fashioned home cooking? I don’t miss it as I do it regularly.
If there is one dish from the US that you’d like to bring to Beijing, what would it be?
I made my restaurant because I missed the classics and wanted a place that was close to what I knew and wanted. At Chef Too, we excel at traditional home-style American fare.
What’s your recommendation for best family-friendly dish at Chef Too?
Vanilla ice cream.
Cuisine: Vegetarian Chinese
English menu: No, but the menu has photos and the buffet makes ordering easy – just grab a plate!
Kids’ menu: No
General kid-friendliness of menu: Kid-friendly, providing they like veggies and tofu. The restaurant claims to be MSG-free.
Kid-friendly staff? The staff means well but is generally not on the ball and do not speak English.
Bathroom: Shared by Solana mall. Nice, clean bathroom with sit-down toilets and a change table.
Best items for kids: From the buffet, try the tomato and egg stir-fry, fried tofu squares and the potato, pumpkin and lotus root stir-fry.
Kids’ play area: There’s no play area but Solana offers enough distractions to keep you busy pre- and post-meal.
Seating: Standard chair-and-table set up. The restaurant is separated into three adjoining areas, which can make finding a waiter difficult.
Price: RMB 100-150; RMB 39 per person for the buffet (kids eat free or for half-price depending upon age).
Accepts credit cards? Chinese cards only
Must-order item: The sweet date zhou (Chinese porridge) with brown rice. And be sure to ask for their mini hot pots.
Award: Best Quick Bite
In a nutshell: This restaurant is a great healthy alternative for mid-mall lunching. While it’s not the prettiest of spots, the food tastes good and the location (near the BHG) is convenient. The bustling mall atmosphere and plastic cups means spills and noisy kids are more than welcome.
Daily 11am-10pm. Solana, 6 Chaoyang Gongyuan Lu, Chaoyang District (5905 6301/6); 朝阳区朝阳公园路6号蓝色港湾国际商区