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Dining out en famille is one of the mainstays of modern Chinese life. In China, children are at the center of family culture and welcome everywhere. You’ll see little ones dotted among most large groupings in every restaurant, and at every price point. We polled parents for their favorite restaurants, and they responded with a list of old faithfuls: because hygiene, comfort, and reliable service are of critical concern for families. They also told us their kids hate sitting around in restaurants and love interactive food and individual portions: anything they make, manhandle, or eat on their own is a winner! So we’ve compiled a list of the best, clean, family-friendly options – where kids can get in on the action, and you can relax and explore the cuisine.
Due to space constraints, for chain restaurants we’ve listed only the most popular branches for expats. For complete addresses, check out our dining directory at www.beijing-kids.com.
This Shanghai-based Hong Kong-style cafe is known for its bustling atmosphere, nutritious Cantonese soups, and tasty desserts, including their signature “honey toast” which comes topped with ice cream. Sure to be a big hit with the kids.
Contact: Daily 11am-10pm. Store 8-9 World City, 8-9 Jinhui Lu, Chaoyang District (8590 6088) 朝阳区朝阳区金汇路8-9号世界城商业街102号铺
Din Tai Fung 鼎泰丰
This is the go-to dim sum place for many families. A Taiwanese chain that has earned its international renown – taste just one delicate, hand-rolled xiaolongbao and you’ll join the fan club. The soups, fried rice with pork, and noodles are also guaranteed to please. Friendly service and a kid’s playroom rounds out the package for families.
Contact: www.dintaifung.com.cn 1) Daily 11.30am-9.30pm. 6/F, Shin Kong Place, China Central Place, 87 Jianguo Lu, Chaoyang District (6533 1536) 朝阳区建国路87号华贸中心新光天地6层; 2) Mon-Thu 11am-2.30pm, 5-10.30pm, Fri-Sun 11am-9pm. Unit LG2-20, Parkview Green, 9 Dongdaqiao Lu, Chaoyang District (8562 6583) 朝阳区东大桥路9号芳草地LG2-20层
Herbal Cafe 泰和草本工坊
Light, MSG free Hong Kong fare, with herbal teas, stir-fries, steamed dishes, soups and dim sum. The Sanlitun branch a features large, airy windows letting in plenty of natural light and a good view of the surrounding area.
Contact: Daily 11am-11pm. Sanlitun branch: S6-33, 3/F, Sanlitun Taikooli South, 19 Sanlitun Lu, Chaoyang District (6416 0618) 朝阳区三里屯路19号三里屯Village南区6号楼3层s6-33
Duck de Chine 全鸭季
Tucked away in the 1949-The Hidden City complex, the menu incorporates both Chinese and French duck-roasting traditions. Kids can happily play with their food: the classic Peking duck combo, (crisp roast duck to roll in pancakes with plum sauce, spring onion and cucumber) is, naturally, the showpiece dish. 10 percent service charge. English menu available.
Contact: 1) Daily 11am-2.30pm, 5.30-10.30pm. Sanlitun branch: 1949 – The Hidden City, Courtyard 4, Gongti Beilu (opposite the south gate of Pacific Century Place Mall) (6501 8881) 朝阳区工体北路4号院 (太平洋百货南门对面)
Green Bites Dumpling Bar 绿盒子蒸饺
Plump, steamed dumplings with healthy fillings made with organic certified veggies from local farms. Green Bites specialize in delivery, but if you pop over, your reward will be that they taste infinitely better made fresh.
Contact: www.greenbites.cn 1) Daily 10.30am-9.30pm. The Place and Central Park Branch: E166 (north of east gate), Tower E, World City (across from Central Park), 8-9 Jinhui Lu, Chaoyang District (8590 7875)世贸天街新城国际朝阳区金汇路8-9号世界城商业街E座东门北侧E166; 2) Daily 10am-9.30pm. Dashanzi/798 Art District Branch: Shop 380, 3/F, Indigo Mall, 18 Jiuxianqiao Lu, Chaoyang District (400 958 4394) 大山子艺术区朝阳区酒仙桥路18号颐堤港购物中心三层380; 3) Daily 10.30am-8.30pm. Sanlitun branch: Unit 5-106, first floor, Sanlitun Soho, Gongti Beilu, Chaoyang district (8590 0475) 朝阳区工体北路三里屯Soho1层5-106室
Mr. Shi’s Dumplings 老石饺子
Cozy and welcoming, the more convenient Sanlitun outpost of this Gulou original serves the same menu of boiled and fried dumplings, pork, shrimp, and vegetarian, with over 30 combinations to choose from.
Contact: Daily 10am-10pm. Sanlitun Xijie (west of the Sanlitun Police Station), Chaoyang District (131 6100 3826)朝阳区三里屯西街（三里屯派出所往西）
Haidilao Hot Pot
Famous for its hospitality: get your nails done or ask for the noodle dance – an energetic waiter will pull noodles right at your table. Older kids will love the interactivity of adding and removing food from the soup. Be careful with smaller kids; it’s all too easy to get splashed with hot broth.
Contact: Daily 24hrs. www.haidilao.com 1) Sanlitun branch: 2A Baijiazhuang Lu (next to No. 80 Middle School), Chaoyang District (65952982, 65950079) 朝阳区白家庄路甲2号 (八十中学西侧); 2) Wangjing branch: 4/F Wangjing Guoji Shangye Zhongxin, 9 Wangjing Dongjie, Chaoyang District (5920 3512) 朝阳区朝阳区望京街9号望京国际商业中心4楼
Xiabu Xiabu Hotpot 台湾呷哺呷哺涮涮锅
Children will really enjoy the independence of cooking their own dinner in the mini individual hot pots available at this bustling and ubiquitous fast food chain. Choose from mutton, beef, veggies, tofu, sesame buns (shao bing) and more. English menu available on request.
Contact: (6026 5888, 4008 177 878, email@example.com) www.xiabu.com 1) Sanlitun branch: B1, Shimao Gongsan Mall, 13 Gongti Beilu, Chaoyang District朝阳区工人体育场北路13号世贸百货B1层; 2) Wanging branch: 9F Wangjing International Commercial Center, Wangjing Jie, Chaoyang District朝阳区望京街9号望京国际商业中心一层
Su Song Fu 苏松府生煎
Enjoy the southern treasures, shengjianbao, crisp based and filled with hot soup. Four bao are just RMB 10, more than enough for a child’s portion. The menu also includes cold dishes and noodles. Go outside of normal lunch hours to avoid the inevitable queues.
Contact: Daily 10am-8pm. B1, Shimao Department Store, 13 Gongti Beilu, Chaoyang District 朝阳区三里屯工体北路13号世贸工三B1
Qing Yun Lou 卿云楼
The first Qing Yun Lou opened on the east shore of Shichahai Lake almost 200 years ago. The current incarnation has stunning lakeside views and serves sweet Shandong cuisine.
Contact: 22 Qianhai Lake East Bank, Xicheng District (6401 9581) 西城区前海东沿22号
This article originally appeared on page 26-27 of the beijingkids February 2015 issue. Click here to read the issue for free on Issuu.com. To find out how you can get your own copy, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos: Courtesy of Maiker Valdiva, Charme, International SOS, Avlzyx, Chenzhao (flickr), Malaekayanti (Tumblr), and Xhaock (Weibo)