Shunyi has a lot going for it; it’s close to Beijing’s top schools, the surrounding neighborhoods are a little quieter than Beijing’s crowded downtown, and there’s convenient access to the airport which is important for the more jet-set families out there. But, there’s one particular criteria on the livability rubric where Shunyi is lacking. It’s not really known for its abundant choice of high-quality dining options.
Recently we received word from one of our readers about a new opening that we had to check out, located in the former spot of Napa, called EATAria. We were immediately impressed by the slick ambiance that wouldn’t be out of place in Sanlitun’s Nali Patio, but we were even more impressed with the wide variety of dishes represented on their menu.
Slightly overwhelmed, we decided to go for some items that came highly recommended. So, the feasting began with the quinoa, kale, and avocado salad (RMB 68), and some small tapas dishes, including their Gambas al Ajillo (RMB 88), and Patatas Bravas (RMB 38).
The quinoa, kale, and avocado salad was perfectly balanced and filled with in-vogue produce, which when combined are hard not to enjoy. When the Gambas al Ajillo (shrimp) came out sizzling in a small cast iron pan, our appetite also began to peak. Also perfect in its simplicity, it’s shrimp cooked with chilies and garlic in virgin olive oil. To carb things up a bit, we were given the Patatas Bravos, or baked potatoes topped with aioli, chili sauce, and spring onion. The manager explained that they were a healthier alternative to your regular french fries and ketchup.
The showstopper was definitely the main course. Their seafood paella (RMB 286) consisting of shrimp, squid, scallops, mussels, and saffron rice was flavorful and served at a respectable al dente. It also didn’t skimp on the sea life, which has sometimes been the case in previous Beijing encounters with this Spanish staple.
Finally, we couldn’t leave without also sampling their Margherita pizza (RMB 88), which was spot on. EATAria is one of the few places in town where you can find authentic, wood-fired oven Napoli-style pies. This should be a selling point for many families with kids that have a thing for that essential bread, cheese, and sauce combo. They do it right!
We honestly barely touched the surface of EATAria’s very long menu. You could likely be going back to this restaurant every week for months before really trying all of the delicious and trendy eats featured on their menu. They could probably scale the menu back a little bit, but as they say fortune favors the bold, and Shunyi families will no doubt love all of the options for brunch, lunch, or dinner at this ambitious eatery.
Daily 10am-10pm. 150 meters north of Tian Bei Lu and Yu Feng Lu intersection, Shunyi District (186 1139 7099)顺义区天北路和裕丰路口像北走150米路东边
Photos: Kipp Whittaker