Novel and notable - Beijing

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 October, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 October, 2005, 12:00am

Made in China - Ignore the sterile hotel environs and dive straight into the exquisite Peking duck which, with its crisp, rich skin, succulently tender meat and delicate pancakes, wins our vote for Beijing's best. 1/F Grand Hyatt Hotel, 1A Dong Chang'an Jie, tel 6510 9608

Bellagio - Beijing's beautiful people flock to this hip eatery, which serves Sichuanese and Taiwanese food with flair. Its late hours and proximity to the nightclubs Angel and Babyface make it the perfect spot for a 4am feast. 35 Xiaoyun Lu, 8451 9988; 6 Gongti Xilu, near the Gongti 100 Bowling Alley, tel 6551 3533

Lao Beijing Zhajiangmian Dawang - A venerable chain serving up zhajiangmian with classic lao Beijing (loud and chaotic) flair. Hand-pulled noodles come with the proper assortment of veggie accompaniments. Of the many locations, we recommend the one at 22 Beisanhuan Zhonglu, next to Shuangxiu Park, tel 6206 4488

Alameda - Modern, open and airy, with a modestly priced menu that changes daily. Chef Viviane Goncalves offers contemporary Brazilian cuisine infused with European and Asian flavours. Charming and eclectic. Sanlitun Beijie, beside the Nali Mall, tel 6417 8084

Ding Ding Xiang - Swish hotpot eatery with individual pots that ensure fine dining for carnivores and vegetarians alike, although the crowds that gather outside come for the delicious sesame dipping sauce and seed-encrusted shaobing buns. 1/F 14 Dongzhong Jie, Dongzhimenwai, 6417 2546; 2/F Yuanjia International Apartments, Dongzhimenwai, Dongzhong Jie, opposite East Gate Plaza, tel 6417 9289

Yunnan Yinxiang - This casual restaurant has an exotic, rustic flair and serves Yunnan specialities including the region's famous fried cheese, as well as an enormous assortment of mushrooms. 16 Dongsanhuan Beilu, in the alley next to Brasserie Flo, tel 8595 1277

Hatsune - Creative California-style sushi rolls come draped with eel or avocado at this modern and bustling eatery. Popular among expats. 2/F Heqiao Building C, 8A Guanghua Lu, tel 6581 3939

Kiosk - Serbian snack shack that grills up sausages, Balkan-style burgers and savoury chicken sandwiches. A delicious fast-food alternative. Sanlitun Beijie, beside the Nali Mall, tel 6413 2461

The CourtYard - Widely considered one of Beijing's finest restaurants, with fusion cuisine along with a view of the Forbidden City. Whet your appetite with a preprandial viewing at the art gallery downstairs. 95 Donghuamen Dajie, north of the Donghuamen parking lot at the Forbidden City, tel 6526 8883

Three Guizhou Men - Hostesses greet you at the door in their Miao minority costumes at this postmodern Guizhou eatery. Sample the region's strong flavours amid poured concrete floors and art-enhanced walls. 3 Guanghua Xili, 6502 1733; Jianwai SOHO Building 7, 1011, 39 East Ring Road, tel 5869 0598

Green T. House - Tea-infused fusion cuisine in a setting that is reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. The food may not be remarkable but the ambience is unforgettable. 6 Gongti Xilu, tel 6552 8310/11

Morel's - Cosy, old-fashioned restaurant offering Belgian comfort food. Its steaks, mussels, frites and waffles are the perfect antidote for the homesick European. Gongti Beilu, opposite Workers' Gymnasium North Gate, tel 6416 8802

Mei Fu - Tucked away in a tangle of hutongs, this courtyard restaurant serves the beloved dishes of world-famous Peking opera star Mei Lanfang in a dining room that resembles a 1930s Shanghai salon. 24 Daxiangfeng Hutong, south bank of Houhai Lake, tel 6612 6847

Still Thoughts Vegetarian Restaurant - Owned by Buddhists, this is a sparkling yet comfy vegetarian oasis serving mock meats and other guilt-free treats, including remarkable fennel-filled dumplings. 18A Dafosi Dongjie, one block north of Qianliang Hutong, tel 6400 8941

Sichuan Sheng Zhujing Banshichu - Filled with red-faced patrons eating lip-tingling fare, this restaurant, run by the Sichuan provincial government, is worth seeking out for its liberal use of numbing Sichuan peppercorn. Always crowded. 5 Jianguomen Gongyuan Toutiao, tel 6512 2277