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The 12 Hottest Restaurants in Beijing Right Now, August 2015

Where to eat in Chinese capital.

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For the first time ever, Eater turns its Heatmapping spotlight to Beijing, China, to discover the hottest drinking and dining options the city has to offer. According to freelance food writer/former Gourmet editor Lillian Chou, it's "hard to imagine" that Beijing's first private post-Communism restaurant opened as recently as 1980. "The slow influx of capitalism is now a gushing river, and China's capital is catching up with the rest of the world at record speed," Chou says. "Because there's no established history, the sky's the limit with innovative and mouth-tingling options that are causing a minor revolution. Beijing now has some great tastes and a booming appetite that will leave you licking your chops (and chopsticks)."

Chou shares her picks for the buzziest restaurants in the city: Italian food is having a rare moment in Beijing, with Neapolitan-style pizza and calzones arriving courtesy the brothers behind Bottega Fratelli Salvo; meanwhile, chef Omar Maseroli (of Mercante) dishes out handmade pastas at the romantic Fiume. Chinese- and European influences mingle inside the charcuterie and bagel cases of Traitor Zhou's Nonkosher Delicatessen, a hotly anticipated chef partnership that already has a second location in the works. And alongside solid options for Thai, dim sum, and Peking duck, two new restaurants specifically offer takes on comforting, home-spun classics (the Hunan-focused Southern Fish and Mama de Weidao, which literally translates to "mom's taste.")

Here now, and in alphabetical order, the introductory Eater Heatmap to Beijing:

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Bottega Fratelli Salvo

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The Salvo brothers brought real Neapolitan-style pizza to Beijing and are busy trafficking their prized red-tiled oven burning with local fruitwood. Crowds line up for a rare bite of pizza like it should be — with Italian imported ingredients. Stick with the pies or go for authentic calzones that strut their stuff with a generous portion of fillings, both on the inside and outside. [Photo]

Country Kitchen @ Rosewood Beijing I 乡味小厨

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The Rosewood’s stunning design for its casual Chinese restaurant is enough reason to visit. The wood-fired ovens produce an imperial crisp pork belly that can’t be had anywhere else, along with traditional Peking duck. Choices are difficult with so many temptations — including hand-spun noodles and a menu that has been locally sourced. [Photo]

Set along the quiet Liangma River, Fiume offers outdoor seating for an evening of romance. Owner and self-trained chef Omar Maseroli and his partner Yuan Yuan are kind hosts sharing Maseroli’s regional Italian pastas and more, made with love. This new branch follows the success of their original hutong restaurant Mercante, only with a different selection of hand-made pasta and one of the best lunch deals in town. Even though it may sound boring, do not miss having one of the finest panna cottas or tiramisu available. [Photo]

京A (Jing-A) Taproom

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Just across from Traitor Zhou’s, this brewery has some clever beers with names like Airpocalypse Double IPA and Full Moon Farmhouse Ale — the latter infused with China’s fragrant osmanthus blossom and Sichuan peppercorns. A creative bar menu and weekend brunch offers a slab of Traitor Zhou’s handmade bacon (link to Traitor Zhou’s) to your burger or waves of spicy heat from mala fried chicken, fried nuggets in a nest of spicy chilies and numbing Sichuan peppercorns. [Photo]

Mama de Weidao 妈妈的味道

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This two-floor eatery boasts a particular style that’s more comforting: It’s billed as a Chinese mother’s cooking (the restaurant name translates as "mama’s taste"). Unless your mother is Chinese, that may not mean much, but expect fresh stir-fries and some of the best handmade dumplings among the dishes that pump out of this busy kitchen. Service in many Chinese restaurants can be somewhat coarse, but here it’s more like mama’s kitchen.

MOKA Bros

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Following the footsteps of its packed first branch in Nali Patio, Moka Bros buzzes as the quintessential café serving fresh creative salads, clever grain bowls, and other savory options, with a selection of sweet pastries. The baristas make great coffee and the juice bar keeps things healthy. Although the café is part of the somewhat laughable Solana Mall, the riverside area snakes along the back of the building. Enjoy the view with an outdoor table along the Liangma River, a minor escape from Beijing’s hustle. [Photo]

Pak Pak Thai Kitchen

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Pak Pak’s second location in downtown Beijing’s CBD is a big hit. Known as a reliable temple for Thai food, Pak Pak offers spicy scented Thai classics including curries, salads, stir-fried items, and the requisite pad thai noodles. A congenial atmosphere with fun cocktails and juice blends make this a gathering spot for neighborhood locals. [Photo]

Palms L.A. Kitchen and Bar

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Tucked behind the Oak Chateau hotel and residence, this eatery spills onto a shaded outdoor area. With its cocktails and kimchi bites on tacos served LA-food-truck-style, this Korean-Mexican inspired menu is built on pork, chilies, fermented cabbage, and flour or lettuce wraps. The combination of tastes makes an unusual but worthy combination with clever cocktails to boot — not to mention an impressive collection of smuggled hot sauce. [Photo]

Rouge Chinese Restaurant

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Modeled after a simple Hong Kong-styled diner, Rouge has a mixed menu of Cantonese favorites with a short dim sum menu offered all day. Southern Chinese favorites like Crispy Chicken (or the Soy Sauce version) and the must-have beef chow fun rice noodles are highly recommended. Simple selections with a few set menus, including a special lunch selection, make Rouge a great option in Beijing.

渔芙南 The Southern Fish

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Soft-lit wood tones glow bright in the dark alleys of this hutong that is gaining revival in one of Beijing’s oldest areas. The homestyle menu serves dishes from Hunan province, known for its fiery chilies and deep smoked pork belly. Daily pickle selections vary, but count on a classic Hunan-style sumptuous fish head in a hot and sour broth. Do not miss the pounded roasted green chilies with preserved century eggs. This tiny dining room has nine small tables and needs booking for a good reason.

小大董 Taste Of Dadong

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Da Dong is the recognized king of Beijing (Peking) roast duck, with multiple crowded branches that are notoriously noisy. In the Parkview Green Mall, which boasts the cleanest air in Beijing and houses an impressive collection of modern Chinese art, this truncated menu offers set meals alongside a selection of popular dishes. For single travelers who want just a single portion of Beijing’s most famous dish, this is a godsend in lieu of having to tackle a half roast duck (the minimum order in any duck restaurant) on your own. [Photo]

Traitor Zhou's Nonkosher Delicatessen

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Beijing has patiently waited for the partnership of award-winning chefs Aitor Olabegoya (of Migas) and Max Levy (of Okra 1949), who offer a locally inspired creative menu for their to-go food shop inside the compound of a former electric factory. Traitor Zhou’s continues to focus on Levy’s special charcuterie, blending Chinese and European techniques and flavors. Fun bagel flavors like black seaweed with miso cream cheese, organic wines, ice cream, and doughnut holes are the talk of the town. (A second location is opening nearby soon.) [Photo]

Bottega Fratelli Salvo

The Salvo brothers brought real Neapolitan-style pizza to Beijing and are busy trafficking their prized red-tiled oven burning with local fruitwood. Crowds line up for a rare bite of pizza like it should be — with Italian imported ingredients. Stick with the pies or go for authentic calzones that strut their stuff with a generous portion of fillings, both on the inside and outside. [Photo]

Country Kitchen @ Rosewood Beijing I 乡味小厨

The Rosewood’s stunning design for its casual Chinese restaurant is enough reason to visit. The wood-fired ovens produce an imperial crisp pork belly that can’t be had anywhere else, along with traditional Peking duck. Choices are difficult with so many temptations — including hand-spun noodles and a menu that has been locally sourced. [Photo]

Fiume

Set along the quiet Liangma River, Fiume offers outdoor seating for an evening of romance. Owner and self-trained chef Omar Maseroli and his partner Yuan Yuan are kind hosts sharing Maseroli’s regional Italian pastas and more, made with love. This new branch follows the success of their original hutong restaurant Mercante, only with a different selection of hand-made pasta and one of the best lunch deals in town. Even though it may sound boring, do not miss having one of the finest panna cottas or tiramisu available. [Photo]

京A (Jing-A) Taproom

Just across from Traitor Zhou’s, this brewery has some clever beers with names like Airpocalypse Double IPA and Full Moon Farmhouse Ale — the latter infused with China’s fragrant osmanthus blossom and Sichuan peppercorns. A creative bar menu and weekend brunch offers a slab of Traitor Zhou’s handmade bacon (link to Traitor Zhou’s) to your burger or waves of spicy heat from mala fried chicken, fried nuggets in a nest of spicy chilies and numbing Sichuan peppercorns. [Photo]

Mama de Weidao 妈妈的味道

This two-floor eatery boasts a particular style that’s more comforting: It’s billed as a Chinese mother’s cooking (the restaurant name translates as "mama’s taste"). Unless your mother is Chinese, that may not mean much, but expect fresh stir-fries and some of the best handmade dumplings among the dishes that pump out of this busy kitchen. Service in many Chinese restaurants can be somewhat coarse, but here it’s more like mama’s kitchen.

MOKA Bros

Following the footsteps of its packed first branch in Nali Patio, Moka Bros buzzes as the quintessential café serving fresh creative salads, clever grain bowls, and other savory options, with a selection of sweet pastries. The baristas make great coffee and the juice bar keeps things healthy. Although the café is part of the somewhat laughable Solana Mall, the riverside area snakes along the back of the building. Enjoy the view with an outdoor table along the Liangma River, a minor escape from Beijing’s hustle. [Photo]

Pak Pak Thai Kitchen

Pak Pak’s second location in downtown Beijing’s CBD is a big hit. Known as a reliable temple for Thai food, Pak Pak offers spicy scented Thai classics including curries, salads, stir-fried items, and the requisite pad thai noodles. A congenial atmosphere with fun cocktails and juice blends make this a gathering spot for neighborhood locals. [Photo]

Palms L.A. Kitchen and Bar

Tucked behind the Oak Chateau hotel and residence, this eatery spills onto a shaded outdoor area. With its cocktails and kimchi bites on tacos served LA-food-truck-style, this Korean-Mexican inspired menu is built on pork, chilies, fermented cabbage, and flour or lettuce wraps. The combination of tastes makes an unusual but worthy combination with clever cocktails to boot — not to mention an impressive collection of smuggled hot sauce. [Photo]

Rouge Chinese Restaurant

Modeled after a simple Hong Kong-styled diner, Rouge has a mixed menu of Cantonese favorites with a short dim sum menu offered all day. Southern Chinese favorites like Crispy Chicken (or the Soy Sauce version) and the must-have beef chow fun rice noodles are highly recommended. Simple selections with a few set menus, including a special lunch selection, make Rouge a great option in Beijing.

渔芙南 The Southern Fish

Soft-lit wood tones glow bright in the dark alleys of this hutong that is gaining revival in one of Beijing’s oldest areas. The homestyle menu serves dishes from Hunan province, known for its fiery chilies and deep smoked pork belly. Daily pickle selections vary, but count on a classic Hunan-style sumptuous fish head in a hot and sour broth. Do not miss the pounded roasted green chilies with preserved century eggs. This tiny dining room has nine small tables and needs booking for a good reason.

小大董 Taste Of Dadong

Da Dong is the recognized king of Beijing (Peking) roast duck, with multiple crowded branches that are notoriously noisy. In the Parkview Green Mall, which boasts the cleanest air in Beijing and houses an impressive collection of modern Chinese art, this truncated menu offers set meals alongside a selection of popular dishes. For single travelers who want just a single portion of Beijing’s most famous dish, this is a godsend in lieu of having to tackle a half roast duck (the minimum order in any duck restaurant) on your own. [Photo]

Traitor Zhou's Nonkosher Delicatessen

Beijing has patiently waited for the partnership of award-winning chefs Aitor Olabegoya (of Migas) and Max Levy (of Okra 1949), who offer a locally inspired creative menu for their to-go food shop inside the compound of a former electric factory. Traitor Zhou’s continues to focus on Levy’s special charcuterie, blending Chinese and European techniques and flavors. Fun bagel flavors like black seaweed with miso cream cheese, organic wines, ice cream, and doughnut holes are the talk of the town. (A second location is opening nearby soon.) [Photo]

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