We love Beijing summer nights, when we never want to eat or drink inside. We've put together a list of our favorite outdoor drinking spots, but there are even more great venues around town for al fresco dining. Here's our updated list for spring/summer 2011.
Last summer, SALT launched their terrace, overlooking Si'de Park. The outdoor area took one of Beijing's favorite restaurant's to new levels last summer, and it's a beautiful, peaceful spot to enjoy new chef Paulo de Souza's set menus (RMB198/two courses, RMB228/three courses).
Aria has really risen to new heights this year, with chef de cuisine Matthew McCool's incredible culinary creations and top-quality Wagyu beef. Try a Tajima 9+ steak and a gorgeous dessert on Aria's small CBD terrace.
Brasserie Flo's spacious outdoor terrace features comfortable seating and green plants for an almost tropical feel. The menu changes based on seasonal tastes. For ¥168, get a dinner set that includes an amuse-bouche, starter, main course and dessert.
One of our all-time favorite dinner spots is Assaggi's rooftop patio. Located in the quiet north Sanlitun neighborhood, it’s a tranquil delight with great service and food to match. Try the summer salad (¥65) made with rugola, sundried tomatoes, smoked chicken and artichokes.
Rumi boasts unparalleled Persian cuisine and a spacious outdoor dining area. Must-order dishes there include the lamb rib chops (¥80) and tangy chicken koobideh (¥54). The restaurant is BYOB with no corkage fee, but we’re happy with the extensive list of fresh juices—the pulpy strawberry juice (¥28) is a refreshing treat on a sultry summer evening.
Also in Sanlitun is Ganges, one of the city's only Indian restaurants to offer outdoor seating. Take a seat on the Sanlitun Village terrace and enjoy a mango lassi and chicken tikka under the stars.
Beijing’s historic neighborhoods offer beautiful courtyards and idyllic outdoor dining. Argo, the Greek restaurant on Wudaoying Hutong, features an intimate rooftop patio. This romantic spot is perfect for sharing a plate of Greek appetizers (Argo plate, ¥50) or a succulent chicken kebab (¥70).
Just down the street is Saffron's outdoor courtyard, where you can enjoy sublime sangria (¥36/glass) and killer paella (¥160 for two).
One of the city’s most popular restaurants in the summertime, Dali Courtyard, in a hutong off of Gulou Dong Dajie, consistently gets rave reviews on our website. The restaurant offers set menus from ¥100 to ¥300, and the dishes can be tailored to your tastes. While the authentic Yunnan cuisine is tasty, the candlelit courtyard alone is enough to keep diners coming back.
Another romantic spot is Le Quai's lakeside deck, near the south end of Workers Stadium. The restaurant’s upscale, healthy Chinese cuisine draws Chinese celebrities and art world elite.
For more Chinese al fresco dining, don't miss Hua's Restaurant's numerous courtyards. The Guijie restaurant's also open until 4:30am, so it's perfect for late nights al fresco.
Another Chinese outdoor find is Linhuxuan, which is located on a boat by the side of Liuyin Park's lakeside. The food's a little pricey, but it's worth it for the stellar ambiance. Less off-the-beaten-path, but still great, is Nanluoguxiang's Drum and Gong. Don't miss the sweet and sour pork with pinapple.
For something much more casual and much more American, Tim's Texas BBQ offers down home Texan food that’s consistently good. The generously portioned beef brisket (¥80) is the signature dish. Tim’s Tuesday quiz nights are super popular, and during the summer, there are speakers hooked up so you can participate even while sitting at the picnic tables outside.