Sharing the same historic setting as the Temple Hotel, TRB is the brainchild of former Maison Boulud GM Ignace Lecleir. Modern European tasting menus pay close heed to seasonality, and the wine list is one of the best in town. Complimentary plates of addictive cheese puffs and homemade marshmallows make eating here informal and fun. You can walk off your indulgence afterwards with a stroll around the beautiful temple grounds dotted with sculptures by Chinese artist Wang Shugang.
Insider Tip: Visit on Sunday at sunset to catch the public viewing of Gathered Sky, a permanent light installation by acclaimed American artist James Turrell (tickets cost 150 RMB).
Roasted for 65 minutes over 30 year-old date tree wood, the Peking duck here boasts a crisp, lacquered skin more sweet and aromatic than any other. An on-site Bollinger Champagne bar (the perfect pairing, apparently) occupies part of the loft-like, industrial space, and chefs in sleek black robes carve birds tableside to the chime of a gong. The house-made hoisin sauce, topped with sesame, peanut paste and fried garlic, puts this duck out of sight.
Insider Tip: The duck liver on toast is a must-order appetizer – silkier and lighter than foie gras but no less delicious.
The sister restaurant to Shanghai’s game-changing M on the Bund, Capital M combines casually elegant fine-dining with unrivalled views of Tiananmen Square. The food is straightforward and likeable, from the signature suckling pig to M’s famous pavlova (a nod to owner Michelle Garnaut’s Australian roots). Embossed tableware, Nepalese rugs and open fireplaces add to the sense of occasion. The shaded terrace is perfect for sunny brunches or evening cocktails in the warmer months.
Insider Tip: The afternoon tea, served from 3pm on Saturdays and Sundays, is the most beautifully presented in town, with a triple-tiered dessert platter and a wide choice of brews and infusions.
Revived under the stewardship of British chef Brian McKenna, The Courtyard is one of the most romantic restaurants in town thanks to its perch overhanging the Forbidden City’s moat. A designer makeover from the team behind W New York provides a suitably stylish setting to sample the 888 RMB tasting menu. It’s a molecular style march of kitchen trickery and an unhealthy amount of foie gras, that finishes with a delightful chocolate riff on China’s Terracotta Warriors.
Insider Tip: The garden salad here consists of edible soil, rocks and plants and comes with a miniature rake and spade for cutlery – a tip of the hat to Heston Blumenthal.
This raucously stylish Sichuan chain serves some of the best hot pot in Beijing. Diners cook strips of thinly sliced lamb and beef, plus fresh veggies, mushrooms, tofu, noodles and more, by dunking them in a cauldron of spicy (or non-spicy) soup – the perfect winter warmer. The service at Haidilao goes the extra mile with free refills of drinks and snacks, and even a complimentary manicure and fruit plate for diners waiting to be seated.
Insider Tip: Order the gongfu mian and the restaurant will summon dancing noodle-twirlers to perform theatrically at your table.