Continuing the theme of restaurant reviews here are some good spots I've found in a city that probably has more dining choices than any city in China. Keep in mind restaurants come and go with alarming frequency here and this will probably be out of date by the time I post this.
New York Coffee and Burger House-The selection at this Wudaokou spot is limited to burgers and a few sandwhiches and salads. However, the burgers are to die for. 25 bucks gets you a FRESH 250 gram all beef burger with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, green peppers, mustard, mayo and ketchup. Fries are extra but the 12 yuan basket feeds two. Deliveray available.
Pete's Tex-Mex Grill-This Lido spot has a dizzying array of choices and pretty much everything you want in a western restaurant. Soups, sandwhiches, salads, burgers, steaks, burritos, pastas, pizzas, nachos, salmon, chilli, meatloaf...it's all here. Not cheap but it's the real deal. They also serve up a pretty decent margarita for 40 kuai. Very child friendly as well. They have a childrens menus, high chairs and a great little play area where your little darling can raise hell while you dine peace.
Bai Jia Zhai Men-Located in Zhonguan Cun, this elegant Imperial style restaurant is one of a kind. It's located on a 10 acre garden that used to be the residence of a Qing Dynasty prince. The architecture and scenery are beautiful and the staff all dresses in traditional Chinese garb. Indoor and outdoor seating available, but if weather allows outdoor is the best option. the menus features a variety of exotic and expensive dishes such as Shark Fin Soup(1600), Deer Fetus in Afterbirth(1200) and Birds Nest Soup(700). However, there is plenty a poor foreign teacher can afford. Seafood, venison and duck seem to be the specialties and there are plenty of these kind of dishes in the 40-100 range.
Fish Nation-Many places in Beijing claim to have Fish and Chips, but you usually wind up with frozen fish sticks. This British run place is the real deal. 30 kuai for a honkin' huge piece of cod and 12 for chips. They have other stuff too, but why bother? Two locations-one in Sanlitun and one on historic Luogu Xiang.
Ho's Restaurant-This fabulous Cantonese restaurant is just south of the Southwest gte of Peking University. Novel length menu takes forever to read. Good choices include shrimp kebabs in a bucket, fish cakes and Cantonese noodles that will remind you of the Chow Mein at your favourite Chinese restaurant back home
T6-OK, so it's not the best hotpot in Beijing but it's the only one I've been to so far. The fact that it's personal pots makes it ideal for dinner for two. Only complaints-no carrots and the only beer they have is Budweiser.
Locations all over Beijing.
Ganges-Fabulous Indian restaurant run by two chefs from Dehli. Food from north to south India including curry, tiki and samosas. I personally come back for the Lamb Rogan Josh which packs a kick and goes down like a brick (hey...I made a ryhme!). Delivery available. At least three locations in Beijing, I use the Haidian branch on Chengfu Lu
Tafi-Not the best Itallian restaurant in Beijing but this Wudaokou spot is certainly the one with the best value for your money. Set menu includes soup, salad, bread, pasta and desset for 50 bucks. If the pasta is over 28 you pay the difference, but the lasagna is worth it. Getting the set menu also entitles you to a glass of very drinable house wine for 10 yuan.
Isshin-Voted Best Japanese in the 2006 That's Beijing Reader awards. Tucked away on a little alley in Wudaokou, this atmospheric little place has sushi, sashimi,tempura and great Chicken Teriyaki. Lots of fish dishes as well. the service sucks, but what can you do?
Red Station-This Korean chain has a location in Zhongguan Cun and they have a very novel theme. Everything on the menu is murderously spicy. I like my food la de, but this is honestly about as hot as I can take it.
The Rickshaw-More pub than restaurant, this Sanlitun spot still serves up some good grub. Menu includes burgers,caesar salad, burritos, nachos,ect. The burritos aren't exactly authentic but they are freakin' huge-a large feeds two people. Beer is 15 kuai a pint and from 5 to 8 it is half price
Pyro Pizza-This Wudaokou pub serves up good thin crust pizza that puts neighbouring Pizza Hut to shame for half the price. They also have the best Caesar Salad I've had in China and pretty decent nachos. Live sports are always on the tube and the playlist features a good selection of 60's and 70's classic rock.From 10-12 tequila shooter are 5 bucks and Tsing Tao pitchers are 20.
Kro's Nest-Another pizza pub with good food, good music and cheap beer. The pizzas here are simply the biggest pies I've ever seen. A medium can easily stuff three people. Try the "garbage pail"-a pizza with every topping they have. Calzones are also available. 10 kuai pints of draft and a friendlier crowd than that of the average Beijing ex-pat hangout also make this place worthwhile. Located west of the north gate of Peking University and a new location has just opened near the Workers Stadium.
Rio BBQ-Brazillian BBQ is everywhere in China, but this Dongzhimen spot is actually endorsed by the Brazillian embassy. 78 bucks gets you all you can eat BBQ and salad bar, as well as all you can drink draft beer for 3 hours.
Wan Wan Fang Brazillian BBQ-As much as I like Rio BBQ, it's a little expensive and out of the way for me. Cheaper and closer to home is this place between the China Geosciences University and BLCU. Here it's only 40 bucks, but the servers only make one round. The BBQ and salad bar aren't as good but draft beer is still free. The fact that the salad bar has mashed potatoes and gravy is certainly a huge point in its favour.
EDIT:I mentioned that this post may be out of date by the time I posted it and indeed it is. This place is now closed.
The Banana Leaf-This popular chain has two locations-one in Sanlitun and one in Zhongguan Cun. Downstairs is an all you can eat seafood buffet (108 per person) and upstairs is a Thai restaurant decked out like a jungle theme park. the menu is the size of a Sears catalog and also includes Indian, Japanes, Vietnamese and Malaysian dishes. I recomend the Muscles in Chilli sauce for seafood lovers.
Cai Yunjian-This Yunnan restaurant is a great place to grab a bite before heading a few doors down to 13 Club for a live rock show. The specialty is chicken stwed in a clay pot, but it's too boney and greasy for me. Far better are the many varieties of Mixian served in honkin' huge portions. They apparently also have several dishes that originate from the Dai ethnic minority, but I have yet to try them. Next time.