Food at Black Sesame Kitchen, Beijing, China

Black Sesame Kitchen

This cooking school was started by Jen Lin-Liu, a chef and the author of Serve the People: A Stir-Fried Journey through China. She was so inspired by her own culinary adventures that she began teaching friends and friends of friends in 2005 and has expanded to open a proper school and restaurant in a courtyard building in Beijing. She holds regular classes and takes reservations for meals in the private kitchen.

Da Dong

Da Dong is considered the Ferran Adrià of China. In fact, when British celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal (of the Fat Duck restaurant) came in search of the perfect Peking duck, it was Da Dong who he asked to teach him his secrets. At all three of his restaurants in the city, Da Dong merges molecular gastronomy with traditional Chinese cuisine. The menus, which look like coffee-table books that are illustrated with stunning photographs taken by the chef himself, feature more than 100 dishes.

The food is truly for the adventurous diner who will love such molecular concoctions as cherry tomatoes glazed in Champagne jelly with crispy mushrooms inside or the lobster noodles or persimmon capsules. The presentations are exquisite, like miniature paintings and the juxtaposition of flavors and textures are truly revolutionary. This branch, opposite from Wangfujing Bookstore, is within walking distance to the Raffles hotel.

Food at Opera Bombana, Beijing, China

Opera Bombana

When you have had your fill of Chinese food and are looking for excellent Italian food, Opera Bombana is particularly refined option. Considered one of the most glamorous restaurants in the city, Opera Bombana was opened by Michelin-starred chef Umberto Bombana who has sister restaurants in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Before or after dinner, you should save time to wander around the mall where it is located to see some of the fabulous art, which mixes contemporary Chinese works and Salvador Dali sculptures.

Ambience - TRB Temple Restaurant, Beijing, China

TRB Temple Restaurant Beijing

TRB Temple Restaurant Beijing is situated in an ancient temple grounds that has, over a history of 600 years, housed Buddhist luminaries, an imperial printing workshop, and, post Communist revolution, a television factory. The complex was until recently in ruins; but it has now been renovated and includes this fine-dining European-cuisine restaurant and a luxury boutique hotel, also named The Temple. Expect to be served everything from foie gras to escargot here, with amuse bouche between courses. An impressive wine list adds to the experience. While a la carte is pricey, a more reasonable tasting menu delivers four courses for 458RMB ($75). For those on an even tighter budget the weekend brunch – with five courses for 298RMB or eight courses for 368RMB -- is a steal. After the meal make sure to have a stroll around the spectacular former temple grounds.

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