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67 Xiao Jing Chang Hu Tong (Gu Lou (Drum Tower))
(86) 010-8404-1430 | www.dalicourtyard.com
HOURSDaily: 11:00am-2:00pm, 6:00pm-10:30pm
RESERVATIONSStrongly recommended, at least a few days in advance
YEAR OPENED2006 renovation
PRICE (SET MENU)RMB 100
FAMOUS PLATESYunnan sausage; papaya salad; spicy mushrooms; crumbed chili fish
DRINKS AND WINEDecent wine selection; beer
PRIVATE ROOM AVAILABLE?Yes
Hidden in a tiny hutong near the Drum Tower, this innovative courtyard gem serves up a super-fresh set menu of Yunnan cuisine tailored to its diners’ preferences. Rather than selecting what they want to eat from a menu, diners instead simply specify food that they don’t eat, and the chef then whips up a bespoke eight-course meal (devoid of any undesirable ingredients and delightfully surprising). Yunnanese cuisine, which hails from the rainforest regions of southwestern China, has absorbed influences from many of its neighbors, like Vietnam and Thailand, giving it a lighter, sweeter character than other Chinese fare, and Dali Courtyard’s dishes emphasize those traditional flavors. While the food is good, it’s the ambiance that’s the real winner: in the summer, customers are treated to alfresco dining in the intimate open courtyard, while in the winter, the space is turned into a cozy, toasty den, complete with warming jazz on the turntable.
A mix of Beijing foodies, local expats, and tourists.
WHAT WE WOULD WEAR
For all its tailored service and food, it’s casual–a sweet sundress or jeans, t-shirt, and flats should suffice.
GO HERE WITH
A date; friends; family; a group; clients
WHY WE LIKE IT
The ambiance–it oozes “Old Beijing” character, and it’s super chilled out, especially in the summer. A truly lovely spot to enjoy a leisurely meal.
WHAT WE WOULD CHANGE
It can be tricky to find–a few more signs in the surrounding hutong would be helpful.
GOOD TO KNOW
If you’re a vegetarian (or you’re going to be dining with one), you’ll need to let them know when you make your reservation. To make things easier on that front, the staff speaks excellent English, and they’re well-trained to deal with specific food preferences and needs. (Those with allergies rest assured, they will understand your requests.)
Read more about Dali Courtyard in The Diary
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