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S10-30, The Village at Sanlitun, 19 San Li Tun Bei Lu (Sanlitun)
(86) 010-6415-3535 | www.hatsunesushi.com
HOURSDaily: 10:30am-2:00pm, 5:30-10:00pm
BEST FORLunch; dinner
RESERVATIONSStrongly recommended on weekends
PRICE (APPETIZER; ENTRÉE)RMB 10-30; RMB 30-120
FAMOUS PLATESSignature fish; signature ribs; shredded ginger chicken
DRINKS AND WINEWell-rounded wine list; Western and Asian beers
# OF SEATS15 tables (50-100 seats)
PRIVATE ROOM AVAILABLE?No
Karaiya Spice House is the ninth (and allegedly final) eatery from Beijing fusion restaurant magnate Alan Wong. Like his previous ventures, its specialty is Asian fare (this time fiery Hunanese cuisine) expertly blended to suit Western tastes–expect toned-down spices and modern presentation. The fusion concept carries over to the décor, where the stark stylings of an ultra-mod glass-cube space are softened with traditional Chinese window lattices, a gentle beige and gray color scheme, and retro furnishings. As at all Wong venues, service is friendly and efficient and the atmosphere hip yet laidback (this trends even more laidback than many of his other venues).
Lunchtimes, it’s packed with the expat business and diplomatic crowds, while evenings bring in everyone from families and post-work execs to trendsetters and the pre-club set.
WHAT WE WOULD WEAR
It’s very relaxed, but the crowd still looks smart–go for of-the-moment jeans, boots, and a casual yet eye-catching top.
GO HERE WITH
A date; family; friends; colleagues; a group
WHY WE LIKE IT
While Hunan cuisine’s powerful chili kick is often overwhelming for the uninitiated, Karaiya does a great job of making these dishes easy to eat with their super delicious, gentle-on-the-tongue spice blend. Also, the ambiance is great: semi-hip but not too chill.
WHAT WE WOULD CHANGE
They need a bathroom. For now, you have to use the public Village at Sanlitun facilities, which close at 9:00pm.
GOOD TO KNOW
Their invisible automatic door is tricky! Unless you’ve tried it out beforehand, you can look pretty silly trying to get in.
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