As expats in Beijing, we tend to rely on the various expat rags for recommendations and reviews that will guide us towards a certain dining establishment or another. But what about the locals? What do they read and who do they trust? They got the almighty Dianping!
I checked on there for the most popular Chinese restaurant amongst the real Beijingers and the decision was unanimous: Na Jia Xiao Guan (那家小馆). An extensive googling session confirmed that this Manchurian restaurant was one of the MUST EAT places in the city for locals and old-hands alike…. I just had to get the Friday Dinners over there and so I did.
If you’re planning on going there in a group, please heed my advice and make a reservation for a private room otherwise you will wait for a looooonnnnnng time! Actually, making a reservation at that place proved almost too much trouble but we persevered and got a private room for 10 people.. (we did squeeze 15 in there :p )
The place is hidden on the street behind the LG towers, across from the silk Market. it can be a bit tricky to find but once you’ve gone there, you’ll never get lost again. So we made it there at 8:00 pm for our little feast with extremely high expectations!
Got there first and proceeded inside our private room under the jealous stares of parties that were sitting in the hallway awaiting a table. The list at the time included 12 names! ok, it is as popular as i expected/heard.
The place is inside a remodeled/modernized courtyard with a chic rustic atmosphere: Trees, wood, warm colors, plants and talking birds make up most of the decoration! It’s tastefully done and not over exaggerated!
They have an extensive menu with both English and Chinese (and pictures). The drink menu has a reasonable local selection as well as some imported wines.
The meal rocked by unanimous vote! Highlights were:
- Crispy fried shrimps (~RMB40): they came highly recommended by most customers on dianping
- Mashed potatoes with raspberry (~20): great twist on an old classic. Served called which was a bit of a curve-ball but nevertheless good
- Venison stew (~60): this one is an OMG kinda dish and one of the main reasons I’ll be back very very soon for more
- Roasted Venison leg (~100): Again, OMG.. juicy and tender the perfection, served with a few spices on the side. gone in a minute
- Yam slices (~10): quite good with a delicate herb-based sauce.
- Duck confit (~50): I have NEVER EVER EVER had duck this tender in my life. it’s the dish that drew the biggest praise of the evening
- Homemade plum juice: 3 jugs were swallowed alongside the teas and wines on the table.
All the dishes seemed prepared with the utmost care for quality and presentation. Service was also pretty darn good considering how packed the place was. I love chinese food but eating Chinese quick meals for lunch ever day almost was starting to get me fed up with it. Having a meal at this place just restored my faith in Chinese cuisine and my conviction that I’d rather fork out for an amazing culinary experience like this as opposed to a more expensive mediocre western dining venue..
The meal came out to about 1500 RMB including a bottle of wine and could have fed 20 people easily… and that venison stew, did i mention the venison stew?
I’m soooo going back there again soon… for the venison stew
Dōngchéngqū Jiànguó Ménwài Yǒng ān Lǐ Xīnhuá Bǎoxiǎn Dàshà Nán Cè
+86 10 6567 3663, 6568 6553