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20 May 2008

Jetsetting Foodistas | Beijing: Restaurants to Visit

HannahHannah's Beijing Adventure
Jetsetting Foodistas: A Travelogue by Hannah
Part 2 of 3

Being a cosmopolitan city, Beijing has come to be home to many very good restaurants. Staying with a true blue food loving family, I came home to Manila a few pounds heavier because the following places:

Smoked Salmon PizzaThe Kro’s Nest, a stone’s throw away from Beijing University, gives off the usual campus vibe. Opening a large bar door, you get the feeling you’ve just stepped into a bar, with accompanying heavy metal music. Inside we are greeted by a prim and proper looking foreign couple as well as a group of English speaking Chinese locals from the nearby schools. Sitting down the music changes to Scott Joplin and by the time we order it’s Cheese Sticksplaying pop. We order a Smoked Salmon Pizza (Made with mouth-watering Smoked Salmon, Parsley, Basil and Onions. Great Choice! Php 300) and Cheese Sticks ( Our Pizza dough topped with Oregano, Fresh Garlic and Mozzarella served with a bowl of our Pizza Sauce sticks of mozzarella. While). The pizza is not your new age thin crust with crazy new toppings, if anything it’s probably Big Pizzareminiscent of the pizza of your childhood. The salmon wasn’t overpowered by the tomato sauce, and overall the pizza was very pleasant. The Cheese sticks were very good, definitely healthier than the usual breaded waiting for our server to return with our change, we spy a couple sharing the biggest pizza I have ever seen, really something for people up to the challenge.

Pizza MargheritaOne afternoon, right before we went to go watch a Chinese Acrobatics show ( a must see if you are in China in general), we had Itallian food delivered to us. This is the meal I fondly call the “14A, 35, 23 Large Fettuccine” which is basically what my friend J told the woman at the end of the line when she called up Annie’s. For foreigners who would rather not spend 30 minutes explaining what exactly theyEggplant would like in very broken Mandarin, the numbers were a good idea. Looking at the online menu, I see we ordered the Melanzane Grigliate con Ricotta (Grilled eggplant with ricotta cheese, walnut and balsamico dressing, Php 150), Pizza Margherita (Pizza with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese Php 240) and a Large Fettuccine Alfredo (Php 150). While the pizza was just alright (I am not a fan of thin crusts), the other two dishes were superb. The eggplant was soft but not soggy, with the ricotta peeking out of two large slices of the eggplant. The Alfredo was simple, and I am glad that they didn’t skimp on the servings as the pasta was more than enough for two. Their noodles were firm to the bite, and the sauce was neither too rich nor too bland. For the price, Annie’s outstrips many of the pizza chains here in Manila by having large servings, with the added bonus of having a large range of pasta, salads, and appetizers that are actually pretty good.

I have to apologize for the next place I will mention. While shopping at Zara, in a very confusing chain of events, I had my camera stolen from me. Therefore I was unable to retrieve some of my pictures, but this place cannot be missed. It is highest on my list of restaurants to visit the next time i return.

J had been talking about going to Hatsune ever since I arrived at Beijing and finally towards the end of my trip we were able to go. We arrived at the restaurant early and from the front you'd wonder if there was anyone inside, but climbing up a flight of stairs and walking through a sliding door brings you to the restaurant, which had modern Asian minimalist interiors of black stone and steel. We ordered their sushi rolls, which when they arrived looked almost too good to eat. We ordered the Ninja Roll (Shrimp Tempura, crab, maguro, onions, and spicy sauce. Will knock your senses out! Php 360), Sake-2-me Roll(Our deluxe Salmon Skin Roll with onions, fresh salmon, and unagi sauce Php 360), Moto-roll-ah (Motolicious using deep fried spicy tuna, snow crab, maguro, and avocado Php 450), and Pimp My Roll (The ultimate roll with soft shell crab, avocado, topped with scorched salmon and albacore, 119 sauce and unagi sauce Php 510). My favorite was the Moto-roll-ah, which is understandably one of their best sellers. Next on my list was the Ninja Roll, which was the spiciest of the bunch. I didn't enjoy the onion too much, but their shrimp tempura was done very well and stayed crunchy even half an hour into the meal. I loved the scorched salmon and albacore on top of the Pimp my Roll, because it had a very strange but great texture. The soft shell crab was done very well, and the absence of the spicy sauce made the taste of the crab stand out. The Sake-2-me Roll was quite crunchy, and I appreciated the pains the chef must have took in individually frying the salmon skin so that it remained very crunchy. Admittedly, the food isn't cheap, but I haven't been anywhere else that comes close to Hatsune, the experience is well worth it.

Coincidentally, these restaurants are honored in the 2008 Reader Restaurant Awards held annually by That's Beijing, a local lifestyle magazine. Among those honored in the list are QuanJude, Dintaifung, and South Silk Road. Which are restaurants to look out for in the last part of this series.

The Kro’s Nest (1 FuYuanMen, Haidan)
Hatsune (A8 GuangHua DongLu, Heqiao Bldg C, Chaoyang District)


  1. I haven't even had breakfast yet and now you post pictures of yummy pizza? :-( Evil evil Hannah!

  2. wow that HUGE pizza was just for the couple? o.o

    Kro's is a pizza place right?

  3. definitely on my place to try if i go to bejing

  4. Actually, in the past, I didn't like thin-crusted pizza either. But then after, I started appreciating its crunchiness :-P

  5. Ooohh... Smoked salmon pizza! :) Now that's a pizza parent's wouldn't mind their kids eating! Great price too, if you don't consider the airfare to Beijing :p

  6. that eggplant with ricotta sounds fantastic o: yes please ♥

  7. Hannah, if just to say I've eaten a Ninja Roll, I will go to these places when I go to Beijing around November. Thanks for blogging about this!

  8. Ooooooooh!! Beijing! I so love it! It's my second home!

    My favorite pizza place 6 years ago was called Hidden Tree, but I think now they call it The Tree nalang.. Hahaha!! Lots of beer (from all over) there too!! :)

    I also miss the Golden Elephant (Thai Food), I wonder if they still offer buffet lunch on weekdays! I used to cut class just to eat there!

  9. no worries kro's nest will soon be enjoyed in manila.

    best pizza, best beer

  10. Hatsune..Really good place!! It was quite far from where I used to stay but it was worth the trip:)

    @ candishhh - yup The Tree! great place for pizza! It was voted the best pizza place in Beijing, I think two years ago..

  11. If you're ever back in Beijing, check out my site, it introduces a ton of Beijing restaurants to foreigners and includes bilingual picture menus, maps, and community ratings.


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