After having my share of delicious Chinese dishes with noodles, dumplings, and plenty of rice, a Western girl like me was starting to crave some familiar foods during my travel in Beijing. Fortunately, there are a number of wonderful restaurants in this city that offer all types of cuisine from Belgian, to Italian, to a good ole American-style cheeseburger. One of my favorite Beijing tours, I must confess, has been the ‘gourmet’ tour I have taken myself on, trying out various eateries in the area. So for any expats coming to Beijing, here are a few places I would like to recommend.

The Tree

For those looking for a mouthwatering pizza and pint of draught beer, make your way to The Tree. A regular stop for Beijing’s European community, this welcoming tavern in Sanlitun is best known for its Belgian whites and assorted stone oven baked pizzas. Decorated to resemble an authentic Belgian inn, it’s a favorite for families looking to grab a good meal come early in the evening, but it is also carries it usual crowd of drinkers who gather along the convivial brick-built bar.

If you have Italian on the mind, Annie’s is the ultimate must-do. The many awards and recognition it has received will not mislead you, this place is incredible. This gem of the Chaoyang district is a casual, cozy and tremendously welcoming bistro. It is a hands-down the best affordable Italian fare in Beijing. I recommend ordering a crisp pizza with thin dough bottom and rich stuffing. Save room for a delectable cannoli for dessert! These little devils are a tempting blend of cottage cheese and dried fruit with a touch of brandy in a fresh shell of fried dough. The staff here is super friendly, and don’t be surprised if you find yourself smiling throughout your entire experience there.

I am the stereotypical American girl. My daily diet favorites center on meat, bread, and cheese, and if it’s fried that’s even better. When I heard about Steak and Eggs, it didn’t take long before my wallet and I were on our way out the door. Offering classic American diner fare, this restaurant is the perfect place to grab an inexpensive Sunday breakfast. It’s also a great place for families! As the regular crowds of expats will confirm, the food here is extremely authentic. In one bite I was transported back to my native roots with my taste buds serving as the vehicle. The menu is chock-full of hearty burgers, apple pie and bottomless cups of coffee. Any American expat feeling homesick can come here for a little taste of comfort.

Element Fresh

The last place on my list today is Element Fresh. After getting my juicy, greasy, cheesy cravings satisfied, it’s equally important to find a place where I can just get a healthy, substantial meal. At Element Fresh, this is exactly what you will find, tons of variety and all delicious. Originally started in Shanghai, this restaurant provides nutritious Western food including salads, smoothies and sandwiches. They have a popular weekend brunch as well as including reasonably priced fare and quality drinks. I hope you get the chance to visit one or all of these places during your Beijing travels. I guarantee you will not be disappointed!



Jack Li

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