La Galerie Restaurant and Lounge
Despite the Gallic name, this restaurant is unmistakably and indelibly Chinese—from its courtyard-style entryway to its menu of fine, time-tested Cantonese cuisine. If you can, grab one of the best seats in the house (the banquettes along the right-hand side of the front dining room, which look out over a small, pretty courtyard) and order up a feast of delicious dim sum such as minced pork buns, spring rolls with sweet chile sauce, and shrimp steamed in delicate rice-paper parcels.
Tip: Leave time for a stroll around gloriously pretty Ritan Park; one of Beijing’s oldest, it dates to the 16th century, and has a pond, a peony garden, and a central altar mound where emperors once made sacrifices to the sun god.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.