A real slice of old Beijing, this atmospheric restaurant is set along one of the city’s quickly disappearing hutongs. The place is perpetually loaded with locals, foreign businessmen, and well-informed tourists, who come in spite of (or, perhaps, because of) the restaurant’s somewhat gritty, down-at-heel aura; the warren of small dining rooms is dim, with rickety wood tables and peeling wall paint. But though a U.S. building inspector might spot a dozen violations before he even picks up his chopsticks, the roast duck would quickly calm him down: juicy and crispy-skinned, hot and fresh from the on-site wood-fired oven, the birds here truly can’t be beat.
Tip: Though the menu has page after page of other dishes, stick to the house specialty, along with an accompanying order of seasonal vegetables and spicy bean curd.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.