2014 seemed to me to be more of a year for casual dining than fine dining, with more and more venues looking to capitalize on the "come for a drink, stay for dinner" (or vice versa) crowd. However, a few new restaurants stood out from the casual dining crowd, and one old favorite reminded us just why it keeps topping those Beijing dining rankings.

RELATED: 2014 Year in Review: Best New Casual Dining

Bistrot B
On the face of it, Rosewood Beijing's international dining restaurant Bistrot B doesn't really seem like a fine dining venue: no white table cloths and complicated silverware here. However, as soon as you sit down the attention to detail on show, from the cute Staub serving dishes to the ten-years-in-the-making pâté recipe, makes it clear that their sights are set high. We love their interpretations of classic French dishes and that they source a lot of their produce including chickens from Shunyi and cheese from Le Fromager de Pekin from the local Beijing area.

8 Qi Nian
I doubt many reading this will be frequent visitors to Chongwenmen, but those who aren't are missing out on a hidden Cantonese gem. Located on the second floor of the New World Hotel, 8 Qi Nian serves up a superb menu of Cantonese classics, with nods to other regions of China here and there. The best part? There's no service charge, so you can enjoy hotel-quality dining without the hefty fee.

Many will have heard of new club 8MM, which took over the space vacated by the Hard Rock Cafe in Liangmaqiao. Many will not know that they also have a fine dining restaurant in the same space. Currently in soft opening, the 36-seater restaurant is shooting firmly for the very top echelons of the Beijing dining market, with a menu focused on grade nine Wagyu beef, foie gras and lobster. The space is slick and the food presentation is flawless time will tell whether people are willing to pay the price. 

Honorable Mention: Temple Restaurant Beijing
Look, I know you all know about TRB at this point, but for me it really is the one restaurant in Beijing that is consistently at the top of the fine dining game. They kicked it up a notch further this year with their "International Impressions" program, which brought Michelin-starred chefs from around the world to cook in their kitchen. A personal highlight was renowned Belgian chef Olly Ceulenaere from Publiek restaurant in Gent, whose smart, light take on fine dining was a breath of fresh air.

See the comprehensive (and growing) list of 2014 Year in Review blogs here or read more stories by this author here.

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Photos: Temple Restaurant Beijing, Sui

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