It's clear that when it comes to romance, you Beijingers prefer to keep it classy. All of the winning venues from the Best for a Romantic Dinner category are clearly at the fine dining end of the scale, with the possible exception of Dali Courtyard, although that is also classier than your average Chinese place.
Temple Restaurant Beijing took home the top spot again this year and it's easy to see why. The hushed-yet-atmospheric dining room, the excellent international wine list, the accomplished French-inspired food ... all add up to the perfect "honey, I'm taking you out" venue. In addition to well-known dishes such as their herb-crusted lamb loin with cous cous and mergeuz sausage, they also have a short menu of sharing dishes for lovebirds, such as lamb rack (RMB 680), rib eye (RMB 980) or tomahawk steak (RMB 1,680).
From roaring fireplaces in winter to the shady terrace in summer, Capital M is a great destination for romantic dining all year round. The menu includes lots of dishes that are perfect for sharing, including M's Mezze Platter (RMB 118) and M's Truly Grand Dessert Platter (RMB 128), which includes their famous pavlova. Dinner aside, M is pretty romantic all day long: imagine finishing up a stroll around the hutongs of Dashilan'r with a sundowner in their opulent art deco bar (they also whip up a pretty mean bellini or martini).
Sureno's sunken garden is the perfect venue for a romantic alfresco dinner. Being located in the luxurious Opposite House means that both service and decor are top notch, and the proximity to the swanky shops of Taikoo Li North means you don't have far to go if you forget to pick up that all important gift. Sureno's chef Laia is Greek, so while the pan-Mediterranean menu has a slightly Greek edge, it also includes plenty of pasta dishes so you can recreate that Lady and the Tramp moment with your significant other.
There is still something undeniably romantic about the hutongs, all those narrow little alleys prefect for getting lost. And top of the hutong restaurant pecking order is Dali Courtyard. While the courtyard itself really comes into its own in the summer months, it's also a romantic winter venue, with plenty of small tables in nooks and crannies to shelter love birds. Their daily changing set menu takes the stress out of ordering and they boast an expanded (though not particularly interesting) wine selection compared to many other Chinese restaurants.
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Photos courtesy of the restaurants
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