A Closer Look reviews the winners from our 12th Annual  Reader Restaurant Awards, which were announced March 16. With the weather finally warning up, we turn to the winners of the Best Beijing Outdoor Dining category.

Most seasoned professionals will tell you a top-notch menu is insufficient on its own to make a restaurant, especially in an F&B scene that’s as competitive as Beijing’s. Ambiance and decor can make many patrons rave almost as much as the most flavourful of dishes.

But even the chicest indoor aesthetic is improved with good old fashioned outdoor seating. Beijing might not be always suitable for al fresco dining -- what with freezing winters, broiling summers and bad air year round, but on those rare days where weather is just right and the AQI is low, there's nothing quite like dining outside.

The following restaurants have made the most of their decks and patios, helping them clinch the top spots in our Reader Restaurant Awards’ Best Outdoor Dining category.

Best: Capital M
The terrace of this esteemed fine dining establishment has an astounding panoramic view of Tian'anmen Square. That opulent backdrop is a fitting compliment to vast array of wines and high end menu items, making Capital M one of Beijing's most impressive restaurants on ever level— from aesthetics to taste.

Outstanding: Dali Courtyard
This nookish Yunnan hutong restaurant has cozy, breezy vibe, thanks to its Chinese courtyard patio, where overhanging tree branches create an atmospheric overlap between old Beijing and China’s sunny south. This natural setting melds well with the seasonally set menus, which emphasize freshness. Together the food and the look of Dali Courtyard will transport you far away from the hustle and bustle of Beijing’s concrete jungle.

Outstanding: Element Fresh
Most of Element Fresh's Beijing branches now have patios, just in time for patrons to enjoy the fresh air of Beijing’s springtime along with the fresh eats of this restaurant’s namesake. The chain's Sanlitun location was its first to have an outdoor patio, using simple wooden benches for setting and umbrellas to stave off the summer’s harshest sun beams. This straightforward approach makes for an ideal brunch spot for patrons who enjoy the view of the skyscrapers near Tai Koo Li. Their Lido location on Jiangtai Lu also has a notable patio for springtime dining, and the Solana Mall location has a great terrace open on weekends.

Hungry for more? Follow all of our 2015 Reader Restaurant Awards coverage here.

Images courtesy of the venues


Visit the original source and full text: the Beijinger Blog