A Closer Look reviews the winners from our 2015 Reader Restaurant Awards, which were announced March 16. This time around we take a look at the winners of the Best Café category.

During the Age of Enlightenment, genius would gather together not in dingy, dusty, back alley spaces, but in open and flourishing coffeehouses that churned out both intellectual revelations and, of course, coffee. Fast-forward to the present day and the idea of whiling your time in the surrounds of other like-minded folks is alive and well in the café culture. Beijing has more than its fair share of places to write that next novel, or break that next deal, or hell, even just find a damn good cup of Joe to lessen the perils of the day ahead. You spoke and delivered to us your choices below: 

Best: Moka Bros
The flagship name that brought hip, organic fixes to the front of Beijing’s foodie scene reigns supreme with its fresh power bowls and decadent crepes starring alongside freshly whizzed smoothies and reasonably priced coffee (also a banging happy hour between 4-7pm). Having made a shift towards customers ordering directly at the counter, this has allowed for an excellent wait staff momentum to ebb and flow among diners sitting around steadfast bench tables and cozy half-leveled platforms. Known for bold typographic quotes adorning the walls pushing the feel good vibe, user Keru recently reviewed, “Going here you can guarantee that what you're eating is fresh and good quality,” which for Beijing is a certainly a refreshing status to hold.

Outstanding: Maan Coffee
With over a dozen locations established around Beijing, the word Maan is synonymous with gargantuan spaces filled to the edges with the scent of freshly crushed coffee beans mixed with hot water to form that heavenly black elixir. Using a homonym that means both ‘slow’ and ‘romantic’ the service is remarkably paced, probably because of the quirky teddy bear GPS system that allows navigation between the floors to be hassle free. While it might not boast a special menu with exotic coffee bean roasts or Michelin starred bites, the reliability and dogged determination for consistent quality (especially in their token waffles and toast mantra) is admirable.

Outstanding: Comptoirs de France
User brendenbarrit said “I find this shop to be a nice surprise in a sea of cheap fast food style bakery shops in Beijing.” We humbly dissent at the idea that this is a surprise. With a philosophy of using only premium ingredients to provide quality products, the 150-year-old family infused brand (Devos, the founder, has family roots from Fontainebleau that bore flour first used to make baked goods there) the upheld tradition of exploration has branched across Beijing with over ten locations providing an ample supply of pastries, cake, cannelés and more to those needing a decadent fix. Seriously, if you need a pick me up in the form of sugar, this is the place to go.

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

More stories from this author here.

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Photo: Moka Bros


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