Beijing's best al fresco dining spots

Gorgeous patios and rooftop terraces for all your sun-drenched dining needs

With its abundant roof terraces and courtyards, Beijing is the perfect city for al fresco dining when the warmer weather hits. Lap up the sun with our picks of the best spots to eat outdoors in the city.

CBD

Bistrot B

Critics' pick

The Rosewood Beijing's French masterpiece is pure culinary bliss, and its outdoor terrace elevates it to a whole other level. French classics, such as turbot meunière and duck leg confit are obvious must-haves, but Bistrot B's wagyu beef burger with foie gras, black truffle aioli and comté is a pure gluttonous joy (and quite possibly the most decadent burger in Beijing).

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1 Chaoyangmenwai Dajie (Changping)

Migas Mercado

The CBD spawn of our dearly departed Sanlitun favourite, Migas Mercado boasts one of the most impressive terraces in Beijing, which stunning urban views to boot. Dinner under the watchful eye of the CCTV building, anyone?

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1 Jianguomenwai Dajie (Chaoyang, --select--)

Dongsi

Susu (苏苏会)

Beloved Vietnamese restaurant Susu occupies a renovated 140-year-old siheyuan (original dark wooden beams still intact) and features spare modern furnishings with a bright courtyard and rooftop for outdoor dining. During summer we're here for their rice paper rolls and refreshing noodle salads – perfect for Beijing's scorching summer heat.

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10 Xi Xiang Qianliang Hutong (Miyun county)

Gulou

Café Zarah

Smack in the middle of Gulou, this hip café is freelancer central. Laptops, lattes and loads of sunshine can all be found here thanks to its floor-to-ceiling windows and beautiful central courtyard. Head upstairs to enjoy its serene, second-storey terrace that's ideal for lazy summer socialising.

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46 Gulou Dong Dajie (Dongcheng, Dongcheng)

Dali Courtyard

An old favourite for Yunnanese dining in the hutongs. Dali's courtyard is so damn pretty they even put it in the name. Be sure to try the grilled Yunnan-style cheese, prawns fried with lime-leaves and tea and the spicy beef with mint.

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67 Xiaojingchang Hutong (Gulou, Dongcheng)

King's Joy (京兆尹)

Widely regarded as the gold standard when it comes to vegetarian dining, King's Joy has achieved a legion of devotees thanks to its full-flavoured takes on Chinese classics and sun-drenched hutong courtyard. They're quite possibly also the only place to have a full-time harpist (seriously). 

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2 Wudaoying Hutong (Yonghegong/Lama Temple, Dongcheng)

Pebbles Courtyard (卵石庭院)

With its eclectic décor, cantina-inspired interior and approachable Tex-Mex menu, Pebbles is the sort of place that wins you over just by sheer enthusiasm. Erring strongly on the side of comfort, its menu offers staples such as tacos, burritos, al pastor and nachos. Its rooftop terrace (an increasing rarity) is also the stuff of hutong dreams. 

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74 Wudaoying Hutong (Yonghegong/Lama Temple, Dongcheng)

The Other Place

While The Other Place gets most of the glory thanks to its light-filled, roomy courtyard, it's really Taco Stop and El Nido that keep us coming back for more. Load up on Korean-Mexican nosh from the folks behind Palms LA (still much missed), then wash it all down with El Nido's range of boozy bevs. 

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1 Langjia Hutong (Gulou, Dongcheng)

Toast at The Orchid

Gulou views and hutong cool abound at boutique hotel The Orchid's charming restaurant. You also can't go wrong with the brunch menu, which includes hummus, shakshuka and beetroot-brined salmon with fresh ricotta.

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65 Baochao Hutong (Gulou, Dongcheng)

Liangmaqiao

Arrow Factory Brewing

Fantastic views of the Liangma River, plenty of light and a spacious rooftop can all be found at this Beijing microbrewery. For dedicated meat-eaters, eat anything in sausage form or try their Sunday roast, while vegan punters can opt for comfort food such as deep-fried battered kale and cauliflower wings.

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Liangmahe Nan Lu (Liangmaqiao, --select--)

Bistro 108

The car-park connoisseurs over in Liangmaqiao have been reppin' their concrete terrace for a couple years now, serving a reliable crowd of nearby embassy workers. It may not look like much at first sight, but this secluded eatery serving classic French fare is a lowkey and relaxed spot to enjoy a juicy hunk of meat and much wine under the setting sun.

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19 Tianze Lu (Liangmaqiao, --select--)

Great Leap Brewing #45 Brewpub

New York-style pizzas, craft brews as well as a peaceful, shady terrace to while away a Sunday afternoon make this iteration of Great Leap an absolute all-rounder. Feeling slightly delicate from the night before? Opt for the Jeffrey Lebowski (fried egg and cheese over a sausage patty in a toasted bun) and keep your other hand free for a pint.

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45-1 Xinyuan Jie (Liangmaqiao, --select--)

Green Cow City Café

A hidden café with top-notch eats slinging all manner of organic foodstuffs and top-notch chow. Expect organic pizzas, bagels and ricotta pancakes, all in the eerily serene confines of Jiuxianqiao.

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Courtyard south of building 13 Sanjiefang (Liangmaqiao, --select--)

Maison FLO (Formerly Brasserie FLO)

This long-running French eatery comes equipped with a fabulous bakery, a sprawling garden made for springtime sipping and plenty of Parisian elegance. Anything from the bakery is worth its weight in butter (in a good way).

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18 Xiaoyun Lu (Liangmaqiao, --select--)

Moka Bros (Solana)

Youth, beauty and semi-employment converge at this ever-popular chain with its mix of pumping beats, kale salads and open laptops. If healthy food isn't on the agenda, grab yourself an aperol spritz and lounge outside in its outdoor courtyard, whether it's at Sanlitun's Nali Patio (an institution), or at Chaoyang Park's Solana. 

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6 Chaoyang Gongyuan Lu (Liangmaqiao, --select--)

Qianmen

Muji Diner

Located on the fourth floor of the achingly chic Muji Hotel, Muji Diner serves Chinese-Japanese food using locally sourced ingredients, all plated on Muji dinnerware. A pitched glass roof offers an ode to the roofs of neighbouring Chinese siheyuan, while a generous outdoor terrace offers stunning, one-of-a-kind views of Tiananmen Square.

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Langfang Toutiao (Dashilar, Xicheng)

Sanlitun

El Barrio

This sprawling Mexican joint comes with not one, not two, but three outdoor terraces for whiling away the rest of your summer. While Nali Patio devotees will already be familiar with the first two outdoor spaces, El Barrio has recently launched a third terrace on its rooftop with an extensive list of booze plus a limited range of bites.

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81 Sanlitun Bei Lu (Sanlitun, --select--)

Element Fresh (Sanlitun)

Staple Western fare that never lets you down with healthy options and plenty of locations. Check out the terraces at the Sanlitun and Lido branches, and try the laffa bread salad, the breakfast burrito and the smoothies.

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19 Sanlitun Lu (Changping)

Hulu

Located in the heart of Taikoo Li, Hulu's extensive menu offers everything from pasta to bone marrow with snails, and it's proved a reliably popular daytime spot since opening its doors last year. Head upstairs to enjoy its laidback rooftop terrace and outdoor bar – just remember to book in advance.

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19 Sanlitun Bei Lu (Sanlitun, --select--)

Mosto

Mosto's got a spot-on dinner menu, but with the weather warming up, we're feeling partial to its brunch menu, which features everything from eggs Benedict and blueberry pancakes, to seafood spaghetti and oysters. Opt for free-flow mimosas and bellinis (188RMB) and you've got yourself a crowd-pleasing afternoon affair outdoors.

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81 Sanlitun Lu (Sanlitun, --select--)

Q Mex Bar and Grill (Sanlitun)

We're fairly certain Mexican chain Q Mex doesn't require any introduction – seven years, after all, is a relative eon here in Beijing. With its popular mix of burritos, tacos and cocktails, Q Mex has scored itself a faithful following, and we're expecting plenty of rowdy nights on its outdoor terrace now that spring has well and truly sprung.

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Gongti Bei Lu (Sanlitun, --select--)

Taco Bar

Critics' pick

This tequila and taco dispensary offers a slightly more sedate experience to neighbouring amigo Q Mex, but you'll struggle to find a spot in its compact outdoor terrace once the weather warms up – which is basically now, really. Expect hour-long waits during the weekend.

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Nan Sanlitun Lu (Sanlitun, --select--)

Tienstiens

The winding floors at this excellent French patisserie flood out into a gorgeous (and huge) rooftop, complete with blankets and charming lights for when the sun sets. A brunch and dinner menu are on offer, but it's hard to go past the simple pleasures of a fabulously buttery croissant.

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Courtyard 4 Gongti Bei Lu (Sanlitun, --select--)

Wangfujing

Rive Gauche

Despite having opened only a few months ago, the Puxuan Hotel and Spa's French bistro Rive Gauche is already making waves thanks to its contemporary take on French classics and extensive wine list. Its outdoor terrace, launched just a couple weeks ago, also offers brilliant views over Wangfujing.

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1 Wangfujing Dajie (Wangfujing, Dongcheng)

Xicheng

Bear Brew

This cosy, unassuming café is a sweet hutong spot on the lesser-trodden side of town, but head skywards to discover where the real magic happens: in the shadow of the White Cloud Pagoda, or Baitasi, this slatted rooftop is a perfect spot for a latte in the sun and an increasingly rare hutong skyline.

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26 Baitasi Dong Jiedao (Xicheng, Xicheng)

798

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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