December 29, 2008
For Christmas/Michelle's birthday dinner, we went with our friends Nori and Stacy and their son Jarett to the topmost restaurant in Beijing. Literally. The China Grill is on the 66th floor of the newly opened Park Hyatt Beijing. According to their website, this makes them the highest restaurant in Beijing -- a believable claim.
Naturally, the view is stunning: 360 degrees including a view down Changandajie -- the main drag that crosses in between Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. We had a pretty good evening as far as air quality goes (better than in the photo from their website above) so the view was nice. Even the heavy traffic looks good 66 floors up. (Unfortunately, the photos from my point-and-shoot weren't as great.)
The food was excellent as well. They serve both Western and Chinese food. We all opted for the Western meals since eating Chinese food here seemed a bit silly in the middle of China, plus we all wanted steaks. I started out with an excellent martini, and my blue crab cake appetizer was really delicious, perhaps the best crab cakes I've ever had (which is a big deal since crab cakes are plentiful and tasty in Seattle). The ribeye steak was perfectly prepared and the shared sides of creamed spinach, mashed potatoes, and buttered asparagus were equally yummy. The other adults seemed to enjoy their meals as much as I did, and Michael (8) and Jarett ate their sushi with gusto (Andrew (11), as always, ate very little). I normally can pass on dessert, but the ones we tried were all great as well.
The service was great with good English from the wait staff. It's actually hard to find world-class quality service in Beijing, even at the best hotels (Michelle was practically run over by the staff at the Ritz Carlton brunch for instance) so this was a hugely welcome discovery. We all noted that it felt like we were in Tokyo -- high praise since the service in Japan is typically excellent.
The only real downside was how hard it was to find the hotel and the entrance. It's a brand new hotel that opened after the Olympics so no one, including our awesome driver, knew where it was. There is virtually no exterior signage marking the driveway (just small dark letters on a dark wall) and the entrance is actually under the building. In case you're looking for it, the entrance is on the south side of the Jintai building, facing Jianwai SOHO. You will still miss the entrance on your first drive-by.
The price was expensive by Beijing standards but not out of line with what you'd pay for similar meals in other top world cities. It's definitely a great place for special occasions. I look forward to going back for drinks or for lunch (and the view during the daytime).
China Grill at the Park Hyatt Beijing, floor 66
2 Jianguomenwai Street,
Chaoyang District, Beijing