The first time I went to Dianke Dianlai, at a friend’s behest, I was annoyed at having to look for the hutong venue. But after the mint leaf salad, I was glad I made the trek. Here’s my review of the restaurant, published in CityWeekend this month:
Dianke Dianlai (滇客滇来)
Add: 8 Fangjia Hutong, Chaoyangmen Nei (朝阳门内, 方家胡同8号)
Authentic cuisine (cooked by a former Dali Courtyard chef) and an unpretentious setting may make this Beijing’s best new Yunnan courtyard restaurant. The concept here is also no menus, just set meals for ¥98 or ¥198. Dishes made from ingredients flown in every other day carry more subtly nuanced flavors than the salt-and -vinegar concoctions at Middle 8th. Menu items rotate based on the day’s freshest ingredients, but some staples, like the delightful mint leaf salad and our favorite—the bamboo grilled fish—make regular appearances. Kick back with a Dali beer (¥15), chat up the friendly Yunnan staff, and enjoy a relaxing evening. The only downer? A squat toilet.