I was in China for a week… first in Shanghai, then on to Beijing. In that time I only ate one proper Chinese meal. It wasn’t that I was scared of the food, it’s just that the western food on offer here is so appealing. Take Ristorante Sadler, an authentic Italian restaurant, in a beautiful location… oh yeah, and it’s also founded by a 2 Michelin Star rated chef! With a lunch set, including wine, at only 200 RMB (less than 30 bucks) it was a lunch I had to try.
Ristorante Sadler is located in the Legation Quarter near the southeast entrance to Tiananmen Square. This group of building formerly housed the US Embassy from 1903-1949. Now the buildings have been repurporsed into lovely shops and restaurants, including Maison Bouloud by D. Bouloud.
I’m beginning to form a theory about the outsides of restaurants. The fancier the entrance, the worse the food. It just seems to me that every time I’m unimpressed with the front, I love the food . Ristorante Sadler was no exception. The entrance we took through some covered outdoor tables seemed underwhelming at first glance. The menu positioned out front was simple and to the point.
Once inside, the restaurant had a quiet refinement….from the crisply laundered table cloths to the cuff-links on the floor manager.
We placed our orders, exited by our choices on the set menu. After ordering we were quickly presented with a bonus Amuse of Panela Cheese Foam.
Next out was a bread plate of epic proportions. The breads were a meal on to themselves complimented with a lovely, grassy olive oil or fresh pesto.
Joanna started with the Spaghetti with Fresh Tomatoes, Clams & Bottarga.
I couldn’t resist the Homemade Gnocchi with Pesto and Cheese.
For her main, Joanna enjoyed the healthier choice of Steamed Seabream Fillet.
I went with the Beef Tagliata (the manager informed me that this means cut) with Grilled Vegetables.
For desserts Joanna selected the Cheese Cake “Amalfi” Style with honey, pears & ricotta cheese.
I had the…well, it had a fancy name, but I can’t really justify retyping it… it was a fruit cocktail (though a nice one)
The meal was simple and elegant. It wasn’t about complex flavors dancing around some modern ideal… it was classic food done to near perfection. The service was incredible. Personal attention from the management and servers to assist us in food and wine selections. All the while making us feel welcome and that they wanted us to enjoy our time spent eating there. If I’m ever back in Beijing I’ll make a point to stop by again.
Ch’ienmen 23, 23 Qianmen Dong Da Jie,
second building on the right