In planning our two week trip to China, we stumbled upon the TripAdvisor ratings of restaurants in each city. Beijing was going to be at the end of our trip, so we knew we'd be looking for something different. Indeed, it turned out that we had been treated to Peking Duck seven times in a week and a half.
I read the reviews on Dianke Dianli and was intrigued by the notion of a Yunnan restaurant that even most Beijing locals don't know about. One of my friends was going to be in Beijing a couple of weeks before us, so I suggested he try it out for us. He took a party of ten there (including his brother-in-law from Yunnan) and they all loved it. So our party of four decided to go. We're glad we did.
The concierge at our hotel called ahead to make us reservations and get detailed driving directions for the taxi. Armed with that, the driver had no problem finding the restaurant. I was prepared for a hole in the wall, but the ambiance was charming though simple and unpretentious. And the restaurant (and bathroom) was delightfully clean.
We ordered the 98 RMB fixed price 13-course dinner, supplemented by various fruit juices and beers. The food was a pleasant change from all the Chinese food we had eaten the past week and a half. We especially liked the grilled fish, mushroom pastry, chicken, squash, fried pineapple and something made out of beans. The shrimp was a bit under-cooked for our taste, but when we asked that they take it back to the kitchen and cook it some more, they informed us that it was actually meant to be served cold and assured us it was sufficiently cooked. I did eat several shrimp and they were good (and I didn't get sick). The mixed rice was a bit tasteless, though adding some of the broth from the chili noodles worked well. The scrambled egg was bland. But there was so much food that we couldn't finish it all, so who cares about a couple/three dishes that weren't as delicious as the rest?
The variety of fruit juices were good, but we drank mostly beer. We started with the Dali but thought the Lan Cang River "Cool Beer" was more flavorful. We enjoyed our dinner so much we took handfuls of business cards to distribute to our friends.
While finding a taxi afterwards anywhere close to this alley would normally be a challenge, it was impossible given that it had started to rain. We ended up walking to the nearby subway and taking that, then walking a mile to our hotel as we couldn't find a taxi on the other side either.
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