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Mei Fu, Beijing

See the Beijing Guide ›
24 Daxiangfeng Hutong
Tel: 86 10 6612 6847's insider take:

Step into 1930s elegance at this impeccably restored courtyard restaurant, inspired by the great Peking opera star Mei Lanfang (a man who specialized in women's roles). The entire sensory experience here is dramatic: The series of rooms is filled with antique furniture and opera memorabilia, including one of Mei Lanfang's dramatic hand-embroidered costumes; the service is dignified and attentive; and the high, swaying notes of Peking opera (recordings of the master's great performances) drift through the dining areas. In fact, the only part of dining here that you may find less than completely dazzling is the prix fixe menu; it features the light, low-salt cuisine developed by Mei Lanfang in order to maintain his girlish figure. The flavors of dishes like shrimp with water chestnuts, steamed fish, and stir-fried celery and lily root are, therefore, very subtle—not quite as rich as the rest of the experience here. Reservations are recommended.

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