Despite its dry climate, Beijing is saturated with spots for lakeside dining.
So, those hoping to dip their toes into the capital city's wonderful world of waterfront eateries have plenty of places to choose from.
Dine on a boat on Shichahai
At Sichahai, visitors reserve a meal at one of the restaurants lining the banks of the lake, board a boat and have their meal delivered to them via yacht.
A dozen four-passenger wooden boats and one 10-seater dock on the southern shore of Houhai, near Prince Gong's Palace.
Seats cost 160 yuan per person per hour, and the boats can be rented until 11pm.
Recommended restaurants for making reservations include the Zhejiang-style Kongyiji Restaurant and the Muslim-style Kaorouji, which is famous for roast mutton.
Recommended dishes: boiled kidney beans, braised bamboo shoots, braised flour gluten, fried beef with deep-fried dough sticks, steamed sea bass and rice wine.
Location: A2 Dongming Hutong, Deshengmennei Dajie, Xicheng District.
Recommended dishes: roast mutton, braised beef tail and fried green pea bean curd.
Location: 14 Qianhai Dongyan, Shichahai, Xicheng District.
Docks at Qianhai (66150989), Houhai (66162868), Shuaifu (66164098), and Di'anmen (84022106).
With good views of Houhai
There are some other restaurants along Houhai with a good view of the lake. Four places worthy of recommendation are Xiao Wang's Home, Nuage, South Silk Road and Yuelu Shanwu.
3. Xiao Wang's Home's Houhai branch occupies a large stretch of real estate along Qianhai's northern bank.
The restaurant comprises different sections, including a public area, a pavilion decorated in traditional Chinese style, a transparent glass room and a rooftop pavilion for open-air dining. Both the daytime and nighttime views from the location are superb.
Recommended dishes: roast duck, braised diced eggplant with nuts, pan-fried chicken slices with Hawaiian nuts in brown sauce, braised beef with potato, braised pork ribs. Average spending is 300 yuan, or more, in a private room.
Location: 15 Qianhai Beiyan, Xicheng District
4. The 2nd and 3rd floors of Nuage offer a view of Qianhai and the lake area near Yindingqiao Bridge. In fact, the environment here is almost better than the dishes. Nuage serves Vietnamese cuisine in an elaborate, stylish decor.
Recommended dishes: Vietnamese spring rolls, green pawpaw salad, spicy chicken slices with citronella and beef roll in seaweed. 22 Qianhai Dongyan, Shichahai, Xicheng District. 6401-9581.
5. Window seats at South Silk Road proffer a beautiful view of Qianhai. There is also a large outdoor area in front of this Yunnan-style restaurant that is nearer to the lake.
Recommended dishes: Cross-bridge sea bass, three chopped vegetable slices, lemon chicken breast, steamed chicken soup and rice wine. Average spending is 100 yuan.
Location: 12-13, A19 Lotus Market, Qianhai Xiyan, Shichahai, Xicheng District
6. Yuelu Shanwu is a Hunan restaurant that is also located inside the Lotus Market with an outdoor seating area and good view to the lake. Recommended dishes: fish head with preserved chili, hand-torn small turtle, dry-pot tea tree mushroom (干锅茶树菇), yellow millet bean curd and rice wine
Location: 10-11, A19 Qianhai Xiyan, Shichahai, Xicheng District
Restaurants at Qingnianhu Park Lake
Private rooms at Yuzhuantang Tanjia Restaurant provide a good view of Qingnianhu Lake. The restaurant specializes in Tanjia cuisine, a genre known for fusing the delicacies of different cuisines and for its good presentation and taste.
Visitors must make reservations here. Average spending ranges from 300-2,000 yuan per person. Some typical dishes include seasonal vegetables with chicken sauce, deer tendon with rice, soup with dry scallop and shrimp, and apricot tea.
Location: Enter from east gate of Qingnianhu Park, Andingmenwai Dajie, Dongcheng District
Lakeside at Worker's Stadium
This lake has been drained temporarily to clean up its bottom but is expected to be refilled at the end of June.
Le Quai is an ingeniously conceived restaurant with a genuine, 300-year-old Chinese house encased within the structure. The modern section of the restaurant offers a view of the lake and an outdoor seating area.
The food here is a fusion of Chinese and Western styles, created with artistic vision and gourmet taste.
Location: Opposite No 12 stand inside Workers?Stadium, Chaoyang District, enter from the east gate
Kunyu River cuisine
Dream of the Origin of Peaches is a restaurant located along the banks of Kunyu River, which flows north to south through Beijing. The river's mouth is Kunming Lake inside the Summer Palace, while it empties out into Yuyuantan Park. You can visit the restaurant on a tour of the river.
Most private rooms here offer a grand view of the Kunyu River. The eatery serves delicious Hunan and Cantonese dishes, but some diners might find some Hunan dishes to be a little spicy. Recommended dishes are goose liver with abalone sauce, fish soup that turns your head, dry pot duck and small fried shrimps. Average spending is 160 yuan.
A2 Wanshou Lu, Haidian District. 8812-6512.