Wow is the usual reaction when diners enter Dali Yunnan Restaurant's beautiful courtyard. And who could blame them? Small as it is, the courtyard has all the most pleasant aspects: traditional decor, open-air yard with a broad view of the sky, and a light breeze. It is certainly the most comfortable place to dine.
Dali is named after an area in West Yunnan, a famous tourist spot. The restaurant is decorated with plenty of plants. The yard has three tables, and there are also rooms of three sides. These are neatly and classically furnished with traditional Chinese wooden tables and chairs, so that everything is in line with the historical atmosphere.
The food is adapted Yunnan cuisine. It is not as spicy as the original cuisine. But the dishes are more delicately prepared and presented, and taste better than usual. One needs not fuss with the menu, instead trusting the manager and chef to select suitable dishes for your party, after discussing your preferences. The cost is 100 yuan per person excluding drink.
Signature dishes include fried and steamed bolete (a type of mushroom) in banana leaf, fried prawn with citronella, spicy fried chicken, grilled fish, fried egg with jasmine, steamed lamb, tender pea sprout, and bitter cabbage. The restaurant makes an effort to provide the freshest ingredients, so dishes will vary according to the season. Dali beer is a refreshing beverage.
Located in a small hutong near Gulou, the restaurant is not easy to find. But look for a red lantern, and turn left to get to the courtyard. Manager speaks English.
Dali Yunnan Restaurant
Location: 67 Xiaojingchang Hutong, Gulou Dongdajie
Opening hours: 10am-9:30pm