By now, even if you've relatively new to Beijing, you must have surely heard the name "Lido" mentioned somewhere. Lido – an up-scale, international neighborhood just outside the fourth ring road in Beijing's north-eastern suburbs – is the happening place right now. A whole spate of new restaurants has opened in the area over the past few months, from Gung-ho Pizza to Little Britain to Brasserie Flo. And of course the area is home to a number of solid expat mainstays such as Frank's Place (Beijing's longest running foreign-owned bar), Eudora Station, Pete's Tex Mex and Annies, who've been serving homesick foreigners their favorite comfort food for years. But the area isn't just great for dining, a number of pampering options like a luxury hot spring resort and Taipan massage parlor, among others, call Lido their home too. Follow us on a dining and pampering tour of Lido!
1) Xiaoyun Lu/Fangyuan Xilu/Jiangtai Lu
While the boundaries of Lido are a little murky, one can generally say that anything on the north side of Xiaoyun Lu stretching towards Jiangtai Lu (and from Jiangtai Xilu to Jiuxianqiao Lu to the east and west), qualifies as being in the "Lido area". Brasserie Flo relocated to 18 Xiaoyun Lu a couple of months ago, its upscale interior and exterior complementing the new luxury apartment high rises right behind it. Further up the road, crossing the Fangyuan Xilu/Jiangtai Xilu intersection (and just past the United Family Hospital Oncology and Pediatrics Center), is Wish Restaurant and Lounge, a chic Chinese fusion restaurant set in a sleek, modern building surrounded by lush trees and a water wall.
Continue your stroll north along Fangyuan Xilu and you'll find Miss Me Café, a quaint, independent café with an interesting retro-themed interior serving cakes, tea and coffee. Continue past Lido Gardens, and you will soon find yourself staring at a very red building called Club China Chic – Hot Spring Resort. Spread over 10,000 square meters, the resort claims to use water from hot springs 3500 meters below the earth. It's also the only hot spring resort within the fifth ring road. Come here to soak in a pool, get a massage or hang out at the wine or cigar bar with China's nouveau riche. Just opposite the resort is a Taipan Oriental Massage for an extra dose of pampering.
Continue along the road further for approximately five minutes and you'll find yourself at the Fangyuan Xilu/Jiangtai Lu intersection which is home to Jenny Wang's import grocery supermarket, Starbucks, Sculpting in Time café, Comptoirs de France bakery, Café del Mar, Ganges Indian Restaurant and Gung-ho Pizza. On the opposite side of the intersection on Jiangtai Lu is the newly opened Little Britain, which as the name suggests, serves British bar grub, ales and beers. Also located along this dense strip of Chinese restaurants is Annie's, one of Beijing's most reasonably priced and family-friendly Italian restaurants.
2) Jiangtai Xilu/Lido Place
The first left turn after Gungho Pizza brings you to Lido Place, another treasure box of edible treats. Highlights here include Pure Lotus vegetarian restaurant, whose fake meat dishes even make the strictest vegetarians drool, Baskin & Robins for a quick sugar fix and The Delicatessen Shop for some on-the-go cakes and confectionary. Right opposite Lido Place is the always well frequented Eudora Station which serves basic Western dishes like pizza and sandwiches during the day and converts into a bar at night. Just a two-minute walk from Eudora sits Element Fresh, whose healthy salads and smoothies are a godsend in the summer. Backtracking along Fangyuan Xilu (by Lido Place), nestled behind a plant wall and easy to overlook is The Silk Road, a very spacious, clean and modern Xinjiang Restaurant with outdoor seating overlooking a beautiful pond at the back. Continue along and make a right turn at the Rosedale Hotel to get to another cluster of restaurants and bars: Frank's Place, Salt and Pete's Tex Mex. Just a short hop away on Jiangtai Xilu, at the entrance of Side Park, is the Parkside Bar & Grill, a Western restaurant and bar with a cozy outdoor garden. Continue further towards the Fangyuan Xilu/Jiangtai Xilu intersection and you'll hit upon a row of upscale Korean restaurants housed in some very interesting architecture.
3) Upper East Side
The strip along Fangyuan Nanjie is home to the Upper East Side apartments, as well as a host of food, shopping and leisure options. April Gourmet opened a new shop at Richmond Park about two years ago, selling a huge range of Western groceries spread over two spacious floors. Above April Gourmet is D-Space, a luxury gym that includes a boxing ring and a large swimming pool. Doctors Beck and Stone also recently opened a veterinary clinic here. Crossing the bridge and walking towards the Upper East Side compound, you'll find a Paris Baguette and Taiwanese hot pot restaurant. Walk into the housing complex on the left to get to the Lohas Organic Store. Further in the compound is another gym, Ozone Fitness which also boasts a large swimming pool and workout area. The newest addition to the housing complex is LMPlus, an Italian Restaurant run by Massimo Masili of L'isola fame.
While this is by no means a complete list, Lido has no doubt become a magnet for international dining and leisure. And with the new Indigo Mall (created by the same people behind the Sanlitun Village and Opposite House) just a stone's throw away on Jiuxianqiao Lu, you can be sure that this area will become a shopping hot spot in the near future too.
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