Best Value Lunch in Beijing – Alameda


I have never been one of those ‘Ladies Who Lunch’ but here in Beijing I am beginning to think that I might fancy becoming one. Yesterday a Chinese friend and I agreed to meet for lunch – I wanted to pick her brains about a project I have in mind – and the restaurant I chose was Alameda. It is right across the alley from the little place where I have my manicures and pedicures done, and I thought it looked an ideal spot.

Alameda is purportedly a Brazilian restaurant, but there didn’t seem to be anything overtly Brazilian about it as far as I could tell from this one visit. It is a light bright place; part of the restaurant has a glass roof and it has clean modern lines; crisp white table linen and sparkling glassware make you feel you are in a place where standards are high.

When we arrived at just after 12 noon, the place was buzzing, the restaurant was almost full and despite the fact that they had my reservation noted for the wrong day, we were very courteously welcomed and shown to a table in the main room. They offer a prix-fixe lunch menu of 68 yuan (£6.80) for two courses, excluding drinks. There were about eight choices for starters, and the same for main courses  with options for vegetarians – as I rarely eat dessert I am ashamed to say I didn’t even look to see what was on offer for that course.

DN and I had both expected that the menu would be heavy on meat which shows how we both had stereotypical ideas about Brazilians! In fact the menu is most imaginative and we pondered for quite a while before making our selection.

As soon as we were seated and menus had been provided, a plate of three different breads and some herb butter arrived. The breads were obviously made in-house, and we devoured them fairly rapidly – I particularly fancied the little cheesy rolls.

I chose Marinated scallops with Pea Shoots, Garlic Toast and Caper Salsa as my starter, whilst DN chose Asparagus and Arugula salad with Feta and Olives. We both opted for Broiled Fish(Tuna, Salmon & Tilapia) with a Noodle Salad as our main course.

My scallops were divine, juicy and plump. Almost hidden under a lightly dressed tangle of pea sprouts, they had been sliced horizontally and then marinated with a julienne of smoked red and yellow peppers. Two slices of garlicky oven toast topped with oven roasted baby plum tomatoes and a spoonful of tangy caper salsa on the side completed a dish that I have no hesitation in awarding full marks.

I don’t know DN well enough (yet!) to ask her if I could try a taste of her starter, but she said it was delicious.

The Broiled Fish we had ordered was perfect,  three lightly grilled pieces  stacked up beside some rocket and a heap of fine rice noodles which had a very delicate dressing. Service was attentive but not intrusive, and unlike some restaurants at lunch time we never felt we were being hurried, or hustled to leave.

With a large bottle of Perrier (I know, I know imported bottled water – pretentious) the bill came to a very modest 198.00 yuan (£19.80) and for food of this quality, with this ambience, in one of the world’s great capital cities, I think that it was a bargain. I shall be recommending the place to all my BJ friends and will definitely be going back – soon.

You see, I am becoming one of the LWL!

Alameda, Sanlitun Bar North Street, Inside Nali Mall,  Beijing Tel:+861064178084/6413 1939

About herschelian

Recently moved to Beijing from London - its all new to me! Trying to learn Chinese, and what makes this city tick.
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4 Responses to Best Value Lunch in Beijing – Alameda

  1. Pingback: Best Value Lunch in Beijing – Alameda | JASMINE TEA & JIAOZI - Cheap Airfare to Beijing China | Cheap Airfare to Beijing China

  2. DN says:

    Hi darling, I like this place very much too~~~ But I wonder how you think the ELEMENT FRESH? I like there much because of their special fruit drinks! (It was a big pity that I missed the chance to meet you there last time, but I think we have lots of chances later! Haha…)

  3. food lover says:

    when i saw the chinese chef preparing the ceviche from scratch, i should have cancelled my order then and there.

    i know it needs to be marinated in lime juice and spices for a couple hours at least, but after i complained to the chef, the foreign manager came over and reassured me there is another way that it can be prepared with ice and this and that, and that it only needs to be marinated for 15 minutes. so i agreed to let them do it. but after being served the ceviche in less than 10 minutes, i complained again, this time the manager was no where in sight, and when i asked the chef why he didnt wait the 15 minutes, he said he tasted it and it seemed fine to him. fine to him???

    this is when you know you have a problem, when you have a chinese chef who has no grasp of what the real foreign cuisine should taste like, making decisions that are without any real basis. so they offered to marinate it longer, and i guess they didnt notice i was watching them from the side window but they were making jokes and laughing the whole time. and when they gave it to me finally, there was no apology, just more laughing. it was terrible, my first bite was my last, my friend said it was more worthy of being cow feed than human food.

    i left without anyone saying anything to me, and they even forgot to give me back my change, i had to remind them.

    this place is a joke. for the money you pay, you should get some intelligence in the kitchen and management staff, or at least courtesy.

    dont waste your money there.

    • herschelian says:

      Oh dear food lover, you obviously didn’t enjoy your meal at Alameda, what a shame. I’ve now eaten there several times and each time it has been excellent.
      As to the ceviche – this dish is made all over South America, every country does it differently, some use lime juice only, some lemon only, some use tomato in it, some don’t – goodle Cookipedia and you’ll see what I mean, there is no hard-and-fast rule for the marinading time nor for which fish can be used. One of the two recipes I have comes from Peru (Peru and Ecuador both claim that ‘they’ invented the dish!) and the marinading time is a mere 5 minutes whilst stirring.
      That said, if you didn’t like it, you didn’t like it. I hope you didn’t pay the service charge if you were dissatisfied about how the staff handled your complaint. Anyway, thanks for your comment it is always good to get an alternative point-of-view.

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