Tafelspitz is an unfortunate restaurant. The concept has potential with the obvious lack of traditional Austrian restaurants in China’s capital and there’s always room for niche and focused restaurants, but there are inconsistencies in the branding and the decor misses the mark. Part of it feels homely like an Austrian ski lodge and the other part feels like you’ve been frozen out of said ski lodge. The fact that its windows face the garish Sanlitun KTV bars doesn’t help either.
Located on the 4th floor of Sanlitun’s Nali Patio alongside Mosto, Niajo, Agua, Velvet, Migas and other illustrious Beijing food destinations, Tafelspitz is the only Austrian restaurant around but it’s still a stylish restaurant essentially targeting the same foodie demographic as its neighbors. Putting itself head to head with the best of the best, I question whether Tafelspitz can handle the competition.
Main Dining Area
“Tafelspitz provides traditional Austrian cuisine, along with premium wines. Our leitmotif is high quality organic food and seasonal delicacies together with first class service. Gault Millau master chef Alfred Krasser will create his own idea for the emperor cake and other austrian-german delicacies.” – Website Introduction
At first, it was a bit odd being the only two customers in the entire restaurant on a Tuesday evening, but the staff were the right amount of attentiveness and we felt well-looked after without it being too overbearing. As much as we enjoyed our dining experience, the lack of customers did leave us wondering why.
Boiled Beef Carpaccio “Styria Style” (RMB 88)
Smoked Trout “Special Austrian Dish” (1st of 3 courses)
Banana Flavor Sherbet of the Day
Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Morrelsauce, Potato “Strudel” and Beans (RMB 188)
Two Types of Angus Beef: Braised Ribs & Grilled Tenderloin (2nd of 3 courses)
‘Special Austrian Dessert’: Schupf Nudeln in Nut Poppy Seeds Butter Crumbs (3rd course)
While we winced at the bill, we were glad to have given Tafelspitz a try. Would we recommend it to our friends? Depends on who they are and if they are willing to splurge for a unique dining experience.
Will it survive in the long run? That is at least partly in the hands of the quixotic Nali Patio management who seem to be able to kill almost any project that looks like it may have a future there (remember Parnas Russian/Mediterranean restaurant/rooftop bar?).
The food is unusual, some of the taste combinations won’t suit everyone, but they are not a clone of the many other trends that pop up in the city, and that’s a good thing in our opinion. The wines were also excellent and you aren’t likely to pick them up elsewhere. As I said in the introduction though, if anyone can make boiled beef look good, they deserve a culinary medal.
Tafelspitz Contact Details:
- Address: 4th floor, Nali Patio, No.81 Sanlitun North Road, Chaoyang District, 三里屯路81号，那里花园（四楼）
- Tel: +86 10 5208 6171, +86 186 4011 1150
- Opening Hours: Dinner Service only from 6PM-11PM
- Website: http://www.tafelspitz.cn/
Kristen Lum has an accomplished background in PR, communications and events in China. Born and raised in California, Kristen has been based in Beijing since 2006 and is founder of the lifestyle blog called LumDimSum, covering mostly restaurant news and reviews alongside upcoming events around town that relate to Beijing’s muti-faceted, quickly-developing creative industries like art, music, film, health and fitness, fashion, nightlife, charity events, and travel tips.