In all my years in Beijing there has never been a clearer signal that Beijing has “made it”, than when another world famous restaurant like Wolfgang’s opens their doors here.
For those who don’t know, Wolfgang’s was started in 2004 in New York by Wolfgang Zwiener, who was the head waiter at Peter Luger Steak House. It expanded rapidly and now has 9 branches in the US (with 6 in and around New York) and 10 branches in Asia, including Beijing!
“After 4 decades of experience, it is fair to say that Wolfgang Zwiener learned his craft well. Taking the core principles from his years as Peter Luger’s head waiter, Wolfgang didn’t just duplicate an exceptional steakhouse; he improved upon it making Wolfgang’s Steakhouse extraordinary. Wolfgang’s Steakhouse is serving lunch and dinner seven days a week including all major holidays.” – About Wolfgang’s Steakhouse
Photo by Wolfgang’s Steakhouse
The Beijing branch opened on the ground floor of the revamped Pacific Century Plaza in Sanlitun. You can walk through the mall to get to it, or simply walk around to the south side of the mall and it’s easily accessible that way.
The interior is exactly what you would expect if you have been to any nice American steakhouse (Outback Grill doesn’t count as “nice”). Dark wood, white tablecloths and smartly dressed waitstaff. Whilst it isn’t going to win any design awards, it is an elegant setting and is reassuringly familiar. We actually walked through the Pacific Century Plaza mall and felt quite perplexed as we walked by the long wall of framed photos featuring (one can only guess) founder Wolfgang Zwiener with American celebs and politicians. Clearly this is an American steakhouse thing because Morton’s does this too. I can understand why Wolfgang might be proud to display these photos of himself smiling among all these famous people, but it seemed out of place in Beijing to brag about American celebrities who dine at your restaurant, especially since most of the photos aren’t even recently taken. I even spotted one of Wolfgang between Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore (remember that couple?!). I gotta say, the only person more orange than Trump is Wolfgang Zwiener.
Wolfgang’s Steakhouse Founder Wolfgang Zwiener
The founder aside, we were all really impressed by the level of service at their Beijing branch. The waitstaff aren’t just smartly dressed, they have definitely undergone some solid training. They were among the most professional I have seen in Beijing and were able to give valuable recommendations and answer our questions, something that still seems beyond the reach of many restaurants here.
And I think it’s worth noting that their bartender really stood out as being exceptional (we enjoyed drinks both pre- and post-dinner!)
Entrance Through Pacific Century Mall
Founder Wolfgang Zwiener’s Wall of Fame
Private Dining Room
Main Dining Room
The menu isn’t huge, in fact, it’s very focused! I’m glad they stuck to their guns! With just 1-page, the menu that takes diners through some tasty appetizers, soups and salads, STEAK in the middle and some seafood options and sides at the bottom.
At Wolfgang’s, it is all about the steak. There are a few other things there, but let’s be honest, if you’re here for anything else, you either have your priorities twisted or you should be dining elsewhere.
House Bread Basket
Don’t make the amateur mistake of wasting stomach space on house bread. We certainly didn’t. Sorry to say that I can’t say anything about the bread as it was left untouched!
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail (RMB 280)
Knowing that our mains would all be steak, we started with a green salad and a shrimp cocktail. The jumbo shrimps were, indeed, massive! Beautifully cooked and the accompanying cocktail sauce had a little spice kick to it that helped accentuate the flavours.
Mixed Green Salad (RMB 88)
The green salad is really expensive for what is ultimately some leaves with dressing, and two slices of tomato. Barely enough to go around between 4 people, but it was a nice surprise that the waitstaff went around our table and served each of us, portioning out this salad between 4.
Sizzling Bacon – Extra Thick, By the Slice (RMB 38 per piece)
I definitely would have missed this appetizer if a fellow foodie friend didn’t insist that I remember to order the bacon at Wolfgang’s. While I wouldn’t necessarily go out of my way to tell others to also order this bacon, we were not disappointed as it is not your average American bacon. This really is thick-cut, proper bacon, if that is your thing.
Porterhouse for 2 or more (RMB 700 per person)
So, the steaks – the star of the show. What to say?
Well, for one, Wolfgang’s has definitely perfected the theatre surrounding the dish. If you order the Porterhouse – the signature dish – it comes out on a large platter and is gently laid in the centre of the table, piping hot and sizzling like crazy with the steak already cut into bite-size slices. Diners get to see the seared outside and the (hopefully still pink, please don’t order well done!) inside.
How does it taste? Pretty damn good. It isn’t the best steak I’ve ever had, but it is definitely one of the best that you can get in Beijing. Wolfgang’s is a purists steak experience, where I prefer the addition of sauces and herbs. Without any truffle sauce, sharp mustard or garlic butter to dip our steaks in, you really get the straight-up steak experience. I could definitely appreciate the Porterhouse’s flavor and texture, in spite of the lack of accompanying dips and sauces.
US Rib Eye Steak – 900g (RMB 850)
The USDA Rib Eye Steak was recommended at the start of our meal by our server. Personally, I preferred the flavor of the Australian Porterhouse, but both steaks were tender and cooked just how we wanted it. Both steaks had a decent amount of marbling and fat so that was a bonus.
Should you get the rib-eye? Well, potentially if you’re on your own or maybe on a date with someone who doesn’t eat a ton. The porterhouse is substantial, but requires more mouths to feed. The rib-eye is also a nice option, it just doesn’t arrive with the same spectacle. In any case, it was nice to be able to compare two different steak varieties!
Sautéed Spinach with Garlic (RMB 80)
Similar to Morton’s steakhouse, Wolfgang’s sides are large in portion (but I guess it’s actually normal American-sized portions). Rather than getting creamed spinach, I really enjoyed the garlic sautéed spinach and the button mushrooms were lovely as well. If you’re in the mood to indulge, I recommend getting their side of Lobster Mac ‘n Cheese (RMB 140).
Sautéed Mushrooms (RMB 90)
At the end of your meal, your server will bring you a separate dessert menu with various dessert beverages ranging from wine, liqueur, sherry, port wine, brandy, grappa and even calvados, the bottom half of the menu features 12 dessert options ranging from apple strudel, tiramisu, key lime pie and a hot fudge sundae.
One of my all-time favorite desserts will always be a good cheesecake (photo below). With the arrival of the Cheesecake Factory in Wangfu Central (Wangfujing, Beijing), this is up against stiff competition. Will theBeijinger be doing a people’s favorite cheesecake competition in the near future? #highlylikely
Cheesecake (RMB 98)
From my own personal years of experience eating cheesecake in my life, I can tell you that this is a well-executed version of a classic. If you want a slice of America, you won’t be disappointed.
Overall, Wolfgang’s isn’t cheap. A meal here is going to set you back around RMB 1,000 per person if you’re having steak with a drink and some sides/dessert.
That is basically par for the course looking at Morton’s, so make sure you can reimburse your s**t. Wolfgang’s is an ideal place to impress your supplier/other generic business contact. If your date is a steak lover, it’s also one of your best options for a dry-aged prime angus steak in Beijing.
Wolfgang’s Steakhouse by Wolfgang Zwiener (Beijing) Contact Details:
- Address: 1/F, Pacific Century Place, Jia 2 Gongti Bei Lu, Chaoyang District, Beijing
- Tel: +86 10 6592 4946
- Instagram: #wolfgangssteakhouse
- Opening Hours: Open Daily, 11:30AM-10:30PM (Bar remains open until 2am)
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.