The Courtyard Restaurant, Beijing -- Overrated!
The Courtyard is listed in the expat guidebook "The Insider's Guide to Beijing" as one of the city's finest dining establishments. The restaurant is situated right next to the Forbidden City, offering a view that is supposedly worth the extremely high prices for the mediocre food served. Going in, I knew that the restaurant was going to be very nice, extremely expensive (even by Western standards) and that the food was not the highlight, rather the ambiance of the place was. I was sorely disappointed in all respects. Not only was the food really only mediocre and even more overpriced than what I imagined, the service was forgettable (AND they tack on a 15% percent service charge - unheard of in China). The restaurant's decor and ambiance were also overrated. Yes, it was very clean and fancy, and there are big paintings against the plain white walls. But the view of the Forbidden City is not stunning at all, as the restaurant faces it at a awkward angle, and doesn't overlook it either -- but you do get a good view of the moat! There is also no longer an art gallery downstairs as I was expecting, Now for the nitty gritty, we ordered 2 appetizers, 2 entrees, 2 waters (which were plastic mini-evian bottles) and the total came out to 770RMB, including the 15% service charge. For the equivalent of $100 US dollars I could have gotten a nicer meal in the states! Ridiculous! Avoid The Courtyard at all costs -- it's a restaurant that is riding on its reputation (which is hopefully going down the drain.)
Thanks for saving me the trip! We had thought we might take visitors there for the view, but at that price, and with that view, we'll skip it.
We had a sort of similar experience at Green T. House on Easter; living right nearby we had planned for some time to go, though could not bring ourselves to go on our own; we were invited by friend (thought they were treating) so we went, and the food was ridiculously small, overpriced, and just not what I was hoping for. At least most of it tasted ok though.