Tori Tei (鸟亭)

  • Restaurants
  • Asian
  • Japanese
6 Xinyuanli Zhongjie

Beijing is obsessed with cheap Japanese eats, and spots like Tori Tei make it easy to see why: tidier than their local counterparts, affordable and delicious. The perfect drinking food. You can’t spit in Beijing without hitting an izayaka that’s brimming with youngsters tossing back grilled chicken bits with draught Asahi and bottles of sake. 

At Tori Tei, the open dining room fits about two dozen white pine benches, the fresh green smell of which still lingers, mixing with the smoky aroma of combusting chicken drippings that occasionally spit minor explosions skyward from the busy grill. 

The menu will be familiar to fans of Tori Tei’s first location, which now lays quiet and dark a few metres up the road. Hungry revellers tuck into skewers of chicken, thick cuts of sashimi, rolls piled high with bright orange salmon roe and, of course, fried chicken. 

Various chicken skewers arrive hot from the grill (6-35RMB). Some lighter cuts of salmon and tuna (120RMB) sashimi go down well with a sip of cold Junmai sake (50RMB per 180ml). 

The cuts of raw fish are far from the best, but more than acceptable for the price tag. Similarly, fried chicken with sweetened vinegar (45RMB) won’t blow minds, but its crunchy richness is a welcome change of pace. The new space is one of the most sprawling izakayas in the capital, where weekend nights (and weekdays for that matter) can get a bit rowdy, echoing a contagious drunken energy throughout the cavernous hall. 

Reasonably priced fare and the lively atmosphere make it a solid choice for a night out or an affordable taste of Japanese bar food.

Venue name: Tori Tei (鸟亭)
Opening hours: 5.30pm-1am daily
Metro: Metro: Liangmaqiao
English address: 6 Xinyuanli Zhongjie, Chaoyang district
Chinese address: 朝阳区新源里中街6号
  • 4 out of 5 stars