Pure Lotus is my new go to place on Beijing. It can be very difficult to find. On my first attempt I had total failure and gave up. I'm glad I tried again. Please see below how to actually find this place.
When walking into their parking area, you are greeted by a man in a traditional Chinese costume carrying a lantern at the end of a stick. He is friendly and greets you while guiding the way with the lantern. The parking lot is not that dark but it is a nice touch. Once at the front door, you are greeted by a man and women, again in traditional attire. The women asks to extend your hands right before you enter and she sprinkles water on them as a blessing. The reception area is beautifully decorated. You are led to a wall that has an axle in the middle. This pivots and opens, serving as the door to the dinning area.
The dining area is amazingly decorated and all the wait staff have on traditional Chinese attire. There is a mix of private dining tables and a community style tables. On the far end is a blank wall where an interesting old style drawing movie was being shown.
The menu is amazing. I should note that Pure Lotus is all vegetarian. However, this restaurant is even good for meat lovers. The menu is a hard book style that is about 8" wide by 30" tall. Very unique!
Favorite Dish: I ordered the Nameless Fire Tofu, which has an amazing taste. It comes in a tin foil ball that is cut open table side.
The Lily Flower dish which is Rapeseed Greens, yellow lily flowers and white lily bulbs in a delicious sauce.
Monday 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
Tuesday 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
Wednesday 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
Thursday 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
Friday 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
Saturday 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
Sunday 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
Far and away, this is my favorite restaurant in Beijing -- and NOT just because I'm vegetarian, and this place happens to be as well. My husband, who is an avid meat eater, loves this place as well. It is impossible for me to say whether the food is better than the ambience, or the ambience is better than the food...but I can say honestly that after three years of living in Beijing, NO other restaurant is better in EITHER.
The restaurant was opened by a southern Chinese Buddhist monk, so all of the dishes are heavily influenced by Chinese cuisine, but I would describe many of them as fusion, as well. The menu is in both Chinese and English, but sometimes the names of the dishes alone are not a sufficient indicator of what you'll be getting. The names come from Buddhist sutras and other texts, so sometimes they are a little abstract. There are many offerings of imitation meat -- that is, dishes like "turkey" that look and taste almost identical to the real McCoy, but are, in fact, made of soy or other substitutes. Not to be missed are the spring rolls. The fried yogurt is also fantastic. I have NEVER had a dish there that I was not satisfied with.
The ambience is enchanting. Every detail was attended to in terms of color and arrangement, from the custom artwork on the walls to the giant leaf under your place setting, to the mini-Conch shell that doubles as a spoon. To enter Pure Lotus is to enter a world that is serene, inspiring, and dazzlingly chic.
The service, also, is unmatched. You never see the bottom of your water glass, as the waitstaff refills it before you have the chance to finish. Dishes that are finished are removed from the table promptly. Hygiene and cleanliness are an art and a science in everything from presentation of food to the bathrooms.
My ONLY gripe: this place is a little hard to find. It takes patience and persistence the first time you go, as it is tucked back in a little alley, but it is absolutely, positively worth your search.