Perhaps it was because Maro Polo visited China so long ago that Chinese have a pension for Italian food. Well, the Italian food that is generic and easily mass produced anyway. There are some amazing pizza places in Beijing, everything from authentic ma and pa deals with unique recipes to large, mega pizza chains like Papa Murphey’s.
The Tree is a great pizza place owned by a Belgian man. He has since branched out to include three Tree restaurants all relatively close to the original location. You can get a dozen different kinds of stone-grill pizzas, all of which are pretty good. The restaurant’s pizza continually wins local food competitions and has a steady stream of regulars and tourists with big smiles from ear to ear. The Tree also brews its own beer, which is a hearty Belgian ale with a taste midway between Guinness and Red Hook. It goes well with the pizzas and the appetizers are an adorable mix of local cuisine and Belgian food combined to please all palates.
Mao Mao Chong is a local ma and pa shop, though the ma and pa who run it are hip hutong dwellers who adore the city and have made their tiny pizzeria with love and care. Perhaps that is why they rake in so many awards. This year they won best bar from all of the major English language restaurant magazines in the capital. The best pizza is, of course, the Mao Mao Chong Special, which has sausage, cheese and sauce carefully splayed out on hand tossed dough. They only have two small pizza ovens so if you want to eat you have to arrive early, and each pizza takes about twenty minutes to cook on top of wait time. Most guests end up waiting over an hour or more. Sadly, the same is true of the drinks at Mao Mao Chong. They are excellent and worthy of all the priase they’ve garnished, but do take quite a long spell to be delivered.
Annie’s is a chain restaurant with passable Italian food. Most people order the pizzas for delivery, but their other dishes are reasonably decent as well. This isn’t Italian, by any means, but more of a mass-produced version of most of the staple dishes to be found that resemble Italian food. Still, the pizzas continue to impress Beijing’s picky foodies and that is no small feat given the huge competition Annie’s has had with other mega pizza chains.