Pure Lotus - Blue Lots - Changhongqiao

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 22 reviews )

Tongguang Bldg, 12 Nongzhanguan Nanlu, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China

High end concept restaurant at the courtyard of China Fed of Literary and Art Circles. Makes vegan food with more complex flavors and unique presentations such as vegetable sausages and "steak" on an iron slab combines round juicy dried bean curd and fried potato chips. The most typical one is the water-boiled fish with red pepper (shui zhu yu). Contained in a special utensil which resembles a Buddhist alms bowl, the fish looks like the real thing. Directions: walking from the Tuanjiehu subway station east on the Nongzhanguan Nanlu turn right immediately before McDonalds, and turn right passing the hotel Hanting Express (look for horse symbol). Open Mon-Sun 11:00am-11:00pm.

Categories: Vegan-friendly, Chinese

22 Reviews

First Review by tofutodd

Unique and expensive - Edit

Concept restaurant, great food, presentation. Great for celebrations if budget is not an issue. WE had 3 dishes, complex flavors well done, cost nearly 150 euros, this was just an appetizer, rice and and a sort of main dish. Neighborhood is mediocre, however, as you enter the restaurant, it is more like a theme temple - definitely worth visiting if you can afford it.

Pros: Foods taste, Food presentation, ambiance

Cons: Price

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Great food, high prices - Edit

We went to Pure Lotus in September 2014 (we have already been there a few years ago).

The food is very delicious and it is presented with great love for details. We had fried doufu, rice with herbs, dumplings (with gold foil!) and a curry. And an iced tea and a really tasty juice.

Great experience as usual and strongly recommended. Still the best vegetarian restaurant in town (although it would be nice if the menu would have pictures or a meaningful description).

Unfortunately the prices are so high that we could only eat there once during our holidays (we paid about 174 Euro for two persons including drinks which makes this dinner easily the most expensive two-person-dinner in my life). I really hope they will lower the prices in the future ...

BTW: Pure Lotus also provides a full menu which includes soup etc. The price for the menu was 799 RMB per person. When we come back to Beijing we probably will give it a try (although this will be even more expensive than the standard dinner ...).

Pros: Unique experience, Great food

Cons: Very expensive

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an experience! - Edit

The hotel concierge made a reservation and printed out a map for the cab driver, which turned out a good idea, and from where he let us out we could already see a sign with the restaurant's name. A guy with a lantern greeted us and led the way to an amazing flower-decorated temple style-place with a big Buddha, chandeliers with real candles and all other kinds of beautiful decoration. We had expected some kind of well-lit cafeteria-like place as so often in china, and were stunned and speechless for a moment. The friendly and attentive staff looked like monks with blond or pink hair :) The menu has unfortunately no pictures or useful descriptions of what to expect, but our waiter spoke English and could explain. I have to say the prices left us speechless for a moment too, this place should really be in the $$$ category - we spent about 45-70$ each and we are skinny girls - so bring a little more cash. We were informed that you can pay by credit card but will need the pin. Our food choice was steamed rice with herbs, fried noodles and fried tofu, all of which we liked very much. The portions aren't very big, but I think the ingredients were special, we actually felt really good for hours! There's no alcohol by the way. When we left, we were given a lotus flower each that is decorating my hotel room now :)

Pros: beautiful, nice attentive staff

Cons: expensive

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Dry Ice, Gold Flakes, Edible Flowers & Veggie Food - Edit

I went to Pure Lotus about a year ago and just returned for a second visit last night. Over the past year the prices seem to have gone up, but eating at Pure Lotus was really fun both times. Yes, it's pretentious. But pretentious can be really fun! Some dishes are definitely overpriced, but I think a lot of the cost is in the experience.

Last night we ate the rocky salad, a mock spicy chicken dish, mock barbecue, vegetable tempura, and rice seasoned with herbs. We drank tap water (开水) because we remembered that last time we spent way too much on bottled water (all the drinks are expensive here). Our bill was just under 750 RMB, for two people, and we were both pretty full.

Overall the dishes were all really good. The rocky salad was very theatrical, tasted great, and was a fun start to a flashy, pretentious dinner. The mock spicy chicken and tempura were both dishes you can get at other restaurants in Beijing at that level of quality but for cheaper prices. But again, the price is also in the experience (the tempura looked like it had been prepared on Mount Olympus). The herbed rice was expensive, but delicious.

Overall, I really love this place. I can't afford to go every day but I always feel good when I eat here and I have a great time. You never know where they will manage to put dry ice or edible flowers or large, poison-ivy reminiscent branches in your food. Why wouldn't you love that?

Final note, last night was a Tuesday and we only got a table because someone didn't show up for their reservation, so reservations are probably a good idea.

Pros: Food Presentation , Service, Delicious Food

Cons: Price

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overpriced - Edit

took some time to find the place, but left wishing i hadn't managed. everything was supposed to contribute to some holistic temple experience but having a few buddhas around doesn't make up for charging 500 yuan for food that should cost about 50. i had fried dim sum that came in some kind of glass globe filled with pebbles and the dim sum sat on a piece of paper which was hard to separate from the food. there were only three dim sum. one of them was fairly tasty but the other two were quite bland. i suppose if you are more interested in the look of food than the taste then you might enjoy them but you can't see them once you've eaten them and eating them is kind of the point.
after this the main course came which was supposedly some sort of grilled fake meat. it was completely cold so i guess the grilling part was also fake. this was about 150 yuan by itself. luckily the rice was only 28 yuan, quite cheap in comparison to the fanciful pricing of the rest of the menu.
there is no alcohol but you can buy a pot of tea for around 150 yuan also.
so in the end i paid 500 yuan for one tasty dim sum, two bland ones, and a cold grill, some rice and a pot of tea.
the waiter tried to get me to buy more stuff, as he was right, this wouldn't fill me up, but by now i was determined to leave as soon as possible.
if you go to restaurants to feel a bit like you have been transported to some other dimension or something, then you may like this place, but if you think, like me, that the core mission of a restaurant should be to serve good, wholesome tasty food at a reflective price, then you may want to look elsewhere.
perhaps a good place for a date if you either have a lot of money or are not so bothered about the actual food.
saw it listed on happycow as $$ but i would hate to think what $$$ comes in as on the site if 500 yuan only gets you this much food.
if you want a good, solid, authentic, local eating experience i would say look elsewhere and leave this to the trendies.

Pros: refilled water in the tea- that is all

Cons: overpriced, cold food

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strange - Edit

This is strange and quirky place. Little people in strange costumes serve, the food is very unusually presented, and there are projections of butterflies and the like.

The food itself is pretty good and the atmosphere is pleasant. You may need to make a reservation.

Pros: Atmosphere, strangeness

Cons: price of drinks

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Strange, expensive, fascinating Beijing treasure - Edit

I loved the last reviewer's description of this place as "delightfully pretentious." Indeed! A very strange place yet also a blast to visit, and fascinating for a look at that side of Chinese vegetarian culture.

First of all, my taxi driver also had a hard time finding it. It's tucked behind a Hanting Express parking lot basically. Once I got into the general area, a squadron of weights said "Lotus? Lotus?" and hustled me in like we were late for a plane.

The menu is ridonculous, as mentioned. It is too heavy for some people to lift. It's extremely user unfriendly, yet gorgeous and mysterious. Dishes have strange names and it's very to tell exactly WTF is what. Prices vary wildly, as per the norm; a 30 RMB dish might be sitting next to a 500 RMB one.

I had great tofu, fun noodles, the mock dock. It was all tasty, but still pretty pricey compared to other spots. I still enjoyed it though.

It's definitely as kitchy as they come. The gold-lame suited blonde-dyed waiters give it a distinctive edge, you could say. It won't be everyone's cup of tea, but others will have a great time.

Pros: Some great food, Unique atmosphere, Friendly

Cons: Silly, Kitchy, Too expensive

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Delightfully Pretentious! - Edit

This place was well hidden, but when we found it, it was quite breathtaking. When you walk into the immediately impressive entrance, a hostess pours rose-scented water over your hands. This restaurant is very elaborately decorated. There was a Buddhist cartoon on a loop playing on a huge movie screen on the back wall. We dined to tunes sung by Josh Groban. The staff didn't really speak English, which is fine, but it was a bit annoying; it took us a while to figure this out because they nodded at everything we said even though they didn't understand.

The menu was HUGE! It was so long and ridiculous. The dishes had very long, poetic names. My boyfriend and I had fun choosing what we wanted to eat.

We decided on soy steaks and potatoes (the potatoes turned out to be french fries, really), a small soup, black truffle noodles, and a casserole of taro, pine nuts, and veggies. The steaks, soup, and taro bowl were spectacular, but I can't say as much for the truffle noodles. I didn't really want to order those, but reluctantly acquiesced because my boyfriend really wanted to try black truffles (he had never had them before). When they finally came out, we were horribly disappointed. We couldn't taste the black truffle at all, even though black truffles are known for being very flavorful. All we got was a bowl of greasy noodles.

This place is quite pricey, but you pay more for the experience than for the food. I wouldn't say that the food was the best, but the experience was definitely unusual and fun. The place settings consist of lily pad place mats, flatware made out of oyster shells (though I don't think that's very vegan/animal friendly), and the chopsticks were topped with cloisonne. However, for the prices they were charging, I expected there to be a nicer, cleaner bathroom - you know, with toilets instead of squatty potties. Call me spoiled, I guess.

Updated from previous review on Wednesday September 09, 2009

Pros: Ambiance

Cons: Food outdone by ambiance, Bathroom could have been nicer

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Overpriced - Edit

I invited my girl-friend for her birthday last week and I was very disappointed.
Firstly, even though I reserved a table for two and we were on time they had us wait half an hour until they finally had a table ready. Then, they wanted to seat us at a huge table for eight, which I refused.
So we had to wait a little longer until we had a table for two. Next unpleasant surprise, the drinks menu has changed. There is now no drink on the menu under RMB 120 except coffee (80 RMB). Fruit Juice costs between 120 and 150 RMB. Their tea got ridiculously expensive. There is one tea that runs at 148 all the others start at 258. I ordered a tea at 258 because the cheap one did not look like anything I wanted to drink. When our food arrived I took the time to look around, a fair share of the guests hadn't ordered proper drinks but had asked for free water because drink prices were so outrageous.
The male waiters now all have white blond hair and look like they should be working in a Chinese barbershops.
The food is still quite affordable if you make the right choices but out of the five dishes I had initially ordered they were out of three.
As usual, the presentation of the food was great, but the food was only solid, a soup we ordered was so bland that we couldn't finish it.
I hope things will change for the better again here but the place was completely packed so I guess people don't mind the prices. The atmosphere is still unique, I will take a long break from this for now though, there are better vegetarian options.

Pros: atmosphere, presentation, selection

Cons: overpriced drinks, very crowded

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Marvelous place, delicious food - Edit

This was great! The place is very nice, nice lightning, decoration, atmosphere, and the food is delicious, very elaborate. When we visited it was full of people.

We order a lot of food, and it was about 50 USD per person [2012 prices] -- it was definitively worth it for the experience. Watch out there are some very expensive teas.

The place is a bit hard to find so write down the phone number and ask your taxi driver to call the place to get instructions on how to get there.

Pros: Decoration, Food quality

Cons: Pricey

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Unique experience - Edit

This restaurant which is located close to popular Sanlitun area is unique place that really has the "wow effect" on people. Customers are normally welcomed by sprinkling fragrant water on their hands and sometimes you are given a real lotus flower when leaving. Restaurant has amazing interior decoration and even though it is really big it is almost always full, so making a table reservation in advance is a good idea. Menu is an art piece in itself. You may find some of the dishes bland, but others are just fabulous. Vegetarian versions of Beijing duck and Sichuan Kung po chicken are the best I've had.

Pros: Unique atmosphere, Interesting and large menu, Some amazingly good dishes

Cons: Table reservation is almost necessary, Some of the dishes are bland, Bit difficult to find

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A-M-A-Z-I-N-G - Edit

Came here for dinner in a group of three. It's hidden in the back of a parking lot, but very easy to find as you can see the big sign from the entrance gate. We didn't have a reservation and almost had to wait for who-knows-how-long for a table until they shortly found one available for a good hour or so. It was just by the door though, not at all a desirable spot. So do book ahead!

The meal was quite a memorable experience. The menu was the biggest I've ever seen (literally) and had tons of dishes in it, so I just flipped through and scanned, too much work to study the whole thing and decide what to order. Instead, I asked the server for popular dishes and recommendations. We ended up having two appetizers (nori wraps and some fake cold cuts), two mains (Dong Bo Rou and stuffed tofu in a tangy gingery sauce), some rice, and a noodle dish in a tomato-ish sauce. Everything was good except for the noodles...I liked their texture, tasted like one of those hand-made Chinese wheat noodles; problem was the sauce, too bland, didn't really go with this kind of noodles, and the ingredients were all mushy. I highly recommend the cold cuts and the tofu dish though, really yummy! We rounded off our meal with a carrot cake (with cream cheese frosting) and a vegan chocolate cake, both were scrumptious.

While the food was decent, the presentation and the decor trumped it all. This is THE restaurant to come to if you are looking for a wow factor. I was also very impressed by the uber cordial service. The total bill for our meal came to around 510 RMB, wasn't bad at all by western standards, and it was well worth it in my opinion.

Pros: decor, service, food & presentation

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Amazing venue- decent food - Edit

Main thing about this place is just the venue/atmosphere. There really arent many vege places you can go that make you feel youre somewhere special or where you'd go for a special occasion. Pure lotus definitely fits the bill in this respect. The decor is v cool- loungey chairs, eclectic mismatched furniture with curtains around some of the tables reminiscent of arabian tents. Lighting is subdued and they play old films on a large screen. The staff are dressed in all manner of strange clothing inspired by monks outfits and various other buddhist style stuff. All in all a very cool atmosphere for a vege place.

Menus are ridiculous, they probably weight over 5kg. Biggest you've ever seen- guaranteed. The food descriptions can be very confusing so it's difficult to order well. I've had some quite boring dishes but also some great ones so it pays to order carefully. The Peking/Beijing roast duck is one of the best I've ever had. great duck, nice pancakes. The potato wedges or chips (or however they describe them) are actually with blackpepper steaks and a extremely nice. I never normaly order this sort of weestern food from a chinese place but it's lovely. There is another dish called black pepper steak on the menu but it cost about 3 times as much and must surely be the exact same dish but much bigger. the 45 rmb dish is enough for 2 easily.

They give you free fruit and some other snacks so you may not need many dishes but there are dessert options if you need something. I had a vegan chocolate cake once that was good but havent tried any others i dont think.

All in all this is a fantastic place to come- the food is good if not quite amazing, but the whole theatre makes a great occasion of coming here.

Pros: Amazing venue, Great atmosphere, Interesting dishes

Cons: V confusing menu

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Best gourmet veggie splurge in Beijing - Edit

Unsurpassed vegan Chinese fare, and possibly the world's longest, heaviest menu...

Quite pricey by Beijing standards, but well worth the splurge for the food and the experience. Essentially all vegan except for some of the drinks. The "Eight Renunciations of the Affluent" (a vegan "Peking Duck") is fantastic. The "Happiness Rolls" are also surprisingly tasty (and affordable) starters. The Vajrisatva fish was typical (good but not special). The vegan sausages are good, but more or less the same as you'd find at other Asian vegan places, so we'd suggest going with some of the more unusual items.

We liked the Changhongqiao location (this one) much, much better than the Holiday Inn Lido location. YMMV, but we found the Lido location to be rather Disneylandish, loud, and cheesy, whereas the Changhongqiao location is more subdued and, for our tastes, more pleasant.

Easy to reach by subway: Take Line 10 to Tuanjiehu station, take exit B (the northeast exit), make a U-turn at the top of the escalator and walk south back to the street corner, turn left (east) and walk a few meters, turn left again into parking lot and go to back right corner and turn right, where you'll find Pure Lotus behind the small hotel on the left.

Updated from previous review on Sunday May 30, 2010

Pros: Exquisite gourmet vegan Chinese fare, A HUGE menu (literally), Great variety of dishes

Cons: Very pricey, Service can be inconsistent

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Expensive but wow! - Edit

It's a bit tricky to find. Take the north-east exit from Tuanjiehu station. Walk along Nongzhanguan Bei Lu and there is a car park barrier. Behind there and to the right is the restaurant - I think the building at the front is actually number 12 not 10 which is the address.

On arrival I was greeted with a smile and they sat me down and presented me with the most ridiculous sized menu I have ever encountered but it is kind of in keeping with the restaurant.

Dishes are expensive by Beijing standards but portions are large and the quality was fantastic. I ordered a pumpkin soup full of flavour, tried one of the sausages which was delicious and then had something called Silk Road which turned out to be a huge simmering pot of tofu and veggies. Way too much for one person but lovely. The whole presntation of the food and the restaurant is fabulous.

They brought me a complimentary small glass of palm tree vinegar which was interesting. The waiters seemed to speak enough English and would try to explain any dishes as they mostly just have fancy name and no description - just go for pot luck!

The only negatives are that the juice drink wasn't that flavourful and they told me they were preparing me some fruits for after my meal but I waited 20 mins and they never came. As I walked out they apologised and gave me a flower!

The meal came to about 170 Yuan - not bad at all by Western standards and worth it for the quality of the food.

Pros: Great setting, Quality food, Choice of menu

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Worth the splurge... - Edit

Although this restaurant is expensive by Beijing standards, it is worth the splurge -- especially if you are vegetarian! (Besides, it's not expensive by US standards.) The ambiance is really interesting -- waiters dressed in long flowing robes, meditative music playing and videos showing, artistic menu, and outstanding presentation. And the food is excellent!

The restaurant is a bit out of the way and hard to find. I missed it the first time myself, so here are the no-fail directions: take the subway (line 10) to Tuanjiehu. Exit at the North-East exit. You will be on 3rd Ring Road facing North. Walk south to the intersection and then make a left to go East on the North side of Nongzhan Guan Nan Lu. Walk about 1/2 a block and then go through the gate (and past the guard) into the parking lot. You can see the restaurant sign from here, and the restaurant is in the back right of the parking lot.

Pros: Excellent food, Friendly staff

Cons: Expensive

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impressive, but a bit controversial - Edit

The place was very impressive- this is probably vegetarian high dining, a place to take a date. Expensive, but considering all the decor, I guess it makes sense. Good food, good service, but what was a huge turn-off was that they used real sea-shells for plates/chopsticks holder, which totally goes against vegetarian ethics. Also a lot of leaves flowers are used, not sure how green the restaurant is. Anyhow, it is a nice experience, may attract many and introduce them to veg concept, which would be a plus.

Pros: mysterious atmosphere, good service

Cons: uses sea shells/ as decoration and plate, not too environmental conscious, expensive

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Go for the food, stay for the experience - Edit

Amazing ambience. Presentation unbelievable. Food was really good. A nice change from traditional Chinese restaurants and a nice change from typical vegeterian places.

Try the duck and spare ribs. AWESOME. My friend loves the cheese fondue, I thought it was okay (but I do eat dairy).
The soups were okay.

Pros: ambience, food, presentation

Cons: soups

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my best veggie restaurant - Edit

this place is incredible. hard 2 find the 1st time. but i've been back several times. taken chinese friends there who ended up taking their friends & family there. they r all amazed with the : quality of menu(large variety & prices & in english), decor, presentation and the way the food is prepared. the only snag is the the waiting time for a table. no bookings are taken so its 1st cum 1st served. but woth it. i've eaten vegetarian on every continent and being indian origin, grew up on a veggie diet. but this place caters for all types, vegan, laco etc... if you are in beijing... you have to make the time to go... the best is to phone ahead and get the hotel to ask for directions and the address and then get them to write this down in mandarin script and had that to the driver. you shouldn't get lost... its just of the 3rd ring road.

Pros: menu variety, price variety, food quality

Cons: no bookings, lack of english speakers, hard to find the 1st time

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I love it - Edit

It is quite hidden, but some staff lead you the way. The place is very romantic and the entrance door is impressive! They serve a lot dishes with creative decorations and on the ground floor they (sometimes) project old Chinese movies on the wall. The menu card is tooooo huge and it is hard to choose dishes. But WOW - I love the food!

Pros: mysterious place, delicious food

Cons: menu card is difficult to handle ;-)

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Music too loud - Edit

I went here for dinner, based on the hotel's recommendation. Not easy for the cab driver to find. Friendly staff, only one person spoke English, and it seemed like forever for her to come over to take my order. Everything was a la carte. Not an expensive dinner, but the food was served out of sequence. I hated the taped Chinese opera music that was blaring out of the loudspeaker above my table. It almost sounded like propaganda music. Service was extremely slow. Marvelous dry ice presentation of the sweetest mini tangerines.

Pros: Beautiful menu, Nice decor

Cons: Slow service, Loud music , food served out of sequence

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Pure Lotus is best veggie food in Beijing - Edit

Pure Lotus is an experience not be missed. The atmosphere is a welcome departure from typical chinese places, presentation is incredible(esp upstairs and at Lido location), and service unbeatable. Best food on my 5 wk trip in China. It's incredibly upscale for China - dishes range from 18rmb for veg to 300+ for exotics. Avoid the 'smelly but delicious' tofu. If you're careful you can pay 125-150rmb for two. Huge English menu. Food is vegan and without garlic and onions, drinks may contain milk and are clearly listed). 1 english speaking staff

Pros: Great Atmosphere, Best service (really), Best Taste (really)

Cons: Expensive for china, 15min walk from metro, Trendy (call ahead)

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