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Alameda: A Gem of A Beijing Restaurant
    2007-07-20 11:47:35     CRIENGLISH.com

To open a restaurant in a metropolis like Beijing is not something new or difficult. So are these new entrepreneurs equipped with the know-how of how to establish themselves, as there are already a stack of renowned dining venues about, both Chinese and foreign, for customers to check out.

As CRI's reporter Luo Dan observes, the situation may improve for newcomers in the catering industry, if they can learn from the experience of a successful counterpart.

This is a restaurant where you can find people speaking Chinese, English, French, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish. It is a restaurant whose name vividly describes its dining atmosphere. And it is a restaurant where you can taste typical Brazilian dishes like feijoada and drinks like cachaca.

That is Alameda, a tucked-away gem residing on the back side of Sanlitun, better known as the bar street area in Beijing. Despite its secluded location, it has been selected by the critical gourmets of Beijing as the city¡¯s best restaurant of the year-not once, but three times since it opened its doors!

A scene inside the greenhouse-like Alameda restaurant. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com]

Alameda is not large, it is nestled in the corner of an alley, beside several chic boutiques and stylish cafes. Despite this, its overall structure and interior design is quite unique and distinguishing from its neighbours. For instance, all things inside the restaurant are either white or green, and trees have been subtly incorporated into the restaurant as part of a glass dividing wall. In addition, when you look up, you will be greeted by pure sunshine streaming in through skylights, rather than gaudy chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.

Gaby Alves is the manager of the restaurant. She says all these descriptions could be summarized as "Alameda", which is very appealing to customers.

"Alameda in Brazil means 'an avenue surrounded by trees'. I think it has more to do with the style of the house though. Similarly, in Arabic, Alameda means 'God give to me'. The glass also gives you the impression of greenhouse. It is environmentally friendly."

Gaby explains that since Alameda is located near embassies and some big multinational companies in Beijing, its greenhouse-like environment helps ease the pent-up energy of people working in stuffy offices.

Service is another secret of Alameda¡¯s popularity. According to Gaby, it is a combination of both emphasis on personal presentation and training of the staff.

"We have to daily bear this in mind, emphasizing our care, attention to detail and efficiency for customers. We have to make sure our service is consistent and persistent. They are trained once or twice a month. Wine distributors come to help out, and I also do training myself. I keep emphasizing the wine list, in terms of changes and trends, I have and make sure waiters they have a little bit of knowledge about wine, to pass on to our customers. Now it is summer time, so we suggest to the public champagne, and also fresh, cool white wines."

The manager says that since more and more Chinese people are attracted to Alameda, the staff are always ready to help them by explaining the English menu, for example, what aubergine, asparagus and risotto are. This not only makes Alameda more customer-friendly, but also helps enhance the staff¡¯s professionalism.

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