in Sanlitun & Chaoyang

A lively spot pulling in well-heeled locals, embassy types and suits, Carmen serves a typical range of tapas in its corridor-like dining room, with live flamenco guitar at one end. Authentic paella (¥235 to ¥270 for two to three) is cooked to order, and there are sherries by the glass. A dish of shrimp in bubbling garlic butter will elicit jealous stares from other diners.

Carmen is squeezed into the space between Nali Patio (a hacienda-style restaurant enclave), and the 3.3 Shopping Centre.