Opened a few years ago by the popular Italian restaurant next door, Panino Teca is a large, bright and airy café on a tree-lined street in the Northern Embassy district. All of the local diplomats make a beeline here at lunchtime so be prepared to wait. If you can, grab one of the few outdoor tables and watch the Chinese soldiers change guard. The name, Panino Teca, should be your first clue that this is the home of the panini in Beijing. The central counter displays all sorts of Italian confections like tiramisu and excellent linzer torte cookies. On either side are light wood tables and two large sofas in the back corner that are great for lounging and deep existential thought. The paninis and ciabattas come in all varieties with Italian cheeses, prosciutto, speck, salami, grilled vegetables etc. The steak sandwich with French fries is particularly good. Their salads are also very fresh, a rarity in Beijing, and plentiful. The cappuccino and espresso are Italian strength and enough to keep you going for hours on the free Wi-Fi.