The Middle Ring restaurant is an eatery in Ba Sing Se frequented by people of the lower and middle classes. This "hidden jewel" might never rise above its "B" rating to attract the oval-ring set, but is considered a charming, reasonably priced restaurant with a real bistro's atmosphere. The restaurant is popular with the Ba Sing Se Spa and University sets. The Middle Ring restaurant offers a tourist menu and an unbelievably complex fried appetizer sampler platter.
When Jin met Zuko one day at the Pao Family Tea House where he and his uncle worked, she asked him out on a date. Iroh quickly accepted on his nephew's behalf, and the two teenagers met after sundown outside the shop. Jin brought Zuko to the Middle Ring restaurant for dinner during which she inquired about his personal life.
When Jin started digging into her noodles, Zuko remarked that she had a big appetite for a girl, a comment to which Jin reacted uncomfortably. Nevertheless, she rebounded from this incident and continued to show interest in Zuko. When a waiter asked what Zuko and his "girlfriend" wanted for dessert, he exclaimed assertively, "She's not my girlfriend!" Later during their dinner, he claimed that he and his uncle were from a traveling Earth Kingdom circus and confirmed he was a juggler after Jin made such a presumption. Intrigued, Jin stated that she had always wanted to learn how to juggle and wanted to see a demonstration. Zuko proceeded to juggle various glass teapots, bowls, and bottles, which fell to the ground due to his lack of experience. He then claimed that he had not practiced for a while.