Article By Jorge Cartaya
5 South Jinhua Road, East of Xi’an University of Technology East Gate Footbridge
(029) 6224 9208
9:00am – 11:00pm
Average Price per Person /人均消费:100-150RMB(For a coffee, meal and dessert)
PROS: Everything is delicious!
CONS: It’s in the east (I live in the west!)
On Jinhua south road, near the east gate of the Xi’an University of Technology, lies a gem of a coffee shop that is much more than what it seems at first glance. Part Café, part botanical garden, part restaurant, and part DIY activity center, Olive café is a great find indeed! The food is to die for, the coffee is excellent, the staff are friendly, and the décor is beautiful. Once you step inside, it’s like instantly breaking away from the dreariness and repetitiveness of the concrete jungle that is Xi’an, and entering… well, an actual jungle. The place is crawling with life-giving, oxygen-producing, mind-soothing vegetation, and it’s no surprise, since one of their activity clubs is DIY flower arranging. Trust me; the place is so damn relaxing that you may suddenly want to start doing yoga on the tables (the staff wouldn’t mind).
But a café needs coffee right? Indeed it does, and Olive Café has some of the best coffee you’ll find in Xi’an. I had a latté to begin with and an espresso at the end, both of which were incredible; as good as anything you could find anywhere in Europe (just more expensive because hey, this is China). You can even choose which region’s coffee beans you’d like, such as Costa Rica, Kenya, and Yirgacheffe. They also carry fresh fruit juices, smoothies, teas, and milkshakes.
The house specialty for foods and juices is avocado-themed, and for an avocado lover like myself, this was an unexpected delight the likes of which surprised even a five-year Xi’an veteran. I went upstairs to the mezzanine and ordered the avocado and salmon pizza, and let me tell you, it has to be a priority for your next pizza craving. The flavor combo of that pink fishy goodness with the mouthwatering, brain-stimulating oils of the avocado absolutely floored me and made me look like a mentally challenged panda chewing on MDMA-laced bamboo while getting massaged by well-trained Tang dynasty concubines. I kid you not, my friends. I also had the privilege to chow down on a chicken and jalapeño burrito that came with tortilla chips and the best guacamole in town. They also serve paninis, pastas, curry rice, fresh salads, home-made yoghurt with fresh fruits and nuts, and a great selection of brunch sets including strawberry waffles, all of which I will be trying in the weeks to come.
Their desserts are also top notch: I tried a vanilla-mousse cake that was stupendous, and they also carry tiramisu, pitaya compote, a variety of cookies, and others. I’m betting that everything is good, and I don’t think I’ll be disappointed. The place is just a bit pricey, but that won’t stop me from going there again, as it is well worth the money, and then some. And if you want to learn salsa dancing, latté art and flower arranging, they’ve got clubs for those and more than enough room for it. You can even start your own club if you talk to the manager. They’ve also got two private rooms in the back for meetings or larger dinner parties. Anything you need, just ask the friendly, English-speaking assistant manager, Li Mingzhuo.
Jorge is a long-time Xi’an expat with an eye for the finer things in life. He can be
reached at email@example.com