Article By Stephen Robinson
11F, K.I.Tower, 1 Xihuamen
Phone: (029) 8720 1501/1502
Hours: 11:30am – 3:00pm (L.O. 2:00pm)
5:30pm – 10:00pm (L.O. 9:15pm)
Average Price per Person /人均消费: 150RMB
Isola del Nord has been a staple on the Xi’an scene for longer than most foreigners have been in China. This cozy little restaurant, located on the 11F of the KI Building on North Street, has steadily served up some of the best Napoli-style pizza in the city, along with exceptional Italian foods, for 13 years now. So, how does the restaurant hold up after all these years?
It’s never easy to maintain a restaurant at the best of times, and the past year and a half have been some of the roughest in recent memory, presenting a challenge to the entire industry. Yet, through all of this, Isola has stood up to its reputation, and continues to provide one of the nicest dining environments in the city.
One way that the restaurant keeps it fresh is by having new specials each and every month that gives them a chance to try out new recipes and see what best fits with the modern times. So, on this particular visit, we decided to try each of their new dishes, along with a few of our classic favorites.
First was a dish of pan-fried dough with Parma ham, rocket, quartered cherry tomatoes and a fresh cheese spread. The dough was the same dough that they use for the pizza, which has a slight fermented tang to it. Combined with the sweetness of the tomatoes, creaminess of the cheese, saltiness of the ham, and the bitter sharpness of the rocket, each bite was a symphony of delicious flavor.
Alongside this we were served a bread soup, consisting of pieces of bread soaked in a savory broth along with carrots, onions, and a poached egg. The broth had a deep, rich flavor to it and the bread soaked up this flavor thoroughly.
We also tried their new pasta, consisting of spaghetti with chicken and spinach in a cream sauce. The combination of spinach and chicken is one of the best pairings around, especially when allowed to mingle with rich cream and spicy garlic. The pasta was cooked perfectly al dente and was just large enough to share between two before the main course arrive.
Our main course was a 500g ribeye steak, cooked medium-rare. While there are many steakhouses that have appeared on the Xi’an scene in recent years, the steak at Isola is still very good, especially considering that they use local beef instead of overpriced imported cuts. Served with potato wedges and grilled vegetables, it is a great meal, even when shared. The steak was cooked just right and the seasoning was just right. No steak sauce required. For our beverages, we opted for the all-you-can drink wine deal that lets you drink from a selection of red and white wines for just 120RMB. Always a favorite with us. This also means that you can pair your desired type of wine with the different dishes that you order.
We rounded out the meal with a chocolate lava cake with ice cream. This has been a go-to dessert at Isola since the beginning and it continues to hold up to the test of time. The lava cake is just baked through on the surface, with a molten core of chocolate ganache that is very rich. Combined with the cool creamy taste of vanilla ice cream, it is an excellent end to the meal.
If you’ve never been to Isola, or you have only been a few times, it is worth it to stop by for a meal. Even after all this time, they are still producing some of the best Italian food that you can find in the whole city, with consummate professional service and a great selection. Perfect for special occasions and nice dinners out. Don’t forget to congratulate them on 13 years running when you stop by.
If you give this a try, let us know about your experience by messaging us at firstname.lastname@example.org.