I s there anything in life better than a really good burger? Probably, but the experience of diving in to a tasty pile of meat, cheese, and bread is definitely up there. But, alas, in Xi’an it can be difficult to find a burger that really hits the spot, and often times you get a fried chicken sandwich instead of a burger when ordering a 汉堡. But, luckily we seem to be going through something of a burger revolution, as there are now numerous spots serving up burgers that are better than anything we’ve seen in recent years. One such place is a new restaurant that ranks among the best we’ve seen in a long time, Yan.
Located just inside of South Gate, close to the entrance of Shuyuan Men, Yan started serving food at the end of 2021, right before the most recent lockdown shut temporarily shut their doors for a month. However, they persisted and now are back to serving up some great food.
Have you ever wondered where the young and fashionable people are? Well, apparently they all show up to this café on Friday afternoons. Arriving at 2PM on a Friday, we found that this place was packed, with almost every available chair taken up both indoors and out. The building, converted from a monorail station, sits in the middle of the park on Yannan Second Road, and the café takes up the first floor, with the second floor being devoted to a retail shop. The café is pretty spacious, despite the crowds, and the windows open up to allow people to sit on either side of the standing tables, meaning that you have people standing and sitting both outside and in. So, what makes this place so popular amongst the in crowd? We were set to find out.
We’ve reviewed many different bars at the magazine over the years, and in doing so, we’ve discovered a trend. Bars have been getting fancier over the years, and prices across the board have been rising, to the point where a single night out is going to cost you a pretty penny if you are going to remotely approach having a good time. While in many cases, this has led to improved quality and service, it can be a bit difficult to justify a regular trips where you return home with a significant dent in your pocket. The other side of the spectrum, where cheap drinks remain, are often serve drinks so bad that many cringe at the thought of them. What’s needed is a place that strikes a happy medium, somewhere where you can have a few drinks, have a good time, and not regret (most) of your decisions the next day. A place like Moo Brewpub.
There are times when Western restaurants in Xi’an can feel lackluster. Sure they have many of the classics, with most ‘Western Restaurants’ serving up what can at best be described as a close approximation of the food that we know and love. Finding the real deal can be difficult, especially when many of the best restaurants are hidden away. However, once you find that hidden gem, you’re in for a real treat. This is the case with Allegro at the Grand Hyatt.
Xi’an is a city that is well known for its food, and for good reason. The local food in Xi’an is really good, and so finding a restaurant that serves up delicious food is not that hard. The same can be said for many of the restaurants serving up various cuisines from around China. The food is good and people enjoy it. But for some reason, the same cannot be said for many restaurants serving Western-style food. There always seems to be something lacking, a taste or flavor that doesn’t seem quite right. So when you find a place that does bring the flavor, it’s worth talking about. One such place is Zao.
I t’s always nice meeting people that have a passion for what they do, as often times people are mostly doing what they can to just get by. When you meet people that are in the midst of pursuing that passion, it can be an exciting thing, as you will often get caught up in it as well. As an added bonus, people that tend to be very into what they are doing also happen to be good at it. Such is the case with M&G Wine and Spirits, where you have not one, but two people who are passionate about all things booze.
Two of the great joys in life are coffee and wine. Coffee picks you up and makes you more productive, getting you through those long days, or just providing warm punctuation to your morning or afternoon routine. Wine is perfect for relaxing or celebrating, a perfect pairing for the finer times of life. What’s more is that both coffee and wine are expressed through innumerable varietals, with each grape and bean varieties expressing themselves in different ways that can make the study of those differences extremely interesting. That is what happened with Kathy, one of the owners of Vincup, a new café on the Xi’an scene.
If you like amazing river views, fancy stuffing yourself silly with Xi’an bbq skewers, or just want to be pampered and enjoy outstanding service at a world-class hotel, then you should check out Le Méridien’s buffet.
It is literally in the river in Chanba – it is perched at the northern tip of an island in the river, with an incredible view and outdoor seating (in the summer). The restaurant itself is tastefully decorated with cuts of granite and marble that notably match the dishware and glassware. The dinner buffet runs Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and is a steal at 238/person (198/pax on dianping!).
Dining out has become a hallmark of the Xi’an experience. New restaurants open weekly it seems and sifting through the sea of options can be a job. Often times, great places are lost among the many new places that pop up, which is why I always enjoy trying places that have been around and still stand out among the new guard. I got an opportunity to try such a place at Izakaya.
In the past, if you wanted a hamburger in Xi’an, you really only ever had a few choices: 1) a mall fast food chain, 2) a “western-style” restaurant that studied hamburger recipes from a Chinese primary school English textbook, or 3) just give up and get a roujiamo. Basically, no good options. But no more!