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The Village at Sanlitun, Building 8, 19 San Li Tun Lu (Sanlitun)
(86) 010-6417-1318 | www.elementfresh.com
HOURSMon.-Fri.: 10:00am-11:00pm; Sat.-Sun.: 8:00am-11:00pm
BEST FORBrunch; quick bite; lunch; light dinner
RESERVATIONSRecommended for peak times, like weekend brunch or summer lunch
BARYes - great for a quick bite on your own
PRICE (APPETIZER; ENTRÉE)RMB 30-50; RMB 60-100
FAMOUS PLATESShrimp and mango spring rolls; California hippie sandwich; hummus plate
DRINKS AND WINESmoothies and juices; organic coffee; tea; wine, beer, and cocktails
PRIVATE ROOM AVAILABLE?No
The cheerful Sanlitun outlet of this Shanghai chain serves up its signature fresh, healthy fare in a bright, all-about-blonde-wood space drenched in natural light, and its popular outdoor terrace offers views of the last remaining hutong in Sanlitun. Big portions, laptop-friendly surrounds (i.e., free Wi-Fi), and a yuppie-cool vibe draw in the best and brightest of Beijing’s expat trendy types, to the extent that waits at lunch or for a weekend brunch can be over an hour long. Some complain that patchy food and service quality don’t live up to the hype, but, judging from the ever-growing lines, such grumbles haven’t dampened enthusiasm.
MacBook-toting hipsters and lunching CBD office-types.
WHAT WE WOULD WEAR
Whatever you like! Jeans and sneakers will do the trick, but if you want to blend in with the lunching execs by wearing something sharp, by all means feel free.
GO HERE WITH
A friend; colleagues; family
WHY WE LIKE IT
This is one of the few places in Beijing where you can scoop up generous portions of healthy Western-style café fare–most other “Western” cafés in town only offer small plates of greasy spoon-style eats. (The menu is updated frequently with fresh seasonal choices.) Also, the terrace is one of the best alfresco dining options around, especially for brunch.
WHAT WE WOULD CHANGE
The service and kitchen run hot and cold–both need to be sorted out; the occasional over-an-hour waits are too long for a sandwich and salad.
GOOD TO KNOW
They’ve got free Wi-Fi and free delivery, both very cool. (Check out their website for ordering and delivery details.) Also a rarity for Beijing: they’ve got a non-smoking section.
Qianmen (Beijing); Lido (Beijing); Shanghai
Grandma’s Kitchen (Beijing)
Read more about Element Fresh in The Diary
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