SHAANXI Road is a pretty neat street. While its celebrated south side is a hot spot full of hip cafes, parks and beautiful trees, the grittier Shaanxi Road N. is undergoing a subtle transformation. The creative complex that houses the innovative Dutch Design Workspace on the corner of Xinzha Road is one example of the sophistication being added to the neighborhood. As UVA Wines co-founder Piercaalo Panozzo said, "There are a lot of cool things that are happening here." Indeed there is, as a walk on Shaanxi Road north of Nanjing Road W. uncovers a Taiwanese boutique, a haven for coffee lovers, a new outlet of a popular Italian eatery and a wine bar co-founded by a fifth-generation winemaker.
UVA Wine Bar
Opening its doors in June, UVA Wine Bar specializes in Italian wine. It's in the blood for co-founder Piercarlo Panozzo, whose parents each have wineries in the Piemonte area of northern Italy. There's a rustic comfortable feel to the spot by Kangding Road and the 50 yuan (US$7.9) weekday lunch set that includes either a Panini or a pasta dish with soup or salad is popular. Of course, the wine is the star and the bar offers 38 labels that were carefully selected by the two Italian founders. There are 11 wines available by the glass from 35 yuan to 45 yuan and the wines offered showcase the variety of Italian wine. Despite the deep Italian connection, the spot has connected with locals with many coming for the happy hour drink specials (Aperal Spritz is 35 yuan every Friday) and staying through the middle of the night due to the good food, conversation, and well, wine.
Opening hours: 6pm–late
Address: 819 Shaanxi Rd N.
With two locations in the city, this popular lunchtime spot specializes in Western fare ranging from pizza to Australian Angus rib eye steak (148 yuan/US$23.5). While it's renowned as a great takeout spot, this location on the corner of Wuding Road boasts two loft floors that have windows overlooking Shaanxi Road, making it a great spot for people watching. The menu is large with highlights being the smoked salmon salad (48 yuan), the popeye sandwich featuring baked bacon (50 yuan), the vanilla smoked chicken sandwich (50 yuan), the beef lasagna pasta (58 yuan), the Coolzey meat lovers mini pizza (98 yuan), and the creamy chicken & mushroom risotto (52 yuan). A nice way to finish a meal is tickling the taste buds with a delicious slice of Coolzey pepper chocolate cake (35 yuan).
Opening hours: 10am–11pm
Address: 670 Shaanxi Rd N.Tel: 6253-4718
The first thing that catches the eye walking into the organic coffee shop Sumerian is the sheer number of coffee brewing devices. Near Beijing Road, the store has been a beacon for coffee lovers in the area since it opened three months ago. The shop's owners, Christin Wu and David Seminsky, specialize in green beans from Ethiopia, Brazil and Indonesia. The beans are available by the bag (from 178 yuan/US$28.2 for 250 grams of Sumatra Fair Trade Organic to 298 yuan for Ethiopia Gadeo Micro Zone Natural). They are also roasted on site for single cups from 32 yuan to 48 yuan. For coffee lovers weaned on instant coffee or Starbucks, Seminsky recommends the Bali Kintanmani Natural Rainforest coffee (cup is 38 yuan and a bag is 198 yuan.) "It has a very unique fruit flavor that was exclusively sold in Japan up to two years ago," he said.
Opening hours: 8:30am-8:30pm
Address: 415 Shaanxi Rd N.
Le Lutin is one of the city's best fashion boutiques tucked inside Golden Eagle Square on Shaanxi Road N. Taiwanese owner Diana Tu opened the boutique with the idea of offering quality clothing for women "who have money to spend and want to look beautiful from morning to night." Also, there was something missing in the local fashion scene. Mainstream luxury fashion is strong but alternative choices are limited. The boutique carries the most sought-after cult labels from the US and Europe along with some up-and-coming Chinese designers. A comfy shopping environment is created here with a spacious space to walk, look, and select your favorite items. Recently, the boutique collaborated with Paris-based Shanghai-born jewelry designer Tong Wenwei to launch "a shop inside a shop." Tong's creations combine femininity with an edge in a way that is wearable everyday without looking ordinary. The selection includes jade rosettes, leather collars and lace patterns. The price range of her jewelry starts from 2,000 yuan (US$317) to 50,000 yuan. Most of the clothing items start from 3,000 yuan.