In Cafetique, Shanghaiist reviews coffee shops and cafes around Shanghai that provide the two things our writers need most in life: caffeine and wireless internet. How does your neighborhood hangout spot stack up?
What: Citizen Cafe, which should be a well-recognized name to most. This cafe has taken home multiple awards from the guys over at Cityweekend, That’s Shanghai, etc. for “Best Cafe”.
Where: 222 Jinxian Lu, near Shanxi Nan Lu (进贤路222号, 近陕西南路)
Atmosphere: As it’s the plum season right now, we are giving this cafe some extra love. The European-style cafe is an ideal place to sit inside on a rainy day. Their white on red motifed wallpaper and velvet seats makes us feel like we’re spending an overcast day in Paris or London. Try to grab one of the two nooks beside the front entrance–with its large windows it’s a cozy spot for people-watching.
The service was pleasant and it’s almost as if the servers expect you to stay for several hours. While downstairs is more suited for sipping lattes, upstairs they have full-sized tables for dining and a beautiful balcony.
Music: Every time we’ve been it’s a mix of genres but the soundtrack is always kept at a soothing volume.
Food and Drink: From 11am-3pm, Citizen does soup, salad, sandwich and pasta combinations for (49-69RMB). Minestrone, which restaurants often take as an excuse to serve a watery soggy mush of vegetables, was a nicely spiced surprise at Citizen. The fettucine alfredo was delicious and came out piping hot, served with a small warm multigrain bun. Don’t listen to the NY Times and don’t order the club sandwich (travel writers, hah, do they know anything about places?) which is mediocre and came with white bread and shoestring fries.
Their coffees (20-30RMB) were decent and can be done non-fat milk or decaf by request. Citizen is also a bar which means a full wine and cocktail list, beers, and something called the Best Martini–that’s a bold statement. It carries a price tag of 90RMB while all other cocktails are 45-55RMB so we wonder that’s all about. We’ll have to come back another time to see but as for now, we can tell you that their Lemon Drop Martini (38RMB from 4-7pm, part of their daily rotating martini specials) was excellent.
Overall: Rain or shine, this is a strong contender for best cafe in the city. Good food, good crowd, un-rushed atmosphere and perfect location to people watch.