100 Days, 100 Restaurants/Bar Review: The Saddle Cantina

From the same people behind the Rickshaw, and offering the same burrito, the Saddle has been a big hit in the new Nali Studios, including winning Beijing's best new bar. These guys really know what they're doing because the Saddle deserves all the praise it has received.

There's been a lot of positive talk about this place all over the web and Beijing Boyce is a big fan, so I won't say too much about the drinks other than that they are mixed well, a good size for the price, and the beer is really, really cold. One of their more interesting drinks is the spicy margarita, made with their own pineapple and chili infused tequila and garnished with a chili pepper. A beer is a little more expensive than at Rickshaw, but almost all the drinks are in the RMB40-55 range. There are also a lot of drink specials, including the great Cinco de Drinko, in which drinks are half off on the 5th of every month. Popcorn (very, very salty) is free and is a decent snack to go along with their drink.

The food is my main concern, though. The menu is fairly brief, offering burritos, enchiladas, and soft tacos as the only main dishes (though on the weekend, there are grilled kabobs). The best starting option is the Tex-Mex chips and guacamole, with the option of either the house made guac or a DIY version for RMB5 more. Having sampled all the menu items, I can say that all are good and will satisfy any Tex-Mex cravings an American may have. The prices aren't cheap (the food is also in the RMB50 range), but portions are decidedly large and very filling.

While this is the kind of place to enjoy some drinks and food with some friends and is very casual and laid back, if you get the right balcony table and the live music's going, it can almost have a romantic feel to it. The staff is very well trained and quick to respond and accommodate most requests. Being someone that is typically hard to please, this place always makes me happy. The Rickshaw guys continue to do things right with this excellent bar/restaurant.

32. The Saddle Cantina
81 Sanlitun North Rd., Nali Studios East, 2F

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