Cuisine: American (salads, pasta and smoothies)

Area: Sanlitun Village

Price: 100-150 RMB/person

Element Fresh has great decor, a charming terrace (if the weather’s nice) and is conveniently located in Sanlitun. We went there primarily because we were desperate to eat raw vegetables. We did eat salad, and sated the craving, but I couldn’t honestly tell you that Element Fresh is a really good restaurant, or worth the money.

The roasted-duck salad involved dry roast duck, apples, celery and raspberry dressing. The elements were all nice enough on their own (except that duck, this is a town with high standards for duck, after all). Unfortunately, the salad didn’t really cohere. Everything was cut too large to eat comfortably, and the raspberry dressing was far too sour. This was probably a great idea for a salad that didn’t work out as well on the plate. (It was 78 RMB, I believe).

The eggplant sandwich with mozzarella, meanwhile, was solidly average. It wasn’t terrible, but neither was it actually good. The arugula was very peppery, which was nice, but the bread and cheese and sauce were all middle-of-the-road.

The raspberry smoothie (28 RMB for a small one, 52 for a large as I recall, I’m not remembering prices well here but the average of 100 plus RMB for one person is accurate) was decent. It was clearly made with fresh fruit, but I found it too sour. Nice for those who are craving fruit, but 4 RMB will get you an upscale apple.

The whole meal was fine if you don’t mind paying high prices for average food in a town where great food can be gotten cheaply. We were desperate for a salad, but if you’re not, stay away from Element Fresh.

Element Fresh/新元素

S8-31, Sanlitun Village South, 19 South Sanlitun Road,
三里屯19号, 三里屯Village南区8号楼8-3-3单元.