It feels like we've been craving authentic Chinese eats for quite some time – which is why we thanked the heavens when Café 101 popped up on our radar. When we close our eyes and dive into one of their delicious meals, it's almost as if we're in Shanghai.Authentic Chinese eats are not easily come by in this hemisphere. Sure, there’s many a stop where we can get our fill of General Tso’s or Sesame Chicken – but we all know that’s not really Chinese cuisine. That’s why we thanked the heavens the day Café 101 popped up on our radar. When we close our eyes and take a bite out of their infamous soup dumplings (or should we say xiao long bao?) it’s almost as if we’ve been transported straight to Shanghai. Of course, opening our eyes again reveals we aren’t at all – Café 101’s modern western ambience makes us feel right at home, indeed.
But back to the food – Café 101’s menu sports all of the Chinese classics. These are dishes you’ll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere in Atlanta, y’all. Looking for an Eastern-inspired breakfast? Try the Taiwanese Twisted Cruller. It’s 14 inches of sweet, doughy bliss, and a traditional way to start the day in China. The salty dough confection is customarily dipped in soy milk – the perfect Chinese commuter breakfast. And of course, what Café 101 is really known for are their dumplings. Their Shanghai Steamed Pork Buns are filled with succulent delicious pork broth. Not sure how to approach it? We’ve been told it’s best to roll it onto your soup spoon, top it with some vinegar sauce, bite in and then slurp up the soup inside. (Yum.) The entrées here are equally steeped in tradition. From their clay pot style hot pots to their basil chicken – there’s a bevy of classic dishes at the tip of your chopsticks to be had. Pro-tip: We’ve been told that folks will drive in 15 miles for Café 101’s lamb, and we don’t doubt it. Expertly seasoned with cumin and an assortment of Chinese herbs, we savored each spicy, succulent bite. Yes, indeed – it will take us quite some time to take the full culinary tour of China that is Café 101’s menu. (And we’ll happily take our time doing so.)
Menu Highlights Twisted Cruller, $2
Shanghai Juicy Steamed Soup Dumplings, $8
Spicy Boil Fish Fillet, $15
Smoked Duck, $17 (half), $26 (whole)
Honey Glazed Walnut Prawns, $15
Wednesday & Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday & Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Sunday & Monday, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.