365 W 51st St, New York, NY | Directions 1001940.763898 -73.988010
Sun-Thu, 5pm-midnight; Fri-Sat, 5pm-2am
Neighborhoods: Clinton, Midtown
Great Wine Bar – I enjoy coming to this place. It is a great place to grab a nicely "sized" glass of wine, with a nibble here and there. There Malva pudding is absolutely scrumptious. A great go to place.
They stole my sunglasses – This place looks like a series of giant logs on the inside. The service was slow...the staff was vying for my sunglasses, found them when I called looking for them, then all of a sudden when I returned the following day for them...they were 'missing'.
THIEVES! Don't trust these magets! Go back to S Africa!...or are you not wanted there too?!
Excellent Wine - TERRIBLE service! – I was with a group of 8 people and we were very excited about checking out Xai Xai for a drink and some appetizers. We walked in and noticed that they only had one waiter working. There was nobody to greet us at the door so we just found two tables and sat down. The one waiter gave us menus and we noticed that a 2nd waiter showed up (must have been late for his shift). After waiting for 15-20 minutes we finally flagged him down and he rudely said "what do you want?" It was so frustrating that he never even acknowledged the fact that we had been waiting. We put in our drink orders and sat there for another 15 minutes. I had to flag him down again and politely told him that we were in a rush and that we were just in for one drink. I asked him twice if he could get our friend's order (they were a few tables away) but he never even went over to their table! They sat there for 25 minutes and finally left the restaurant before anyone bothered to talk to them. I drank my glass of wine (which was excellent) and left as fast as I could. I AM ALWAYS MAKING EXCUSES for WAITSTAFF AND POOR SERVICE but this was SO BAD that I would NEVER GO BACK. It's really too bad that one person ruined the place for the 8 of us, but nobody there ever took initiative to at least acknowledge that there was an issue. We would have understood if they at least acknowledged that we had been waiting a while and that they were understaffed, but when you ignore your customers it only pisses them off and causes them to write reviews like this.
Nice concept and atmosphere but overpriced for the quality of the food and service – The good: The South African concept of this restaurant is an interesting one, and the decor and atmosphere are charming.
The bad: I found the menu to be short and generally overpriced considering what you get. The restaurant doesn't offer full-sized entrees, but instead terms its dishes "small plates." Fair enough, but the small plates are relatively pricey ($10 - $18) considering the amount of food provided. Ditto with the wine, which was of mediocre quality (all South African offerings).
All told, dinner for two of us including 2 glasses of wine, 3 "small plates," 1 dessert dish and 2 glasses of dessert wine came to $120 plus tip. If you're looking for a casual weekday dinner, there's plenty of better choices in the neighborhood.
Truly Genuine – I work for an Africa tourism company so I'm in South Africa often and this place is a heaven of African wines in the middle of Hell's Kitchen. Most of the staff is from various parts of SA. The wines are phenomenal, but i'm partial, and then small plates are great too. Nice to know I can get billtong now. Love this place, the decor, the wine, and everything about it.
Overpriced ($8 for a taste!), don't waste your time – I had high expectations going to Xai Xai after reading several good reviews. We were seated immediately on a Friday night by a friendly host. The bar has a nice ambience, albiet quite dark and difficult to read the wine list. I was pleased by the wine selection, until I ordered the wine. My date attempted to order a glass of pinotage, which only 1 out of 4 listed was available. When it was my turn to order, I asked the server if I could have a taste of one of the wines before ordering a glass (standard practice at most other wine bars!). I was informed that my small taste would be $8. This is for a 50mL pour (normal size 250mL). The price of the glass is only $12. I was appalled that this wine bar has the audacity to charge for a 1 small taste of wine. After spending 10 minutes convincing the server that I wanted to try a small taste of this unusual blend he finally offered to "see what he could do." In the end, I was brought the small taste for free, and was pleasantly surprised by the wine itself, so I ordered a glass. The food is nothing special either. The corn fritters w/ melted cheese were extremely bland & the cheese tasted like store brand sliced cheese. The isidudu with chakalaka was flavorful, but quite small. Overall I wouldn't waste my money on this place - there are many better wine bars in NYC.
Sample South African wines and nibble some delicious cuisine – If you love sipping wine without being rushed, picking at small plates and chatting with buds in a relaxed, dimly lit environment, Xai Xai is the ideal place. It's low lit interior, dark colored scheme and large log columns are a welcome addition to the neighborhood. Don't expect speedy service though, it's a place to unwind, sit back and take a deep breath (not to mention sampling a great selection of Sth African vintages). I also highly recommend trying the food, it's more than just the wines which are tasty. We need more places like this in Hells Kitchen - I'll be back there soon.
Cute but Tiny – I love wine bars and i was impressed by this new wine bar. The wine selection (South Africian) is good and the prices are expected in this area. Love the decor but wish it was bigger.
Cozy place to go with friends – My girlfriends and I randomly popped in here one night. We were so impressed. It was slightly crowded but we only ended up waiting for 10 minutes for a table. The restaurant is cozy but has great ambiance. Our waiter was super friendly and very eager to give us suggestions on bottles. We ended up having a bottle of pinotage which was amazing. I can't wait to get back there again!
Fun Place – Yes it does get crowded, but the bartenders and waiters are really nice and will try to find you a comfortable place at the bar to wait for a table. Anyway, one of the reasons you may have to wait is that they don't rush their patrons, which I love (I never enjoy dropping $100 dollars at a place only to get dirty looks because you aren?t drinking your wine fast enough). I'm a big fan of South African wines and this place stocks some of the best you can get. Sure their pours may seem a bit pricey, but that's only until you see how much wine you get for a pour: it's almost twice as large a pour as most other wine bars! Also, it's the only place I've had good biltong outside of South Africa. I hope this place stays in business for a long time (I just hope that as more people discover it, I can still get a table!).
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