I’ve always raved about food in my blog, but never really collated a list of my top dining picks in Taipei. So here you go for your viewing pleasure:
1) Ruth’s Chris – If you don’t mind the $$$, it’s the best steak in Taipei. As a steak-lover, am in meat heaven. Kill me now.
2) Carnegies – Breakfast, lunch or dinner, Carnegies has it all. Their brunch portions are HUGE, and their lunch just serve the best bang for the $$$ (if you don’t mind the layers of fat you’re going to put on). What’s more, it’s prolly the best top 3 steakplaces in Taipei. Their NY Strip at NT$690 is a steal by itself, mashed potatoes and creamed spinach included.
3) Alleycats – Still the best pizza place in Taipei at a very reasonable price. Just wished they don’t allow smoking inside their restaurant.
4) Citizen Cain – Mediterranean food, great brunches, terrific price. A favorite hangout with
English teachers, Citizen Cain puts together a great mix of delicious food and relaxing atmosphere, with 2-for-1 pizzas every Monday.
5) Bongos – Great burgers and very laid-back atmosphere, reflecting of their Canadian owners. I especially love the bookshelves with tons of books you can browse on while you eat.
6) Flavor – Prefer something more “European” today? This small Swiss restaurant is located at the not-so-convenient San-Min Road is a true find. At around NT$500 a meal, you get a most delightful set of sweet and sour, auethentic meat balls that just melts in your mouth, plus some Swiss vodka.
7) Watami (HeMin) – Fusion Japanese dishes and hip alcoholic mixes that enhances the party atmosphere, visit Watami with groups of 6-8 to order more dish varieties. With branches popping all around Taipei at Taipei Main Station, Dunhua South Road, and Neo 19 (Coming Soon) among others, I highly recommend this for birthday parties that don’t burn a hole in your wallet. If you can go more upscale, I also recommend Dozo at Guangfu North Road, perfect for entertaining foreign clients you don’t really want to have serious conversations with.
8) Macaroni Grill – Pricey pastas given its size, but arguably the best salad in town. I almost always order the Chicken Florentine. Just don’t order the chicken caesar and you’re good to go.
9) Cusina Sabatini – Just right atmosphere, and heavenly caramel and almond ice cream! You won’t go wrong with this above-average classy restaurant at Chang-An Road.
10) 1010 Hunan Cuisine – Located at the 6th floor of the Eslite Building, 1010 doesn’t disappoint with its big-ass flavorful ribs whose meat just falls apart when you slice ’em, in addition to its huge variety of Hunan dishes. If you’re looking for a quick lunch that is sure to impress clients, 1010 is a pretty good place to take ’em. Better try their lychee drink as well — they’re tasty!
11) Herbs – Up in the rank of Cusina Sabatini, it’s a pretty good date place for guys who doesn’t want to burn up their wallets. Their fillet mignon’s pretty good for the price, but the ambience is the factor that counts Herbs as one of my favorite dining places to visit in Taipei.
12) AoBa – Good Taiwanese food, great service, expensive price. But if your clients demand to be taken to an authentic Taiwanese restaurant, AoBa’s just the place to go.
13) Italian Job – Just located right beside Alleycats in Yongkang Street, Italian Job’s a great place to dine with friends at good prices. Love their parmesan chicken roll at a very reasonable NT$290 an order, and their antipasti dish is terrif. What’s more, you can opt to order pizza from the neighboring Alleycats and eat it at the Italian Job’s patio!
14) Chili’s and Friday’s – First up, if you don’t mind the calories, Chili’s fried chicken is just GREAT. Too bad it’s too loud for intense, deep conversations. But for the perfect combo of food and drinks, Friday’s the place to go with its big-ass ultimate strawberry daiquiri is just the place to go. Oh, and you can order the BBQ chicken salad to go with it too. Yummy!
15) Gloucester (Neo 19) – My friends don’t really like their place, and admittedly, their other dishes need much improvement. But their Indonesian fried rice is still the best, and makes the visit worthwhile.
16) Dong Qu Fen Yen (Eastern Tapioca Balls) – Chewy Sweet Potatos Gluten Balls, Taro Gluten Balls, Black Tapioca Balls in Black Sweet Syrup at only NT$45! Mmmmm… need I say more?
17) Shilin’s Snow Iced Delight (Stall #250) – Ice Monster does not serve the best ice in Taipei. I swear, it’s this tiny stall at Shilin that brings home the cake. Order anything with Xue Bin (snow ice) and you won’t regret it. First bite, and you’re in icy heaven. I swear.
18) My friend just opened a new Japanese Ramen place called Le (Happy) Mien (Noodle) Wu (House) at #7, Lane 10, Yongkang street, Taipei (Tel: (02) 2395 1787). They’re not paying me for mentioning their name (heck, they don’t even know), but I swear, their beef rice and side dishes are wonderful. At NT$140 for a huge bowl, it’s a steal. So if you’re ever in the Yongkang area, that’s just the place to go.
19) Amigos – My friends don’t really like this place, but personally think it’s way better than Tequila Sunrise in the Taida area. Heck, with the lack of good Mexican places to eat in Taipei, I daresay, Amigos is prolly the best that you can get. Their fajitas are pretty good, though better to get the margaritas in Friday’s instead. Alcoholic content is pretty weak.
20) Tasty Steak – A popular food chain, I think they serve the most reasonable menu for a decent price, and their steak / ribs / chicken / etc. offer you one of the better meals you’ve had without really hurting your savings account.
There you go, my top 20 dining picks in Taipei. Please note that these are MY fave places to eat in, so if you have any negative reactions, just keep it to yourself. And if you’re wondering why I haven’t mention more popular eats like Din Dai Fong, the Diner, Lawries or Joyce East, well, it’s not that I haven’t tried them, I just don’t prefer them over the restaurants I’ve just mentioned earlier.
For example, with Din Dai Fong, personally, I think it’s overrated and expensive for what you get. But if you have guests in town, this is the place to take them to. It’s not everyday you get to dine in one of the world’s top 10 restaurants… even though the list came out 20 years ago (sometimes, I wonder when they’re going to update it). Their fried rice is pretty good though.
The Diner’s meat loaf is pretty good, but their brunch serving’s pretty small and looks a bit dry. As for Joyce East, my god, for NT$2,000++ a head, I’d rather go to Ruth’s Chris instead.
Yes, I’ve been to the cheap and to the pricey, and cost does not make a meal better or not. But this is my list, so I get to decide which to include. However, if you can recommend some new restaurants to me, bring it on! Would always be open to try out fresh dining places in Taipei!
Who knows, next time I come up with a new list, they’ll be included too!