Restaurant Review: Bagel Bagel

Don’t let the name Bagel Bagel fool you.

When my colleagues and I heard the name, we felt a tad disappointed — it doesn’t seem to be the type of restaurant that your newly-promoted colleague should treat you to dinner. At best, the image reminds me of NY Bagels, a good hang-out place, but too casual for a celebratory dinner.

But Bagel Bagel is full of surprises.

From the moment you reach Long Jiang Street, you wonder if you’re in the right area. This doesn’t seem to be an upper-class dining area. In fact, you’ve wondered if you took a wrong turn and ended up in one of Taipei’s oldest residential area. There’s not even a sign that says Bagel Bagel.

But you check the address and realize that you’re in the right place. Located in No. 11, Lane 229, Long Jiang Street, Taipei, Bagel Bagel IS in the middle of the residential area.

You look at the number — No. 11 — and you ring the doorbell. A server opens the door and asks if you have a reservation. Bagel Bagel only accepts reservations you see, with a menu that changes seasonally and depending on what’s available in the kitchen.

You nod and I give my colleagues’ name — Bingo! She has a reservation!

We are led into a quaint Spanish-like 2-storey house, with European antiques surrounding the interior. It reminds me of old houses in Manila, and candles are lit everywhere, giving a surprisingly romantic and oldish feel to the place:

Depending on the number of guests, there are small tables, round tables…

… and long tables:
For a small house, it’s a pretty big place. The second floor even features a homey patio where you can smoke and relax:

Ambience-wise, I give Bagel Bagel 5 stars. It’s a great place to bring your significant other for a date or anniversary. The candles exude the right amount of romance, the surroundings are quaint and the setting distinct from the usual commercial restaurants in Taipei.

We take a seat and start with the food. Of course, what else do we eat but the seafood salad:

The sauce is tangeriney and the salad contains bits of Japanese eel. It’s delicious but slightly ordinary. It feels as if the type of salad you can eat in cheaper restaurants such as Skylark, minus the eel. However, it’s a nice start to a good dinner. I give around 2.5 stars.

The starter was next. This time, we were served a huge prawn each with orange sauce. The prawn was cooked to perfection, soft on the inside, but crisp in the outside:

Check out how it’s perfectly cooked. Definitely around 4 stars.

I finish everything save for the shell. If you’re in Manila, you may think it’s no big deal, but coming from Taiwan where it’s harder to find fresh seafood, you appreciate the dish for what it is.

Next comes the soup — mushroom, the easiest to prepare, and yet Bagel Bagel gets it wrong. The soup is a bit weak and feels like water. It’s not too frothy. I think the best mushroom soup I’ve ever had was in La Petite, a French restaurant near the Linsen area. Now, that’s mushroom soup! With enough cream and froth, topped with truffle flakes. But I digress, we’re talking about Bagel Bagel here, and I give the soup a 1.5 stars.

One good thing about the soup is the dish itself, which is slightly tilted. My boss was so impressed with the soup bowl that he wanted to take one home! However, still doesn’t change the fact that the soup was disappointing.

The chicken pesto pasta fared a bit better, and the noodles are chewy enough. The white wine you drink complements the dish. I’d probably give this dish 2.5 stars.

Ah, and finally the main course. And of course, being the steak lover, given a choice of fried fish or steak, I order the steak — and it’s beautiful:

The meat is tender and falls easily as you slice a small piece. The side vegetables are good too, and a terrific complement to the steak.

Hmmmm… real tender,” my boss says. I agree, the meat is soft, but a bit too soft.

It’s hard to say but regardless how delicious the steak may be, I still think that Ruth’s Chris and Sonoma Teppanyaki serve better steak. I like steaks that are slightly hard outside, yet melts in your mouth. It shows more character, while Bagel Bagel steaks fall away, as if it’s too tender, too weak.

Regardless, it’s still a good piece of steak. So I give it 4 stars.

So steak-wise, not bad, but not that best I’ve eaten in Taipei. The size is a bit smaller as well, so please don’t be fooled by the pictures.

Coffee was so-so, but then again, there’s not a lot of places that serve spectacular coffee. However, one thing about Bagel Bagel, their dessert is fantastic!

I think we were served strawberry mousse in strawberry syrup and white chocolate pieces. I tell you, this was the highlight of the entire meal, and probably one of the best desserts I’ve had in a long time.

The mousse was just the right amount of sweetness and the sauces perfectly complemented its sweetness. Definitely a 5-star treat! 🙂

I finished every bit of the dessert, and though I know I was going to regret it afterwards, I felt it was totally worth it.

So food-wise, here’s the summary:

Salad: 2.5 stars
Shrimp starter: 4 stars
Soup: 1.5 stars
Pasta: 2.5 stars
Steak: 3.5 to 4 stars
Dessert: 5.5 stars

Overall, going to Bagel Bagel is a rare treat. Cost per head was around NT$1,800 + 10% tax, so it’s not that cheap nor too expensive.

So if you guys are looking for a place to impress a date, with a setting where you can share intimate conversations and decent food (the wine is so-so), Bagel Bagel is the place to go. Here’s the information about the place:

Bagel Bagel
#11, Lane 229, Longjiang Rd, Taipei (台北市龍江路229巷11號)
Telephone: (02) 2508 1601

Other article:

And yeah, let me know if you share my opinion on it as well! More reviews to come on some other places I’ve been this week. God, should go on a diet very soon!

Happy eating!

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4 thoughts on “Restaurant Review: Bagel Bagel

  1. Hi, Rave, how’ve you been? I miss you! Anyways, everytime you post a picture of a sumptuous meal, you really make me drool here, hehehe.

    Thanks for taking the time to update your blog despite your busy schedule. It’s nice to see new blog everytime I visit your site.

    Keep it up Rave and more power to you! Cheers

  2. so interesting!! the pesto pasta looked kind of nasty and the steak looked good, but i don’t like soft steak either! was it more taiwan style food or french style or western style? it seemed like a mix.

  3. Yeah, really getting hard to do some updates John. So many things to do and so little time. But I still try. Life is so good to keep to oneself, and it’s somehow like my diary. I look at my past entries and wonder how far I’ve gone since I started 2 years ago. 🙂 Thanks for reading! I know my posts can get long and boring.

    JoanH, you’re right. Soft can be fake steak. Just add cornflower and salt I think. I prefer it a bit tough and chewy. See Toscana entry for my type of steak. 🙂

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