In Taipei, what starts out as an intrepid adventure of aromas, textures, colours and tastes at the food stalls in the night markets gets even more intriguing as one starts exploring delectable dishes at some of the meticulously clean, creative, artistic and warm restaurants spread across the city. Every cuisine finds a home here, reflecting the cosmopolitan nature of the folks inhabiting it.
Anzu One of the best places to get crispy, delicious Tonkatsu or breaded fried pork cutlet prepared Japanese style is Anzu. This joint makes exceptionally good Tonkatsu topped with mushrooms, grated radish and scallions. One can also try the well-prepared vegetable and shrimp platter and wash it down with a chilled Japanese beer or some cold saké. Anzu, No. 63, Nanjing E Road, Section 2, Taipei City (+886 2 2701 0298; www.anzu.com.tw)
AoBa A popular favourite among the locals, AoBa offers interpretations of some popular Taiwanese delicacies like Steamed scallops with tofu, Chicken with sautéed leeks, Seasoned rice pot, Egg omelet with pickled radish in an elegant, upscale contemporary environment and moderate pricing. AoBa, Section 1, Da-an District, FuXing South Road, Taipei City (+886 2 8772 1109; www.aoba.com.tw)
Faust Pizza Lounge This tiny place—an easy walk from the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall—essentially serves thin crust pizza along with beer. With a minimalist interior, this popular hangout is great place for casual dining. Besides Margarita and Hawaiian, Faust also serves Frankfurter sausage and Roma pizzas. Faust Pizza Lounge, No. 502-1, Section 4 Rén'ài Road, Xìnyì District, Taipei City (+886 2 2758 7687)
FiFi Tea House and Lounge This modern Chinese cuisine restaurant—owned by fashion and interior designer Isabelle Wen—is close to Taipei 101 (the city’s landmark skyscraper). The ground floor is a market showcasing Wen’s latest designs and styles, followed by a café on the next floor and the restaurant on the top level. Some of the recommended dishes are the Hunan double cooked eggs, Poached chicken with scallions and ground peanuts, Fried pumpkin with asparagus, and Ma Po tofu. FiFi Tea House and Lounge, 15, Rén'ài Road, Section 4, 2-3F, Taipei (+886 2 2721 1970)
Forchetta This upscale restaurant is the brainchild of Max Tseng, a Taiwanese chef associated with several other well-known eateries in Taipei. He is also credited with creating the interiors of the place along with the details of the menu and what comes to the table. One can choose Italian, French or Spanish dishes and each comes in a unique presentation. Some of the menu favourites include Linguini with clams and white wine sauce, Mushroom and mozzarella pizza, and Roasted foie gras with fig sauce tapas. Forchetta, No. 4, Alley 127, Anho Road, Section 1, Taipei City (+886 2 2707-7776)
La Caja de Musica Started by a couple of Spanish expats—Hernando and Del Cura—this eatery, near the Museum of Contemporary Art, also entertains its clients with live music played by the talented duo every Friday. Among the highly recommended dishes are Tortilla de Patata (potato omelet), Sepia de la Plancha (pan seared calamari), Paella and La Morcilla (blood sausages). La Caja de Musica, Chang An west Road, Lane 138, Alley 3, Number 18, Taipei City (+886 9 2088 5996)
Mindong A craving for spicy Kimchi sauce and tangy simmering hot pots can be easily satisfied at Mindong—a popular and well-established Korean restaurant often visited by local celebrities. Some of the frequently requested dishes include Tofu and seafood hotpot, Kimchi pork roll, Korean pancakes and Ginseng chicken soup. Don’t expect to have a cozy quiet meal here, as Mindong is where people come to mingle and talk…sometimes at high decibels. Mindong, 4, Alley 5, Lane 107, FuXing S Road, Section 1, Taipei City (886 2 2773 6949)
Saffron Fine Indian Cuisine This popular Indian cuisine restaurant is located in an upscale neighborhood close to the Shin-Kong Mitsukoshi department store. It offers a very wide variety of Indian dishes. Jhinga Panaji (Goan prawns), Chicken tikka saffron, Elaichi ka bhuna gosht (marinated lamb cooked with cardamom) and Saag paneer (cottage cheese chunks cooked in blended spinach gravy) are some of the outstanding choices on the menu. Saffron Fine Indian Cuisine, 38-6, TianMu E Road, Taipei City (+886 2 2871 4842; http://saffronfineindiancuisine.net)
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