I have said many a’ time that eating is a national past time in Taiwan. There is no shortage of Taipei restaurants to choose from, and you can find everything from simple Taiwanese street food dishes to five-star international cuisine all over the city.
Eating out in Taipei is a lot of fun, and while it’s rare occurrence for me to stumble across a restaurant that I don’t like, it can still be tough to find restaurants that will blow your mind with their creativity and delicious offerings. These are the best restaurants in Taipei, in our opinion, at least the ones we happen to love.
This American-style burger joint offers the best burgers in Taipei, in our humble opinion. We know, because we’ve tried most of them, and while there are some truly excellent burger restaurants in Taipei, Bravo Burger has been our reigning champ for the past three years. Their burgers are thick, juicy and well seasoned, and they’ve mastered the art of offering the perfect bun with their burgers.
Taiwan isn’t well known for its American food, but if it’s a gourmet burger experience that you’re seeking, look no further! Bravo Burger has been so successful over the past four years, they’ve opened three branches in Taipei, and they’re ALWAYS busy. Meals are reasonably priced at NT$240-NT$350 including a side and drink. They’ve got a wide range of burgers from traditional classics like their bacon cheeseburger to unusual concoctions such as their peanut butter burger. They also offer great milkshakes.
Located at: No. 13, Lane 24, Section, Roosevelt Road, Taipei at Gongguan MRT Exit 4, No. 2, Lane 140, Section 3, Minquan E. Road, Taipei at Zhongshan Jr. High School MRT Station, and No. 72, Section 4, Civic Boulevard, Taipei at Zhongxiao Xinsheng MRT Exit 1. Featured photo to the left: Bravo’s Jumbo Burger.
Beer & Cheese Social House
We’ve recently discovered Beer and Cheese Social House, and we love the food and the cool atmosphere. Oh, and the MASSIVE SELECTION OF CRAFT BEER! Owned by Shawn Kidd, a fellow Canadian and beer lover, Beer and Cheese Social House is a much needed addition to Taipei’s pub scene.
Each beer special, known as a flight, features three types of beer and three hand-picked artisanal cheese pairings. They also have a tasty selection of artisan sandwiches. Their pretzels are pretty yummy too! Prices at Beer & Cheese are affordable, although some of the artisan beers on the menu are a bit pricey. We think it’s worth the price, though, since you can’t get these beers anywhere else in Taiwan.
House pints are available for as little as NT$220, and you can score a one liter bottle of beer on Big Beer Tuesdays for NT$300. Keep an eye on their Facebook page. They hold events regularly.
Located at: No. 169, Section 2, Jiànguó South Rd, Daan District Taipei City at DaAn Park or Technology Building Station
Berliner Bar, Bistro, and Bakery
This is German cuisine done right! The Berliner Bar, Bistro and Bakery is located just off Civic Boulevard. They’re tough to find though, online and in person, but I promise that it’s worth the search time!
This is one of our favorite restaurants in Taipei because they offer pure comfort food. Berliner offers a wide variety of German breads, and their weinersnichzel is excellent. We usually go for their sausage combo, which is served on a wooden board with two types of German bread and spread, alongside an iron skillet with sausages that are smothered in sauerkraut and mashed potatoes or fries.
Located at: No.22, Alley 40, Lane 181, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road, Da’an District
Calcutta Indian Food
Indian food can be expensive in Taiwan, but Calcutta is very affordable and they offer good value for the price. Calcutta has recently moved to a new location in Ximen. They operate out of a food court, but they have a full-scale restaurant that serves an excellent array of Indian favorites. The restaurant is owned by a brother-sister team who lived in Bengal City. Dishes are priced between NT$190 and NT$280. Our favorites are the vegetarian daal, butter chicken, and the chicken vindaloo, but I’ve tried pretty much everything on the menu and it’s all good!
Located at: 70 Xi Ning South Road (B1-2) in Ximending, Taipei
Din Tai Fung
Din Tai Fung is known all over the world now, thanks to its famous xiaolongbao and dumpling recipes. You’ll find Din Tai Fung franchises in places like Los Angeles, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, but we bet you didn’t know that it got its humble beginnings in Taipei. The restaurant is so popular, even Tom Cruise had to give it a try when he visited Taiwan in the summer of 2013!
Soup dumplings and dumplings are on order here, and at any given time, you’ll see a team of cooks in Din Tai Fung’s open concept kitchens pumping out handmade dumplings at a frantic pace.
We like Din Tai Fung because it’s cheap and delicious, and we know our food will be served piping hot and made to order. Plus, it’s always a quick meal. They don’t take reservations though, and it’s not uncommon to have to wait for your table for up to an hour if you arrive between during lunch hour or dinner hour. Lucky for us, they’ve got several locations throughout the city of Taipei. Taiwanese dumplings from Din Tai Fung featured to the left.
Located at: Various locations throughout Taipei, including Taipei 101, SOGO Fuxing, and Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT.
Dozo Izakaya Dining Bar
Dozo is an upscale Japanese beer hall that is beautifully decorated. It’s one of the trendiest places in town, the service is terrific, and the food can’t be beat. The menu is stocked with yummy treats like meat skewers, seafood dishes, and sushi rolls, but our favorite is the Seven Spice Flavored Tun, which is served cold with romaine lettuce.
We only go to Dozo once or twice a year because their dishes aren’t cheap. Dinner for two will probably set you back at least NT$2,000-NT$3,000, but it’s certainly worth visiting at least once while you’re in Taipei! Photo featured on the right.
Located at: Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall Station.
Vegetarians in Taipei surely rejoice over the massive salad bar at Dressed. The cafeteria-style restaurant offer giant salads and sandwiches, yummy soups and healthy smoothies. Sandwiches and salads are made to order, or you can choose from a delightful array of fresh produce and vegetables.
Plates of salad greens can be tough to find in Taipei, but Dressed has you covered with 18 chef-designed salads or you can build your own salad and add toppings like baby spinach, arugula, goat cheese, avocados or dried cranberries. They also feature a great selection of wraps and artisan sandwiches. I’m a big fan of their Ultimate Turkey sandwich.
The prices here aren’t cheap, but it isn’t any more expensive than the prices you’ll see at a full scale restaurant or bar. I personally think the prices are worth it, considering there’s nothing else in Taipei quite like Dressed.
Located at: No. 169 Anhe Rd, Sec. 2 near Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT Station
We haven’t been visiting Galerie Bistro as much since they stopped offering their Saturday brunch menu, but it’s still a nice place to visit if you’re looking for a place that offers a beautiful ambience and tastefully decorated plates of food.
Galerie Bistro offers a mix of American, French and Italian cuisines at a unique location in the alleys of Nanjing West Road. The restaurant is situated in a three-story mansion that was built during the Japanese occupation in the 1930s. There’s also a gorgeous enclosed patio and garden with comfortable chairs and sun umbrellas.The star attraction here though, is the food. Their Reuben sandwich and California grilled chicken melt are served with a good portion of thin-cut French fries garnished in garlic and cheese. The crepes are also one of our favorites. If you’re looking for a more upscale dining experience, you can splurge on roast beef and Fine de Claire oysters imported from France.
Located at: #2, Ln 25, Nanjing W Rd, Taipei City
Japanese bbq restaurants in Taipei are fairly ubiquitous, and they’re all pretty much the same in regards to menu items and pricing. We like Hinomai Yakinuki on Civic Boulevard because we’ve been going there since 2006 and they know us.
They’ve got a great selection of meat and vegetables for you to grill, and they offer an all-you-can-drink-beer special that our guests always enjoy. This is where we take friends and colleagues when they’re new to Asia and they’ve never had a personal grilling experience. The free Haagen-Daaz ice cream at the end of the meal also tops things off nicely too.
Located at: #157 at Civic Boulevard, Taipei
Juanita’s Burritos and Tacos
There used to be a time when Mexican food was impossible to find in Taipei, but recent years have seen an explosion of Mexican style restaurants opening up. We think Juanita’s offers the best food at the best prices. You’ll find burritos, burrito bowls, salads, tacos and nachos on their menu, with a number of toppings to choose from. Grilled chicken and steak are options for those who like a little flavor, but the real heroes of this menu are the spicy pork carnitas and the beef barbacoa. I really like their chunky guacamole and homemade nacho chips, while John usually opts for the chili cheese nachos.
Located at: No. 51-1, Lane 160, Section 1, Dūnhuà South Rd, Daan District, Taipei City
Opa! Greek Taverna
When we told our son Caleb that Opa! serves flaming cheese, his eyes grew as round as saucers. We took him that night and he enjoyed his meal so much, it become our go-to restaurant this summer. Taipei has been traditionally lacking in good Mediterranean cuisine, but not anymore. Opa offers large portions of traditional Greek dishes at very modest prices.
The menu is extensive, offering a great variety of dips, appetizers, salads, gryos, souvlaki, and my absolute favorite: their home made moussaka. Opa! has bechamel sauce down to a science, and this is what keeps me coming back for more. Since the portions are generous, this is a great restaurant to share at.
Located at: #51, Lane 240, Guangfu S Rd, Taipei City
When I want Vietnamese pho, this is where I go. I’ve tried a number of pho dishes in Taipei, but Pho Hao is exceptionally good. Judging from the number of visitors there each time I go, I’d say that others agree. This place is always packed! The prices are very reasonable, and they’re one of the few Vietnamese restaurants in town that use skinny rice noodles rather than wide rice noodles. Their broth is also bursting with flavor, good down to the last drop! There are a number of different kinds of pho on offer at Pho Hao. Try your pho wet or dry, with or without meat. We promise you’ll love it!
Located at: No. 43, Lane 190, Section 1, Dūnhuà South Rd, Daan District, Taipei City at Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT
There are many takes on sushi restaurants in Taipei, but there’s only one NCISushi. The dishes are fantastic and you get excellent value for your money. This is our new favorite restaurant for 2014. We visited back in November 2013, and we raved about the Salmon-licious and seared tuna to anyone who would listen until we got back to Taipei in January. Since then, we’ve been back twice! NCI stands for Northern Californian Inspired, and the sushi dishes here are some of the best and most unique dishes we’ve had in Taiwan.
Located near: Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT Station.
This restaurant is one of my favorites and it seems to be one of Taipei’s best kept secrets. It also happens to be owned by my good friends Tamin and Rachel Wang. We would eat at Tamin’s Place a couple times a month if they were closer to Banciao, but since we can’t, we always know we’re in for a treat whenever we visit.
Owner and head chef Tamin Wang serves specialty dishes such as his signature mentiko mushrooms, bbq-ed pork jowl, crispy tofu skin and grilled mackerel, as well as traditional rice dishes and udon noodles. His prices are VERY affordable. Tamin’s mentiko mushrooms are pictured to the right.
Located at: No 23, Alley 6, Lane 621, Zhongshan District, Taipei
Thai Beer House in Ximen
This tiny family-owned restaurant is pretty much a mainstay in Taipei. It’s been around for as long as I’ve been visiting, and I’ve been going since 2006!
The lady who runs this Thai-Taiwanese fusion restaurant has been there for ages, and anyone who has been to Ximen probably knows where her restaurant is located. If you don’t, walk behind the Red House Theater and look for the Bear Bar. The Thai Beer House is located next to it. It has a Korean restaurant on the other side, and you’ll know it by the colorful photos of food pasted on the front doors.
Thai Beer House offers an English menu, and their staff mostly speak English. They offer a great mix of Thai and Taiwanese dishes, and the beer is cheap. I think they serve the best Pad Thai in town. They also make a mean spicy fried chicken breast.
Located behind the Red House Theater in Ximending.
If you’re a sandwich lover, you’ll LOVE Toasteria.
Taipei’s Home for Grilled Cheese, offers an astonishing array of grilled panini sandwiches. You won’t find Diet Coke, skim milk, or no low fat cheese at any Toasteria locations in Taipei. They only serve the good stuff!
From basic grilled cheese paninis to their pork Cubano, you’ll find over 40 panini sandwiches to choose from, all grilled to perfection and served with Toasteria’s signature fries and mustard sauce. The Cubano at Toasteria is featured on the right.
Located at: Toasteria has several locations throughout Taipei. Their flagship shop is at Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT Station.
VVG Bistro brings its patrons a unique dining experience flush with local produce and homemade recipes that are sure to knock your socks off. Bistro is one of six VVG establishments owned by Grace Wang, and each location is beautifully decorated, making your dining experience a truly special one.
I like VVG Bistro’s brunch specials best. Their rustic plate of Eggs Benedict drizzled in Hollandaise sauce, their chicken roulade and their pasta dishes are all excellent. If you’re lucky, they’ll have their chocolate and marshmallow fudge cake on display. Good cake can be hard to find in Taipei, so I always buy a few slices whenever I’m near VVG Bistro.
Whether you sit on the outdoor patio or inside its kitschy interior, VVG Bistro offers you a unique dining experience and Very Very Good food.
Located at: #20, Alley 40, Lane 181, Zhongxiao E Rd, Sec 4, Taipei at Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT Station
The Canadian in me really, really loves Whalen’s poutines. This is closest thing to authentic poutine that you can get in Taipei. All they’re missing are the cheese curds!
Whalen’s is a classic Canadian diner that serves up old-school cooking in the Da’An District. The owner makes everything from scratch, and if it’s not on the menu, he’ll do his best to make sure you get what you want. We recommend the Classic Canadian Poutine or the Lumberjack Poutine if you’re nursing a hangover. Other menu favorites are Whalen’s Cheeseburger and his breakfast skillets. The portions are extra-large, so bring your appetite!
Located at: No. 145, Section 2, Anhe Rd., Daan District