My problem in Taipei + Solo Pasta

10.24.2010 § 2

KC. I'm going to tell you straight up - one of the best things about Taipei is the food.

I am not exaggerating at all, not even a bit. So far, I've only blogged about street food, but what I'm talking about is the abundant amount of options to simply dine here. Street food is merely one very inexpensive and convenient option. Start factoring in small homely restaurants opened by a sweet couple, popular franchises that line up every brightly lit street, cozy tea houses that you can chat in as loudly as you want, small but delicious eateries that only word of mouth can bring you there, and upscale restaurants that are worth every dollar. It's amazing how there are so many restaurants here with every cuisine and every price point possible. Can't imagine it? I wouldn't be able to either if I were you.

This is the picture I'm trying to paint: Taipei is filled with rows and rows of alleyways, little roads one after another, most of which are occupied by restaurants of one cuisine or another, one for every price level possible. Each one looks so tempting to try, so you find yourself walking around these alleyways, pondering which one to go into for today's meal. The only problem is you have only one stomach.

Money isn't a problem because food is ridiculously cheap here. Yeah, that's right - ridiculously cheap. On campus, the food ranges from $60 - $120 NT for a complete meal. This roughly translates to $2 - 3 CAD for a meal set includes main entree, drink and sometimes bread/soup. If you go off-campus to eat, the range becomes higher, around $100 - $300 NT usually for a regular restaurant = $3.33 - $10 CAD. And if you're paying $300 NT for a meal, consider yourself dining at a fairly nice place already. Yes, for $10 CAD you're already dining at a restaurant pleasant enough for a date. Don't forget that you usually don't need to pay tips either. Of course, there are also expensive restaurants here, but I'm just talking about the regular restaurants that line up the streets of Taipei.

So you see my problem? As a Toronto-based foodie, finding a good restaurant is my usual problem. Here in Taipei, finding room in my stomach is my dilemma.

This is not a gloating entry of the food bliss I found in Taipei, but an introduction to dining in Taipei, to what to expect when you live in Taipei.

Actually, my new problem is getting better and healing this throat so I can start my eating mission again. And what's there to do better when you're trying to get better than blog!

Solo Pasta is one of the first places JC took me to on a weekend last month when we wanted to reward ourselves by indulging in a slightly more expensive meal.

A nice, romantic Italian restaurant near Zhongxiaodunhua 忠孝敦化 station. Perfect for a date!

I love restaurants with chalkboards for walls. Love the idea and the endless creativity you can do with it.

The glowing people in the center is actually the kitchen. They are so amazing that they glow har har.

An Italian restaurant hence pasta, pasta, pasta! Each plate twice the price of my usual dinner cost. Awesome.

And the entire time traveling here and even when we arrived, JC couldn't stop raving about their Smoked Duck Breast in Balsamic Cream Sauce with Spaghetti. She claims she even dreams of it sometimes. Of course, I had to order it too and attest to it myself.

I took this photo when we were waiting for our entrees to arrive. Love the little shapes on the utensils. I remember seeing something similar on the utensils of the Agnes B. restaurant in Hong Kong.

And here's the pasta in all its glory.

Smaller portions than usual but scrumptious. I must confess - I have never been wow-ed by pasta before, never. Pasta was always alright, nothing I would crave for. While this pasta didn't exactly make me piss my pants from its deliciousness, but it was damn good. The duck breast was smoked nicely, a little chewy for texture. The little brown pieces are bacon bits that I actually didn't enjoy too much. But what was commendable was how the balsamic cream sauce coated each strand of pasta perfectly, not too much sauce that it was like soup nor not enough either. Just perfect. Although I find balsamic sauce usually bitter (especially on salads), this cream sauce version had no such taste. Delicious!

Then we ordered a serving of Tiramisu to share. Because we are girls after all.

This is just a picture to recall how my camera told me to turn the flash on for this snapshot. I trusted you GF1, but you were wrong, very wrong.

Tiramisu - dusted heavily with cocoa powder over a creamy mixture of mascarpone cheese and mild taste of alcohol.

Love the creaminess of the mascarpone cheese, however I didn't like the bottom crust which was like a soggy cookie.

Our bill in the end. $330 NT per person = $11 CAD. Worth every dollar.

A cute shot I snapped upon exiting - no hamburgers allowed inside! :)

Solo Pasta. MMM. We totally recommend it.

Solo Pasta, Cucina Italiana
PRICE: $220 - $300 NT for pasta (~$10 CAD)
LOCATION: 台北市安和路一段29-1號
NUMBER: (02) 2775-3645
BY MTR: Exit 4 of Zhongxiaodunhua station 忠孝敦化站

Google Streetview doesn't go into all the little alleyways in Taipei so the next best alternative is this little map on their business card. The blue/green icon represents the Zhongxiaodunhua subway station Exit 4 and the red snail marks Solo Pasta's location.

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