For a modern twist on European cuisine, stop by the well-known VG Café. Upon entering, diners will instantly notice the artsy and vintage vibe of the place, with book-laden shelves lining the walls, modern art pieces hanging throughout, and a plush leather sofa tucked off to the side. It’s the kind of place where visitors can lounge quietly with a book or chat with friends over a cup of coffee. As for the menu, diners will find a variety of lattes, teas, cocktails, and entrees. The food is well-crafted and includes classic dishes like club sandwiches, spaghetti with scallops in arugula pesto sauce, and roasted chicken with veggies. The cafe is open until 2am, so diners can lounge until late.
Lauded as one of the top 101 restaurants in Asia by The Daily Meal, MUME serves up Western fusion in its beautifully innovative dishes. Owned by three young chefs hailing from Australia, the U.S, and Hong Kong, the restaurant’s decor is modern and casual, with an open layout that exudes refined elegance. While the ambiance is inviting, it’s the food that has earned MUME its reputation. Crafted from local and seasonal ingredients, each dish is perfectly executed and aesthetically pleasing. Try the beef tartar and the Cocoa Crisp dessert.
MUME, No. 28, Siwei Rd, Da’an District, Taipei, Taiwan +886 2 2700 0901
Serving up haute cuisine in the heart of Taipei is Ephernite, a French restaurant that has made an impression with its chic dining experience. The restaurant currently does dinner only, with a set menu crafted from local and seasonal ingredients. Every course is presented beautifully, with an acute attention to detail down to the artful sauce placement. Ephernite hosts only one seating per night, so diners can linger after their meal and not feel rushed to finish. Reservations can be made online.
Watch out for: the authentic French dining experience
Roots Creative is a New American venue that has joined the ranks of restaurants bringing modernized cooking styles to Taipei’s dining scene. Modern and understated, the restaurant’s layout is small with an open kitchen, so diners can watch the chefs hard at work. Ingredients are fresh and seasonal, and each dish presents a bold interplay of flavors. Dishes to try include the pancetta salad, the clams in green curry, and the chocolate soufflé with ginger ice cream. The food at Roots Creative exudes passion, creativity and quality.
Qin Jia Bing Dian
Qin Jia Bing Dian is famous in Taipei for its Shandong-style pancakes. Native to Shandong province in Eastern China, these crepe-thin pastries are fried on a griddle and then typically topped with green onions and chives. This place crafts the pancakes from cold dough and fries them to perfection. Diners will also want to try the restaurant’s jiu cai he zi, a savory fried pastry that resembles an empanada. The chewy pastry is stuffed with leeks and glass noodles, and the simple yet flavorful concoction is addictive. Fortunately, the pastries can be had for cheap, so diners can go back for seconds (or thirds!) without breaking the bank.
Brookhurst Seafood Bar
Seafood-lovers can eat their fill at Brookhurst Seafood Bar. The place is essentially a Cajun seafood boil, with diners able to choose from an array of seafood including shrimp, scallops, lobster, and crab. The concoction is boiled and served in a bag topped with a flavorful sauce of the diner’s choosing, with spice levels ranging from ‘Non-Spicy’ to ‘I Dare You’. The food is fresh, satisfying, and deliciously messy. But don’t worry; the restaurant provides bibs so diners can get their hands dirty worry-free.
Nonzero is a rustic, homey spot that strives to provide ‘honest good food.’ This humble culinary approach derives from the restaurant’s mission to support organic farmers, be transparent to customers, and inspire human connection through food. The restaurant’s eclectic cooking style is a harmonious joining of various cuisines from around the world. Opened in 2007, the restaurant was named one of the top 101 restaurants in Asia by The Daily Meal and is an ideal pick for diners craving comfort food.
Lovers of Vietnamese pho, the famous noodle soup dish, will want to pay a visit to Cyclo. The restaurant’s decor is colorful and modern, with humorous images of the restaurant’s cow mascot adorning the walls. After finding a seat, diners can peruse the paper menus and create their own personalized pho by marking the ingredients they want. Non-noodle options include Vietnamese egg rolls and spring rolls, as well as rice meals that come with vegetables and a choice of meat.
Ben Shabu Shabu
Shabu-shabu is a famous Japanese dish quite similar to Chinese hot pot. The dish is eaten communally, as diners gather around a pot of boiling water or broth and cook vegetables and thinly sliced meat. For shabu-shabu in Daan, check out Ben Shabu Shabu, a high-end Japanese venue. Diners can opt for the set meal options, which feature premium meat choices and seafood – the crab is particularly good here – as well as a host of fresh vegetables. The variety of seating options accommodates everyone, with solo dining available at the bar, small tables set for couples, and larger tables for big groups.
Diners in the mood for some hearty Italian fare can head over to Bianco Taipei. Casual yet classy, this spot offers up delicious and high-quality dishes. Diners can choose from the wide selection of risottos and pastas or they can opt for one of the set menus. The sets are quite filling and feature a starter, salad and soup, two courses, dessert, and a drink. Anyone interested in something a bit lighter can sample the afternoon tea set, available Monday through Friday.