italian: papa gio’ (喬爸爸義大利美食餐廳)

date september 08, 2011

contact No. 22, Alley 6, Ln. 170, Sec. 4, Zhongxiao E. Rd., Daan District, Taipei City/台北市大安區忠孝東路四段170巷6弄22號/02.2711.8720

hours 7 days a week [lunch] 11:30-14:00 :: [dinner] 18:00-22:00

price 300NT-600NT (plus 10% service charge)

rating ♥♥♥ (4 out of 5 hearts)

nearest mrt Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT (捷運忠孝敦化站)

website http://www.papagio.com.tw/ (Chinese and English)

My fellow food loving food blogger friend Estella planned a lovely dinner at Papa Gio’ a few weeks ago. A lot of my friends complain about how hard it is to find good authentic Italian food in Taipei and I agree. Estella told me that the chef at Papa Gio’ is actually Italian and specializes in making authentic homestyle Italian food.

Papa Gio’ is located right out of Exit 5 of Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT (忠孝敦化).

I feel like it’s always a good thing when you walk into a restaurant and people of that country’s cuisine are there. There were a lot of Italian’s at Papa Gio’, so on first glance I knew that this place had to be at least decent. I would recommend reservations before going to Papa Gio’. We went on a Thursday night, and while when we arrived it was empty, it quickly filled. Papa Gio’ has a good amount of seating and a few “private” rooms. I say “private” because there are several tables inside these rooms, but they are rooms with doors that close. Being a bunch of loud obnoxious American’s, they ended up closing the door to the room we were in.

The menu at Papa Gio’ is in Italian, Chinese, and English. There are no pictures, but there are descriptions of all the dishes. Estella had been to Papa Gio’ several times before and recommended that we get items from the “handmade special pasta” section. As a table we decided to get a few appetizers to split on top of the entrees we each got. All together we ordered:
– Calamari e Seppioline in Umido alla Veneta su Crostone di Pane (威尼斯風格燉小墨魚佐麵包片/Small squid and small cuttlefish in Venetian style with bread crouton) 300NT
– Carpaccio di Manzo con Grana (義式生牛肉佐洋菇及芝麻菜/Thin slices of beef fillet topped with parmesan cheese, button mushrooms, extra virgin olive oil, and rocket salad in Italian style) 350NT
– Penne alla Cubana (辣味番茄蘑菇筆管麵/Penne with tomato sauce, fresh mushrooms, in spicy cream sauce) 280NT
– Lasagna alla Bolognese (手工肉醬千層麵/Homemade pasta layered with meat sauce and bechamel sauce) 400NT
– Ravioli di Manzo al Burro e Salvia (手工義式牛肉餃/Dumpling filled with minced meat, butter, sage, and parmesan cheese) 400NT
– Ravioli di Zucca al Burro e Salvia (手工義式南瓜餃/Dumpling filled with pumpkin in sage cream sauce) 400NT
– Spaghetti alla Vongole (白酒蛤蜊麵/Spaghetti with clams in white wine sauce, garlic, and basil) 280NT
– Heineken 140NT

Ron decided we should get the Calamari e Seppioline in Umido alla Veneta su Crostone di Pane (威尼斯風格燉小墨魚佐麵包片/Small squid and small cuttlefish in Venetian style with bread crouton)  for  300NT. I thought this was pretty good. The squid was really tender and the tomato sauce had good flavor. The portion is pretty small for 300NT though.

Candice picked the Carpaccio di Manzo con Grana (義式生牛肉佐洋菇及芝麻菜/Thin slices of beef fillet topped with parmesan cheese, button mushrooms, extra virgin olive oil, and rocket salad in Italian style) for 350NT. I thought this was pretty good. Everything tasted fresh and as long as you didn’t get a piece with too much seasoning it was pretty well balanced. I did, however, get a piece or two where the combination of everything kind of wiped out the beef taste, but either way, it was still pretty tasty.

Candice ordered the Penne alla Cubana (辣味番茄蘑菇筆管麵/Penne with tomato sauce, fresh mushrooms, in spicy cream sauce) for 280NT. This was under the “pasta classica” section of the menu. The pasta in this section is not made in house, which is probably why it is significantly cheaper than the “homemade special pasta”. I had a bite and thought it was pretty average. Let me rephrase, average for Italian in the US, better than average for Italian in Taipei. I thought it had a good amount of spice and thought the sauce tasted pretty good. I think most people complain that pasta sauce in Taiwan is too watered down, particularly tomato sauces. The pasta sauce at Papa Gio’ is not like that, it’s the kind of “thick” sauce we all know and love.

Both Ron and Estella ordered the Lasagna alla Bolognese (手工肉醬千層麵/Homemade pasta layered with meat sauce and bechamel sauce) and 400NT. I had a bite and it was delicious! Eat it while it’s hot before the cheese solidifies and the pasta gets a little stiff.

Mike ordered the Ravioli di Manzo al Burro e Salvia (手工義式牛肉餃/Dumpling filled with minced meat, butter, sage, and parmesan cheese) for 400NT. I didn’t have any, but he said it was good.

My choice was the Ravioli di Zucca al Burro e Salvia (手工義式南瓜餃/Dumpling filled with pumpkin in sage cream sauce) for 400NT. I love pumpkin and all things flavored pumpkin. For 400NT you get eight delicious pumpkin raviolis. The cream sauce was light with a subtle hint of sage. The pasta was a nice al dente, just they way I like my pasta. The pumpkin filling was delicious! It didn’t taste like there were a whole lot of additives to the pumpkin filling which really allowed you to get a rich full pumpkin flavor: slightly sweet, as pumpkin is, but still savory. Eat them while they’re hot for optimal taste or the pasta will stiffen.

Just for reference sake, here is the inside of the pumpkin ravioli.

We had a few late comers to our table. They both ordered the Spaghetti alla Vongole (白酒蛤蜊麵/Spaghetti with clams in white wine sauce, garlic, and basil) for 280NT. I didn’t taste any, but they both thought it was good.

Overall, I thought this place was pretty good. Price-wise it isn’t bad either considering the quality. The service was okay. After our plates were dropped off I kind of felt like they forgot about us. We ended up stealing some water from outside of the room they closed us into since they didn’t come to fill our waters. Basically, if you’re looking for tasty Italian in Taipei, Papa Gio’ is a good place to try.

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