Tag Archives: taipei

western: nonzero (非零)

date may 06, 2012

contact No.5, Alley 4, Ln. 27, Sec. 4, Ren Ai Rd., Daan District, Taipei City/台北市大安區仁愛路四段27巷4弄5號/02.2772.1630

hours 7 days a week :: [lunch] 11:30-14:30 :: [afternoon tea] 14:30-16:30 :: [dinner] 18:00-21:30

price [dinner] 900NT-1500NT + 10% service charge

rating ♥♥ (3 out of 5 hearts)

nearest mrt Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT (捷運忠孝復興站)

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

Sorry for the delay in posts. My dad unexpectedly and suddenly passed away on January 26, 2012… I immediately took the first flight back to the States. As a result, I was back in California for the last three months with my mom.

Upon returning to Taiwan a good friend of my mine was getting ready to move back to California. As one of her last meals we ended up at Nonzero (非零), located a short walk from exit 3 of Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT station (捷運忠孝復興站) at the Renai-Fuxing S. Rd. intersection (仁愛復興南路口).

The inside of Nonzero is very homey and spacious. The wood tables have mismatched wooden chairs that adds some charm to the place. The decor is also very thrift store-eclectic, which really appeals to my aesthetic.

The menu at Nonzero has three set meals priced at 900NT, 1200NT, and 1500NT; they also have items al la carte. I chose to get the 900NT set meal, which included bread, soup, salad, main course, dessert, and coffee/tea. Ashley chose the 1200NT set meal, which came with the same items plus an appetizer.

First thing out was the bread. There were two types, one of which was a rosemary bread that was the table favorite. Bread was warm and fresh. A good start.

Next came the soups, which were served in these pretty pots. My soup was the Radish with Potato Nutmeg Soup (白玉蘿蔔香料洋芋濃湯) (top right). I thought it was nice and light. There was nice little dollop of creme fraiche on top that added a nice creaminess to it. Ashley’s set came with Chicken Thigh with Chayote and Mushroom Soup (土雞肉佛手瓜蕈菇蔬菜湯) (top left). The broth was pretty good, nice and light. The kind of soup that would be great for a cold winter day.

Following the soups we were presented with a complementary appetizer. The waitress described it as chicken with chicken liver accompanied with pickles and tomatoes. I’m not a huge fan of chicken liver, but this wasn’t bad. Best bite was all three ingredients together.

Salads were next. My salad was a simple Green Salad with Vinaigrette (季節生菜新鮮香草沙拉) (top right). The salad was okay, nothing special. One of our friends thought it was overdressed and a little too acidic. Ashley’s salad was the High Altitude Cabbage Salad with Caraway Seeds (茴香籽高麗菜生菜沙拉) (top right). I only had a little bite and thought it was okay; Ashley enjoyed it.

Ashley’s meal came with Pan Fried Fresh Prawns (煎烤東北角鮮蝦 佐 烤味噌筊白筍). These were very good, nice and tender, kind of melt in your mouth.

The 900NT set comes with two main course choices: pan fried market fresh fish and risotto with wild scallops, tomatoes, and asparagus. I went with the Risotto with wild scallops, tomatoes, and asparagus (加拿大野生干貝蕃茄蘆筍燉飯). I liked the flavor of this, but I personally found the rice to be a little underdone. After watching many seasons of Top Chef, I’ve learned that some chefs (i.e. Sarah from season 9) cook their rice a little more under than others. Two out of three of my scallops were cooked well (not perfect, though) and one was a little over. I’d say this was okay, not great, not bad. I’ve definitely had much better risotto in Taipei.

Both the 900NT set and 1200NT set have Pan Fried Market Fresh Fish (市場現流鮮魚) as an option for the main course. Ashley decided to go with it. The waitress asked what kind of fish she liked, so they must have several options. What she ended up with was a white fish, although I’m not sure what kind. She thought it was pretty good.

By far the standout of the night was the dessert. Each set comes with a dessert, chef’s choice. They had three desserts that night, which was perfect since there was three of us, so they gave us one of each. The desserts for the night were a fruit tartcheese cake, and chocolate hazelnut tart. The presentation of the desserts was really nice, very pretty. The fruit tart was pretty good. There was a lemony cake layer that was pretty tasty. The chocolate hazelnut tart was rich and creamy; I liked it a lot. However, the best thing of the night was the cheesecake.

If there are any Friends fans out there, I imagine the cheesecake from Mama’s Little Bakery, Chicago, Illinois to taste like this cheesecake. Light, creamy, and amazingly delicious. Seriously, one of the best cheesecakes I’ve ever had, and I’m not just talking in Taiwan. This cheesecake isn’t a traditional cheesecake, it’s much lighter in texture, but it’s creamy, cheesy, and pure awesomeness.

The meal ended with your choice of coffee or tea. I went with a latte (拿鐵). It was pretty standard, but I did like the pretty heart in my foam.

Overall, I’m a little middle of the line with this place. I thought the food was decent, but nothing particularly stood out, except for the cheese cake that is. I don’t know that I would ever crave anything (other than the cheese cake) from Nonzero again. I think the service was good, and the price for the overall meal was okay, but the food itself wasn’t special, not bad, just not memorable.

american: california grill.

california grill.

date 10.10.2009

contact DunHua South Rd., Section 1, Lane 238, East District, Taipei/02.8771.94.23/台北市東區敦化南路1段238巷

hours Monday – Saturday 11:30am- 10pm, Sunday 12pm-9pm

price 150NT-300NT

website http://californiagrill.blogspot.com/

rating ♥♥♥ (3 out of 5 hearts)

My friend brought me here one night since we couldn’t decide what we wanted to eat. I’d heard of California Grill before, but didn’t know where it was. Now I do, and I’ll be back.

California Grill offers about 10 types of burgers including: tofu burgers for the vegetarians, salmon burgers for the pescatarians, chicken breasts for the non red meat eaters, and regular burgers for the meat lover. They also have a few salads on the menu as well. Out the four of us there that night, three of us ended up with the Western Bacon Burger (205NT).

my western bacon burger (205NT)
my western bacon burger (205NT)

The Western Bacon Burger came with “onion rings, BBQ sauce, bacon and cheese on a white bun”. I opted to swap the white bun for a whole wheat bun for an extra 10NT and added fries and a drink for another 50NT. The burger was delicious. The hamburger patty was moist and juicy. I loved the onion rings on it and the BBQ sauce was nice and tangy. Bacon is always my friend, so it was also delicious. The fries were good, crispy without being too crispy. Overall, it was amazing.

My friend’s girlfriend got the grilled tofu burger, which she said was good. She also got a salad instead of fries, which also looked good. The guys were excited that they had root beer as well.

In comparison the burgers at The Diner the ones here, at California Grill, are better (at least in my opinion). The patties are more moist and overall there was something about it that just made it a little better. The burgers are a little smaller than the ones at The Diner, but it still made me plenty full. So if you’re looking for a good burger in Taipei, stop by California Grill.

american: the diner

the diner.

date 10.23.2009

contact No. 145, Rui-An St., Da An District, Taipei/02.2700.1680/台北市大安區瑞安街145號

hours Mon.-Fri. 10am-10pm, Sat.-Sun. 9am-10pm

price 150NT-300NT

rating ♥♥♥♥ (4 out of 5 hearts)

website http://www.thediner.com.tw

I came here for the first time three years ago while studying abroad at National Taiwan University. At that time it had just opened and we were a bunch of hungry American exchange students that after almost a year couldn’t wait to get some American food into our stomachs. I must say, The Diner does the job.

outside of the diner.
outside of the diner.

The Diner is located on Rui-An St. (瑞安街) off of Heping East Road (和平東路). The bus will drop you off less than 5 minutes from The Diner (get off at either 安東市場 or 龍門國中) which is right up Rei-An St. a few minutes.

inside the diner (ground floor).
inside the diner (ground floor).

I don’t know about the decor necessarily feeling “American”, but the menu for sure is. They have a lot of good options for breakfast, along with burgers, sandwiches and SALADS! My friend and I love salads and being in Taiwan makes us miss them. We decided that we’d split a salad and a burger, which ended up being the perfect serving size. We ended up with the spinach salad and BBQ burger while my boyfriend opted for the California burger.

spinach salad with bacon, hard boiled eggs, croutons, and red onion with vinaigrette (220NT)
spinach salad with bacon, hard boiled eggs, croutons, and red onion with vinaigrette (220NT)

First thing that came was the salad. We both love spinach salad so it was the obvious choice for us and I we were not disappointed. The spinach was fresh, the croutons were crunchy, the vinaigrette was light and the bacon was delicious. My only complaint would be that the spinach needed to be cut up. The leaves were huge so it got a bit messy trying to eat it, but the taste was great. I’ll definitely be getting that again.

the diner.
bbq burger with cheddar cheese, grilled onions, and bbq sauce (200NT)

The BBQ burger was tasty. I have to admit that the hamburger patty at California Grill was more moist though. Even so, the burger was great. I like that they put the lettuce, onion, tomato and pickles on the side so that you can chose what you put in and so that the lettuce doesn’t wilt. The BBQ sauce was nice and tangy and the cheese was cheesy. Their buns are also really good: moist and fluffy.


california burger with avocado (200NT)
california burger with avocado and swiss cheese (200NT)

The California burger was also good. The avocado was really good and even better in the burger. Like the BBQ burger, the hamburger patty was not as good as it could have been, but still overall the burger was good. Dan also opted to turn his burger into a combination meal. All burgers come with fries, but for 80NT more you can add a soup or salad and drink. Dan got the soup of the day, which turned out to be Minestrone and he said it was pretty good.

Basically The Diner is good American food in Taipei. I’ve only had their burgers so far, but I am eager to try their breakfast foods. I saw a lot of it go by and it all looked good. I’ve also been craving buffalo wings lately which they have and I plan to try. There was a Bloody Mary on the menu too, which I am curious about. I love a good Bloody Mary, and my bar used to make a great one, so I’m curious about The Diner’s. Hm…maybe I’ll have to go for breakfast one weekend afternoon and order a nice Bloody Mary to wash it down.

thai: 曼谷燒 (Màngǔshāo)


date 10.06.2009

contact Roosevelt Road Sec.3 Lane 286 No. 18, Da An District, Taipei/02.2363.0081/台北市大安區羅斯福三段286巷18號1樓

hours [lunch]11:30am-2:00pm [dinner]5:pm-9:30pm

price <150NT

rating ♥♥♥ (3 of 5 hearts)

After walking around Gong Guan for a while weighing our options we decided on 曼谷燒 (Màngǔshāo) or Bangkok Fever (or not. shāo has so many definitions, to cook, to roast, to burn, fever, so I just picked the one I liked best).  One of the reasons we picked it was because there were a lot of people waiting to eat there, so we figured it had to at least be decent for people to wait.

Bangkok Fever is located right next to the famous Taiwanese sausage wrapped in a rice sausage place in Gong Guan. The restaurant is very small only fitting maybe 15 people max. There is another Thai place right next door. It is NOT the same place, and I’ve heard that place is not good. Anyways, you have to order first. The menu is in Chinese and English and there are pictures of most of the items. I went with the Combo #1 Coconut Curry Chicken and BBQ Pork 110NT (1號餐 椰汁雞+烤肉飯) while Dan opted for the BBQ Pork meal 85NT (泰式烤肉飯).

inside 曼谷燒.
inside 曼谷燒.

There is free water, hopefully not tap, but way better is the free Lemon Ai-yu stuff (愛玉佞檸檬). Our food came pretty quick and it was tasty. Both of our dishes came with slightly different sides. The sauteed bean sprouts and mixed tofu thing  were really good on mine. The sauteed greens could have been better; they were just too bitter for my taste and not cooked enough. The curry was good IF you like ginger, which I happen to love. You couldn’t really taste the coconut at all, it was more like ginger curry, but the chicken was good and the curry was tasty. The bbq pork was really good too. Tender and really flavorful. My one complaint is that they don’t give you very much meat. I could have done with less rice and a more meat, but I guess that’s why it’s cheap.

combination #1 (110NT)
combination #1 (110NT)

One thing Dan got that I didn’t was this really tasty piece of deep fried onion. I love onions and this was a nice suprise. Dan’s dish also came with the Thai style kimchee which was good, kind of sweet, but good.

thai style bbq pork (85NT)
thai style bbq pork (85NT)

Overall this place is decent. Give it a try if you quick good food. I wouldn’t exactly classify this place as “authentic Thai food” but it’s good, and if anything the free Lemon Ai-yu is worth it.