CLOSED! (a/o july 2010)
website: californiagrill.blogspot.com hasn't been updated in over a year
hours: 11:30 AM - 10 PM
$-$$ Cash only
Kid friendliness: very small space, about 10 seats on booths.
Visit reviewed: 10/23/2008 and 11/13/2008
I had been wanting to try California Grill for awhile- with my first attempt at the Yong Kong Jie branch before they were ready for business.
So lucky for me, a friend introducing a friend from out of town chose this newly opened Dun Hua branch for lunch- a tiny nook right behind the Dun Hua S Road Sogo. I didn't know they had opened a new branch, though I probably would have spotted it sooner or later as I'm in that area a lot.
California Grill makes classic burgers without too much frills- they do have a few house variations, such as the Mofo Burger (topped with two slices of bacon, garlic mayo, american cheese and bbq sauce), teriyaki chicken, salmon burger, or even a tofu burger. You can add fries or salad and ice tea or soda for extra NT$50.
If you can't decide, you can order the Sliders (NT$250), which are mini-burgers where you can sample four different types of burgers.
Like their menu states, it's a classic burger- hot, beefy, juicy grilled patty, two hearty slices of tomato, and each part of the burger is proportional to its parts, unlike other places where the lettuce is bigger than the patty.
I love that California Grill gives you TWO slices of tomato and it's probably how I would make a burger if I was having a bbq. They serve it open faced and you can see the grill marks, and then you assemble it together and try to make it fit in your mouth!
I got the Western Bacon Burger (NT$205) which comes topped with not only bacon, but also onion rings, bbq sauce and cheese.
The first time I went a few weeks ago, they didn't offer a set lunch combo. But now they have a pretty good weekday lunch special- 1/3 pound beef or teriyaki chicken or tofu burger with fries or a salad and ice tea for NT$155 (which is like getting the side and tea for free). I got it today with the side Valley Girl salad (mixed greens with diced tomato, cucumber onions and sprouts with oil vinaigrette) and ice tea and extra side of onion rings.
I'd choose their onion rings(NT$40) over their fries- as the rings are fried just right, crispy with a thin layer of batter and served with a side of bbq sauce (which you could also put on your burger).
For those that don't eat beef, there is also a grilled or panko fried chicken burger (NT$155) as well as a grilled or fried tofu burger (NT$135). This is not a ground up pretend garden burger- it's a grilled slice of tofu with sesame and ginger glaze for the vegetarians out there. Have you ever wondered why vegetarian fare offers things that look like the "real thing"- doesn't that sort of defeat the purpose of being a vegetarian? I dunno.
There's also a few salads to choose from, as well as milkshakes, beers and sodas (Dad's Root Beer) to guzzle down.
For those of you missing your hometown (LA) burger joint while in Taipei, you should definitely check out California Grill. Though the space is small, it's a cool classic diner-like atmosphere with shiny red seats and white tables. If you're in a rush, you might to call in your order as sometimes (like today) they are handling large to-go orders.
53-1 Yongkang St, Taipei
(02) 2343 5111
View Larger Map