Hi everyone! After many a sleepless nights of tabulating, writing, bleary eyed researching and fact checking and google translating, I finally have the results!
Another year of eating, another year for the HungryInTaipei.com's Readers' Choice poll! Thanks to everyone that took the time to collect their thoughts and write down/vote what their favorite restaurants are. To see how people voted, you can see the comments at this Best of Taipei categories post. Some categories were unable to get votes or a consensus so I haven't named any winners- such as for Favorite Late Night Bites and Favorite Delivery.
I look forward to trying out and revisiting the favorites that I haven't blogged about- like Abu, Sushi Express and Kiki's- and if you don't see your favorite, be sure to vote next year! If you find a new favorite from this poll, don't forget to to mention that you found out about it here! And as usual- please double check any information first if you are going to a new restaurant for the first time- locations change, restaurants close down, and bloggers do their best in translating and typing! :)
READERS' CHOICE RESTAURANT POLL WINNERS
Favorite Restaurant in Taipei, Favorite Special Occasion Restaurant, Favorite Unexpected Find in Taipei, Favorite Romantic- FLAVORS
Swedish food in Taipei? Flavors is the winner for the 2nd year in a row for Favorite Unexpected Find in Taipei, and after I visited it last year I discovered why. An intimate setting, friendly owners and swedish meatballs and apple cake that will inspire hard core fans. Apparently, a few readers agree and voted it their favorite restaurant and special occasion restaurant too.
No.13 Alley 26 Lane 300 Ren Ai Rd. Sec.4, (02) 2709 6525, flavors.com.tw
Favorite New Restaurant in 2009- ABU AUTHENTIC CUISINE
I've been hearing a lot about Abu and can't wait to try it. Fans of the owner and head chef from Tutto Bello (last year's winner for Best Italian) have followed him here, and advance reservations are recommended.
No. 28 Siwei Rd, (02) 2707-0699
Favorite Cheap Eats- Night Markets
Taipei is famous for its night markets and for good reasons- the multitude of late night offerings for the price of the change in your pocket. Hot, icy, bite sized, giant and fried, stinky or on a stick - each night market has its own specialties as well as the usual suspects.
Favorite Restaurant in a Hotel, Favorite Japanese Restaurant- SUMIE NOUVELLE CUISINE at SAN WANT HOTEL
Winner for the second year in a row. I always get the multi-course set menu and my friends new to the restaurant always are dazzled by Sumie's plating and presentation of every dish. Don't let the upscale modern interior scare you away from some of the freshest sashimi and best lamb chops in Taipei.
No. 172, Zhongxiao E Rd Sec 4, 4 FL, (02) 2781 6909, www.sanwant.com
Favorite Western Breakfast/ Brunch- THE DINER
Winner for the second year in a row. The first time I ate at the Diner, I couldn't decide what to eat- but in a good way. Offering a wide selection of Western brunch/breakfast options all day, it's definitely the place to go if you're missing tasty pancakes, eggs benedicts, omelettes or even a breakfast burrito. Just be prepared to wait for a table and don't forget to try the dessert menu.
No. 145 Ruian St, Taipei, (02) 2700-1680;
No. 6, Ln 103, Dunhua S Rd Sec 2, (02) 2754-1680,
Favorite Chinese Breakfast- YONG HE DOU JIANG
Everyone in Taiwan should be familiar with the Chinese breakfast- a bowl or cup of soy milk with chinese pancake, fried cruller or sticky rice ball. The most famous is in Yong He, which inspired a myriad of shops with the name Yong He Dou Jiang. While they are not all the same, here are a few to start off with.
No. 1, Lane 240, Guang Fu S. Road, (02) 2772-0642;
No. 102 Fuxing S. Road, Sec. 2, (02)2703- 5051
Favorite Kid Friendly/Family Restaurant L'IDIOT
Last year's multiple winner L'Idiot swept the votes for best new restaurant in 2008, offering seasonal but simple Western fare as well as impressed voters with its desserts. The weekend brunch and open space that can seat large groups and offer space for kids to run around makes it a family favorite.
No. 156, Minsheng E Rd Sec 3, (02) 2545-6966, lidiotrestaurant.com
Favorite Romantic Restaurant- (tie) VILLA 32 and FLAVORS
Complete your romantic evening with some hot springs or a couples massage, or just wine and dine your honey at ultra-luxe Villa 32's Euro restaurant, tucked in Beitou, about an hour outside of the city.
No 32, Zhongshan Rd, Beitou, Taipei, (02) 6611-8888, villa32.com
Favorite Buffet/Favorite Afternoon Tea- CAFE at GRAND HYATT HOTEL
Winner for the second year in a row for favorite buffet, first time for favorite afternoon tea. Cafe offers both Western and Eastern cuisines in its huge buffet spread- you might even miss a part of it if you're not thorough. The make your own waffles are tucked in the corner away from the wall of food. Afternoon tea at Cafe will be more than tea and finger sandwiches- it's the Grand Hyatt's buffet, so you can get your fill of fruits, ice cream, desserts, dim sum and pastries. I've only been to Cafe for brunch, but I expect the variety and quality to be just as great any time of the day.
No.2, Sung Shou Road, (02) 2720-1234, taipei.grand.hyatt.com
Favorite Night Market- SHIH LIN NIGHT MARKET
Winner for the second year in a row. Eat at the covered, indoor part of Shih Lin Night Market or follow the crowds to the street eats near the theater or tucked inside the alleyways. Offering all the classic night market foods from oyster omelette to stinky tofu to baos to shaved ice or random food on a stick, no visit to Taipei is complete without a visit to this night market.
Near Chien Tan MRT station
Favorite Restaurant to take Tourist Friends, Best Xiao Long Bao- DIN TAI FUNG
Winner for the second year in a row. There might be cheaper or fancier options, but world famous Din Tai Fung is inevitably where we'll take our friends to eat as voted best xiao long bao. I'm guilty of it, you're guilty of it- but only because it's worth the wait.
No. 218, Zhong Xiao East Rd., Sec 4,(02) 2721-7890;
No. 194, Xinyi Road, Sec.2 (entrance of Yong Kang Street) (02) 2321-8928
No.300, Zhong Xiao E. Rd., Sec. 3, (02) 8772-0528
Favorite Place to Meet for Drinks- A-PLUS SUSHI AND SAKE BAR
Choose from over 30 kinds of sake and relax on the lounge-like sofa seating at A-Plus Sushi and Sake. If you're hungry, you can also get some spicy tuna rolls or one their small plates while you enjoy your cocktail hour.
No. 33, AnHe Rd, Sec 1, (02) 2731-9266; www.aplusdiningbar.com.tw
Favorite Food Court- 101 Mall
Winner for the second year in a row. Grab a quick lunch while sightseeing at 101 Mall or just go for the variety. Offering almost every type of cuisine as well as lots of familiar chains (McD's and Subway), you can also hit up JASON's Supermarket for some hard to find items before you head home.
45 Shifu Road, Xinyi District
Favorite Fast Food- MOS BURGER
Winner for the second year in a row, Mos Burger beat out Subway as your favorite stop for a quick bite. Hamburger or rice burger, Mos Burger offers up Asian flavors at a fast food setting. Don't be afraid to eat your rice burger to go, it comes in an indestructable styrofoam pouch to catch all the sauce.
over 100 stores across Taiwan, mos.co.jp
Favorite Taiwanese Restaurant- SHIN YEH
Winner for the second year in a row. When even the locals line up for this Taiwanese restaurant, then you know that it's good. Shin Yeh offers Taiwanese classics like gua bao, run bing, sweet potato porridge, pan seared pork liver, or oyster omelette in an elegant, family friendly setting.
No. 112 Zhong Xiao E Road, Sec 4, 2FL, (02) 2752-9299
No. 34-1, ShuangCheng St, (02) 2596-3255
No. 12, NanJing West Road, 8F, (02) 2523-6757
Shinyeh 101 at No. 45, Shifu Road, 85 FL (02) 8101-0185
Favorite Chinese Restaurant- KIKI
WIth authentic Sichuan spiciness, Kiki wins with its bold flavors. It looks like they have added locations since I first went there over five years ago before I started the blog, so it looks like I'm due for another visit.
No. 47, Lane 280, GuangFu S. Road,1F, (02) 2781-4357 / 2781-4250;
No. 396, XinYi Road, Sec. 4, (02) 2700-2777;
No. 51, DongFeng St, (02) 2709-9078;
No. 28, FuXing S. Road, Sec. 1, (02) 2752-2781 / 2752-2791;
Best Sushi/Sashimi- SUSHI EXPRESS
Sushi Express adds a little fun to catching your 'fish'- customers choose from a parade of sushi plates whizzing by on a conveyor belt. I admit I was slightly surprised to see this as the winner, but with multiple locations and plates as low as NT$30, you can create your own omasake without the usual damage to the wallet. I've never been, so I'll have to try it out.
About 30 locations all over Taipei, addresses at sushi-express.com.tw
Best French- SAVEURS
I can't keep this place a secret anymore, since Saveurs is the winner of Best French Restaurant in Taipei. Saveurs offers a rustic French lunch set, which is a steal at NT$400, with a soup, salad, main dish and dessert, made by chef Patrick Cabirol. The lamb shank and warm chocolate moelleux will make you want to come back for more with friends.
No. 14, Lane 219, Fuxing S. Rd, Sec 1, (02) 2751-0185
Best Italian- MACARONI GRILL
Huge family style sized salads, pastas, pizzas and desserts are meant to be shared at Macaroni Grill, and though it's a little more than what we'd pay in the states, there's nowhere else in town you'd get table side opera with your bruschetta and eggplant parmesan.
at Neo 19, 30 Sung Shou Road, (02) 2722-4567; macaronigrill.com
Best Indian- SAFFRON
Once you try Saffron, you'll realize that not all Indian curries are made the same. Offering a a wide variety of Indian fare in an upscale setting, Saffron's fragrant dishes are rich without being greasy and you can watch the chef making the naan to order in the front window.
No. 38-6, TianMu E Rd, (02) 2871-4842
Best Mexican/Latin/Spanish-EDDY's CANTINA
Located all the way out in Danshui, Eddy's Cantina gives readers a reason to make the day trip- such as baked enchiladas topped with cheese and carnitas with freshly made tortillas. All the recipes used at Eddy's Cantina come from the owner's Mexican family to satisfy those craving "real Mexican food" in Taiwan, and frozen deliveries are available throughout Taiwan.
No. 151-1, Zhong Shan Road, Danshui, (02) 2628-2638
Favorite Thai Restaurant- THAI TOWN
Thai Town makes it easy to like them- lots of locations, offering upscale casual dining, good service, and consistently delicious Thai food. Choose your favorites from the menu (I love their chicken curry with Thai white rice) or get their pre-combined set menus of their most popular dishes.
No. 49 Ren Ai Road, Sec 2, (02) 2351-0960
No. 15 Nanjing W. Road, (02)2542-7277
No. 133 Anhe Road, Sec 2, (02) 2735-9638
No. 9 Song Shou Road, at Xin Yi Shin Kong Mitsukoshi, A9, 7th FL, (02) 2723-9987
No. 116 Tien Mu West Road, (02) 2826-4852
No. 68 Tien Mu East Road, at Tianmu Shin Kong Mitsukoshi, Building A, 7th FL, (02) 2873-6680
No. 22 Jingye 3rd Road, 2nd FL, at Miramar Mall, Dazhi, (02) 2175-3355
No. 128, Beishing Road, Sec 2, 2FL, XIndian, (02) 8913-5153
No. 65 Wen Hua Road, Sec 1, Banqiao, (02) 8965-1155
No. 659 Zhong Zheng Road, Yonghe, (02) 8231-1257
No. 122 Zhong Shan Road, Sec 1, Zhonghe, (02) 7731-7778
No. 95 Jengyi North Road, Sanchung, (02) 2989-8088
Favorite Vietnamese Restaurant- YUE YUAN PHO
If you've never had a Vietnamese sandwich, you need to run to Yue Yuan Pho, which created the perfect combination of toasted french baguette, grilled chicken, pickled carrots and radishes and special sauce. Waiters wearing bright purple shirts that state "Good Pho You" bring food to the table that lives up to their slogan.
No. 12, Lane 155, Dun Hua N. Road, (02)2718-0660;
No. 8, Ln 103, Dunhua S Rd, Sec 2,(02) 2701-2523;
Yue Yuan Pho's Facebook page
Favorite Korean Restaurant- HAPPY KOREAN
One of the only places in Taipei that I've found to have delicious cold noodles in soup just like I had in Korea, Happy Korean delivers very affordable and authentic Korean food. Lunch time specials offer discounts off of already low prices off of dishes like the bulgogi beef bowl, and there's even a small play area for kids.
No. 1, Lane 99, Xin Yi Road, Sec 3, (02) 2703-9237
Favorite American/Western- CHILI's and TGIF (tie)
Chili's and TGIF look, feel and taste just like they do in the US- big portions, a dizzying menu of food and cocktails to choose from, and a family friendly atmosphere that can seat all of your large group needs (ie all your relatives/co-workers/baby shower/birthday guests). Tied for winner of Favorite American/Western, Chili's and TGIF are often your best bet to find Tex-Mex, ribs, macaroni and cheese, or sweet-enough-desserts in Taipei.
CHILI's at Neo 19 Building- No. 22, Sung Shou Road, 2F, (02) 2345-8838;
Tianmu Mituskoshi- No. 200, ZhongZhen Rd., section 2, 2FL, (02) 2875-4838
TGIF at tgifridays.com.tw
No. 94 Chungching S Rd, Sec 1, (02) 2389-3579
No. 2, Lane 49, Zhong Xiao E Rd, Sec 4, (02) 2711-3579
XImen- No. 72, Wuchang St, 2FL (02) 2388-0679
No. 150, Dunhua N. Rd, (02) 2713-3579
Xinyi/World Trade Center- No. 7, Keelung Rd, Sec 2, (02) 2345-2789
Miramar Mall- No. 22, Jingye 3rd Road, 2FL,
No. 297, Zhong Xiao E. Road, Section 5, 2FL (02) 2528-3579
Global Mall- No. 122, Zhongshan Road, Zhonghe, 4FL (02) 2225-3578
Favorite Ramen-AKASAKA RAMEN
Sometimes a bowl of noodles is the best comfort food, and if ramen is your noodle of choice, then Akasaka Ramen offers over 15 different kinds to choose from, including swirls of char siu, braised pork, kimchi, corn or soft boiled eggs. Or see if their award-winning TV Champion ramen bowl lives up to its name.
No. 49 Hanzhong Street, 2nd Floor, 02-2381-0829
No. 140 Nanking East Road, Section 1, No. 2 F 02-2567-6373
No. 4 122-1 Chung Hsiao E. Road, Taipei, 2nd Floor 02-2752-0786
No. 147 Bade Road, Sec 02-2747-7737
No. 96 Chongqing South Road, Taipei, No. 2 F 02-2370-7396
No. 52 Xinglong Road 02-2932-3504
Favorite Beef Noodle Soup- YONG KANG NIU ROU MIAN
Voted the dish you miss most while you aren't in Taiwan, beef noodle soup is a must try for new and returning visitors alike. Everyone has their favorite beef noodle soup place, and voters chose Yong Kang Niu Rou Mian over last year's winner Lao Zhang. Whether you get the braised beef noodle soup or clear broth noodle soup, be sure to add some of the sweet, pickled vegetables and order the steamed pork and yams.
No. 17, Lane 31, Jinshan S. Rd., Sec.2, (02)2351-1051
Favorite Dim Sum- CHAO PING JI at SAN WANT HOTEL and PLUM BLOSSOM ROOM at BROTHER HOTEL (tie)
Chao Ping Ji makes traditional dim sum fried and steamed to perfection, as well as offering a few unique spins on dim sum like the Sauteed Rice Roll with XO Chili Sauce and a full menu with Chao Chow specialties.
No. 172, ZhongXiao E Rd, Sec 4, 2F, (02) 2772-2687, www.sanwant.com
Order some siu mau, cha siu bao and har gow to your heart's delight as Brother Hotel has an array of carted dim sum favorites. Even with two floors of tables, prepare for a wait on the weekend without a reservation.
No. 255 Nanjing East Road, Sec. 3, 2F/3F, (02)2712-3456, brotherhotel.com.tw
Favorite Hamburger- CALIFORNIA GRILL
Winner second year in a row. Since opening its second branch behind Dun Hua Sogo, California Grill has captured new customers and established itself as the best hamburger in Taipei among quite a lot of competitors. Offering a "So-cal" or Southern California spin on its burgers (beef, chicken, salmon or even tofu) and salads, once you try their lunch special you might be hooked.
53-1 Yong Kang St., (02) 2343 5111
No. 1, Lane 238, Dun Hua S Road, Sec. 1, (02) 8771-9423;
Favorite Hot Pot- ORANGE SHABU SHABU
Winner second year in a row. If there was gourmet shabu shabu, Orange Shabu Shabu would be it. Offering luxe meats and seafood like prime rib beef or emperor crab for the customized copper hotpots, Orange also offers sashimi and cooked seafood dishes in a romantic ambiance.
No. 135, Da An Road, Sec 1, B1, (02) 2776-1658;
29, RenAi Rd, Sec 4, 2 FL, (02) 2771-0181;
Favorite Pizza- ALLEYCATS
For the second year in a row, locally founded Alleycats wins votes with its stone oven baked pizzas, thin crusts and fresh toppings. One of my favorites is the "Napoletana" with fresh tomatoes, goat cheese, anchovies, olives and spinach (and I switch out the anchovies for mushrooms).
No. 6, Li Shui Street, B1, (02) 2321-8948
No. 285, Song Ren Rd, (02) 8780-5421;
Da An- No. 2, Lane 248, Zhong Xiao E Road, Sec 4, (02) 2731-5225;
Tien Mu- No. 31, Lane 35, Zhongshan N. Rd Sec. 6 , (02) 2835-6491;
Nei Hu- No. 67-1 Cheng Gong Road, Section, 5, (02)2630-6278;
Xi Men- No. 49, Alley 10, Cheng Du, 2FL, (02) 2370-8858;
Favorite Steak- A-CUT STEAKHOUSE at the AMBASSADOR TAIPEI HOTEL
I've been hearing a lot about A-Cut for years when I asked about the best steak in Taipei, and it seems that the readers agree. Also chosen by Taipei Times as one of the staff's favorite restaurants of 2007.
at the Ambassador Taipei Hotel, No. 63, ZhongShan N Rd, Sec 2, B1 (02) 2571-0389; ambassadorhotel.com.tw
Best Vegetarian- YU SHAN GE
If you think vegetarian, you might think salad bar or tofu burger, but Yu Shan Ge elevates the vegetarian dining experience to an entirely different level. The presentation of the set menus are delicate and stylized, and the meal is an adventure into new flavors and foods.
No. 14, BeiPing E. Road, (02) 2394-5155; www.yu-shan-ge.com.tw
Best Desserts, Best Frozen Yogurt- YOFROYO
Taipei has finally caught up to the frozen yogurt craze, and Yofroyo leads the pack. A rainbow of flavors to choose from, with fresh fruit, mochi and sweet toppings served up in a satisfying size, all for under NT$60. Open late, so you can go for a late night snack and then browse the alleys of the Shida night market.
at Shida Night Market, No.9, Ln.59, Shida Rd., (02))2365-0188; yofroyo.com
Best Ice Cream- MOVENPICK
Everyone has their favorite ice cream flavor and mine might be the mint chocolate chip from Movenpick. Drool!
No. 12-1, QingCheng St, (02) 2546-7126;
Breeze Center (02) 8772-5457;
DaZhi- Miramar Mall, 3rd FL at 22 Jing Ye 3rd Road, (02) 21753608;
Banqiao- Far Eastern Dept Store, 13 FL (02) 29568291;
Kung Kuan MRT Station, (02) 2362-0906 ;
Taipei 101 B1 (02) 8101-8525 and 89th FL (02) 8101-0156 ;
Xin Yi Shin Kong Mitsukoshi, A4, B2 (02) 2723-6030
Best Shaved Ice- ICE MONSTER
Sadly, repeat winner Ice Monster closed a few months ago after years of popularity on Yong Kang St. It'll be difficult to find an equal substitute for Ice Monster's monster mango ice- piles of mango topped with a snowball of mango sherbert sitting upon a mountain of shaved ice.
No. 15, Yong Kang Street, (02) 2394-8279; www.icemonster.com.tw
Best Coffee/Tea Shop- STARBUCKS
With 95 locations across Taipei, it's no wonder Starbucks won "Best coffee/tea shop" with its familiar green signs and menu of lattes, frappucinos, and my favorite, their chocolate chip muffin. The sofas and stools to lounge on don't hurt either.
Find locations at starbucks.com.tw though addresses are only in Chinese
Best Bakery- FLAVORFIELD
There are so many good bakeries in town, it's hard to choose one, but this year Flavorfield got the most votes for its Japanese style European fresh breads, pastries and sandwiches.
at 101, No. 45, Shifu Road, B1; at Fuxing Sogo, No.300, Zhong Xiao E. Rd., Sec. 3
Food you guys miss most when you are not in Taipei- Beef Noodle Soup
Food that you want brought to Taipei- good Mexican food (me too!)
Favorite restaurant that needs to open a branch in Taipei- Cheesecake Factory and In and Out
Whew! That was a mouthful! We'll do this again at the end of 2010! If you like the list, hope you will leave a comment below!