ADDICTION AQUATIC DEVELOPMENT 上引水產
No. 18, Alley 2, Ln 410, Minzu E Rd
MRT: Zhongshan Jr. High School Station or XingTian Temple Station
hours: 11AM - 5PM
$$- $$$ (cash only)
Kid friendliness: no high chairs available. outdoor seating for seafood bbq area, room for strollers
Visits reviewed: 3/3/2012, 5/25/2012 and 10/9/2012
After Mitsui revamped the old Taipei fish market near the Songshan Airport into a sleek, modern space that looked more like their upscale Japanese restaurants than what one would envision as a fish market, Addiction Aquatic Development was THE place to go, earlier last year, when it first opened.
The first few visits had customers entering directly into the supermarket section, but now the entrance is to the left into the fish market section where you might spy an array of flowers and plants for sale. It's not scary and smelly as I'd envisioned- it's very open, clean and organized with large tanks for different fish, shellfish and crabs. Reminds me when I'd look into the crab tanks at Redondo Beach Pier as a kid.
Once you head into the main part of Addiction Acquatic Development, you should head straight to the sushi bar area and grab a number since there might be a wait. When it first opened, wait times were up to an hour or more, but when I went it was only about a half hour wait, which is perfect for exploring the rows and rows of sashimi, alcohol, fruits and vegetables and Japanese ceramics. There's even desserts and macarons for sale.
Fruit smoothies available outside.
There's also a seafood and raw bar in the back, charcoal grilled bbq outside (which I'll write up in more detail in the next post) and hotpot (which is the only restaurant that takes reservations) upstairs if you want to try something else, and those usually don't have a wait.
Of course, you could just grab and go- imagine your local Japanese market's sushi section times 100, filled with trays of fresh sweet shrimp, tuna, salmon, uni and even mixed nigiris and rolls. The selection varies by day and I personally feel like it's fresher in the morning than later in the afternoon so that the rice isn't as hard and cold.
And the prices are super reasonable and a lot better than the NT$20 sushi available at the local Taipei supermarkets.
I was SO tempted to get this and go home and make some uni pasta and stuff my face with uni until I felt sick, but it was just TOO much. Maybe if you have a big family or could split it with friends.
Pretty and expensive...
There are a few areas and tables to sit down if you decide to pick up a to-go tray, but seating is limited. Note also you can't bring it into the grill restaurant if you decide to eat there and you have to pay an extra NT$2 for the disposable chopsticks..
The hot food area seemed the least tempting to me, but quite a few people were grabbing bentos to go.
It doesn't bother me that it's a standing only sushi bar, but it is slightly cramped and not a place you're going to linger for a long time. Also they won't seat you unless everyone in your party is there.
The menu is Chinese only with no photos so it's hard for non-readers to order. If you want to order one thing, get the NT$600 mixed nigiris set. You get about 12 pieces plus uni and tamago egg. It's a pretty amazing deal, so this was the photo I was seeing on all my foodie friends' facebook for the weeks after Acquatic opened. With this kind of simplicity, you can taste everything, so everything is ultra fresh, if not just from the tanks or ocean.
The waitress takes the order with an iPad and you have to pay right after you order, before you get your food, cash only. So if you want to order a drink or some additional food to your order, you'll see the ipad and have to bring your wallet again.
They also have lunch sets that include nigiris, salad, soup and grilled seafood item that range from NT$580-980, but overall I liked the NT$600 assortment the best.
Seared fish set- 4 pieces- I felt this was a bit bland and dry, both times I ordered it.
Between the NT$780 and NT$990 sets, I actually liked the NT$780 lunch set better because you got more pieces of sashimi and grilled shrimp, which I prefer to grilled fish that has a lot of bones in it. If you're not sure about what the set includes that day, you can quiz the waitress.
Tuna roll starter is same for both sets. Yum.
If you're looking to eat more grilled items, you're better off sticking to the bbq area outside.
My hungry girl friends and I ordered a NT$600 to share along with the lunch sets. While this is a good value and quite fresh, it really is just fish slapped onto the rice with dabs of wasabi. It's not as delicately presented as I've seen it at other restaurants, but then again, deal seekers won't care as long as it tastes good in the tummy.