Thursday, May 18, 2006

italian: i recommend COSI O COSI

No. 155, DunHua S. Rd., Sec 1
(02) 2771-5883

Lunch 12 pm-2:30 pm,
Dinner/ 6:30-11 pm ( last orders 10:30 pm)

kid friendliness: high chairs available, pretty friendly service

date reviewed: 5/18/2006 and 3/27/2005

I was introduced to Cosi O Cosi a few years ago by my cousin who had lived in Taipei for awhile before I had, and we shared the common dilemma of finding good places to eat. She knew I liked Italian and thought that I would enjoy the food at Cosi O Cosi, citing it as a popular place and I've been there quite a few times since. For awhile, it was the go-to Italian food craving destination for me, before I had discovered other places and the more convienent Macaroni Grill was opened.

Cosi O Cosi is one of those places you might pass by many times and wonder if you should stop by to try it out. You should. It's not fancy or overly trendy-looking from the outside with an simple awning and chalkboard menu and fairly casual on the inside- a small room with part of a kitchen and brick oven in the corner. But it's clean and friendly with lots of sunlight- and the ambience kind of reflects the food and service- which is quite clean and sunny and friendly, if you could use those words about food.

The menu has both English and Chinese, featuring limited appetizers/salads, and many pizzas and pastas, but no pictures. The prices are pretty reasonable at $260-$420 NT for pastas and pizzas.

The tomato and mozzarella caprese features huge slices of mozz- and it tastes fresh and delicious. The order is generous for two people, and large enough to share with a group. The crostini which features toasted slices of bread with bruschetta and pesto is also tasty.

The fried mushrooms also piques my interest, however, picturing deep fried mushrooms in my mind, instead we get pan fried sauteed mushrooms. While I love mushrooms and I enjoy the different myriad of mushrooms featured, the gravy like sauce is not quite I was craving and a tad salty for me as well.

The clam linguine is very simple, but very flavorful with garlic, white wine and olive oil flavors melding together with the slippery linguine and clams. Cosi O Cosi's portions are just right for one, but not enough to share with a group like Macaroni Grill's huge portions.

However, you could order an assortment of pastas and pizzas to share if everyone just wanted to have a taste. We have done that in the past quite successfully. Cosi O Cosi's shrimp angel hair is quite delicious as well. The one off dish that I can recall is that their tagletelle had a cream sauce that was too heavy and not enough mushrooms to balance out the dish.

Though we didn't order pizza today, I've had it a number of times. The last time I had it was over a year ago, and I was with a vegetarian, so we ordered the mushroom pizza. My notes from that day say, "good. seems like canned mushrooms. crust crispy perfect." I really don't care for canned mushrooms on pizza, or in pasta for that matter. So I will have to try the pizza again sometime soon to refresh my memory and try different toppings. And have more caprese and crostinis.


Hubert said...

Written Jan. 7, 2008

I'm a fan of 'hungry in Taipei', but I'll have to strongly disagree with blogger's opinion on Cosi o Cosi. We ordered a penne with asparagus, mushrooms, and chicken; the chicken was tasteless, the portions were insufficient (especially the asparagus, which seemed like one stalk of asparagus cut up into 4-5 pieces), and the entire dish seemed utterly unappetizing. The flavor was off or bland, or rather non-descript. Even on my worst days I can make better pasta. We tried to tell them that the no. of ingredients was insufficient, but our Chinese was .... equally insufficient.

The pizza (for us, artichokes, mushrooms, ham, and cheese, tomato sauce) was better, but still rather ordinary. All the ingredients were retrieved from cans (though hungry-in-taipei's already noted this), but the pizza was not particularly fresh, and none of the flavors really jumped out at the patron. In fact I think dried basil was overused as a topping.

Someone's gotta tell Taiwanese people that this isn't pizza, whether Italian or New York or California! And the prices are relatively extraordinary (about $400 NT per pasta or pizza). It's not as if they couldn't cut up some fresh mushrooms and use those. A strong 'stay away' and 'not buy'.

By the way, the house wine for $150 NT tasted rather piss gross.

Anonymous said...

Well, I have to disagree with you hubert, I've been a few times and never had a bad meal. The only shame is they have some limited time menus with a lot of good specials that don't return, I especially miss their stroganoff, although it was like no stroganoff I've ever had it was really tasty. The pizza is great, really nice crust, but slightly limited list of toppings. The pasta is also good, but I haven't been in a while, although I'm going tomorrow, so if it has changed, I guess I'll put up another post here.

Ciaran said...

Thanks for the post...Im going to try this out tonight!

Sam said...

My girlfriend and I have had plenty of great meals at this place--one of our favourites. Highly recommend the caprese (nice, beefy tomatoes), penne all'arrabiatta (well-cooked pasta, excellent sauce) and margherita pizza (again great sauce). I haven't tried the mushrooms specifically, but I've found all the ingredients to be fresh and high quality, especially the tomatoes. Ask for a bit of spicy oil on the side. Good selection of beers and wines, too. Definitely give it a shot.

Sam said...

I had one mediocre experience at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum location, though--a white wine sauce pasta, if I remember correctly. Tried the brownies there last weekend: very good, fudgy...could have been more moist, but still hit the spot.