Tuesday, February 13, 2007

italian: i don't recommend VINO VINO CAFE

2, Lane 80, ShiDa Rd.
(02) 2362-1167


Visit reviewed: 12-12-2006

I had been hearing so much about Bongos... but after a winding taxi ride around the lanes and alleys near Shi Da, we simply could not find it. The telephone number we had was not being answered. The address we had seemed to lead to a dead end. So hungry and lost, we directed the taxi to take us out to the nearest main street and spotted a charming looking Spanish looking cafe with people lingering on the patio with a little park in front of it, and that is how we ended up at Vino Vino Cafe.

However, maybe we should have tried harder to find Bongos? Despite the appetizing sounding choices of pasta and main dishes on their English and Chinese menu, we ended up with some not so savory plates (NT$960 for 3 set menu lunches). Well, at least my friend did- her penne pasta was so salty it was inedible.

My risotto was not bad with bits of mushroom and chicken mixed into the creamy, soft rice, but the other parts of my set menu were nothing to brag about and I felt bad that my friend didn't enjoy her food.

A very plain lettuce salad and a watery soup under a not flaky puff pastry. I think the most places I have seen so many puff pastry soups is only in Taipei- it's not a phenomenon that I've seen as much elsewhere. But it doesn't mean that it tastes as good as it looks.

And then a sad watered down gelatin dessert- the pale lemon yellow looked slightly like "ai-yu" or yellow jello, but tasted like someone had forgotten to add the flavor packet.

Watered down seemed to be the theme- the watered down soup, the watered down dessert, the watered down ice tea, the watered down service.

With so many great little Italian spots in Taipei to discover and eat at, this was a big disappointment- so don't be lured in by the good looking facade unless you just want to hang out on the patio.


Rose said...

I live near this place and won't go in even if someone else was paying!

Chubbypanda said...

That's no good.

Puff pastry soups are pretty common in Vancouver, but I haven't seen them in Orange County.

Joshua Samuel Brown said...

HGIT, I love your site and am putting it in the new Lonely Planet Guide! And yeah, Bongos is hard to find the first time, but they make good poutine!

joanh said...

rose: wow! good to know taht Ai am not alone.

chubbypanda: yeah- haven't seen much of them in southern california right?

jsb: hi! thanks for the comment-- wow! the new Lonely Planet Guide for Taiwan or in general? i've totally heard about Bongo's poutine- have you tried their mexican food?

Anonymous said...

Hi Hungry Girl:

Bongo's is actually easier to find if you start from Xin Sheng South Rd. From Roosevelt Rd direction, keep going on the left side of Xin Sheng until you see a place (on left) called 上好魚翅 (big red sign). When you do, back up two alleys. Turn into that second alley counting from 上好魚翅 and keep going passing either 3 or 4. You can't miss Bongo's which will be on your right. It's a little overrated but has a lot of sentimental value among abcs and semi-abcs and 'foreigners'.

Also, you should try Couple Pasta, which is in the 上好魚翅 lane, on the right, very close to Xin Sheng.

Hope that helps! And thanks for your reviews and pics!

Anonymous said...

ops, forgot to proof read, should read:

When you do, back up two alleys. Turn into that second alley counting backwards from 上好魚翅 and keep going straight, passing either 3 or 4 alleyways/intersections.

Sunny said...

hi! you may wanna try Casa Della Pasta next time.
it's close to kidsstoryroom and eslite books. the owner has two stores already. the other one is in Dazhi. it's one of students' favorite.

Unknown said...

hey hey, thanks for the post, i'll make sure not to drop by there. you're site is awesome by the way, very thorough.

joanh said...

amy/sunny: thanks for the recommendations! i will put them on my list!

james: thanks for the comment! hope you can leave some thoughts about if you've eaten at any places i've reviewed!

Unknown said...

Hi, if you guys haven't tried Antonio's in Tianmou, I highly recommend. I think it has the best pasta in town if you like lotsa sauce. The white wine clam pasta is almost a soup base. I think the owners lived in Italy for some years before moving back to Taipei. It's kind of old and dingy and not as hip as nearby La Pasta but the food is OG.

Anonymous said...

It was probably still better than Bongos! Bongos has really gone down hill the last year and half. I never go eat their anymore (and I live in the same neighborhood as Bongos). If you don't have a reservation forget getting a seat!

joanh said...

kelvin: thanks for the suggestion! i don't get out to tienmu as much as i'd like, but i'm always down to try pasta

shannon: i don't think bongos could have been worse than this place!! that's interesting to hear though about bongos-- everyone else has been saying great things about it.

Jenna Cody said...

Bongo's really is hard to find, but it's there. It looks like it's not (hidden with a wooden fence) but it is.

Vino Vino has some high points - the set menu is crap - you should never, ever get it. But the salmon fried rice is actually really good.

The only other thing it's good for is ordering a few glasses of house red and enjoying them on the wooden balcony.


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