Tuesday, March 17, 2009

1st Annual 2008 Best of Taipei Readers' Choice Poll

So Hungry Readers, here are the belated results of the first ever, hopefully annual HungryInTaipei.com's Readers' Choice poll in 2008! Thanks to all that voted and hopefully more of you will vote next year! I'll probably adjust the rules next year (no voting for just one category or just one place for multiple categories), these are the results as they are. If you disagree with the results, you can campaign for your favorites next year!

To see how people voted, you can see the comments at this post. Some categories were unable to get votes or a consensus so I haven't named any winners- such as for Best Coffee/Tea shop, Best Vegetarian, Best Splurge Restaurant, Best Bar Scene or Best of the Best.

I look forward to trying some of your favorites that I've never eaten at or heard of, like Niu Sushi, Flavors or Tutto Bello, and maybe some of the winners will pique your curiosity as well. When you eat there, don't forget to to mention that you found out about it here!


Best New Restaurant in 2008, Best Family Dining, Best Desserts- L'IDIOT

Newcomer 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- molten chocolate cake, homemade sorbets and ice creams, crepes, mousses and pies. Bring back the lemon tart and boston cream pie!
No. 156, Minsheng E Rd Sec 3, (02) 2545-6966, lidiotrestaurant.com

Best Super Cheap Eats (Meal NT$100 or Under)- SABABA

Sababa is one of those restaurants that I'm surprised is in Taipei, but am very glad is successful. Part of the reason is its fast and fresh pita sandwiches and hummus platas- all great prices, especially for a "foreign" specialty food. Must try the Plata Sababa- hummus with roasted eggplant topped with a falafel.
No. 8, Alley 54, Ln 118, Heping E Rd Sec 2, (02) 2738-7769;
No. 17, Lane 283, LuoSiFu (Roosevelt) Rd, Sec 3, (02) 2363-8009;
No. 3, Lane 12, Yong Kang St, (02) 2327 9159;
Breeze at Taipei Main Station,

Best Breakfast/ Brunch- THE DINER

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,

Best Late-Night Bites- CONGEE on FUXING

While voters didn't vote specifically for No Name, I included its address and review so you could get a gist for the general area. Offering Taipei's version of comfort food until the wee hours of the morning, a row of restaurants offer up congee and all the sides you'd want on Fuxing South Road.
No. 130, Fu Xing S. Road, Sec 2, (02) 2784-6735

Best Romantic Restaurant- VILLA 32

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


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.
No.2, Sung Shou Road, (02) 2720-1234


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

Best Restaurant to take Tourist Friends, Best Xiao Long Bao- DIN TAI FUNG

There might be cheaper or fancier option, 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.
218 Chung Hsiao East Rd., Sec 4,(02) 2721-7890;
No. 194, Xinyi Road, Sec.2 (entrance of Yong Kang Street) (02) 2321-8928
No.300, Zhongxiao E. Rd., Sec. 3, (02) 8772-0528

Best Unexpected Find in Taipei- FLAVORS

Swedish food in Taipei? I guess so! Flavors has moved to a bigger location and apparently still delicious. Can't wait to try it.
No.13 Alley 26 Lane 300 Ren Ai Rd. Sec.4, (02) 2709 6525, flavors.com.tw


I've never heard of Chicago Pizza Factory until now, but I'm definitely looking to check it out. While most of us used to ordering Chinese (or Thai) delivery in the states grumble that it's not easier to find here, it's still nice to get pizza delivered. Do you think anyone will ever bring Chicago style stuffed pizzas to Taipei?
No. 1, Lane 11, Jianguo S. Sec. 2, (02) 2707-2121

Best Food Court- 101 Mall

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

Best Fast Food- MOS BURGER

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.
over 100 stores across Taiwan, mos.co.jp

Best Uniquely Taiwanese Restaurant- SHIN YEH

When even the locals line up for this Taiwanese restaurant, then you know that it's good. Shin Yeh offers Taiwanese classics in a sit down, 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

Best Chinese Restaurant- SHANGHAI SHANGHAI

Even though there are so many options for Chinese food in town, Shanghai Shanghai still impresses with its large menu of classic Shanghainese dishes and nice sit down environment. Must get the river shrimp with sweet peas, but everything there is delicious.
Far Eastern Shopping Mall at No. 203, DunHua South Rd., Sec. 2, B1, (02) 8732-1536;
Dun Hua SOGO at No. 246, DunHua South Rd., Sec. 1, B2, (02) 8771-5511;
SOGO, 11FL, No. 45, Chung Hsiao E Rd, Sec. 4, (02) 2778-1088;
Shin Kong Mitsukoshi A9, No.9, Song-Shou Rd., (02) 8789-2929
No. 129. Ming Sheng E Road, Sec 3, B1, (02) 8770-6969


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 in Taipei.
No. 172, Zhongxiao E Rd Sec 4, 4 FL, (02) 2781 6909, www.sanwant.com

Best Sushi/Sashimi- NIU SUSHI

Niu Sushi is new to me, but after asking around some friends, it sounds like it does have a great reputation. Looking forward to trying it!
No. 150, Shin Sheng N Road, Sec 1, (02) 2542-9978

Best French- CHEZ JIMMY

You can't get more decadent than the foie gras and steak at Chez Jimmy. Apparently there used to be locations in Tien Mu or on Fuxing N Road (or so says Yahoo Travel and other websites) but after a call to the restaurant, they confirmed only 2 locations right now.
No. 128 Xin Yi Road, Sec 5 (02) 8788-3336
No. 180, Zhong Cheng, Sec. 2 (02) 2874-7185

Best Italian- TUTTO BELLO

Another place I hadn't heard of until now and am looking forward to trying. Upscale Italian that might surprise you in Taipei.
No. 15, Lane 25, Shuang Cheng St, (02) 2592-3355

Best Indian- TANDOOR

One of the oldest Indian restaurants in town, Tandoor offers all the curries, naan and tandoori you'd expect, plus a weekend brunch buffet.
No. 10, Lane 73, HeJiang St. (02) 2509-9853
Tien Mu: No.9, Lane 13, Tien-Mu W Rd, (02) 2876-7206

Best Mexican/Latin/Spanish- CHILI's

I was a bit surprised to see Texmex Chili's win for best Mexican/Latin/Spanish, but I guess readers would rather get the fajitas, guacamole and chips here than the other places in town. Maybe next year Eddy's Cantina or Yuma Southwestern Grill will give it a little competition.
Xinyi: No. 22, Sungshou Road, 2FL (02) 2345-8838
Tien Mu: No. 200, ZhongZhen Rd., Sec. 2, 2F (Mitsukoshi "B"), (02) 2875-4838

Best Thai/Vietnamese/Southeast Asian- SUKHOTHAI and MEI KUNG THAI and VIETNAMESE RESTAURANT (tie)

Mei Kung Thai and Vietnamese would definitely get my vote for best Thai in town with its consistently great service and fast and delicious food. With a huge menu and late hours, you have lots of options if you are ordering take out or eating with a huge group. My favorites are the Thai fried chicken, pineapple fried rice, prawn vermicelli pot and yellow chicken curry.
157-3 Yanji St, (02) 2752 3051

At the Sheraton Taipei hotel, you'll find Sukhothai which tied for best Thai restaurant in Taipei, offering up another huge menu of Thai dishes and curries.
at Sheraton Taipei hotel, No. 12, ZhongXiao E Rd Sec 1 , 2FL; (02) 2321-5511


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 throughout the day without the fussiness.
No. 1, Lane 99, Xin Yi Road, Sec 3, (02) 2703-9237

Best American/Western- MACARONI GRILL

You can find huge American sized salads, pastas, pizzas and desserts 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.
at Neo 19, 30 Sung Shou Road, (02) 2722-4567

Best Noodles- LAO ZHANG

Lao Zhang beef noodle soup is the winner for best noodles, and I'll have to try it to see if I agree!
No. 19, Lane 19, Jin Shan Road, (02) 2396-0927


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


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;


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;


Locally founded Alleycats wins votes with its stone oven baked pizzas and fresh toppings and multiple locations. One of my favorites is the "Napoletana" with fresh tomatoes, goat cheese, anchovies, olives and spinach.
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;

Best Steak- RUTH CHRIS

American chain Ruth Chris Steakhouse's broiled steaks are topped with butter and apparently that's how the readers like it.
No. 135 Min Sheng East Road, Sec. 3, 2 FL, (02) 2545-8888; www.ruthchris.com

Best Afternoon Tea- JOYCE CAFE

Offering waffles, souffles or afternoon tea sets- Joyce Cafe beats out a bevy of afternoon tea contenders for the top spot.
No. 22, Ching Cheng St, (02) 2713-8362;
Joyce East- No. 128 Xin Yi Road, Sec 5, (02) 8789-6128

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

Make your way to Ice Monster and you will probably find a long line of locals and tourists alike waiting for their diced mango and sherbert piled atop of shaved ice.
No. 15, Yong Kang Street, (02) 2394-8279; www.icemonster.com.tw

Best Bakery- PAUL, 85 DEGREES C and MAISON KEYSER (tie)

Even though Paul has some of the priciest bread and napoleons in town, customers are still lining up to buy their imported fare.
No. 107, Renai Rd Sec 4, (02) 2771-3200

On the opposite end of the spectrum, homegrown 85 Degrees C offers almost everything for under NT$50. With favorites like blueberry cheesecake or iced latte at a third of the cost of other coffee shops in town, this is one place you wonder how it's so cheap but still so good.
No. 2, Lane 16, Da An Road, Sec 1, (02) 2776-6350 and many more , www.85cafe.com

Maison Keyser also offers many french breads and gourmet desserts at a gourmet pricepoint. But you may find yourself going back and splurging.
at Breeze Center, B2, No. 39, Fuxing S. Rd, Sec. 2, (02) 6600-8888, www.maison-kayser.com


Anonymous said...

nice to see you finally back!

abstractpoet said...

This list looks great, Joan! Nice to see that some of my picks made the cut...

Flavors rocks! Go give them some love (and make sure you don't skip the Swedish meatballs and, most importantly, the APPLE CAKE). =)

Anonymous said...

This is such a fantastic site! I'm going to be visiting Taiwan for 3 weeks in September/October, and your website has been great for helping me plan! I can't wait to be over there and just eat and eat and eat :D

Anonymous said...

Hi Joan,
I've been a regular visitor to your blog for years and always find something here that suits my fancy. This is really a great compilation of restaurants. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing your unique eating experiences. Eating in Taipei can be a challenge for some people, but you make it look easy.

Anonymous said...

nice!....you make taipei such a better place for foodies!...keep it up

joanh said...

christopher t: thanks!

abstractpoet: yes! I definitely want to try Flavors sooner than later.

Heidi: thanks! can't wait to hear what your favorites

Carrie: thanks so much! hope to hear from you more often. any of your own favorites that you can recommend?

dlin: thanks!

Roger said...

heeey grats!

Anonymous said...

holy cow, that was epic. great job and thanks. I didn't vote because I just don't feel I have enough local knowledge to pick a "best".

joanh said...

roger: thanks!

keauxgeigh: thanks!! i hope it's helpful.. what if next year it was changed to "favorites".. would you be more inclined to vote?

abstractpoet: i went to Flavors!! the Apple Cake was SOOOOO good. so were the meatballs!