Monday, May 12, 2014

japanese/sashimi: i recommend CAFE DE RIZ

No. 34 Lane 78, AnHe Road, Sec. 1
(02) 2755-6587

MRT: Xinyi/Anhe

website: Cafe De Riz's FB

hours: 11:30AM- 10PM

$$$ (about NT$800-NT$1200/person)

Kid friendliness: mostly raw sashimi available, though spotted one grilled salmon consommé rice option. no high chairs spotted

Visit reviewed: 3/5/2014

I never had a chance to try Nomura, a Taipei sushi bar that garnered fame while it was open. When it closed in March 2013 due to Chef Nomura leaving, the partners reinvented the space into Cafe de Riz. Instead of a typical sushi bar, the specialty was seafood donburis and consommés. Donburi is Japanese for rice bowl and Riz is French for rice, so Cafe de Riz is a restaurant for serious sashimi donburi lovers as the limited menu presents only a few options.

You can opt to sit at the counter for a prime spot to watch the sushi chefs, or if you have a bigger group at one of the tables. 

A glance at the menu shows three options for those wanting something hot and four for those wanting  sashimi donburis. Prices are on the higher side, especially for lunch, compared to other chirashi spots in Taipei, but then again you are getting whole pieces of nigiri sized sashimi rather than chopped up bits in a bowl. 

Cabbage served with a speck of yuzu pepper paste, to share with six people. It's pretty potent, but for six people, might need more than that.

We quizzed the waiter on the differences between the various menu options and had no idea about the sizes. I had previously spied uni on instagram at Cafe de Riz, so of course I asked which don would have it. The server said that the Fabulous Seafood Don would have uni while the Seafood Don did not. I thought if I was gonna splurge, I might as well go for it for an extra NT$300. 

At NT$1200, the Fabulous Seafood Don rivals the price of an omakase lunch at a number of sushi bars.  But instead of waiting for the chef to delicately present each piece of nigiri, you get to choose your own pace as you dig into the huge wooden bucket for sashimi treasures. 

I think those of us who ordered the Fabulous Seafood Don yelped in excitement when we saw the huge wooden bucket and how much stuff was inside.

It's a pretty massive bowl, and honestly, you could probably split this with another person. There's 2-3 pieces of most of the fish and a layer of rice underneath. 

I loved the delicate soy sauce "teapot" and the presentation of everything. 

Let's go fishing...

beautiful piece of tuna


ebi shrimp

Seafood Don (NT$900) - my friend who ordered this was happy with it. I should have taken a photo of the seafood don and fabulous seafood don side by side to show the size difference, but hers came a lot later and I already started mine.  

Salmon and Roe Don (NT$800)

Bubbles of salty fishy goodness

Salmon and Roe Consomme (NT$600) is interesting- you get a pot of hot broth to pour into your bowl to essentially make your own soupy rice. Even though the consommé sets got extra side dishes (one cold one and one hot), I didn't feel like it was as good a value as the sashimi dons. Especially if you compare the salmon ikura bowls.

Genmatcha tea comes with the set and at the end of the meal. If you want to upgrade to a different drink, then you can add the price difference.

Maru Waffle (NT$220) looked different than I expected (not waffle shaped at all), but was tasty with red bean mochi and banana flavors.

All in all, Cafe de Riz is a lovely addition to the amazing Japanese eats in Taipei. It brings fresh sashimi to a relaxed cafe environment, great for a family meal or business lunch. Second location just opened featuring more desserts.


Christina said...

Just tried this place recently. The taste is good, presentation and manners are exquisite. However, I think it's a bit over-priced.
For a simple yet fine experience of sashimi/sushi, I would recommend Shogun Sushi

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Ken said...

The Salmon and Roe Consomme is called ochazuke in Japanese (お茶漬け). NT600 is an insane price - in Japan, where it's often had at the end of meals, it might cost NT200 for a smaller portion - Taipei prices are getting out of control.

joanh said...

Christina- Agreed. Definitely on the pricier side. Thanks for the rec for Shogun Sushi. I"ll try to check it out!

Ken- yes, I think the consommé dishes were quite expensive.

Anonymous said...

Just had lunch. Nice place, but sitting at the counter is very uncomfortable. Food was good, very fresh, nice presentation etc. BUT waaaaay overpriced. There are so many good sashimi places in Taiwan, many at half the cost of De Riz. I wouldn't come back.

misia said...

The place looks nice and it looks delish. I'm going to head over tomorrow!
I don't mean to sound like a language nazi but 'Riz' is not Spanish it's French. In fact 'Cafe de Riz' means Rice Cafe.

joanh said...

Misia- thanks for the catch and for letting me know! I will change it when I get a chance! Let us know what you think after your visit!!