Taipei probably has one of the highest densities of restaurants in the world. Almost every street and alley offers some kind of eatery. Of course, Chinese food (from all provinces) is well represented. In addition, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean and Italian cuisines are also popular. Basically, East Taipei, especially around Dunhua and Anhe Roads, and also the expat enclave of Tianmu are where to clash chopsticks with the rich and famous, whereas West Taipei offers smaller, homey restaurants.
Due to the sheer number of restaurants, it is almost impossible to compile a thorough list, but below are a few recommended restaurants catering to specialist tastes.
Night markets (夜市)
Several night markets (夜市) are located in each district. Some are open during the daytime, and all are open until around midnight. Night markets consist of restaurants and stores at the permanent locations and little booths along the center. Every night market has a huge variety of food, so any night market you find is a good bet for good food. Because of the vast selection, the recommendation is to go with a few people and share the food. Vendor food is generally safe to eat, but use common sense though if you have a sensitive stomach!
The most famous one in Taipei is the Shilin Night Market (士林夜市). It is easily accessible via the MRT (red line) at either the Jiantan (劍潭) or Shilin (士林) stations. It has a large game section and many food shops. Nearby are vendors, and haggling is appropriate here for non-food vendors, especially clothing. Also, they may raise prices for you if you don't look Taiwanese. This is known as the most "touristy" night market, and shop owners generally can speak English.
Locals in Taipei view Shilin as touristy, with food catering to the tastes of mainland visitors. Another excellent option is Ning Xia Yeshi.
Gongguan Yeshi is located on the western side of Roosevelt Road across the street from National Taiwan University (Taida). When exiting Gongguan station (green line), use exit #1 and follow the sidewalk until you see stands lining the side-streets. This night market is closed on Wednesday nights. It is known for its variety of food, and for most shop owners knowing English due to the international student population at NTU.
Shida Yeshi is a clothing-focused night market. Some food is available, but with limited options.
Ximen Yeshi is not technically a true night market but is a very lively shopping area come sundown. It is one of the most modern markets in Taiwan, and there is often an abundance of acrobats and other street performers. It is located at Ximen Station off the MRT green line.
Longshan Yeshi is a classic part of Taipei located at Longshan Station on the MRT blue line. It is home to "Snake Alley" and the famous Longshan Temple, which is one of the largest temples in Asia. Taiwan's "red light district" is located nearby, and a number of the city's homeless congregate here due to free food offerings from the temple. However, crime is extremely low so you should not be worried!
Raohe Yeshi is one of the "most Taiwanese" night markets within a few KM of downtown. It is one long road and is known for its local foods and cheap socks.
Danshui (Tamsui) Yeshi is located at the farthest stop on the MRT, Tamsui Station at the northern end of the red line. It is known for its beautiful view along the river, its massive ice cream cones, and its fresh, affordable seafood.
Miaokou Yeshi is located in New Taipei City, specifically Jilong (Keelung). It is right next to the Keelung Harbor and is known for its extremely diverse food offerings, including flavored ice, fried dough, and fresh seafood.
Lehua Yeshi is located off the MRT yellow line. It is in very Taiwanese territory. Few shop owners speak English, and the food is notably local.
Some of the best known night market snacks are:
- Oyster vermicelli (蚵仔麵線; ô-á mī-sòaⁿ)
- Fried chicken fillet (雞排; jīpái)
- Stir fried cuttlefish (生炒花枝; shēngchǎo huāzhī)
- Spareribs with herbs (藥燉排骨; yàodùn páigǔ)
- Aiyu Jelly (愛玉冰; ài-yù-bīng)
- Soy braised foods (滷味; lǔwèi)
- Tien Hsiang Lo (天香樓), B1, 41 Minquan East Rd, Sec. 2. (The Landis Taipei Hotel). Tel:+886 2 2597-1234. Authentic Hangzhou cuisine. Reservations are recommended.
- Pearl Liang (漂亮中式海鮮餐廳), 2F, 2 Songshou Rd (Grand Hyatt Taipei). Tel:+886 2 2720-1200. Offers unique, fresh, live seafood and dim sum.
- Shang Palace (香宮), 6F, 201 Dunhua South Rd Sec. 2. (Far Eastern Plaza Hotel). Tel:+886 2 2378-8888. Specialize in Cantonese and regional Chinese cuisines. Note: Dim sum is available for lunch only.
- The Pengs' Traditional Hong Kong Cuisine (彭家園), Guangfu South Road, Lane 240, No. 49 (Close to Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall MRT Station, Exit #2). Tel:+886 2 2772-9839. Opened approximately 30 years ago, both the food and the decor of the restaurant have not changed since. Known for being more authentically 1980s Hong Kong than most restaurants in Hong Kong today.
- Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐), 194 Xinyi Rd Sec. 2 (Entrance of Yongkang Street). Tel:+886 2 2321-8928. Famous for its steamed pork dumplings. Worth a detour. Several locations in Taipei and worldwide. Gets very crowded even on weekdays so book in advance.
- Taiwan Pa (太玩吧), 1F, No.155, Sec.2, AnHo R.d Tel:+886 2 2732-7010 . Business Hour: 8:00p.m-3:00a.m
- (Mon.-Sat.)Famous for mix-taiwanese tapas. Great collection of local wine.
- Peking Do It True (北平都一處), 506 Renai Rd Sec. 4. Tel:+886 2 2720-6417. This is the place to go if you crave good Beijing cuisine. Visitors may be surprised to see a large photo of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush on the wall, taken when he ate at the restaurant during his trip to Taiwan in 1994.
- Yin-Yih Restaurant (銀翼餐廳), 2F 18 Jinshan South Rd Sec. 2. Tel:+886 2 2341-7799. Dedicated to old style Yangzhou cuisine.
- Shan Xi Dao Xiao Mian (山西刀削麵), 2, Lane 118, Heping East Road Sec. 2. (@ Fuxing S Road, near Technology Bldg MRT station, is in an alley of Taiwan National University) Tel:+886 2 2378-7890. Serving knife cut noodles, which are known for their chewy texture. As the name suggests, a block of noodle dough is held and the noodles are cut straight off of the block. Cheap and very popular, but no English menus.
- Yongkang Beef Noodle (永康牛肉麵), 17, Lane 31, Jinshan South Road Sec. 2. Tel:+886 2 2351-1051. One of the top-twenty beef noodle shops in Taipei. Note: Yongkang Beef Noodle occupies the former location of Lao-Zhang Beef Noodle, which now located next to it.
- Kiki Restaurant (Kiki 老媽餐廳), 28, Fuxing South Road Sec. 1. Tel:+886 2 2752-2781. Just opposite the Breeze Center, This restaurant serves authentic Szechwanese peppery hot pot.
- Soy Milk King of the World (世界豆漿大王), 284 Yonghe Road Sec. 2. Tel:+886 2 8927-0000. Near the MRT Dingxi Station, located just outside of Taipei City, in Yonghe City. It's the original "Yonghe Doujiang" (from which all other places copied), it's open 24-hours and it's cheap! Soy Milk King of the World.
- Xian Ding Wei Restaurant (鮮定味), address (總店地址): 台北市長安東路一段67號(總店), tel (電話): 02 2567 3331. Near to MRT Zhongshan Station, just take a taxi to go.
- Tainan Tan-tsu-mien Seafood Restaurant (台南擔仔麵), 31 Huaxi Street. Tel:+886 2 2308-1123. Legendary in the Huaxi Street Tourist Night Market (Snake Alley).
- Ching-Yeh (青葉餐廳), 10, Lane 105, Zhongshan North Road Sec. 1. Tel:+886 2 2571-3859. The most famous Taiwanese restaurant in Taipei, beside the Zhongshan North Road.
- Shinyeh's Table (欣葉蔥花), 2F 201 Zhongxiao East Road Sec.4. Tel:+886 2 2778-8712. Near the MRT Zhongxiao Fuxing Station, located right inside the Tongling Department Store. It's the newest Taiwanese cuisine restaurant in Taipei. Menu has English.
- Taiwan Pa (太玩吧)Busniess Hour 8:00pm-4:00am 1F,No.155,Sec.2,Anho Road, Taipei, Tel:+886 2-2732-7010 Great variety of new trend Taiwanese tapas !
- Niu Ba Ba (688 Beef Bowl) (牛爸爸牛肉麵) Zhongxiao East Road, Sec. 4, Alley 27, Lane 216, No. 16 (台北市忠孝東路四段216巷27弄16號) Tel: 886-2-2778-3075 The most expensive beef noodle soup to be had in Taiwan. Owner Tony Wong has bowls ranging from a few hundred all the way to 10,000 NT (~300 USD). The simple decor belies the intricate process Wong uses to deliver beef noodles for Taipei's foodies.
- Thai Guo Xiao Guan (泰國小館), 219 Tingzhou Rd Sec. 3. (Near National Taiwan University) Tel:+886 2 2367-0739. This small Thai restaurant is in Gongguan.
- Thai Heaven Restaurant (泰平天國), 60 Roosevelt Rd Sec. 2. Tel:+886 2 2392-5969. Near Taiwan Normal University (Shi-da) this restaurant serves fire-hot Thai cuisine. Try the Moon Shrimp Cake and Green Papaya Salad.
- Thai Star, Fu Xing N. Rd. Alley 231 #2. Tel: (02) 2719 6527 Shrimp Toast, Beef Stew, Chicken, Papaya Salad are the most famous dishes!
- Andy Cuisine Restaurant （泰味廚房)， Banqiao City, Taipei County. 板橋市華興街58號 Banqiao City, Huaxing Street No. 58 this is the main restaurant but they have other branches at the Xinpu MRT stop and Jiangzicui MRT stop. Food is out of this world. Curries, Bbq'd chicken/pork, salads are good. Spicy though, just ask for "xiao la" if you would like it not as hot. Its located off two MRT stops on the Yongning-Nangang MRT station just minutes from downtown Taibei.
- Mitsui Japanese Cuisine (三井日本料理), 30 Nong-an St. Tel:+886 2 2594-3394. The best Japanese cuisine in Taipei.
- Mei Guan Yuan (美觀園), 36 Emei St, Tel:+886 2 2331-0377. Located in Ximending Pedestrian Area. This restaurant has served authentic Japanese sushi and sashimi since 1946. (Note there's another restaurant opposite the road from this with exactly the same name - that's the old location of this restaurant and doesn't serve as good sushi.)
- Shabu Sen(鮮), 63, Minquan East Road, Sec. 1 (Tel:+886 2 2596-9568). This place serves great Japanese/ Taiwanese style hot pot dishes. It is a family run restaurant. The environment is clean and refreshing. The owner Ms. Chiu hand picks her ingredients daily from the market. The price is very reasonable with well-selected ingredients. English menu available.
- San Niu Da An Rd, Sec. 1, Alley 169 #3 Tel: (02) 2708-3959 Fresh sashimi and tempura shrimp. Less expensive than most Japanese restaurants of this quality. Clean, comfortable environment.
- Korean P&L B.B.Q Restaurant (P&L 韓式烤肉), 47, Longquan Street. Tel:+886 2 2362-1637. Located near the Taiwan Normal University (Shida) and in Shida Night market, this small place serves traditional Korean barbecue, kimchi hot pot, and spicy rice cakes.
- Pusan House (釜山館), 10, Lane 13, Pucheng Street (second lane on right off Shi-Da Road when traveling from Heping East Road). Tel:+886 2 8369-3919. A small, clean Korean restaurant in the Shida area. Popular with students.
- He Jiang All You Can Eat Korean BBQ. Fu Xing S. Rd Sec. 1 #5 Fl.3 Tel: (02) 2578 3573, 0933738970.
- Flavors restaurant, Ren Ai Rd. Sec.4 No.13 Alley 26 Lane 300 Tel:+886 2 2709-6525. Located on a back street of busy Renai rd with a lush garden in front and warm and cozy atmosphere inside. One of the few real western restaurants with a western chef. Flavors serves great grilled steaks including rare meat like venison, an amazing selection of appetizers in a casual fine dining way. Flavors have been voted Taipei's best-unexpected find in 2008.
- Grandma Nitti's Kitchen, 8, Lane 93, Shida Road. Tel:+886 2 2369-9751. Located in the Shida area, this restaurant serves a great selection of dishes such as burgers, sandwiches, pastas, Greek omelets, Tex-Mex fajitas and more. Very popular with American language teachers and students.
- JB's, 148, Shida Road. Tel:+886 2 2364-8222. A European pub and restaurant in Shida area serving traditional European fare on the first floor. The second floor features the main bar and activity center. Steak pie and fish and chips offered here are some of Taipei's best.
- Forkers, No. 8, Alley 10, Lane 223 Chung Xiao East Rd. Sec. 4. +886 2 2771 9285. Burgers, quesadilla, sandwiches, salads, etc.
- KGB Kiwi Gourmet Burgers, Shida Rd, Lane 114, no. 5. Tel (+886) "2" 2363 6015. Come out of Taipower MRT Exit 3. It is opposite the Wellcome supermarket in the lane. Excellent gourmet burgers in a relaxed cafe style setting. There are 11 NZ beef burgers, 10 free range chicken burgers, 3 NZ lamb burgers, and 9 vegetarian burgers. Opened by 2 kiwis, everything is made on site to high standards. There are NZ beers, real milkshakes, fruit yogurt smoothies, Rooibos tea, Savanna & Hunters cider.
- Beau Bar, The New Gentlemen In Town, is the latest addition to Taipei's Bustling bar scene. Located in the heart of Taipei, No. 11, Ln. 408, Sec 4, Ren'ai Road, Da'an Dist. Beau serves delicious signature and classic cocktails. Its cozy vintage decor and warm settings make Beau a great place for intimate events and parties.
- Roxy Rocker, 10 minute walk from Guting station. Aimed for people who want to talk and listen to a plethora of rock, metal, punk, etc. Great in house selection of tunes and requests are encouraged.
- Myst, #12-9F, ATT4FUN Building, Song Shou Rd., Xinyi Dist. (台北市信義區松壽路12號9F) Tel (English):09 5891 4777. Tel (Lounge/Booth Reservations):09 1143 9997. Currently the hottest night club in Taipei. Often cited as having the best view of the Taipei 101 building. Large and active dance floor. Wednesday night is ladies night. Free of charge after 3 am.
- Sparks, B1, No.45, Shi-fu, Rd. (Taipei 101 Shopping Mall) 台北市市府路45號B1. Located at the base of Taipei 101. Busy scene.
- Omni, 5F, 201 Zhongxiao E. Road, Section 4, near the Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT station. One of the most well-known clubs in Taipei, formerly known as Luxy. Omni has two levels: the lower level has a side room playing house/techno and the main room playing hip-hop; the upper level is a lounge with a small dance floor over-looking the main room. Cover charge goes up after 11 PM. Get there early to avoid a line.
- Room18, 110, Taipei City, Xinyi District, Songshou Rd, 22號B1. Famous club in the basement of Xinyi's Neo19 mall. Free entrance and open bar all night long for ladies before 11.30 pm. Prices go up after that, no open bar and more expensive cover charge on weekends.
- Ziga Zaga, No.2, Song Shou Road Grand Hyatt Taipei. This club specializes in cocktails and Italian cuisine - both the service and food are excellent. It's popular with locals and expats. Ladies Night is on Wednesday nights. As of 2/8/2013, Ziga Zaga is official close for business.
- The Wall Live House / Korner, B1, 200 Roosevelt Road, Sec 4, 2930-0162. Underground techno/house club and live house in Gongguan. Mostly Taiwanese bands playing everything from rock to reggae, international DJ's play sets every once in a while.
- Triangle, No. 1, Yumen St, Zhongshan District,Taipei City, 104. located in the Expopark close to Yuanshan MRT station. Foreigner-friendly bar/club with different events throughout the week, everything from Deep House to Funk or Reggae is played, very nice atmosphere
- Revolver, No. 1之2號, Section 1, Roosevelt Rd, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, 100. Alternative bar close to Chiang-Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, local metal and rock bands play concerts on the second floor, well frequented by younger expats and foreign students
- Carnegies, 100 Anhe Road, Sec 2. Tel:+886 2 2325-4433. With an outdoor patio, it's perfect for those who prefer a quieter and less smoky atmosphere. The scene is geared toward the 30+ expats and locals.
- Taiwan Beer Bar, 85 Bade Road, Sec. 2. A godsend for the thirsty budget traveler in a city of pricey bars, this is most certainly the cheapest bar in town. It's attached to the brewery where Taiwan Beer is made, close to the intersection of Bade and Jianguo Roads. The restaurant is located in an inconspicuous warehouse deep inside the brewery entrance. What it lacks in ambiance it more than makes up for in value. Interior and exterior seating are available. This is a great place to find the rare Taiwan Draft Beer, which has a 2-week expiration and usually can only be found in a few restaurants and stores in the same city as the brewery.
- Standing Room, 508 ChangChun Rd. Standing style bar and restaurant with traditional Japanese hors d'oeuvres, with worldwide classic beverages. Open M-Sa, "Happy Hour" 20:30.
- My Place Bar & Restaurant, No.3-1 Lane 32 Shuang Cheng St, (02)2591-4269. Still going strong after 25 years. Serves great food, has two bars, pool table, and shows live sports on multiple screens. There is outside seating for smokers. One of the premier bars in Taipei for watching the upcoming World Cup.
- The Brass Monkey, No.166 Fuxing N. Road, Tel: +886 2 2547-5050. Great atmosphere with live sports shown on big screens. There’s always something going on - it’s never a regular night. Friendly staffs are ready to serve you with good food and a wide selection of drinks. Go have a dance on their famous Thursday ladies nights.
- Fourplay Cuisine, 67 Dongfeng Street (台北市大安區東豐街67號) Tel: 0227083898. Hours: Mon-Thurs 6 pm-1 am. Fri&Sat 6 pm-2 am. A quiet bar/restaurant with creative drinks. Your shot may include a helium balloon, a water pipe, fire or dry ice.
- Taiwan's specialty tea is High Mountain Oolong (高山烏龍, a fragrant, light tea) and Tieguanyin (鐵觀音, a dark, rich brew).
- Wisteria House (紫藤廬), 16 Xinsheng South Road, Sec 3. Tel:+886 2 2363-7375. Wisteria is set in a traditional house, complete with tatami mats, and is a great place to spend an afternoon relaxing with friends and soaking up the atmosphere of Taiwan.
- Hui Liu (回留), No 9, Lane 31, Yongkang Street. Tel:+886 2 2392-6707. Located next to the small and verdant Yongkang Park, Hui Liu is a modern style tea house. In addition to serving Chinese tea, Hui Liu is also famous for its organic vegetarian meals and hand made pottery.
- Teng (藤居), 29, Lane 61, Linyi Street (between Renai Road, sec 2 and Xinyi Road, sec 2). Tel:+886 2 2321-9089. A rustic tea house and art studio in the heart of Taipei.
- The mountainous Maokong area of Muzha in the Wenshan district of the city has dozens upon dozens of teahouses, many of which also offer panoramic views of the city. It's especially spectacular on a clear evening. A Maokong Gondola (cable car) system services the Taipei Zoo MRT station to Maokong. The S10 bus comes up from the Wanfang Community MRT station.
Nothing is better on a hot and humid Taipei day than a refreshing glass of juice made from a huge assortment of fresh fruit!
- Happy Fruit Juice Bar (水果樂園), 53 Yongkang Street. Tel:+886 2 2343-2393. Located next to the California Grill burger place on Yongkang Street near JinHua intersection, Happy Fruit Juice Bar is a fresh fruit juice bar decorated with a Greek cafe interior. The store is family owned and run by a mom and four sisters. They serve tea, fresh fruit juice, milk pearl tea, and other drinks. It's a great place to grab something cool and refreshing on a hot day. Also, Happy Fruit Juice bar's right beside the Mofo burger joint...so it's a perfect place to get a healthy drink to wash down that burger afterward, or to simply sit down at after a trek through Yongkang St!
While traditionally a nation of tea drinkers, in recent years the Taiwanese have really embraced the cafe culture, and all the usual chains can be found here in abundance. For cafes with more character, roam the back streets near National Taiwan University between Xinsheng South Road and Roosevelt Road. More cafes are located in the area around Renai Road, Section 4 and Dunhua South Road. There are also some interesting and characterful places between Yongkang Park and Chaozhou Street, and in the alleys around Shida Road. However, for a particularly impressive range of styles, visit Bitan in Xindian, where all the cafes offer restful views over the river and mountains beyond (though can be noisy at the weekend).
- Salt Peanuts (23, Lane 60, Taishun Street, near Shida) is highly recommended for its laid back atmosphere and a great selection of retro-rock.
- Cafe Moda Taipei, 1F, No 11, Lane 49, Sec 1, Anhe Road, Daan District (Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT Station exit 3, turn right on the first lane, after 4 blocks you will find it on your left side)), +886-2-8771-7608. 11 AM-10 PM. For people who prefer the new concept of a boutique cafe, the specialty of this place by far is the 100% Organic Guatemalan quality coffee beverages they offer in a cozy ambient mixed with art fashion and great music. A small but fancy terrace is perfect for enjoying beverages on a fresh day. They also have imported beer, wine, tea, juices and other snacks in their menu, including cheese and Italian fruit cake. They have a multicultural staff fluent in Chinese, English, and Spanish (German and Japanese depending on the day you go), so feel relaxed if Chinese is not your mother tongue as this place is geared for expats and locals that prefer a stronger kind of gourmet organic coffee.
- Minimal Cafe, 106台北市Taipei泰順街42巷 Tai4Shun4 Jie1 Lane 2, #42, Daan District, Taipei City, +886-2-2362-9734. This cafe is famous for having many resident cats living inside of it (49, according to the wait staff). In fact, the owner of this cafe loves cats so much, stray ones are adopted, spayed/neutered, then allowed to live in the cafe. Thus, as you drink your beverage, don't be surprised if cats are checking you out. This cafe is indeed clean despite all the cats, and has tasty mid-range priced desserts and coffee, as well as salads/meals. The cats are friendly, if not always looking for a warm lap to sleep on. The younger cats might jump from lap to lap, just to find a playmate, even if the wiser, older cats do not care for such shenanigans.
- Coffee Lab. No. 6, Lane 64, Section 2, ZhōngXiào East Road, Jhongjheng District Taipei City. This small coffee shop roasts their own beans on site. 3 resident cats keep patrons company as they sip carefully crafted lattes.
- Cafe Flat White 106台湾台北市大安區 永康街41巷12號. An excellent and airy cafe serving a fine selection of coffees, light eats and delicious desserts. Local art is on display on the walls.
- GaBee. No 21, Min Sheng East Road, Section 3, Alley 113. Probably the best cafe in Taipei for coffee lovers. Winner of the 2008 Barista championships, they take coffee and latte art very seriously. The waffles are excellent too.