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Cucina Sole: Finally a proper west-Taipei-City Western restaurant

Moderators: citizen k, elektronisk

Cucina Sole: Finally a proper west-Taipei-City Western restaurant

Postby Rotalsnart » 06 Aug 2011, 01:50

I went to the soft opening of Cucina Sole (on the 5th floor of the K-Mall building opposite the Taipei Main Station and next door to the Mitsukoshi building on Zhongxiao W.Rd.) tonight. I'm very happy to report that for the first time in my over two decades in Taiwan, this is the first time I've seen anyone have the means and the temerity to open a true western restaurant of a certain scale and ambition (yet with modest prices and without pretension) within Taipei City on the WEST side of Zhongshan N. Rd. Yes, there've been plenty of coffee shops and limited-menu western restaurants in the corridor west of Zhongshan (some of which I'm extremely fond of), but I'm really happy to see that some restauranteurs finally have had the vision to realize that the West side is the trend of the future in Taipei, and to make an investment of some scale in real western dining on the west side.

My companion and I had a more than ample dinner just off the appetizer menu tonight (we were more than full just from just four shared appetizers portions split between us), and I look forward to reporting back on other parts of the menu after trying them. Tonight, we had the beef meatballs, the grilled vegetable appetizer platter (which includes cheeses, bread, and two sauces, incredible value), the grilled seafood skewers, and the fried zuchini. All were delicious. Given the prices, location, and hospitality, I will be back to try everything else on the menu.

Moderator's Edit:
Telephone: (02) 2370-6919
Address: 5F, No. 50, Section 1 Zhōngxiào West Road (忠孝西路1段50號5樓)
Website: http://www.cucinasole.com/ (Under Construction)
Last edited by maoman on 06 Aug 2011, 12:36, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Added contact information
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Re: Cucina Sole: Finally a proper west-Taipei-City Western restaurant

Postby maoman » 08 Aug 2011, 11:30

After hearing Rotalsnart's review, I had to go try it out for myself. * Wow! Fantastic food! It's a bit outside of my normal East Taipei stomping grounds, but it's remarkably easy to get to. If you take the MRT, get off at Taipei Main Station and leave through either Exit 2 or Exit 6. If you're going by car, the best approach is to head south towards Zhongxiao on Chongqing South Road, and turn left on Zhongxiao West Road. Drive a block or so, and you'll see K Mall on the right. Turn right and right again, and you'll be able to park in the K Mall parking garage. Take the elevator to the 5th floor and you're there!

Ok, now on to the restaurant itself. The restaurant is a family friendly (they have high chairs), non-pretentious, spacious, environment, decorated in a Tuscan style. Despite being a brand new restaurant, the staff were friendly and attentive, and seemed to know what they were doing. (Disclaimer - we were there late, and most of the customers had already been served.)
Here's a snapshot of the place:
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Like Rotalsnart, we started with the beef ancinis (meatballs), and they were fantastic! Crispy on the outside, and served in a fantastic marinara sauce. I'd never had them before, but I'd definitely order them again! :lick: They were described on the menu as "arborio croquettes rolled in fresh bread crumbs, stuffed with beef and mozzarella cheese, fried golden brown, and served with a zesty marinara."
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We also ordered seafood skewers, described as "skewered chunks of shrimp, white fish, salmon, zucchini, and tomatoes, basted in olive oil and grilled with fresh herbs and lemon.". That also didn't disappoint, and was probably the first time I've ever had a seafood skewer where the seafood outnumbered the vegetables. I was particulary impressed with the freshness of the shrimp and the scallops. More and more it seems restaurants are soaking their seafood in a special solution that preserves the "plumpness" of the seafood at the expense of taste. I'm glad that cucina sole is not one of those restaurants! Here is a picture I took of the seafood skewers. (Oh, and apologies for the quality of the photos, but I had left my real camera at home - these iPhone shots will have to suffice.)
Image

We followed up the appetizers with a lasagna bolognese, a salmon steak served with herbed mashed potatoes, and some pork, ham, and sage skewers that were just fantastic. The pictures are here:
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The wine list was extensive, with something for all tastes and price ranges (and all Italian, of course), but we stuck to beer last night. Next time I'll try and leave some space for dessert, because that looked quite good as well.

Anyway, this restaurant is a welcome addition to Taipei's culinary scene, and the fact that it's WEST of Zhongshan and still easy to get to, will make this a very attractive dining option for foreigners and Taiwanese alike.

Oh, one last thing I should mention - many of the items come in two sizes, "regular" (which is already a very generous portion), and "family" which is a huge portion, suitable for four people. Definitely the way to go at this place is to order several dishes and share as a group. :thumbsup:



*Full disclaimer: The owner of Cucina Sole is a personal friend of mine, but not a good enough friend that I'd write anything other than an honest review on Forumosa. The food really is THAT good.
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Re: Cucina Sole: Finally a proper west-Taipei-City Western restaurant

Postby jimipresley » 08 Aug 2011, 11:44

Looks great! What are the prices like, guys?
You can live here and have a great life and not be the least bit into living the local life. Clowns will try to diss you for it saying you gotta get down with the program, but fuck em, treat this place like a buffet and yous be on a diet. Take what you want and nothing extra, slam those oysters, but leave the bread sticks and dinner rolls behind. - Deuce Dropper

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Re: Cucina Sole: Finally a proper west-Taipei-City Western restaurant

Postby maoman » 08 Aug 2011, 11:58

jimipresley wrote:Looks great! What are the prices like, guys?

Appetizers are all under $300, I think. Salads range from $180 to also about $300. Pastas are from $280 to $400, and entrees are mostly in the $500 and $600 range, except for the 24 oz. T-bone steak, carved at the table, which goes for $1800. "Family" portions of pasta are available - four times the size, but only three times the price, so if you're a large group, that's the way to go.
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Re: Cucina Sole: Finally a proper west-Taipei-City Western restaurant

Postby tango42 » 08 Aug 2011, 14:01

Definitely looks good. So would this be considered a Spanish tapa cuisine? Or do they have others styles of western food?
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Cucina Sole: Finally a proper west-Taipei-City Western restaurant

Postby maoman » 08 Aug 2011, 14:47

tango42 wrote:Definitely looks good. So would this be considered a Spanish tapa cuisine?

No, Italian country cuisine. Tuscan fare would be closer to the mark, I think.
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Re: Cucina Sole: Finally a proper west-Taipei-City Western restaurant

Postby BigJohn » 09 Aug 2011, 16:38

I hope they do some set meals or lunch specials. I ate there today, and had the Penne Bolgnese and a Caesar salad. They were both great - but 605NT for a simple meal with no beverage seemed a bit much for lunch. I'd love to go back, but I'd think twice about doing so for lunch.

The service was extremely attentive - actually too attentive in my own highly subjective view. That is, it was hard to just glance around the restaurant without meeting several pairs of intensely curious eyes of servers who wondered if I wanted something. They hovered about like eagles ready to pounce, hawk eyed to the slightest movement in the grass, so to speak. It made me feel a bit self-conscious.

But I'll definitely be back for a big dinner with friends sometime.

Good luck to them!
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Re: Cucina Sole: Finally a proper west-Taipei-City Western restaurant

Postby RollsRice » 26 Aug 2011, 15:01

"Cucina Sole" about as Italian as Fish and Chips ! Unfortunately, it won't appeal to people who like real Italian food, the food has been "Taiwanised", too sweet and too creamy. Very disappointing and expensive. But to be fair, it has been only open a few weeks. The place itself is very nice.
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Re: Cucina Sole: Finally a proper west-Taipei-City Western restaurant

Postby Taffy » 26 Aug 2011, 15:03

RollsRice wrote:"Cucina Sole" about as Italian as Fish and Chips ! Unfortunately, it won't appeal to people who like real Italian food, the food has been "Taiwanised", too sweet and too creamy. Very disappointing and expensive. But to be fair, it has been only open a few weeks. The place itself is very nice.

Ah! The jealous competitors show up - it must be good! I'll definitely be trying this place now.
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Re: Cucina Sole: Finally a proper west-Taipei-City Western restaurant

Postby sandman » 26 Aug 2011, 15:11

RollsRice wrote:"Cucina Sole" about as Italian as Fish and Chips ! Unfortunately, it won't appeal to people who like real Italian food,

It appeals to me and I DEFINITELY like "real" Italian food. If you HONESTLY think the food there is "about as Italian as fish and chips" then you obviously have very little idea of what you're talking about. :roll: And since when has "creamy" been Taiwanese?
I'll trust Rotalsnart and maoman before any one-post-wonder. If rotalsnart says its good, then its good. It is THAT simple.
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