New Year’s Eve brought a great omakase experience in both the food and the atmosphere. With so much competition in the realm of high end Japanese restaurants in Taipei, what I find rare are those places that add in a bit of character to their restaurant. That’s exactly what we were given at Yoinn Japanese Cuisine.
There are three price points for their omakase $1880 NTD, $2380 NTD and $2880 NTD. We went with the middle $2380 option thinking this would be a good sampling of the foods offered here. What I didn’t expect was the amount of food we got. It was pretty much a feast. And that was even before the chef decided to celebrate New Year’s Eve with us. With what he added to our meal, the price would have been well over what the top price had to offer. I mean, aged otoro, how’s that for an extra!
As for the service and décor, it was versatile and very attentive. Even with our ever changing courses, the servers kept our drinks filled and our area clear of used dishes. This while tending to other tables in this intimately lit restaurant. There are curtains for separators hanging from the ceiling. What’s really cool were the mobility of the curtains. They were made to be moved around according to the size of the party and table configuration. Pretty neat. Then there was the chef who was busy preparing dishes for everyone. However, he took the time to explain to me what fish we were being served. Though we had a language barrier, he was very patient.
After everyone left and only the people at the bar was left, Chef Isao opened up even more. We learned that he was the chef at several Japanese restaurants before opening up this one on his own. Those included a restaurant in Japan and one renowned one in Taipei – one of them acquiring a Michelin star. I forgot the names of them but after having his food, it was obvious we were dealing with an artist. One who doesn’t hold back sharing in his creation and gifts. We sat there through closing sampling his whiskies and scotches while having cured mullet roe “because it goes well with whiskey.” Yeah, this guy is a cool cat in my book. We will be coming back here.
Yoinn Japanese Cuisine (余韻日本料理)
Lane 366, Section 2, Bade Rd, 49號
Taipei City,, Taiwan
+886 2 2740 1088
Verdict: Yes! For quality sushi and a full stomach I recommend coming here.
We were able to get last minute Friday reservations at Moe Yakiniku 3. It’s the third expansion of the restaurant. Known for it’s selection of wagyu and it’s service, we were more than excited to check it out. It’s located in the Da’an district along a street of other restaurants. Inside, the eating area were divided into more intimate sections. Our area had four tables with seating for four. There’s ventilation suction valves at each table and the yakiniku grill was heated with charcoal. Already a lovely sign.
It was all about wagyu here, Australian to be exact. All of our cuts were A5 wagyu with a B.M.S. score of 9. If you want to know more about what that means, read wagyu.org/breed-info/meat-grading/. I sure had to because I’m used to only hearing A5 until our server told me it was “A9”. So much more learning to do with this wonderful cattle. Anyways, as I mentioned, they are serious about the beef here. And even though I insisted on cooking it ourselves (cuz you know, that’s all the fun in yakiniku) they soon took over. I have to say, they did a much better job than I did. The server knew how to cook it just right, to get that small sear without overcooking, or in my case, undercooking the meat.
A serious place for high end yakiniku where they also focus on service. No wonder there are now three of these restaurants. I’m looking forward to trying this place again.
Moe Yakiniku 3
No. 24, Ln. 116, Guangfu S. Rd.
Daan Dist, Taipei, Taiwan
+886 2 2731 1750
Verdict: Yes, check this place out. It’s on the expensive side but for this grade of wagyu, it’s worth it.
Whenever I’m in Taipei I look forward to having hot pot. Even more so when it’s winter and temperatures drop. So we were off to a place that specializes in crab hot pot, 12 Basket. It’s notoriety stems from it’s use of fresh mud crabs in your soup along with it’s changing soup base which ends up as a congee by the end of your meal. You don’t have to go this route and do ala carte hot pot, but since this was our first time, we went for the popular course.
We opted for the $1480NTD seafood set for 2 people. In addition to the base offering, we upgraded our crab as well as added beef to our meal. That may have been overkill for us since we weren’t able to finish the congee at the end or take advantage of any of the ice cream dessert. No regrets though.
As for the atmosphere, it’s a bit homestyle and local. No posh fixed seating, just tables and chairs that could be moved around to accommodate varying party sizes. There’s a downstairs as well. Most items except for the hot pot ingredients are self served, even the beer! I figure this frees up the wait staff to work at your table to help you cook your items. This was helpful for the seafood which I tend to leave in the pot and overcook. However, I did like my beef a little more rare than how they prepared it. Can’t win them all. Overall, it’s a cozy atmosphere with service and food being what you’d expect from a local restaurant. Though their seafood was a step up from normal. This was a great start to my stay here in Taipei.
Lane 50 Yixian Road
Xinyi District, Taipei City
Verdict: Actually just an okay place for seafood hot pot that you won’t leave hungry.
It only took three years since I first read about Addiction Aquatic Development from hungryintaipei to pay it place a visit. In retrospect, if I had done so, I would be here all the time. Not good for my wallet. But wonders for my belly. There’s just so much this place has to offer. As a meticulously run fish market slash grocery store slash restaurant options, I could come here for any occasion. Whether it’s a quick prepackaged bite at one of the seat yourself tables or a sit down meal at one of the put my name on the list restaurants, the Addiction Aquatic Development center offers it all. And if you’re thinking it’s just another fish market, you would be wrong, fear of missing out, then missing out, wrong. This place was fancy and well worth a visit, even if it were to only browse.
We went through the market and into the grocery store. It’s quite busy. Obviously with tourists like myself snapping pictures and looking through the super delicious looking bento boxes. But in the halls it’s pretty packed with people eating at the standing tables. It looked difficult to secure a spot. However, for us, we decided to try one of the restaurants.
It was late lunch so the wait wasn’t too long at Tresors de La Mar, a restaurant outside of the market. Inside the restaurant was modern and dimly lit. The blasting air conditioning was such a relief from the outside heat and humidity. I could have fallen asleep here if it weren’t for the anticipation of good food. Yeah, I’m going to be alert for that. The wait staff was very attentive and kept things going at a fast but unrushed pace. The meal was what I’d like to say, a Japanese-Taiwanese meal, a mix of traditional tastes from both cultures. We ordered a lot and unfortunately for this article, I didn’t get to pay for it. So I don’t know how much it all costs. I will say though that I’m am certainly coming back here.
Tresors de La Mer (上引煮海)
2F, No.20, Alley, Lane 410, Minzhu East Road
+886 2 2508 1268
Verdict: A must see for seafood lovers.
My final outing in this wonderful city was omakase at 游壽司. Inside the restaurant you’ll find the seating is all around the sushi bar. Set up for an intimate session with your chef. However, unlike other places, it’s not small and stuffy. There’s plenty of room at the counter and a good number of chefs to accommodate. I really like this style dining. Personal experience without sacrificing the amount of patrons. That doesn’t necessarily mean there’s no lines. There will be. We were able to get immediate seating only because we got there 45 minutes before close. And as a testament of their service, they still tended to our dinner without any sort of rush. Just look at how many courses we had. That’s service my friends!
The nigiri courses were fantastic and the plating was simply beautiful. By the time we got to the end of the courses, the chef asked if we wanted more. I was good but felt we didn’t get to try one item, a good cut of toro. Within minutes they whipped one up a pair for us. Mmmm now I got plenty to dream about on my flight home.
No. 7, Lane 7, Lishui St
Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106
+886 2 2391 9298
Verdict: Try it. Solid variety of sushi and you won’t leave hungry.