Saizeriya Ximen Branch

Address: 2F, No. 37, Emei Street, Wanhua District (台北市萬華區峨嵋街37號2樓) (map)

Tel: (02) 2314-2237

MRT: Ximen (Exit 6)

Hours: 11:00~23:00

Accepts: Cash, Visa, Mastercard, American Express

Service Fee: None

Price: $

Italian On The Cheap

If there’s one thing you learn quickly about living in Taiwan, it’s that foreign food (or anything foreign for that matter) is going to be expensive overall. Ingredients generally cost more, and chefs are going to have specialized training to do a good job. If you manage to find something more reasonably priced, it’s most likely going to be a mediocre facsimile of the real thing. Basically, if foreign cuisine was a Venn diagram, quality and price rarely intersect. That’s why Saizerya (website) holds a special place in my heart. Featuring decent Italian-style cuisine and more than reasonable prices, it’s a place I go to regularly.
The decor is nothing overly fancy. Imagine a cafeteria inside an Italian university but slightly more upscale, and you’ve got a feel for it. The inside is very clean, if uninspired, and essentially does the job. This is not fine dining by any stretch, and it doesn’t pretend to be.
Simple but clean decor
One of the great things about this establishment for bargain hunters is the $39 drink bar which is unlimited, allowing you to get your fill of sodas, teas and coffee for a modest fee. Ice water is also available for free.
Unlimited Drink Bar
A good selection of teas
The menu contains all of your Italian favorites, including a wide assortment of pastas, pizza, dorias, and gratins. Soups and salads grace the menu, as well as a range of tasty appetizers including Escargot in Garlic Butter ($79). Meat dishes including steak, pork, and chicken are also available, as are desserts such as puddings, cakes, and ice cream. To top it off, you’ve got a limited selection of alcoholic beverages, including a rock-bottom priced red and white house wine priced at an unbelievable $30 per glass! At that price, it may come out of a box or something, but my wine-loving friends tell me it’s not actually bad. 🙂
To kick things off, I really like the aforementioned Escargot in Garlic Butter. You get six of them for $79, and they come piping hot in glorious garlic-buttery goodness.
Escargot with Garlic Butter
Dripping with garlicky goodness
Pro-tip: if you order this dish, be sure to also order a Focaccia with Extra Virgin Olive Oil ($20), so that you can dip it inside the garlic butter once you’re finished the escargot. Delicious!
Foccacia with Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Great for dipping!
We also ordered the Sautéed Spinach with Bacon ($39) to get at least a few veggies with the meal.
Spinach with Bacon
My wife went for what I consider one of the classic Saizeriya dishes: the Spaghetti Peperoucino Sauce with Shrimp and Spinach ($89).
Spaghetti Pepercucino with Spinach and Bacon
Their pasta is surprisingly good, and this dish, rife with shrimp, spanach, garlic, olive oil, and red chili, is delightful. If there is a better $89 pasta out there, I haven’t found it.
Incredibly good for $89 NT
I went for one of their newer offerings (they seemed to have changed the menu slightly recently) – the Pizza with Mushroom and Sausage ($99). You get a surprising amount of toppings on this 8″ pie, including a generous amount of cheese.
Pizza with Mushrooms and Sausage
The sauce is tangy, and the crust is leaning towards the thin side, which I like. Of course it’s not going to be as authentic as something like Alleycat’s (review), but I can eat five of these pizzas for the price of just one Alleycat’s large.
Hot and fresh
So there you have it. We ordered two appetizers and two mains, and were both completely stuffed at the end of the meal. The price for two people? $326. That’s value, people.
A complete meal for two - cheap!

So Did You Like It Or What?

In case you haven’t been following along, I really like Saizeriya. It’s one of those places in Taipei where I can get comfort food without spending a fortune to get it.  The food itself, in my opinion, is a few steps above what the price suggests, making this a great place to get Italian food on the cheap. 4 Yums. – TY
4 Yums

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