After checking in and getting freshened at Grand Hyatt Taipei hotel, we made our way towards Taipei 101 on the last night of our trip. The mere distance from our hotel to Taipei 101 meant that we could easily reach there within 5 minutes of walk. It was unfortunate that during our stay there, the weather was a little crappy with constant rain and heavy fog afterwards, which meant our pictures of Taipei 101 didn’t turn out to be as nice as they could have been.
Taipei 101 on a foggy evening
Bright lights along Taipei 101 surroundings
Just like KLCC, Taipei 101 also has a huge mall at the bottom, mostly selling branded goods. There must be some kind of connection between towers and expensive brands, huh? 🙂 Anyway, we did some window shopping around the mall and decided that it was time for dinner. Since we’d had many meals of street food, we decided to go for something different that night. Something, perhaps, more western.
Mall next to Taipei 101
Thankfully, Taipei 101 provides a complimentary shuttle bus service every half and hour or so to City Hall MRT, where another mall was located. Taking advantage of this, we stood in line for the bus, together with dozens of other people waiting to get to City Hall to take the train. The mall at City Hall was more busy, with shops catering to the masses and affordable restaurants. We finally chose an Italian restaurant with a Japanese name, Saizeriya, simply because it was the restaurant with the longest queue! 😛
Minestrone Soup (TWD40)
Thankfully, the queue moved at a reasonable pace, and we managed to get a table within 20 minutes or so. Service was prompt. We were given menus once seated, and someone took our orders when signalled to. Our first reaction when we saw the menu? Cheap! We saw pastas starting from TWD70 (~RM7) and pizzas less than TWD100 (~RM10), something we’d rarely experience in Malaysia especially in a busy mall with comfortable seats. Our Minestrone soup didn’t look as nice as it was in the menu, but tasted all right. It was very similar to the Bosch soup you’d get from Kim Gary restaurants.
Garlic Foccacia (TWD30)
Spinach Gratin (TWD60)
What I saw many tables ordering was the Spinach Gratin and Focaccia. They smelled wonderful and cheesy so we couldn’t resist an order of those too. And they’re probably my favourite dish from the restaurant because the gooey and chewy cheese went so well with spinach and garlic foccacia. It was the epitome of hot and comfort food, really.
Gooey and cheesy
Of course, being in a Japanese-Italian restaurant, we couldn’t not order the basic Italian dishes of pasta and pizza. The Spaghetti Vongole was pretty decent and came with quite a number of clams. The dish was not fine nor elegant, but it served the purpose of filling up one’s tummy with tasty and affordable food. The Pizza with Spicy Sausages was not something exceptional, but it was pretty cheesy and had quite a generous amount of sausages. My complaint would be that the crust was a tad too thick. In fact, it was almost similar to that of the focaccia bread we had earlier.
Spaghetti Vongole (TWD70)
Pizza with Spicy Sausages (TWD90)
So it was far from the best food we’d eaten in Taipei, but it was definitely one of those with the most value. The bill for both of us came to TWD290 (~RM29) including free flow of water. I now understand why there was a constant long queue in front of the restaurant the whole time we were there. We’d definitely love to have more of Saizeriya, hopefully in Sydney in the future! 🙂
Long queue to Saizeriya
Another look at Taipei 101 in the evening
After dinner, we took the complimentary shuttle back to the hotel for a good night’s rest. The next day, we slept as long as we wanted to before we took the airport bus from the hotel at 12pm. The view of Taipei 101 in the day time was not as impressive as it was during night, I thought. Plus, the haze or fog didn’t help much too.
Taipei 101 from the hotel room
Posing with Taipei’s tallest landmark
There you have it, a total of 8 days in Taiwan spanned across several hotels and destinations. It was quite a hectic trip with all our transportation using public buses and trains. And we’ve proven to people that one could travel to Taiwan without much knowledge of the Chinese/Mandarin language. Just do your research beforehand and note down all the places that you plan to visit (preferably in Chinese characters) and show them to people if they have problems understand English. Have fun!
*Note: Read the rest of my Taiwan Escapade here!