August 2017 Update: Not to take anything away from Solo Pizza, but another contender recently emerged and must be given its due: Gusto Pizza just outside Dongmen MRT stop. I go quite a lot.
The debate is over. Japan’s Solo Pizza sneaked into the Zhongshan area a couple of months ago and is now my favorite pizza in Taipei. Sorry, Pizza Hut buffet. You lose.*
Solo Pizza is famous for winning the top prize twice at the Pizza Championships in Naples, Italy. In 2010, Solo Pizza owner Akinari “Pasquale” Makishima from Nagoya became the first Japanese chef to win the top prize in Naples. He was just 33. In 2014, Maya Ota, a female chef at Solo Pizza won when she was 32.
These days, Makishima is in Taipei making delicious pizzas in the Zhongshan shop. This explains why last night there was a short but determined line when I arrived at 5:30pm. Everyone was waiting for the doors to open at 6pm.
The good news is after you’re inside, the line moves fast. They make the pizzas to order and they come out of the oven quickly.
I ordered two: the basic mozzarella margherita (crazy underpriced at 145NT) and another one with proscuitto sliced to order. Lots of diners were enjoying the award-winners: the margherita extra and the pizza pasquale with pork sausage and smoked mozzarella. I’ll get to those soon I’m sure.
I also enjoyed a delicious housemade aranchini (38NT) and a cup of creamy mushroom soup (50NT). Classic Taiwan Beer is 45NT a can.
By the looks of it, the menu is the same as the Nagoya restaurants. The interior is similar too. There are enough strategically placed faux-Italian tzotchkes and jars of Nutella to make you feel confident in the pizza.
There’s even a little statue of the Pope for good luck. Nice job, Solo Pizza. I’ll be back often.
* I’m joking about Pizza Hut! There are other good pizza places in Taipei these days, but if we’re judging by quality of ingredients, taste and value for money, Solo Pizza wins “Best Pizza in Taipei” by five hundred miles.
Solo Pizza Taipei
Lunch hours between 11:30 to 2pm
Dinner from 6-9pm
Photo Credit: Solo Pizza Taipei Facebook Page