Eat Like You’re in Japan


I’m just going to say it: Taipei is one of the best places in the world to eat Japanese food outside of Japan.

The countries are so close — it takes just 90 minutes to fly from Taipei to Okinawa and only three hours to Tokyo. There’s around 50 years of colonial history, ending in 1945. Not to mention the constant tourism flow between the two cultures.

When Mos Burger first expanded out of Japan, its first international location was in Taipei back in February 1991. These days you’ll find Japanese restaurants and franchises of all types, price points and cuisines operating in Taipei, from super premium sushi and kaiseki to comforting ramen.

Here are some of the notable and popular restaurants in Taipei if you’re in the mood for some Japanese.

Dining room at Tsujihan 日本橋海鮮丼つじ半.
Ordering by tablet at Sushiro.

Sushi & Seafood

Addiction Aquatic Development is like a big Japanese fish market with live tanks, a take-out grocery section, and fantastic dine-in options. The standing sushi bar is my favorite, and it’s basically everyone else’s favorite too. It’s a bit out of the way so just take a taxi. (Map)

Tresors de la Mer is the higher-priced, sit-down seafood restaurant opposite the main building of Addiction Aquatic Development. They do a lovely seafood platter, handrolls tableside, and a delicious beef and seafood hotpot. You probably want to get it all. (Map)

Sushiro and Kurasushi are two affordable sushi train brands that are much, much better than Sushi Express. Taiwanese people live by the concept of “CP” or “cost performance”, and these two chains are definitely good value.

There are also plenty of high-end omakase sushi restaurants in Taipei with long wait-lists, or are simply impossible to book. A few names to look up are Adachi (Map), Amamoto (Map) and Sushi Ryu (Map). If you’re curious, try booking for lunch instead of dinner.

Stand-up sushi bar at Addiction Aquatic Development.
Sashimi platter at Tresors de la Mer.

Tonkatsu & Hotpot

Katsumasa 靜岡勝政日式豬排 probably serves the best tonkatsu in the city. The Japanese chain operates three restaurants in downtown Taipei, plus one in Tienmu. Bonus points for being very kid-friendly. (Map)

Kurogeya 黑毛屋本家 serves premium Japanese wagyu shabu shabu and sukiyaki. Everything about the hotpot here is thoughtfully done, from the cooked rice to the presentation and sake options. It’s located on the 6F level of Shinkong Mitsukoshi A4. MRT: Taipei City Hall (Map)

Tajimaya Shabu Shabu does high-end hotpot with incredible presentation and attention to detail. It’s located inside the Mandarin Oriental, which should give you an idea about about price. Just take a cab. (Map)

The spread at Kurogeya 黑毛屋本家.

Soba, Udon & Ramen

Ichiran, the famous dine-alone ramen chain, operates a few 24-hour restaurants in Taipei. Try the macha beer because why not. (Map)

Okaeriお帰り吃碗拉麵吧 makes a very, very good-looking bowl of ramen with perfect soft-boiled eggs. MRT: Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall (Map)

Menya ITTO specializes in dry noodles you dip into strong broth. The most expensive bowl here runs 330NT. (Map)

Sanukiudon & Tenpura does handmade udon in both thick and thin versions. I typically get a set with tempura because it’s perfectly fried there, and also an order of the cheese croquettes. Located on 5F level of Nanshan Breeze. (Map)

二月半そば makes handmade buckwheat soba (both cold and hot versions) and they’re also known for tempura. MRT: Zhongshan (Map)

Kikanbo 辣麻味噌沾麵 makes spicy ramen with pork or beef. They have a cashless system, which means you use the vending machine kiosk to order and pay. MRT: Taipei Main Station (Map)

There are countless other noodle spots worth mentioning including Enishi (Map), Ramen Nagi with its three locations in Taipei (Map) and Yamatoya (Map).

Unagi on rice at Fei Qian Wu 肥前屋鰻魚飯.
Dining room at Fei Qian Wu 肥前屋鰻魚飯.

Donburi

Tsujihan 日本橋海鮮丼つじ半 originated in Tokyo and serves donburi with heaping mounds of fresh seafood. Each meal comes with a couple slices of sashimi, hot soup, dessert and the option to add broth to your rice to make congee. Located in the B1 level of Breeze Xinyi. (Map)

Fei Qian Wu 肥前屋鰻魚飯 is an old-school Taiwanese shop making unagi don, or grilled freshwater eel over rice. There’s usually a line outside before they even open. MRT: Zhongshan Station (Map)

DON BU DON 懂不懂 is famous for their wagyu beef bowls (price for wagyu bowl starts at 620NT) and wagyu sandwiches. MRT: Zhongxiao Dunhua (Map)

Sakanakun Don make ridiculously loaded seafood bowls with uni, ikura, sweet shrimp, tuna and an egg yolk in the middle. Some are literally dripping with gold leaf. MRT: Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall (Map)

Italian-style ramen at Due Italian.

Italian & Western

Due Italian has a peculiar-looking menu of Italian-Japanese fusion ramen dishes, but trust me it works. The Italian ingredients prepared in a bowl of comforting ramen tastes both familiar and new. In Japan the restaurant has a Michelin Bib Gourmand. Located in the B1 level of Shinkong Mitsukoshi A4. MRT: Taipei City Hall (Map)

Japoli Italian Bistro is another example of the Japanese love of Italian food. The manager of this Taipei location next to Zhongxiao SOGO is Japanese, and they scream even “irasshaimase!” in Japanese when you enter. I love the mushroom truffle risotto here. (Map)

Solo Pizza Napoletana opened in Taipei to great fanfare. The owner of Solo Pizza was trained in Italy and his claim to fame is winning an international pizza competition in Naples. The only thing about this place that bugs me is the reliance on plastic cutlery. MRT: Zhongshan (Map)

Mushroom truffle risotto at Japoli.
Pizzas and soup at Solo Pizza Napoletana.

Yakiniku

吳桑燒肉 is cosy spot for yakiniku and draft beer. They have a tablet ordering system and swift service. MRT: Zhongxiao Fuxing (Map)

Kanpai Bar 乾杯Bar is the more low-key, food-focused location out of all the Kanpai restaurants. Here the helpful staff help keep an eye on your grill and since there isn’t the “kiss” challenge for free meat, it’s a more chill crowd. MRT: Zhongxiao Dunhua (Map)

Hatsu Yakiniku & Wine has a super spacious dining room and shiny new exhausts. They have wagyu beef here and the servers help you cook tableside so it’s not ruined by your amateur skills. MRT: Zhongshan (Map)

The sake at Kurume Izakaya.

Izakaya

Taiwanippon 赤綠 does home-style Japanese food in a pretty bare basement dining room. It’s a lovely spot to sit and chill with a bottle of wine or sake, and eat your way through small dishes and a sashimi platter. MRT: Zhongxiao Fuxing (Map)

Kurume Izakaya is an Okinawa-themed izakaya. Food can take a while to come out so order the house sake or a draft Orion while you wait. The chicken thigh yakitori is amazing. I also like the grilled squid, grilled vegetables, tofu salad, sashimi and the cheesy udon is a nice surprise. MRT: Taipei Main Station (Map)

Fireweeds is housed inside a renovated Japanese cottage so the atmosphere is really lovely. They have a wide selection of sake and it can feel like every table is drinking, which isn’t very common in Taipei. MRT: Guting (Map)

大眾立吞酒場 is where you go for yakitori and beers, sit outside on stools where the table rests on beer crates. The yakitori is almost secondary to the atmosphere. MRT: Zhongxiao Fuxing (Map)

There are countless more izakayas in the Linsen North Road area, and plenty more yakitori restaurants along Shimin Boulevard between Fuxing and Guangfu Roads.

Tokyo Curry delivered.

Curry & Hamburg Rice

Torarakuya might be the world’s cosiest restaurant, so don’t try to go if you’re more than two or three people. They only do curry here, with either beef or chicken/pork. I definitely suggest adding a perfect sunny side egg on top. MRT: Xinyi Anhe (Map)

Tokyo Curry excels at takeout and delivery, so you’re a lucky duck if their two Taipei storefronts are within your delivery area. One is by Zhongshan MRT (Map) and the other is on the other side of town by Nanjing Sanmin MRT (Map). Great curry, perfectly cooked rice and wobbly egg.

Orehan 山本漢堡排 (Map) is the place to go for a classic Japanese-style hamburger patty set with rice and miso soup. MRT: Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall (Map)

Admiring the choices at Komeda’s Coffee.
Pancakes at Tsubaki Salon.

Cafes & Desserts

TSUTAYA bookstore has two locations in Taipei, and both have cafes with that undeniable Japanese vibe. The Xinyi location is inside Uni-UStyle mall (Map). The Songshan location is opposite the Songshan High Speed Rail station (Map).

Komeda’s Coffee is a retro Japanese coffeehouse chain that’s comfy and no fuss. There are single diner seats with partitions for privacy and electrical outlets. The coffee is good, so is the fried chicken. There are three locations in downtown Taipei. (Map)

Haritts 甜甜圈 from Japan make soft, fluffy donuts that aren’t overly sweet. They almost taste like bread without the crust. You can get Japanese flavors like matcha and red bean, but my absolute favorite flavor is orange. MRT: Nanjing Fuxing (Map)

Kobe Sweets Cafe from well, Kobe, is a cake lover’s dream. They make sponge cake with cream and fruits, it sounds simple but it’s totally decadent. I would eat a slice every day but I’d feel so bad about it. (Map)

9 Palette Parlor makes ridiculously beautiful fruit parfaits, soft serves and fresh juices. I don’t recommend the fruit sandwiches at all. They look great but it was the most weird texture ever. Located on 2F of Breeze Nanshan. (Map)

Tsubaki Salon inside the Regent Hotel is a famous soufflé pancake cafe from Japan. I am a bit of a souffle pancake snob, so I can’t believe I haven’t gone yet. I have a good feeling about it. MRT: Zhongshan (Map)

Yamazaki is a glorious Japanese bakery chain. The Premium Yamazaki on the B2 level of Zhongxiao SOGO (Map) is my favorite bakery in Taipei. The smell is amazing. Yamazaki also runs the Saison du Soleil chain.

A donut from Haritts.

Here are some more Taipei food guides:


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