On a recent Sunday, I was wandering through the streets of Taipei (with only my cell phone for a camera, so sorry for the photo quality), trying to decide where to eat for a very late lunch/early dinner. It’s important to know, in Taipei, most restaurants are only open until 2PM – 3PM or so, and then they close in the early afternoon until 6PM. If you are engrossed in your sightseeing and find yourself hoping for a late lunch, you may find that you are out of luck for most local Asian cuisine options. That day, my late lunch / early dinner fell around 4:00 PM, so my choices were certainly limited. I didn’t want to go to a pub/bar, so I decided to wander around close to some of the more famous options in the city, and came across The Diner, just down the side street from Carnegies, perhaps the most notorious western restaurant/bar in Taipei.
The Diner is not a place that I have never heard of. Most sites reviewing western food for Taiwanese audiences seem to bring this place up in their index. The Diner is pretty well known for the western-style breakfasts, which are available all day. My experience tonight was not breakfast, however, but a slightly more traditional lunch/dinner option. I decided to order both the Buffalo wings (just to try them and compare to what I have tried so far in Taipei) and a Pastrami Reuben sandwich. This is the first time I have seen this on the menu here in Taiwan, so I figured I had to give it a shot.
The food was very good. Nothing too great or spectacular, but very good.
The Buffalo wings were, in fact, the closest thing I have tried thus far to American Style Buffalo Wings here in Taiwan! At the first sniff, the wings smelled pretty authentic, with the right twinge of spice and flavor. They really made me feel that I was about to really, finally find some authentic wings here in Taiwan. Then I bit into the first wing…and I was not disappointed! Ok, this was not the best wing I have ever had, but in terms of wings I have had in America, this would certainly rank well in the upper middle of the spectrum. The wings tasted nice, and they were well sized and made for a nice starter, but they were perhaps a little soggy. I personally prefer my wings a little more well done, with the skins a little crispier, and the sauce a little looser to come off to the palate. However, the difference between these and my ideal wing was so much less than what I am used to since moving from America that I found myself very happy with what I was served. The wings had a nice tang, and were hot into the center. They were about regular size for American style winglets, with 4 drummies and 4 flappers on the plate, served with celery and blue cheese for NT$170.
The Pastrami Reuben (NT$ 260) was also much better than expected! The Pastrami was lean, with a nice peppery flavor and a little bit of a smoky taste, mixing well with the Swiss cheese, Sauerkraut, and Thousand Island dressing. This was, by no means, the double stuff Reuben you’d find at a New York City delicatessen, but considering that this is Taipei, I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised. I doubt anyone would be asking to “try what she’s having” here, but it’s certainly nothing to run home crying about!
The Diner is best known for their breakfast dishes, and not being a breakfast expert, I did not go down that road tonight, but I definitely think Erin and I will try this place together one day in the not too distant future. Especially since they appear to have Bloody Mary’s on the menu!
The Diner has two locations in Taipei:
No. 145 Rui-An St.
No. 6, Lane 103, Sec. 2, Dunhua South Road
Mon – Fri 7: 30AM-Midnight
Last orders at 11PM