A stylish Japanese café serving simple and comforting food – onigiri (rice balls), chicken stew, waffles, green tea latte…all in a warm and subtle palette of natural wood with yellow lighting. This space is also filled with random curiosities on display for sale – artsy books, slightly disturbing paintings, and a spiny chestnut cupule used as a vase? [drinks] 100~220 NTD, [food] 180~280 NTD. Click here for details.
Wooden furniture, simple decor, warm lighting. Nichi Cafe is a tiny but polished cafe offering simple drinks and simple food (the banana bread, served warm and fluffy, is quite lovely). Service was minimal and even bordering on cold, but for my purpose of the afternoon – to find a quiet place to sit and read and steal wi-fi – it was more than sufficient. [drinks] 90~170 NTD, [desserts] 80 NTD. Click here for details.
The small alleys of Yongkang Street hide a good number of chic cafes, Cafe Flat White being one of them. If you are lucky enough to find yourself a seat here (they don’t take reservations), it’s a perfectly comfortable spot to spend the afternoon. [drinks] 90~220 NTD, [food] 160~200 NTD. Click here for details.
Caffe Libero is another one of the many stylish cafes that are tucked away in the Yongkang Street neighborhood. The shop, renovated from a 40-year-old mansion, oozes a sense of nostalgia with its original Taiwan zelkova flooring, engraved wood door, and vintage furnishing. What it offers: specialty drinks like Longan Latte, and lovely pastries from Red On Tree. [drinks] 60~280 NTD, [desserts] 80~220 NTD. Click here for details.
Yet another cozy place to rest your feet and quench your thirst when wandering in the Yongkang Street area. I didn’t have a chance to sample the food, but the Triple Sec latte I ordered was quite a nice combination of orange-flavoured liqueur and chocolate. The space is quiet on a weekday afternoon, an ideal place for reading or a tête-à-tête. Weekends are another story though… [drinks] 90~180 NTD. Click here for details.
Nestled on the 2nd floor of a nondescript apartment building on Heping East Road is Wakin’ Up Cafe Apartment, a space where time stands still (if you look around, the clocks here literally not not moving). Cozy ambience, eclectic decor, friendly service, and a very stylish cat. [drinks] 140~170 NTD, [desserts] 80 NTD. Click here for details.
Fujin Street, a quaint little road close to the Taipei Songshan Airport, is full of pleasant surprises. Take Woolloomooloo as an example: open plan, big communal tables, soft lighting, minimal service, delicious coffee. It’s the kind of place that has me lingering for a long long while. Downside: packed and a bit stuffy on weekends. [drinks] 60~240 NTD, [desserts] 100~250 NTD. Click here for details.
Woolloomooloo’s original store in Fujin Street is such a lovely spot, and it’s no surprise that when they opened a 2nd location in the city center, it became one of the most popular eateries around town. Decor is industrial, softened by plenty of wooden furniture and warm diffused lighting. Dishes are hit or miss, but coffee and desserts are usually quite charming. [drinks] 60~240 NTD, [food] 100~550 NTD. Click here for details.
Within the past two years or so, fashion brand agnès b. has quickly opened 6 cafes in Taipei, the newest addition being an impressive 2-floor house right behind Sogo. Not impressed by the desserts at its Hong Kong flagship store, I opted for a cup of frozen yogurt instead, but the space itself is lovely and worth spending some time in. [drinks] 80~160 NTD [desserts] 100~230 NTD. Click here for details.
Behind a poet’s unobtrusive storefront is an enchanting courtyard filled with fresh flowers and greens, complete with a skylight that allows in plenty of natural light. Eclectic, sophisticated design, picture perfect! Come for a light lunch or afternoon tea.
[drinks] 100~240 NTD, [desserts] 280~360 NTD, [dishes] 350~880 NTD. Click here for details.
This hidden gem is part apparel shop/part home decor retail space/part cafe. The best part? It’s nice and quiet even though I visited on a Sunday afternoon. Try their milk tea, which has an alluring aroma from the extra sprig of mint that was used in the brewing. Note: service can be spotty. [drinks] 150~200 NTD, [desserts] 180 NTD, [pasta] 320~480 NTD. Click here for details.
For a picture perfect afternoon tea, visit Season Cuisine Pâtissiartism, a cafe/restaurant that pours forth ingeniously and whimsically orchestrated desserts. There’s room for improvement in terms of flavor, but the presentation itself alone is worth the trip. Try the Mint Ice-Cream Pot, comprised of a layer of chocolate crumble covering mint ice-cream and chocolate cake. [afternoon tea] 520 NTD/set. Click here for details.
From the exterior to the interior, girly cute is the best phrase to describe Le Petit Pâtissier. Bright color blocks of fuscia, yellow, and green, red water jug adorned with white polka dots, wooden chairs with checkered mats…yes, it’s a sugar overload. Even the desserts are in such adorable colors and shapes! [drinks] ~160 NTD, [desserts] 120~150 NTD. Click here for details.
At Micasa Dolci, each gorgeous sweet plate is an elaborately orchestrated ensemble of alluring colors, fancy garnishes, and extraordinary flavors – and everything is conjured up à la minute. It’s quite pricey compared to other patisseries in the city, but it is well worth the extra NTDs. [desserts] 300~400 NTD. Click here for details.
If Marie Antoinette were to fancy cupcakes in Taipei, she would undoubtedly get them from VVG Bon Bon. This fairytale-come-true escape is a resplendent medley of rose petal-adorned sweets, jars and jars of marshmallows, soft pink walls, sparkling chandeliers, oversized armchairs with furry pillows. So sumptuous, so ornate, so rococo, so…Marie Antoinette. [cupcakes] 80 NTD, [drinks] 120~250 NTD. Click here for details.
This is Joël Robuchon, and Joël Robuchon rarely disappoints. Be sure to try the macarons, with colorful thin crusts that break effortlessly at the teeth to reveal a soft and chewy cookie and a smooth, ganache-like firm filling. The canelés, with their thick caramelized crust and tender custard center, are also to die for. [macarons] 80 NTD, [cakes] 160~200 NTD, [afternoon tea set] 1040~1200 NTD. Click here and here for details.
Sadaharu Aoki is known for beautifully infusing Japanese ingredients and sensibilities into French confections, creating pastries, breads, and desserts that are a feast for both the eyes and the taste buds. I was disappointed on this first visit to his boutique in Taipei, but being a fan of quite a few of his pastries I tasted in Paris, I will likely come back again for a second trial. [cakes] 180~200 NTD, [macarons] 80 NTD. Click here for details.
A small French patisserie where the aroma of freshly baked bread permeates the air, where gorgeous cakes sit quietly inside a glass display, where light-hearted music waltz in the space, where waiters and waitresses carry smiles so genuine you can’t help but want to snap pictures of them. Boîte de Bijou, may I please fold you up in my suitcase and carry you back home with me? [cakes] 120~150 NTD. Click here for details.
Upon seated at Smith & Hsu, you will be presented with a myriad of tea samples on a tray. It’s an amusing and overwhelming experience as you open bottles after bottles, smelling blends after blends with intriguing names like “Pearls of the River Nile“, “Exquisite with Raspberry“, and “Rose of the Orient“. Can’t decide what to pick? Don’t worry, it’s part of the fun. [tea] 180~690 NTD, [afternoon tea sets] 235~1120 NTD. Click here for details.
This elegant teahouse/restaurant is a most welcomed center of calm admist the dizzying Taipei Eastern district, with beautiful interior design and tasteful merchandising that hint at the background of its owner Shiatzy Chen. Courteous staff, delicious food, beautiful ambience. Come and stay the whole afternoon. [afternoon tea] 480~580 NTD (+10%). Click here for details.
Zenique Le Salon boasts a rather attractive concept of integrating Taiwanese tea and French desserts. The actual executions aren’t as impressive as the idea itself, but the cafe is still a nice place to rest your feet if when in the Yongkang street area. Decent tea, above average desserts, friendly service, quiet ambience. Yeah, why not. [afternoon tea] 250~400 NTD/person. Click here for details.
Nido is another cozy cafe in Taipei for you to add to the list of afternoon hangouts. The decor, though somehow not hitting all the right notes for me, is warm and comfortable. Try their Liuo Liuo Rare Cheese Cake (溜溜雪藏起司蛋糕), served with rose/peach jam and a little mound of graham cracker crumbles. It’s quite yummy. [drinks] 120~240 NTD, [desserts] 120~150 NTD. Click here for details.
Pekoe is a small cafe/gourmet ingredient store opened by Taiwanese food writer Yeh Yi-lan (葉怡蘭). What you can find here: Ippodo hojicha, Christine Ferber jams and jellies, Felsina olive oil, Alsace honey, Amedei chocolates, and the likes. Not a bad choice for stopovers during any time of the day. [drinks] 100~200 NTD.
Click here for details.
The only reason why I’m including Dazzling Cafe in this guide is because it’s so popular, and I have no idea why. There’s nothing to sing about their decor, ambiance, or service, and their famed honey toasts are huge disappointments. Not recommended. [honey toast] 200~380 NTD, [drinks] 140~160 NTD. Click here for details.