Fri, Sep 16, 2005 - Page 15 News List

Restaurant: Romano's Macaroni Grill

Address: 1F, 30, Songshou Rd, Taipei (臺北市松壽路30號1樓)
Telephone: (02) 2722 4567
Open: Sundays through Thursdays 11am to 11pm. Fridays and Saturdays 11am to midnight.
Average meal: NT$750 (including beverage) per person
Details: English menu and major credit cards accepted

By Gavin Phipps  /  STAFF REPORTER

Romano's is a welcome addition to the scene.

PHOTO: GAVIN PHIPPS, TAIPEI TIMES

Italian-US chain restaurants are not new to Taipei, but over the years the menus at some of the long-serving joints have become rather, well, boring. After all, one can only eat the same meal a certain number of times before it becomes more of a chore than a pleasure to dine on.

While I won't name or shame here, I will happily point diners looking for something new on the Italian-American food front in the direction of Taipei's latest restaurant, Romano's Macaroni Grill. Opened in late June on the ground floor of the Neo 19 shopping mall adjacent to the Warner Village multiplex, the restaurant offers a pleasing alternative for those looking to wine and dine and enjoy on-the-ball service in a pleasant Western-style dining environment.

The menu isn't huge and the variety of meals isn't going to break any records, but what there is should suffice for anyone looking for large portions of well presented and tasty appetizers, grilled meats and pastas.

Appetizers include the old favorite mozzarella alla caprese (NT$380) and mushroom ravioli (NT$340) as well Romano's sampler, which for NT$400 allows patrons to nibble on a selection of tasty bar-style nibbles. Although it's not a steak house the joint's grilled dishes, like the Tuscan rib-eye (NT$980) and the filet padano with truffle demi glaze (NT$930), are popular.

It's the pasta and risotto dishes, however, that really impress. Whether it's the green but wonderfully healthy and satisfying sauteed shrimp and scallop pesto and asparagus risotto (NT$580), the wholesome chicken rigatoni (NT$460) or the rich veal marsala served with mushrooms and capellini pasta (NT$680), all hit the spot.

Along with the standard menu, Macaroni's also offers family set meals. Costing NT$3,200 the meal gives diners three courses and is enough to feed five.

There are only a handful of desserts on the menu but any one of them should meet your requirements if you have a sweet tooth.

In addition to the food, Romano's Macaroni Grill also boasts a pretty good selection of North American wines and even serves live opera in the evenings, when a female singer strolls around the joint once every 15 minutes or so and belts out well-known arias from famous operas.

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