Fri, Oct 27, 2006 - Page 15 News List

Restaurant: Cosi o' Cosi

Address: 155 Tunhua S Rd Sec 1, Taipei (台北市敦化南路一段155號)
Telephone: (02) 2771-5883
Open: Every day from 12pm to 2:30pm and 6:30pm to 11:30 pm (kitchen closes at 10:30pm)
Average meal: NT$500
Details: Chinese, Italian and English menu; Visa and Master Card accepted. This is a vegetarian-friendly restaurant

By Noah Buchan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Fresh anchovies are better eaten straight up.

PHOTO: NOAH BUCHAN, TAIPEI TIMES

The first thing one notices upon entering Cosi o' Cosi are the fresh smells of tomato sauce, baked bread and spices. As there the restaurant's first floor is a no smoking area — there are tables out the front and on the second floor — there is no odor to impede succulent scents wafting out from the ovens. Complimenting the warm smells are friendly service and atmosphere. It is the kind of place to bring a first date, the food solid but not outrageously priced if there is no second in the offing.

Standing at the bar are a number of servers unobtrusively waiting to pick up orders and bring out dishes. They are all decked out with headsets and the observant customer can see them constantly dictating orders to the open kitchen in the back. The bar itself is a colorful array of chipped tiles with a white background.

The menu is limited but well constructed. Where it does excel is on the appetizers. The Olive e Acciughe Fresche (NT$180) is a mouth-watering teaser with mixed olives holding up fresh anchovies. The latter are not salty or fishy and go perfectly with a slice of freshly baked crostini (NT160). No visit to an Italian restaurant would be complete without an order of caprese (NT$380). Though a little pricey, the mozzarella is fresh.

For the carnivorous, the sliced beef tenderloin with Parmesan in lemon sauce (NT$380) will curl your whiskers with delight.

The pizza menu tends toward the simple and exotic but the selection is wide-ranging and the portions filling. Ranging in price from NT$280 to NT$440, all pizzas are made from scratch and are placed into the oven only when the server speaks into their headset. The highly recommended carciofi (NT$320) is a combination of artichoke, olives, chili, garlic, and mozzarella. The adventurous will love the salami, Gorgonzola, spinach and mozzarella diavola e Gorgonzola spinici (NT$420). For the genuine cheese lover and risk-taker, the quattro formaggi (NT$440) — a four-cheese zinger that includes Gorgonzola, Brie, ricotta and mozzarella — will make the clogged arteries worthwhile.

The pasta menu is even more limited than the pizza menu, but that should not dissuade you, for what that small section lacks in quantity is made up for in quality. The linguine al vongle (NT$320) is a simple linguine and clams done up right with white wine. For those who like more of a taste explosion in their feasting, the linguine with shrimp in spicy tomato sauce linguine all'arrabbiata con gamberetti (NT$380) is a good bet.

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