Tito's been open for five years and has expanded from a small little eatery tucked away down an alley. It has become a charming spot, overlooking a park, where one can tuck into Continental cuisine and while away the hours over a cup of coffee, herb tea or fresh juice.
Located inside Fuxing Park (福星公園), off Kunming Street (昆明街), the restaurant is run by Alan Shao (邵行好), who has a romantic attitude toward life and business. According to him, there's nothing better than a plate of spaghetti, birdsong and puppies playing in the grass.
"The idea was to create an eating revolution in Taipei dining and provide a wonderful experience," Shao said. "I know that we have succeeded because if you look us up on the Internet everyone says so."
Tito began as a restaurant serving just Italian food but has changed its focus to include French cuisine. Signature dishes include sauteed lamb chops in a spicy sauce and fillet steak with goose liver and chicken mousse. Spaghetti plates include seafood, chicken leg and a promising bacon and shrimp, among other choices.
These are all set meals and range in price from NT$250 to NT$600, including fruit pudding and a choice of over 30 drinks. The drink menu is comprehensive, ranging from vegetable juices and frozen fruit smoothies to coffee or tea.
Decor is casual, with decks for smokers overlooking the street and park. Including the basement, there is room for 68 diners, however, the best place to sit is on the deck overlooking small, but perfectly formed, Fuxing Park.
This is a good vantage point for people-watching as the Ximending crowd never thins. Students breeze by, shopping at the fashionable outlets nearby. Pet lovers walk their dogs, cats and even rabbits.
Address: 6, Ln 56, Hankou St Sec 2, Taipei
Telephone: (02) 2389-3785
Open: 11am to 12pm
Average meal: NT$500 to NT$1,200 for two people
Details: Chinese and English menu, credit cards not accepted
Having established Tito, Shao says he plans to open a new place in the East Side Shopping District (東區) within the next couple of months. This will be a fusion Italian and French-style diner with a heavy-duty motorbikes theme to attract the biker fraternity. Possible names: Hogs and fine food.