Back in 2006, when Taipei Times last reviewed La Pizza Pizzeria, it was located off Guangfu South Road. Two months ago it relocated to the Shida area and is a welcome addition that will doubtless provide some competition for Maryjane Pizza, located just a few minutes walk away, since it serves similar thin-crust pizzas for a similar, reasonable price. It has the additional attraction of serving homemade fettuccine and bigoli, a rarity in establishments operating in the budget price bracket.
The restaurant itself is comfortable and well-appointed, though the decor might charitably be described as understated: pale wood furnishings; serviceable, easy-to-clean tiles; a few innocuous art works on the walls. The menu is somewhat smaller than the original establishment's off Guangfu, but the essentials remain the same: a wide variety of personal pizzas from a basic margherita (NT$160) to the quattro formaggio (NT$320). The crust is excellent, but the toppings are a bit thin, and in the case of a Napoli (NT$240) ordered recently, the few leaves of basil and slivers of black olive sprinkled on top looked a little sad and forlorn.
It's the pasta that distinguishes La Pizza Pizzeria, as homemade pasta has a very different texture and feel to the store-bought kind. The fettuccine with shrimp, anchovy and vegetable in a white wine sauce (NT$230) is highly recommended, and the topping is quite generous, with nice, fat shrimp and plenty of porcini mushrooms. The salty bite of the anchovies was sadly missing, possibly overwhelmed by a chili fragrance that gave the sauce a slightly Asian piquancy. The bigoli, a fat, round extruded pasta, is also handmade and also tastes excellent, providing a more hearty feel in the mouth than the fettuccine. The bigoli with bacon and yolk in cream sauce (NT$170) was adequate, though the sauce lacked excitement, and did not have the richness of a proper carbonara-type sauce, of which this is a somewhat limp imitation.
The addition of NT$99 converts the dishes into sets, with the addition of soup (on the one occasion I tried this it was a potato and bacon soup, and though a tad bland, had the inestimable advantage of not having come out of a packet, as is the case with so many establishments in this price bracket), a salad and a drink. The appetizer menu is not particularly exciting, featuring the usual Caesar salad (NT$130) and mixed salad with balsamic dressing (NT$90), made with iceberg lettuce.
The young wait staff members are friendly and helpful, and one gets the feeling that a real attempt is being made to provide above-average Western food at competitive rates.