Fri, Apr 25, 2008 - Page 15 News List

[RESTAURANT REVIEW] Toasteria 吐司利亞

By David Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

Toasteria serves panini-style grilled cheese sandwiches in 20 different varieties.


“No Diet Coke, no skim milk, no low fat cheese, no credit cards,” reads the menu at Toasteria (吐司利亞), which is devoted to one thing: grilled cheese sandwiches.

The concept behind this sandwich bar is simplicity, but its charm lies in the opportunity to indulge in comfort. On offer are nearly 20 different kinds of sandwiches, cooked on small panini-style grills, and made with five kinds of cheeses, fresh vegetables, light meats, and spreads.

Grilled cheese is “the perfect meal” to proprietor Tomer Feldman, who created the menus at Citizen Cain (國民) and the Sababa (沙巴巴) restaurants. Although he studied culinary arts and worked as a chef in New York City for over 10 years, the Israeli native knew that he would return to “his roots” — the sandwich.

“[With this place I wanted to offer] simple things that make people happy,” he says.

Toasteria, which lies on an alley off of Zhongxiao East Road (忠孝東路), is basically a bar squeezed into a four-ping (13m²) storefront. But Feldman uses the space well and manages to create a warm and welcoming vibe. Soft lighting illuminates the copper-top bar, which is already forming a nice, weathered patina. Bar stools are padded with soft vinyl cushions. In front of the bar, there is a small deck area with two sets of tables and chairs.

Sitting at the bar, I smelled coffee and the savory scent of butter and cheese cooking. At times, the music (vintage jazz and blues the day I went) blared just above conversational level, but it did block out the din of cars and scooters outside.

I had the feta pesto (NT$95) sandwich, which had feta cheese, roasted red peppers, shitake mushrooms, and a pesto sauce with a generous amount of garlic. The flavors were well-balanced, with nothing overpowering, and the bread was just right — not too sweet, as is often the case in Taiwan. Each sandwich comes with a small dish of pickles and green olives, soaked in an oil and vinegar recipe from Feldman’s family.

Toasteria (吐司利亞)

Address: 2, Ln 248, Zhongxiao E Rd Sec 4, Taipei City


Telephone: (02) 2731-8004

Open: 11am to 11pm Monday through Thursday; 11am to 2am Friday and Saturday; 11am to 9pm on Sunday

Average meal: NT$140 to NT$250

Details: Chinese and English menus; credit cards not accepted

On the Net:

Among Toasteria’s other sandwich selections: classic grilled cheese (NT$70) and smoked salmon tapenade (NT$105), which has feta, roasted peppers and tapenade, an olive paste. Diners looking for something different can try the grapa (NT$105), which is made from gouda, red-wine onion jam, roasted garlic and fresh basil.

Fries and simple salads are also available, and there is a modest selection of beverages: espresso, soft drinks, teas, Kirin beer and red wine.

To get there on the MRT, go to Zhongxiao-Dunhua Station (blue line), leave the station at Exit No. 3, and walk straight ahead along Zhongxiao East. Turn right at Lane 248, just before Yanji Street (延吉街).

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