So Free is as much a tribute to the LOHAS spirit as it is a pizzeria serving up some of the tastiest pies in town.
Opened last week, the hole-in-the-wall, located across from a park and up the street from Sababa in Gongguan (公館), resembles the inside of a small rustic cabin. Logs are stacked under the L-shaped bar — fuel for the custom-built brick oven in which the vegetarian pizzas are cooked.
Embers from the oven, which releases a pleasant aroma of burning wood, are placed in traditional wicker baskets and set on the long wooden bar for patrons to warm their hands. Two long wooden benches, the restaurant’s limited seating, face the kitchen area.
Like the restaurant’s architecture, So Free keeps the menu simple with an eye towards the environment and wholesome fare. There is a choice of six small pizzas (NT$120), with which there can be no mixing and matching of toppings.
The service is quick and the portions generous but not gluttonous. The pizza crusts are thin (those used to Pizza Hut might may think a little too thin) and cooked crispy on the outside with the center left soft and chewy.
The basil (pesto) mushroom is the only pie served without marinara sauce and is my favorite so far: slices of fresh king oyster mushrooms and onions on a bed of delicious homemade pesto sauce and topped with just the right amount of mozzarella cheese, and not too greasy.
The potato rosemary pizza sees the pesto sauce replaced with marinara. Generous amounts of diced potatoes make up the “meat” of this pie with dry rosemary sprinkled over the spuds and covered with mozzarella. I spent the first minute smelling the mouthwatering aroma of freshly cooked rosemary before digging in.
Address: 28, Ln 283, Roosevelt Rd Sec 3, Taipei City (台北市羅斯福路三段283巷28號)
Telephone: (02) 2364-3351
Open: Daily from 11am to 9pm
Average meal: NT$120
Details: Chinese and English menu; credit cards not accepted
The other four pizza selections are mushroom and asparagus, smoked cheese, apple cinnamon and the somewhat bizarre ginger and egg (ginger superman).
The beverage menu is limited to organic barley tea (NT$20), a malt drink called Karamalz (NT$35), Perrier (NT$50) and apple juice (NT$65).