It is such a drag to look forward to a return to a much-loved restaurant, go there and find it’s gone. So imagine this reviewer’s disappointment in walking down the alley to Sababa in Tianmu for hummus, falafels and gyros, only to discover the restaurant is no more. Happily, however, shining back from a glossy menu at the same location were mouthwatering photographs of enchiladas, burritos, chimichangas and other beloved Tex-Mex fare, as well as the Eddy’s Cantina (艾迪墨西哥餐廳) logo.
Eddy’s, which began life as a burrito stand in Tamsui’s night market before opening its mortar-and-bricks restaurant a few blocks away in 2008, opened its second branch right off Zhongshan North Road Section 6 on May 2.
Owners Eddy Gonzalez and his wife have kept Sababa’s basic table layout and color scheme, only there are now Mexican flags and a mix of family and historical photographs for decor, while a large part of their Tamsui menu — tacos (soft or hard shell), burritos (classic and “wet”), quesadillas, chimichangas and enchiladas — has made the move to Tianmu and kiddie portions are available on request. The dessert menu is not as extensive, just tortilla dulce, which is similar to a crepe, cinnamon sweet chips and ice cream, and not all the vegetarian options are available, but Gonzalez said he will try to meet requests.
Eddy has left the Tamsui operations in the hands of long-time staffers for now so he can focus on getting his Tianmu crew up to speed.
Most of the entrees are offered in a choice of four fillings: chicken, steak, carnitas (pork) or vegetarian — either potatoes or refried beans (made without lard) — while there are also fish tacos (soft shelled) or seasoned ground beef for the hard shell tacos. The prices are mostly between NT$200 and NT$289, though a five-taco plate will take you to the NT$450 mark. For NT$95 more, you can turn an entree into a full meal with a soft drink or tea and a choice of two of the following: beans, rice, chips or salad and potatoes.
Address: 1, Alley 3, Ln 450, Zhongshan N Rd Sec 6, Taipei City (台北市中山北路六段450巷3弄1號)
Telephone: (02) 2873-7612
Open: Mondays and Wednesday to Fridays from 11:30am to 2:30pm and 4:30pm to 10pm, Saturdays and Sundays 11:30am to 9:30pm, closed on Tuesdays
Average meal: NT$250 to NT$400 plus service charge
Details: English and Chinese menu, credit cards not accepted, reservations only accepted on weekdays
On the Net: www.eddyscantina.com
The tortillas, chips and salsas are all homemade. While the vegetarian chimichanga was filling, it was a bit dry and the small servings of salsa, salsa verde and sour cream didn’t go far. The enchilada plate, however, was perfect.
Since Eddy is trying to convert Taiwanese to Mexican cuisine, he’s trying not to scare away people by making anything too spicy, so if you like your Tex-Mex hot, you’ll have to spice it up yourself with extra helpings of the more fiery salsas.
The drinks menu runs the gamut from standard soft drinks (including imports such as A&W Root Beer and Dr Pepper), ice tea or rooibos tea to a choice of Taiwan Beer or eight imported beers and ales (including Corona, Anchor Steam and Dead Guy) and a few cocktails (margaritas, horchatas, tequila sunrises).
Eddy’s Web site (www.eddyscantina.com) has menus for both locations and provides delivery information for people living outside Taipei who have a hankering for chicken/pork/steak burritos, enchiladas or quesadillas.
By the way, for fans of Sababa, there are just two locations left in Taipei, one at 8, Alley 54, Ln 118, Heping E Rd Sec 2, Taipei City (台北市和平東路二段118巷54弄8號), the other at 17, Ln 283, Roosevelt Rd Sec 3, Taipei City (台北市羅斯福路三段283巷17號). For more on Sababa, visit www.sababapita.com.