Bravo Burger, which opened its third Taipei location in Gongguan (公館) last year, has quickly become a standout warrior in the capital’s burger wars. Matador Nights, a Web site “covering the world’s best nightlife, festivals and eats,” organized a contest earlier this year after digesting “some serious burger porn.” It gave one of its intrepid reviewers the “beefy challenge” of picking the world’s top 50 burger joints. Bravo Burger was the only restaurant in Taiwan to make the list.
Taiwan’s food bloggers agree with the accolade. I couldn’t find one negative word written about the place — except that without a reservation you’ll be waiting for a seat. On my most recent visit on Monday at 4:30pm, the restaurant’s second floor, which seats about 40 people at its comfy booths and stand-alone tables, was half full. By the time I left at 5:30pm, it was packed.
Exposed dark wood beams, white walls adorned with framed pictures lend it a British-style pub vibe. But if Bravo’s interior seems vaguely English, the menu and portions are all-American.
Fresh ingredients and lean beef go into making the menu’s 12 burger choices, which all come served with a bottomless drink and a choice of fries, onion rings or fried mushrooms. Bravo also serves up three chicken burgers and a fish burger. I tried the popular bacon, cheese and double patty burger (NT$340) served with crispy homemade onion rings.
Order this monstrosity if you haven’t been getting enough attention at home — or if you didn’t eat enough over Christmas.
“It’s so big,” gushed a young woman at the table next to me when it arrived. The burger’s superlative size attracted attention from other patrons, who craned their necks for a look. In fact, it wasn’t so much a burger as a small tower. As Matador’s reviewer wrote: “You need a mechanical jaw to bite into the thing.”
Address: 13, Ln 24, Roosevelt Rd Sec 4, Taipei City (台北市羅斯福路四段24巷13號)
Telephone: (02) 2365-7655
Average meal: NT$300
Open: Mondays to Fridays from 11:30am to 9:30pm and Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 9:30pm
Details: Reservations strongly recommended, Chinese and English menu, credit cards accepted, 10 percent service charge
What we’re talking about here are two quarter pound patties layered between three slices of melted cheese, and topped with generous amounts of onion, pickles, tomato and lettuce — all of it stacked within a large bun. The patties are made from lean beef, but a word of caution: they are only grilled for a few minutes, leaving them pink in the middle. Diners who like their burger well done should inform their server when ordering.
What surprised me about the burger was that it didn’t leave me feeling bloated or lethargic. The Oreo milk shake (NT$120) that I ordered was large, thick and mixed with plenty of cookies.
Bravo Burger also serves a limited range of appetizers — calamari (NT$170), fried mozzarella (NT$170), chicken fingers (NT$120) and Buffalo wings (NT$160) — as well as hard-to-find sodas such as root beer, Dr Pepper, Mountain Dew and ginger ale (NT$70). The restaurant stocks Budweiser and Heineken (NT$100), and sells mixed drinks, including Jack Daniels and cola (NT$120).
Not in the Gongguan area? Bravo’s other two locations are at 2, Ln 140, Minquan E Rd Sec 3, Taipei City (台北市民權東路三段140巷2號), tel: (02) 2713-5923, and 72, Civic Boulevard Sec 4, Taipei City (台北市市民大道四段72號), tel: (02) 8771-9787.