Italian cuisine at Diamond Tony’s (Taipei)
Another day, another Italian restaurant. This time, we tackled Diamond Tony’s, one of those seemingly high class joints with three locations, snazzy decor and an assortment of Taiwan-modified Italian appetizers, pastas, seafood and steaks.
Diamond Tony has store locations at Dazhi, Taipei 101 and Ren’ai Road (a short walk from Zhongxiao Xinsheng MRT station), and all three have similar but slightly different menus dominated by lunch and dinner sets at prices that are not cheap but reasonable. On this day, we went to the last one on the list, their Ren’ai store, situated on the second floor of a building that looks classy but a little on the old side.
You can check out the menus online here (the Ren Ai store menu is the one on the left). We went with a lunch set, offered between 11:30am-2:30pm. The price of your set depends on the price of the main course, and some of the appetizers require a surcharge. All meals come with homemade garlic bread with fresh crab meat cream sauce, soup, coffee and dessert.
The meal got off to a wonderful start with the homemade garlic bread, which is made to look like a traditional Taiwanese pancake, with a crispy outer shell and a soft and is soft, hot and fluffy on the inside. The garlic flavour is not too strong, which is good, but what makes it so awesome is the crab meat cream sauce which you dip the bread in. I just couldn’t stop dipping and eating.
Next up, the soup, which was mushroom with some special spices (I think there was also peppercorn or something) and pepper. There was also a nice big crouton they threw in there that went well with the creamy flavour.
We went with the two duck themed appetizers above, the duck salad and duck foie gras (extra NT$300 charge), which were both excellent. The salad was crisp with a tangy and fruity vinaigrette dressing, which provided a refreshing contrast to the meaty taste of the tender duck breast. The foie gras of course is not top quality, but it was good enough, especially with the accompanying fruits and berries giving it a sweet and sour kick.
For the mains, we got prawn ravioli and a spaghetti carbonara. Unfortunately, they were disappointing, by far the most disappointing dishes of the meal. The ravioli, in particular, was not quite what we expected. It was way too big and not hot enough, and the sauce lacked flavour. The carbonara, on the other hand, was too creamy, and coupled with the cheese and bacon it became extremely heavy. So thumbs down for the main courses.
We were hoping the meal could be redeemed with the dessert, but alas, it was not great either. Pretty standard stuff, a chocolate brownie cake, with a blueberry and a chocolate macaron on top. The macaron was nice, but the rest of it was forgettable.
So, the garlic bread and the starters were fantastic, but the mains and dessert weren’t very good, meaning Diamond Tony’s kind of evened itself out. It could very well be that we simply didn’t order their best dishes, so I will give them some benefit of the doubt. That said, with so many alternatives available, it’s hard envisioning us returning to Diamond Tony’s again.
Diamond Tony’s (隨意鳥地方義大利餐廳) (Ren’ai Store)
Address: 2F, No. 89, Section 2, Ren’ai Rd, Zhongzheng District, Taipei (MRT Zhongxiao Xinsheng)