Opposite Cafe (Taipei)
Likely inspired by “The Opposite” episode of Seinfeld (OK, that’s a joke), Opposite (對面) is a new Italian restaurant located across the road from National Taiwan Normal University near the Guting MRT station. We decided to pay the place a visit after seeing it packed out with happy patrons a couple of times while passing by.
Opposite has an outdoor area with a retro petrol pump for some bizarro reason and an outdoor pizza kitchen that is frighteningly efficient. The indoor seating area is fitted with clean decor and some booths, but as it is a relatively new place they don’t yet have child seats, so keep that in mind if planning family outings. Some menu items, such as waffles, were also not available as at the beginning of February.
As for what was available, Opposite’s menu has about a selection of a dozen pizzas, four of which are vegetarian and two of which are sweet dessert pizzas. The topping mix could be a little strange for some people, such as duck breast with orange sauce, mushrooms and asparagus, as well as banana and black olives with honey. On the pasta section they have about eight choices plus a couple of risottos, and most of the choices are conventional such as tomato, pesto or wine sauce with pork, seafood or chicken. Additionally there are some salads, appetizers, soups and main courses such as chicken, steak, pork knuckle and salmon.
The pizzas are around NT$200 each and the pastas are a little more at around $250 but there is a range depending on the dish. The main courses are the most expensive at around NT$600 each. I’ve taken some shots of the menu for reference below.
We ended up ordering two pastas, a risotto (gratin) and four pizzas for six people, and it was just barely enough because the servings are quite small, meaning if you share everyone will only get a slice of each pizza and a bit of each pasta. One thing I will give kudos for is the amazing speed with which they make the food. It’s fast enough for you to order a few dishes and then add to that if you so desire later without feeling like there is a long lull in between.
The quality of the food is decent but not great, which is a concern as the serving sizes don’t really match the price, though I suspect the restaurant should survive given its favourable location. Some of us liked the duck pizza with the orange sauce, while others thought it was a little strange. The beef and kimchi pizza was nice, but both the kimchi and beef were quite scarce (just check out the photo), while the matsusaka pork with peppers was nothing special. I liked the creamy baked risotto and the pesto shrimp pasta, but I wouldn’t say they are standouts. The seafood pasta with tomato cream sauce was the same.
Verdict: nice location, comfortable setting, fast service, but only above average food and relatively small portions for the price. Glad I tried it out but not a place I see myself returning any time soon.
Address: No. 125-8, Section 1 Heping East Road, Da’an District, Taipei (nearest MRT station Guting)
Phone: +8862 23930022
And finally, in honour of one of the greatest episodes of the greatest show ever, I present you a clip from “The Opposite.”