It’s been more than a year since my first visit to Papa Gio’ (I remember because my wife went into labour that night, probably from eating too much there during lunch), one of the best and most underrated Italian restaurants in Taipei.
Located in the alley behind the Ming Yao Department store near the Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT station (blue line), it doesn’t look all that fancy but oozes an authentic Italian feel with its wood-fire pizza oven and Italy-inspired artworks. The a la carte menu is pricey by Taiwan standards so I recommend the business lunch, which ranges from NT299 (AU$10) to NT$800 (AU$26.50) depending on what main course you get. At the very least, you get an appetizer, a salad, a soup and a dessert, plus three types of all you can eat pizza. The more expensive options include an additional pasta or seafood or steak dish.
(Note: the last time I went there the lunch special was NT$390 and you get all you can eat pizza + a pasta in addition to the other extras except the appetizer, which is replaced with garlic and pizza bread.)
But let me get back to the pizza, because PaPa Gio’ has some of the best pizzas I’ve had in Taiwan. The choices are different each day, but there are always three types and they are all delicious. The chefs specialize in simple but fantastic topping combinations, and the crust is just sublime.
On this day we had a potato pizza, another one with ricotta, roma tomatoes and spinach, and a third with mushrooms and caramelized onions. None of these are on the regular pizza menu. I was surprised that I enjoyed the spinach one the most, but all of them were excellent and I had far more slices than I should.
We also got two pastas — a cheese risotto and a vegetarian tomato spaghetti. Both were simple but tasty, and a perfect complement to the pizzas.
We finished off with dessert and a beverage. The dessert today was a panna cotta, and it tasted better than the photo suggests.
In all, a hugely satisfying experience. I am honestly shocked that the place is not fully packed out every weekday during lunchtime. That said, it’s probably still better to book in advance.
Address: No. 22, Alley 6, Lane 170, Chung-hsiao East Rd. Sec. 4, Taipei (Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT Exit 5)
Tel: (02) 2711-8720
Fax: (02) 2711-8721
Email: [email protected]
11:30am – 14:00pm
18:00pm – 22:00pm