So we’re in search of a place to enjoy a tasty, reasonably cheap Italian joint and we keep hearing about this place called La Pasta. It is so popular that it has four locations in Taiwan (and a few in China), and the one we decided to visit was near the Zhongshan MRT station on the red line.
Internally it looks like your average cafe/diner in Taipei. Clean and not too flashy, with the only thing standing out being the kidney-shaped tables that weren’t particularly ergonomic.
We go early on a Friday to take advantage of the business lunch menu that netizens have been raving about. Here it is.
There’s basically three sets: a NT$219 set that comes with a choice of pasta and beverage, a NT$249 set that includes a pasta, a choice of the first 6 appetizers (which can be soup or salad) and a beverage, and a NT$279 set that widens your selection to all 8 appetizers (satay sticks and escargot) and allows you to choose either a pasta or a main course. All courses also come with garlic bread and dessert. They only have one pizza in the lunch menu, sausage and mushroom, available as an add-on for NT$168.
The strength of the menu lies in its pasta variety. If nothing in the business lunch set tickles your fancy you can always go for something in their conventional menu for more money. Here’s a sample:
The service is not great. I’ve head some complaints about it and they weren’t lying. The waitresses, especially the old ones, just seem a little snappy. One of them also made a mistake and added an extra beverage to our bill. Luckily another waitress noticed it when I paid.
None of that matters much to me if the food is awesome. So here it is:
The garlic bread was no good. It tasted stale.
The salad was pretty good for one that comes as part of a set course. Plenty of variety and the dressing was the thick, flavoursome honey mustard type that I like.
The onion soup was average. It’s one of those they just scoop out of a big pot. I liked that it was not too thick, but the onion taste could have been more refined. The croutons inside were not fresh.
Then, the pastas.
After a lengthy thought process we went with this chicken and garlic olive oil-type pasta. It was of the home-made calibre, I suppose. The flavours were not bad, but the chicken was chewy and didn’t taste like real chicken. The ample garlic helped though.
The other pasta we got was the spaghetti with spicy chicken pink sauce. I assume pink sauce is some kind of mix between a tomato and cream-based sauce. This one was OK too. Nothing exceptional, just generally acceptable home-style pasta.
And lastly, the dessert, which was chocolate brownie on this particular day. Not bad. A little on the small and plain side, but can’t complain about the taste of the brownie itself.
So there you have it. After reading all that hype, La Pasta turned out to be a disappointment. It’s not terrible, but it’s not exactly good either. Taking into account the price, the service, the variety and the quality of the food, I’m not sure I can even call this place above average. I can’t speak for the other outlets, but when it comes to their Nanjing West Road store, it is what it is.
La Pasta (義大利麵屋)
Website (under construction): http://www.lapasta.com.tw/
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lapastaLA?fref=ts
Address: No. 4-3, Lane 25, Nanjing West Rd, Datong District Taipei City, Taiwan 103 (nearest MRT Zhongshan, exit 2)
Phone: (02) 2555-3818