Taipei is a relative newcomer on the coffee shop scene, however, over the past few years, its café culture has been bubbling to the surface and takes on a fresh approach to feed its people’s aesthetic taste and eclectic appetite, making the city an alluring place for the young, and a new haven for lazy afternoon chill out.
A café in Taipei is not just some place to get a warm drink, but also a cultural hub, which has gradually become a part of the local everyday lifestyle.
Now in Taipei, we are spoiled for choice. Trendy cafes are springing up one after another, each with its own unique style and distinctive concept. There are always new places to explore; you never know what awaits you on the next corner.
Here’s a round up of my current favorites.
1. Café De Riz
Café De Riz pairs a coffee and sushi bar into one. It not only has a slick and sophisticated neo-European interior design but also takes on a modern interpretation of traditional Japanese cuisine. From savory dishes such as sashimi bowl and rice balls to tasty sweets such as Hojicha Creme Brulee and Lemon Pound Cake, Café De Riz adds a unique touch to its dishes by combining western coffee drinking culture with Japanese food elements.
Their special onigiri set is a personal favorite! It comes with three rice balls each with a different filling and seasoning. The side dishes vary but generally consist of pickled/stewed vegetables.
Café De Riz adheres to the philosophy that quality rice is the foundation of a good meal. The rice they use is the RAW special blend in line with the establishment chef André Chiang’s RAW. Their brown sugar latte goes surprisingly well with the rice ball set. An absolutely elegant “east meets west” dining experience.
2. One Fifteen
Abundant natural lighting is a key essential that makes for a good café environment. In the buzzing Eastern District of Taipei, One Fifteen offers a fresh and elegant Mediterranean taste, which is rarely seen in Taipei.
One Fifteen’s design resembles a greenhouse, with windows that let in plenty of light and shades of green from outside, making it a very relaxing place to dine on a sunny day.
One Fifteen offers a selection of salads, sandwiches, desserts, teas and other light refreshments. Their mixed berry French toast is to die for!
Part of One Fifteen is essentially a clothing store carrying creative Taiwanese designer brands, which also serves as a platform to showcase the young talents’ work from time to time. If you are looking for a place where both fashion and food are in style, this is a gem.
3. Kiosk Cafe
Behind the gorgeous dark blue door sits a gorgeous open white space with minimal design and great ambiance.
The blue and grey marble stonework station sets the stage for the super cool owner with a Mohawk cut, serving an array of brews. For first timers, Kiosk’s lemon olive oil cheesecake and flat white will not disappoint!
Their tartines are also very tasty as well as the daily tarts on offer. Keep in mind that as there is no time limit at Kiosk, it does get quite crowded so make sure you go a little early to avoid a line – the wait is a testament to its popularity.
4. Fujin Tree Café
If there was an “it spot” right now Fujin Tree Café would definitely be it. Located in the Minsheng community, one of the hippest areas for many of the young creatives in Taipei. The area has a much slower pace than other areas of the city.
Fujin Tree is a café that belongs to the Fujin Group, a company that owns a string of stylish establishments including trendy restaurants and creative boutiques.
Fujin Tree Café is the perfect spot to grab coffee after having a filling Taiwanese meal at their next-door neighbor, Fujin Tree Champagne.
Fujin Tree Café’s beautiful space comprises of French windows, dark wooden floors and white marble tables to create an exquisite ambiance. Not to mention the beautifully crafted wood bar! If you are more of a tea person, there are also tea options at Fujin Tree Café as well as dessert and brunch items. While you’re in the area, make sure to check out the other Fujin Tree stores as well!
5. The Antipodean
The newest spot in Neihu district, the Antipodean is situated in the neighborhood of Gangqian. The eye-catching pastel colored kangaroo art mural right outside the café attracts many people, including myself, who are complete sucker for artsy walls.
I get really excited whenever I see a café with a nice outdoor area; brunching and drinking coffee on a nice, spacious patio when the sun is out is what my ideal Sunday looks like.
The open patio up front at The Antipodean is something you don’t see that often in Taipei.
The owner of TA recently moved back to Taiwan after living in Australia since elementary school, hoping to bring back Aussie-inspired breakfast to the people in Taipei. Big breakfasts, acai bowls, and the dark chocolate and blueberry tart are some of my personal favorites here!
6. Wakaba Taiyaki (Rou Ye Taiyaki)
A small Japanese-style café where you can eat taiyaki, a fish-shaped cake typically with a red bean paste filling, and drink an iced matcha latte.
Taiyaki is a very common traditional Japanese dessert. However, Wakaba Taiyaki adds its own twist to a typical sweet by offering different filling choices such as sakura (cherry blossom) flavor paste with a cheese rice ball stuffing and matcha custard cream.
There are also thin or thick skin options to choose from. If you just want to get something light to go with your tea, get their mini taiyaki stick, with three different flavors of mochi taiyaki; yellow soybean, red bean, and matcha. They also sell tea and matcha drinks, which are a natural pairing with the taiyaki.
7. Fika Fika Cafe
Caffeine addicts, come right this way!
The name Fika Fika comes from the Swedish concept of fika; “to have coffee.” To many, fika is not just a coffee break, it’s a bit of “me-time to slow down and appreciate the good things in life”.
This Nordic style café serves award-winning coffee, “ single-origin Aeropress-brewed coffee” and an assortment of homemade cookies, pound cakes, and some solid sandwich options. The place also sells bags of its coffee bean blends and you can smell the aroma of freshly brewed coffee right when you walk in. Even though Fika Fika does fall on the more pricey side, the quality is guaranteed. The white interior and the warm earthy wooden tables make for a beautiful space.
8. Café Junkies
Café Junkies is my go-to place for an early morning coffee run. It has a kind of homey quality to it and it’s the perfect spot for a nice hot latte and a drooling bagel sandwich; probably one of the best I’ve had in Taipei.
The space shows a lot of character and style; I adore absolutely every corner and thoughtful choice of furniture and décor. From the wooden tables, wall hangers, to the bookshelf and the random knick knacks, my eyes are always busily looking around.
Their signature “bear wall” also doubles as a perfect photo-taking spot. Besides coffee, they also sell craft beers. If you are in the mood for food, note that the selection is limited to bagels and some small finger pastries.
9. Coffee Lover’s Planet
The name says it all; this is literally a coffee planet for all of you coffee lovers out there!
Coffee Lover’s Planet is UCC Japan’s overseas gourmet coffee flagship store, offering more than 20 different coffee options ranging from bitter to fruity and strong to light, and 7 different brewing methods.
CLP is most famous for their cold drip and their special coffee flight is the perfect way for first timers to experience this method of brewing. The coffee flight is essentially a cold drip tasting set with 6 small glasses of different coffee.
The glasses are placed on top of a piece of paper indicating the origin of each coffee bean, and a short description of what each tastes like. This is a great place to swing by for a little afternoon pick me up!
Taimo has a gorgeous interior that gives a great sense of style, with minimalist
table settings, leather couches, and mix-and-match wooden chairs.
The ambiance is very laid-back with a California vibe, which reminds me of the summer
houses in Newport Beach.
Taimo has a spacious outdoor area and their French windows allow plenty of sunshine in. Taimo offers several special blend milk teas and coffees.
Their milk teas are all made to order, and are cooked in a pot on the stove. Therefore, it may take awhile before you get your drinks. But hey, good things come to those who wait, right?
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Written and photographed by Leslie of Taipei Foodie.
Leslie grew up between Northern California and Taiwan and is currently based in Taipei. You can find her hopping from one place to the next finding good eats and standing on chairs to document it all. Thanks Leslie, the embarrassment is worth it for these amazing shots! See more of her photo journalling at Taipei Foodie and on Instagram @TaipeiFoodie.