Apocalypse Now

323, Fuhsing North Road
Tel: (02) 2545-4628;
Hours: 11:30 am-2:30 pm, 6 pm-3 am


Eating and drinking like there's no tomorrow at Apocalypse Now

By Graham Norris Translated by Katy Huang

This is the sort of restaurant where large parties go to eat big and drink big. Everything about this place is large. It can seat 350 and frequently fills up on weekends, so book in advance.

The restaurant opened in 1987 and the owner, Dale Ong, expanded his operations all round Taiwan and even to Shanghai. Today, there's only the one original restaurant left now and, yes, it's named after the Francis Ford Coppola film about Vietnam. While there's no Vietnamese food here, there is a huge selection of Taiwanese and mainland Chinese cuisine to choose from. Of the 247 items on the menu, the staff recommends any of their hot plates, including fish, veal and venison, costing between NT$220 and NT$420.

There is a very wide selection of hot dishes ranging in price from around NT$260 to NT$320. Some of the more popular dishes are fried shrimp (NT$300), gung bao ji ding (kung pao chicken, NT$260), sweet grilled lamb (NT$400) and fried chicken (NT$320). There are also vegetables and cold dishes from between NT$200 and NT$240. The lunchtime set-menu option allows you to select up to 10 dishes from 45 options, plus soup and rice, with each dish costing around NT$90.

Smoothies and cocktails account for many of the 240 menu drinks which, unlike the food, are all translated into English. Juice smoothies are all NT$160 and frozen cocktails cost NT$200. Margaritas are NT$160 and martinis go for around NT$180. There are also several options for those in need of some alcohol. A rack of test tubes filled with firewater costs NT$500, and shooters go for between NT$200 and NT$280. Beer drinkers will find this is one of the cheapest places to buy draft beer--a liter glass costs just NT$180. And, of course, they have the infamous little plastic kegs of beer--4.5 liters for NT$680.

Those hoping for a quiet, romantic dinner won't find it here. This place is loud and sometimes raucus. There are tables for two, but most of the tables are for six or more. Smoking is allowed everywhere. On Friday and Saturday night, guests get treated to live music. At other times, a DJ provides musical entertainment, playing pretty standard Chinese and Western pop. However, the staff will gladly pass on other requests.

Overall, Apocalypse Now makes for a very lively night out. And, by the way, if it's your birthday, you can get a cake and one of the DJ's many versions of "Happy Birthday".