TAIWAN FUN MAGAZINE, September, 2006.

:: Grilled Beef Filet with Escargot au Gratin

:: Seafood Stew with Crazy Water

:: Rack of Lamb



--By Julia Koprak Translated by Liu Fang Ru

(02) 2831-2729
88, ZhongShan North Road, Sec. 6, B1
Hours: Breakfast 8-10:30 am(only on weekends), Lunch 11:30 am-2 pm,
Tea 2:30-4:30 pm, Dinner 5:30-9:30 pm,
MRT: ZhiShan
Credit Cards Accepted: Visa, MC, AmEx
Parking available.

Specchio was once a part of the prestigious "members-only" club located next door, but we can thank the culinary gods that it is now a regular restaurant open to the public. Don't be intimidated by the underground colosseum-like structure; once you descend the stairs, the ambiance is bright and comfortable. "Specchio" is Italian for "mirror", and this is reflected in the floor-to-ceiling windows and wide, open feel of the restaurant.

Now onto the food. Specchio has a slew of internationally-trained chefs that know what they're doing, and presents interesting European fare. To start, there's an Italian-style Antipasto Bar that features pizzas, various appetizers, desserts, and a nice salad bar. This is included with an entree (a great deal!), but if you're not super hungry you can just opt for the ala carte lunch (NT$299) on dinner (NT$399). But you'd definitely be missing out on some fabulous meats, seafood and pastas. The Grilled Beef Filet with Escargot au Gratin (NT$550) is quite tender and the snails on top add a tasty, lavish touch. One of the staff favorites (not surprisingly) is the Seafood Stew with Crazy Water (NT$700). The massive prawns and other sea delights have a slight chili aroma and are served with warm, freshly baked bread, great for dipping in the sauce. Also recommended is the Seafood Canneloni (NT$485) and Rack of Lamb (NT$825). All of the dishes are prepared with light, simple sauces created from reduced stock and occasionally a touch of wine, so as not to overpower the natural flavors of the ingredients. The menu changes every two months so always be prepared for something new when you go there.

Because of its large open courtyard, the restaurant is the host of many special events, such as weddings and business dinners. Additionally, Specchio holds its own parties, which in the past have included a tango party and beach-themed party. At these fun-filled events, there is live music and free-flowing booze. Certainly an enjoyable time is to be had here.