Update, 2017: Cafe de Riz no longer serves chirashi sets – or any sushi at all. It now has two locations and focuses on baked goods. The only savory offerings it has is a (admittedly very pretty) onigri set.
Cafe Riz isn’t the best Japanese restaurant in Taipei, nor is it the most reasonably priced for its purported target market of “casual” corporate lunchers. If you work at an office job Taiwan and are able to pay out 800 NT for a bowl of chirashi on the daily, please contact me via my blog contact form, wherein we can discuss setting up an interview for me with your workplace right away.
Everyone hyped Cafe de Riz up on social media when it first opened, and pictures of perfectly arranged seafood-topped rice bowls were popping up on my feed for weeks before the furor seemed to die out – it’s a sashimi bowl, and only a decent one at that. However, Cafe de Riz is just one of the restaurants that just hits me in the gut aesthetically: sleek, minimalist design, gorgeous food presentation, and most importantly, coffee! Good coffee. In fact, Cafe de Riz has an entire range of cafe drinks, ranging from the basic genmaicha set tea, to frothy hot chocolate concoctions and even Hitachino craft beers.
I haven’t managed to make it over for a lunch for fear of a swarm of CCL (to remind you, that’s casual corporate lunchers), but Cafe de Riz has become my no-risk option for quiet dinners with out-of-town guests. If you manage to snag one of few tables in the tiny space, the experience is akin to dining in your own private kitchen, where you can casually lean over the counter to watch the team of chefs prepare a delicious array of sashimi donburis and consommés.
Stephanie, I really do like this place, they inevitably say, looking around with a puzzled frown. But, it’s just chirashi, and it’s not even that cheap – why are you so fucking crazy about it? (Disclaimer: My out-of-town guests don’t actually say things that are this rude, they are much more tactful about it). I explain that it’s because, while there are better places to have coffee, and better Japanese joints to have chirashi, having coffee and chirashi at the same time is pretty much the stuff of dreams. If Jiro dreams of sushi, Stephanie dreams of having good Japanese food and good drip coffee simultaneously.
Being a complete glutton (and also, fabulous, apparently), I got the “Fabulous Seafood Don” ($ 1200 NT) and promptly ate until I was actually sick, a la my visit to Tresors de la Mer. Bitches never learn.
I finished with a cup of drip coffee, just because I could.
Cafe de Riz
Address: No. 34 Lane 78, AnHe Road, Sec. 1 / 台北市大安區安和路一段78巷34號
Phone: (02) 2755-6587, reservations strongly recommended
Hours: 11:30am – 10:00pm
Cafe de Riz FB