Evan's burger

Despite the American influence, Evan’s is a Taiwanese outfit through and through. This doesn’t make it a bad place to eat as such, although don’t expect everything on the menu to be what you think it is.

The menu consists of a wide range of appetizers (we didn’t try any of them), salads, sandwiches, burgers (of course), fajitas, hot dogs and “steaks”. There’s also a breakfast/brunch menu.

I ordered a chili beef burger and Brenda ordered a tornado beef burger which comes with onion rings. The good news is that all the burgers come with fries and a drink. Considering that most seem to cost between NT$220-250, this is quite reasonable. The jumbo and super jumbo burgers are of course more.

The not so good part was the buns, as they were the typically sweet kind of bread you get in Taiwan and even Brenda complained about it and she normally likes sweet bread. As my chili burger had enough jalapenos on it, I didn’t really notice it after a couple of bites. Vegetables come on the side and consisted of some pickles, a couple of tomato slices and some lettuce. The onion rings were also awful, they tasted very greasy and like they’d been sitting since the day before and they weren’t crispy at all. The fries were pretty decent, somewhat similar to the stuff you get in Burger King.

At under NT$500 for the two of us, Evan’s is cheap and cheerful if not great. My only concern was that of what I saw in the kitchen, where a guy had a big pot full of chicken on the floor and loading them into a tray. The floor was anything but clean and who knows what the rest of the kitchen was like. I didn’t see him drop any chicken on the floor, but I’m not keen on the way they interacted with the food in the kitchen. I don’t think we’ll be back in a hurry and there are a lot of choice when it comes to burger places in Taipei now.

Could someone please just get some normal burger buns in? I really don’t care for all the strange burger buns that’s been showing up as of lately…

You can find Evan’s burgers website here and I’ve added a map marker on the FindIT map. It’s near ShiDa road.

Gordon Biersch

So, we’ve been to Gordon Biersch a few times already, but I’ve only now gotten around to writing about it. The place is located rather oddly on the second floor in the number 11 Mitsukoshi store in the Xinyi shopping district right next to a bunch of clothes shops, but although first impression might be a bit odd, once you get inside, it’s just like any other restaurant.

The first time we went I wasn’t that impressed by the food, as I ordered cajun jambalay pasta and it was a bit to messy and not saucy enough in my opinion. The second time I was there with some friends and had a pulled pork sandwich which was really tasty and I’ve been back for that on a second occation. Last time both of us had fish, which was ok, but not quite what I expected from reading the menu. The food in general seems to be decent and they have huge burgers, although I have yet to try them, although a friend of mine had one and he didn’t manage to finish his. I’d also like to try out their steaks, but they seem a bit on the expensive side.

But what this place is really good at is dessert, it might sound strange that a German/European style American restaurant with its own micro brewery in Taiwan that focuses on selling good beer, would have excellent dessert. Personally I don’t care about the beer, but a few friends of mine said it was pretty good. However, dessert… they have huge slices or portions of whatever you order and thier carrot cake is just massive, there was no way I was going to finish that off. At the moment they’ve got a cherry and apple strudle special with ice cream that’s really good and Brend is hooked on their chocolate peanut butter pie. The warm apple bread pudding is also excellent, but I’d suggest skipping the cheese cake, as it really wasn’t anything special.

Overall Gordon Biersch have been a positive experience and we’ll be back for more. They’ve got a website here. You might have to call ahead and book a table during busy Friday night and weekend evenings, but otherwise they always seem to have plenty space.

Forkers

Forkers is another fairly recent burger place in Taipei and although it’s a fair bit bigger than KGB, it seems to be just as busy and if you’re not going in a group, you better call ahead and book a table most nights of the week between 19.00 and 20.30. Forkers feels more like a restaurant than KGB and the selection of food is also bigger. Forkers has an interesting system, as you select the type of burger you want out of a list of 50 or so options, then select the type of patty you want, be it beef, chicken, veggie, kobe beef, fish or pork.

In other words, it doesn’t really matter what your dietary requirements are, you’re likely to find something that tingles your tastebuds. They also do a selection of sallads and a few other alternatives like fried fish, quesadillas and a few wraps. All burgers comes with two sides from a selection of eight and there are some other sides that costs extra as well. You also get a drink with you meal and for an extra NT$30 you get unlimited refills.

I bumped into a couple of friends as we were there so we all shared a table. I went for the Mexican burger with a beef patty and apart from the fact I didn’t read the menu properly and missed the fact that it had a ton of sauteed peppers on it, it was a tasty burger. Brenda went for the Three Cheesy with a kobe beef patty. She also ordered the classic Poutine, which was fries with gravy and melted cheese ontop. One of my friend ordered the same fries, but with an Aussie burger sans beetroot and his girlfriend went for the Hack burger with kobe beef. The Hack burger has bacon, cheese and chicken strips on it…

The burger buns at Forkers are odd, they’re not like any burger buns I’ve ever had. They’re dark brown and has loads of mixed seeds ontop and I can’t say I was super keen on them. The garlic fries I ordered were dry and the spice mix didn’t stick att all and was all in a corner on my plate. Apart from that it was quite tasty. Our meal came up to NT$610 which isn’t bad for two people overall.

Forkers is located at No. 8, Alley 10, Lane 223 Chung Xiao East Rd. Sec. 4 and you can call them on 02-2771-9285. There’s a full menu on their website which you can find here.

N.Y. Bagles Cafe

If you get a craving for bagles in Taipei, then N.Y. Bagles Cafe is one of the places where you can get some decent bagles. However, they serve a lot more than bagles and the good news is that they’re open 24h.

They have a fairly decent selection of bagles and you can get a helping of cream cheese with them. They also do a wide range of other types of filled bagles and sandwhiches, as well as burgers, all day breakfast, burgers, sallads and pasta. Some of the restaurants also serve steak, like the one near the 101 area.

They also have a good selection of drinks to chose from, including hot and cold stuff as well as some more exotic imported things and rather decent milkshakes. You can find a map here and their website is located here. It’s not a gourmet place, but it’s a good place to go to on a weekend after a late night (early morning?) out in Taipei, as they’re guaranteed to be open.

Debbie's

Debbie’s is a smallish American style diner that opened up in Taoyuan in June 2008. The atmosphere is nice and relaxed and it’s tastefully decorated, in as much as you can decorate a diner. The owner speaks English and they seem to cater both to the locals and the foreigners in Taoyuan. The place is small, but it doesn’t feel cramped and there’s around 10 tables, all of which seat four.

Debbie’s serves brunch until 14.00 although we missed that today, but the rest of the menu has a decent selection of burgers, sandwiches, burritos and some other stuff as well. The whole menu isn’t available on the website and in addition to the brunch items listed they also have pancakes. The drinks are large and they serve Root Beer which isn’t very common in Taiwan.

I ordered the beef burritos and Brenda got the bacon sandwich and a side of buffalo wings. The bacon sandwich came with a side of freshly made fries and they were really good and the sandwich was quite tasty as well. The buffalo wings were a bit dry, but came with a side of ranch dressing. The burritos were big, but not very authentic, although they had refried beans a bit of mince, sour cream and a side of salsa, so no major complaints for the price.

The total came up to NT$590 which has to be considered reasonable for what we ordered, as most western style places in Taiwan are expensive for no good reason. We’ll definitely go back and try the brunch next time. You can find Debbie’s website here. Debbies is located about 5 minutes walk from Mitsukoshi in Taoyuan.

Update: Well, we went back for brunch this weekend and both of us ordered pancakes, although they normally come with a side of some kind of meat byproduct such as sausage, ham or bacon, but neither of us wanted that so Debbie kindly offered to give us a couple of extra pancakes. The only downside this time was that it took forever to get the food, the place was quite busy, but a couple that came after us got their burritos before we got our food. The pancakes were good, although you’ll most likely have to ask for extra maple syrup as we didn’t get enough, but that was most likely cause of the extra helping we got. Brenda also ordered a side of mash, which we had to remind them about, as it didn’t turn up. The pancakes comes with a drink and are quite affordable at NT$110. We might yet be back one more time before we move from Taoyuan, as I think we’ll need a hearty breakfast on Friday morning.