Taiwanese restaurateurs have been recognized for their themed restaurants, often taking inspiration from everyday objects (for instance, a toilet), animals, or popular culture and running with that idea until an entirely new breed of establishment is born.
If you’re ever in Taipei, here are a few of the best themed restaurants to eat at!
Make sure to load your PayMaya Visa in advance—some of these places only take card payments.
1. Central Park Cafe
No. 3, Lane 240, Section 3, Luosifu Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100
Open from 12:30 – 10:00 PM
Fans of the popular FRIENDS series will get a kick out of this cafe, the interiors of which are done up as a near-exact match of the iconic Central Perk cafe. Past guests have rated this location highly in online reviews as a good, cozy spot to hang out, and its placement in the center of Taipei (not far from the National Taiwan University) makes it easily accessible to prospective visitors.
As an additional homage to the FRIENDS theme, their Western Style-menu is divided into sections named for the show’s characters. Try a BLT sandwich from the “Joey Doesn’t Share Food” section or an Organic Rose Cherry Fruit Tea from the “Phoebe” section, just because you can.
2. Oia Cafe
No.12-1 Beizhizi, Houcuo Road, Xinbei, Sanzhi District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 252
Open from 11:00 AM – 8:00 AM
The draw of this particular cafe are the adorable alpaca that are given free rein of the dining area. Paying guests are allowed to pet them, feed them carrots from the bowl at the bar, and take pictures with them. Just be sure to keep an eye out for your jacket, expensive handbag, and hair; these furry creatures are highly curious and will chew on anything interesting within reach!
The food is standard cafe fare—salads, smoothies, coffee products, desserts, and pasta. You should have no problem finding something every person in your party will enjoy!
3. PS. BUBU
No. 1, Lane 140, Section 7, Zhongshan North Road, Shilin District, Taipei City, Taiwan 111
Open from 12:00 – 10:00 PM
BUBU is a sixties-inspired cafe filled with parking meters and other vintage equipment, memorabilia, posters, and decor. Their menu is a hybrid of American and Italian cuisine, made famous by the fresh seafood, spices, and sauces used by the house chef.
Don’t miss your chance to take pictures with the cutesy Austin Minis and the Volkswagen Beetles that have been “parked” around the dining area!
4. Yummy Sushi
No. 69, Chengdu Road, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108
Open from 11:30 AM – 9:30 PM
This restaurant is laid out like any other sushi bar with barstool chairs and larger booths drawn up against to a long wooden platform that spans an entire wall of the restaurant.
What makes it stand out is the method of ordering: all orders are placed via iPad, and are delivered right to your seat by race cars driving down the length of the bar.
It’s a good place to take kids (and kids at heart) for a hearty lunch after a day in the city.
5. Crazy Cart Cafe
No. 300, Yangguang Street, Neihu District, Taipei City, Taiwan 114
Open from 12:00 – 8:30 PM
True to its name, the Crazy Cart Cafe features a racetrack that winds around the tables in the dining area and connects to a longer outside track. The staff rent out pedal-powered mini cars and go-karts that guests of all ages can enjoy—babies are even allowed rides, provided that they are accompanied by a responsible adult.
If you’re not the adventurous type, you can always opt to watch from the sidelines while enjoying a light snack. The cafe serves American-style dishes like clubhouse sandwiches, pastas, soups, pizzas, and fried chicken. Their waffles and crushed ice smoothies are a big hit!
6. Brick Works
No. 2, Section 4, Nanjing East Road, Songshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 105
Hours Upon Inquiry
This cafe should be on the travel bucket list of every Lego fan. There are a lot of Lego sculptures and kits that guests of all ages can play with, as well as cute Lego-themed cutlery and decor. The establishment also sells Lego kits and figurines at more affordable prices than major retail outlets.
The main draw, though, is the presentation of the desserts. While the cafe also sells pizzas and pastas, the IG-worthy sugar Lego-topped cupcakes and Lego brick-shaped cakes are the undisputed customer favorites.
7. Gudetama Chef
No. 12, Lane 236, Section 1, Dunhua South Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106
Open from 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM
For those not in the know, Gudetama is one of Sanrio’s newer animated characters. He’s an anthropomorphic egg yolk whose name is a play on the Japanese phrase gude gude (someone with no energy or strength) and tamago (egg).
In 2017, he found a loyal following among individuals who like his near-constant world-weariness and lax attitude.
This restaurant in the center of Taipei is all about the character: he’s on the decor, uniforms, and even food. One of their most iconic dishes is the Gudetama Risotto, which has the rice shaped into the character’s blobby form.
8. Hello Kitty Shabu-Shabu
No. 16, Alley 27, Lane 216, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106
Open from 11:30 AM – 10:00 PM
This shabu-shabu (hotpot) restaurant offers diners a subtler take on the Hello Kitty theme. The interior is tastefully decorated with Hello Kitty figurines, tableware, and patterned upholstery, with the theme creatively incorporated into the food presentation through the cut of the vegetables.
Overall, it’s a nice, cozy place to have a casual meal and weather cooler days in Taipei City.
9. Alice is Coming
No. 111, Yanping South Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100
Open from 11:30 AM – 8:30 PM
This cafe takes the Alice in Wonderland theme very seriously, with teacup-shaped booths, waitresses dressed as Alice, and cookies frosted with phrases like “Eat Me.”
While they serve lunch and dinner dishes like curry, they’re best known for their crazy and delicious desserts. In the spirit of Alice’s adventures in Wonderland, try a pancake stack, ice cream-topped muffin, or pastry puff paired with one of the tea blends they have on offer.
10. Rikkakuma Cafe
No. 3, Lane 248, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106
Open from 11:30 AM – 9:00 PM
Rilakkuma Cafe takes inspiration from the popular Japanese mascot of the same name, as well as popular supporting characters like Kiiroitori (a yellow chick) and Kolirakkuma (a small white bear). The entire place is filled with Rilakkuma merchandise, including plushies, pillow covers, wall art, and tableware.
Their kitchen also takes a page out of the traditional Japanese bento box preparation and takes every opportunity to feature Rilakkuma and his friends, from the shape of the rice buns and cakes to the designs on the latte art.
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