Capriccio Bistro: Promoting the leisurely enjoyment of food
By Douglas Habecker
Translated by Naomi Lai
63, MingYi St (corner of HuaMei St)
How often do you pause to truly savor a long, relaxing repast of quality cuisine? According to Capriccio Bistro co-owner and chef Kitty Lin, the answer is probably not often enough. In fact, the cozy, quaint-looking corner eatery that Kitty and business partner Sheila Lin have run for the last few years is built around this philosophy--known as "slow food" in some quarters.
"We're promoting a style of dining--a lifestyle--of enjoying what you eat. At least once a day, you should slow down and enjoy your life," says Kitty, noting that Capriccio is only open in the evenings because most locals rush through their lunches.
The two Lins first opened their own place over five years ago, moving to the current location in November, 2007. With warm lighting, lots of yellows and browns, decorative knickknacks and other touches, Capriccio is the right place to linger and relax. Diners can sit at the inside bar or tables, or at a very pleasant, enclosed, open-air balcony area that faces the HuaMei Street canal--perfect for most Taichung evenings.
A lengthy Italian food selection is available right up until closing and many regulars show up after 10 p.m. for dining and/or drinks. There are 15 pasta varieties (which come with homemade bread), including Kitty's wonderfully textured and tasty homemade beef or shrimp tortellini (NT$280), filled with ricotta and parmesan cheeses and Bolognese sauce. Other items include Fettucinne with Spicy Sausage Meat and Mushrooms (NT$270). For this entree, the chef peels the skin off the sausage, mixes up the meat and cooks it with white wine for a very fragrant result.
There are also five types of pizza (NT$280-380), various risotto dishes (NT$260-300), baked entrees, salads, soups and appetizers. If Kitty's specialty is the kitchen, Sheila's is the bar. The long-time bartender and bartending instructor offers at least 60 cocktails (the menu is just a start), in addition to NT$120 beers, wines, coffees and other beverages.
Kitty says that Capriccio's quieter ambiance and dining style first caught on with foreigners--who still make up 50% of her guests--and later spread to her many Taiwanese diners. Sheila and Kitty's efforts to befriend and cater to their guests also means this place has many regulars. If you're haven't caught on to the idea of slow dining yet, stop by and become one of Capriccio's many true believers.
Left: Smoked Salmon with Asparagus Salad (NT$220)
Right: Tortellini Stuffed with Ricotta Cheese and Beef with Pink Sauce (NT$280)