Big selection, low prices at Little Pasta
By Douglas Habecker
Translated by Angel Pu
69, WuQuan West 4th St, West District; (04) 2372-0472
Hours: 11:30 am-10 pm
Credit cards accepted.
10% service charge.
Minimum NT$100/person bill.
Despite its diminutive-sounding name, there's absolutely nothing little about this restaurant or its menu selection. Open at its current Art Museum Parkway location for about six months now, Little Pasta is housed in a three-floor European villa-style building and seats up to 120.
Despite its size, the interior has a cozy feeling, with booth-style seating, a long open kitchen, yellow, peach and other warm colors, lots of wood and brickwork, and quaint-looking knickknacks, pictures and table lamps. A tightly-spiraling staircase climbs through a turreted structure upstairs, including the 40-person third-floor which is normally only used by reservation for special gatherings.
The young but talented head chef, May Chai, has eight years of kitchen experience and has developed a menu that offers a whopping 200-plus pasta entree combinations. Ordering, however, is quite easy: Pick from nine sauces--pesto and cream, pesto, tomato with cream, cream, spicy cream, tomato, spicy tomato, mustard and cream, and spicy garlic (spicy cream, and pesto and cream are favorites). Then pick from the 22 ingredient combinations. Finally, choose either spaghetti or penne rigate. Although entrees are usually served with 180 grams of pasta, the especially hungry need only add NT$20 to get a double-size portion.
Of the 22 topping choices, May says that the Scallop and Seafood (NT$235) and Mushroom and Chicken (NT$145) are especially popular. So is the filling NT$190 Skates and Rays option, which features an entire cooked, sliced-up ray. Other items include the Australian Choice Beef medallions (NT$175), Norway Smoked Salmon (NT$205), French Smoked Duck Breast (NT$205), and Vegetable (NT$145). Very good prices for tasty, hearty food is a big reason Little Pasta has found favor with families, white-collar workers, and students alike. And any entree can become a set with bread, soup, dessert and drink for NT$330 to NT$370 (depending on the entree's original price).
If that weren't enough, the restaurant has other main courses, including seven baked gratin dishes, served with either penne, vanilla rice, or potatoes; a dozen risottos (NT$145-205) and various beef/salmon/chicken steak and seafood entrees (NT$490-790 for sets), such as the NT$690 US Choice Sirloin. A 2:30-5:30 p.m. afternoon teatime offers a 50% discount off any drink ordered with a dessert (like brownies and tiramisu) or light meal (bagels, waffles, ciabatta sandwiches, etc.) selection. It's also worth noting that Little Pasta has a long list of Italian, Spanish, Californian and Chilean wines.
Again, it's no surprise that Little Pasta is a big hit with diners looking for quality food, good value and great ambiance.
Left: Mixed Seafood Bowl--a savory stew filled with vegetables and fish, shrimp, scallops, octopus and other seafood.
Right: Vegetable and Chicken Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce
Left: Smoked Salmon and Vanilla Rice Gratin