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Journey to the Mediterranean at Walnut's Castle

By Douglas Habecker
Translated by Angel Pu

61, WuQuan W 4th St, West Dist.
(04) 2378-1768, 2378-1769
Hours: 11 am-3:30 pm, 5-10 pm (last orders 2:30 pm, 9 pm)
English menu available.
Credit cards accepted.
10% service charge.

The first thing that draws most people's attention to Walnut's Castle, besides its attractive three-floor Mediterranean-style villa, is its colorful flock of parrots and other birds, housed in big cages by the entrance and chattering with each other. Located along the Art Museum Parkway together with sister restaurant La Bretagne next door and Pumpkin House further down the street, this large establishment has been around for 13 years, proof that its broad range of creative cuisine, attractive ambiance and extremely attentive service have won many fans.

The restaurant focuses on five fresh main ingredients when preparing its mostly-Mediterranean-style fare--fruit, spices, self-grown herbs, cheeses and (as the name hints) various kinds of nuts. Ordering a good meal here is quite easy, as the reasonable main-entree prices all include a set meal with salad, soup (three choices), bread, drink and dessert (add NT$60 for expanded six choices).

Walnut's Castle Walnut's Castle Walnut's Castle
Left: Salmon Rice with Cranberries and Pine Nuts (NT$300元)
Medium: Roasted Honey Pig's Trotters (NT$500)
Right: Spanish Mixed Seafood with rice set (NT$390)

Dozens of main courses range from all kinds of pasta and rice/pasta gratin-style dishes to fish, seafood, chicken, pork and beef based entrees, such as the popular Boneless Beef Ribs Steak (NT$520) or Roasted Honey Pig's Trotters (NT$500), which are first marinated, then fried and finally baked to give the skin a unique, chewier (versus crispy) texture.

The menu highlights some of the most-ordered items such as the gratin-style Spanish Mixed Seafood (NT$390) on either rice, spaghetti or another pasta (like penne), a savory choice using three kinds of cheese, or the excellent Salmon Rice with Cranberries and Pine Nuts (NT$300), combining creatively-presented fish cakes with the nuts and berries giving it an extra healthy kick.

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Left: Ice Blend Coffee with Walnuts (NT$160)
Medium: and a Mediterranean Sea Caramel Vanilla Pudding

You're certainly welcome to skip the main course and linger over one of the salads (NT$120-200) or appetizers (NT$120-180) like the well-liked Nopolia Cheese Gratin Tomato (NT$180), resembling the famous Insalata Caprese with beefsteak tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. On the dessert side, don't miss the sizable Mediterranean Sea Caramel Vanilla Pudding or Tiramisu (NT$90), perfect with one of the many fruit, herbal or milk teas (NT$160) or coffees. A dessert in itself, the Blend Coffee with Walnuts (NT$160, hot or cold) includes various ground-up nuts and is topped with whipped cream and Oreos.

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