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K2 Cucina: A decade of dedication to authentic Italian cuisine

By Douglas Habecker
Translated by Anna Yang

213, WenXin Rd, Sec 2, 2F, Xitun Dist.; (04) 2251-8862
Hours: 11:30 am-3 pm, 5-10 pm
English menu.
Free parking (in basement).
Credit cards accepted.
10% service charge.

If you want more information about regional Italian specialties while dining at K2 Cucina, just tilt your head back and look at the ceiling, where a giant circular map of that country provides some useful details. A significant, attractively-illustrated section of the menu is also dedicated to introducing Italian cuisine and ingredients (in Chinese). These are just expressions of K2's long-term mission to offer authentic Italian fare to local diners since its opening exactly 10 years ago this month.

K2 Cucina K2 Cucina
Right: Margherita Pizza

The man behind this restaurant, its little sister K2 Gelateria, and neighbor J-Ping private restaurant is chef/owner Wang Jia-ping, whose passion for Italian dining seems unquenchable. In fact, he wasn't in town when this writer recently visited, being off on the island of Sardinia on one of his annual pilgrimages to learn and bring home more dishes--all to K2 diners' benefit. This also means that the menu offers cuisine from Italy's 20 regions, from north to south.

A great example of this is Assorted Cold Cuts Meats (NT$320), a combo popular with K2's Taiwanese and Italian diners alike that includes original and gorgonzola chorizo sausages, capocolla (coppa), and proscuitto (dry-cured by K2 from quality Yilan 'black-hair" pork), wonderful with provided mustard apple slices, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, pickles and toasted salt-free Tuscan bread.

K2 Cucina K2 Cucina
Left: Assorted Cold Cuts Meats
Right: Grilled Pork Chop

A long-time favorite from the "Secondi" (second course) menu includes Grilled Pork Chop with Seasonal Salad (NT$490), a central/northern Italian specialty. From southern Italy are 10 Napoli-style thin-crust pizzas, baked in a wood-burning oven shipped over from Italy. For no-frills enjoyment, enjoy the Margherita (NT$360), but also don't miss others like the Four Cheeses (NT$450), a combo of gorgonzola, provolone, parmesan and ricotta served Italian-style with a homemade green tomato marmalade; or the tongue-tingling Calabria's Spicy Pork and Cherry Tomato (NT$460), topped with K2's award-winning Nduja spreadable spicy pork salami.

K2 Cucina K2 Cucina
Left: Four Cheese (bottom) and Calabria's Spicy Pork and Cherry Tomato pizzas
Right: Desserts range from Cannoli pastry tubes filled with ricotta (NT$160) to Mont Blanc Chestnut Puree Topped with Whipped Cream (NT$180)--to best enjoy this Piedmont treat, sweep your spoon through all four layers for big mouthful.

These items are just a sampling, as there are also about 15 delectable pasta dishes (from NT$190) and many other entrees, plus coffees, teas and various Italian and other imported craft beers. Adding NT$100 or NT$169 to a entree gets you a great weekday business lunch set, and there are multi-person NT$1,100 and NT$2,380 regular sets.

Compass Magazine is required by law to remind you not to drink and drive.

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