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HOME > CENTRAL TAIWAN > TAICHUNG CITY > DINING >
TAICHUNG RESTAURANT FEATURE
COMPASS MAGAZINE, AUGUST 1999

PAPA MIA
412-1, Tunghsing Road, Section 3
Phone: (04) 2328-6034
Hours: 11:30am-2pm, 5:30-9:30 pm

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Upgraded and better than ever!!!

It was roughly three years ago that chefs/partners Ada Yen and J.P. Wang opened their first venture, Papa Mia Italian Restaurant. At the time, it was one of just a few Italian restaurants in the city and helped popularize the cuisine--with a pleasant, cozy atmosphere and a great selection of dishes -- to the point of critical mass, when Italian restaurants started popping up all over.

Despite the increased competition, Papa Mia has remained a local favorite with an easy-to-reach location on Tunghsing Road, across from The Landis Hotel and within meters of Taichung Harbor Road. However, being the good restaurateurs that they are, Yen and Wang decided to reward old and new customers with not only a new and improved menu of choices, but also a redecorated interior.

A walk into the pleasant, friendly restaurant, past the open kitchen and up the stairs will immediately reveal Papa Mia's new, more swanky reincarnation, with smooth, dark floors, a broader staircase and redecorated second-floor dining area. What really counts, though, are the new recipes. Papa Mia holds on to its best features -- home-made, fresh pastas, particularly fettucine and other types like gnocchi, combined with a wide choice of sauces.
I tried three selections and enjoyed them all. The Pollo Con Erbe E Crema (sauteed chicken with sage cream) had a milder, appropriately-creamy taste, while the Shrimp and Spicy Tomato Sauce (served with gnocchi) had more kick to it. A particularly-intriguing new menu selection which turned out to be good was the "Whore House-style" Puttanesca sauce, which had plenty of capers, anchovies, chillies and garlic, creating a mix of delicious, herb-like flavors.

Wang explained that the description alludes to hearty meals that Italian houses of ill repute traditionally provided to customers, in addition to other services. Other sauces include Amatriciana (bacon and tomato), Baby Octopus Stew in Mexican Chilli Tomato Sauce, Clams in Creamy White Sauce, and Vongole, Pomodori E Peperoncino (shrimp and spicy tomato sauce). There are plenty of appetizers, salads and soups to choose from, too, including Caesar Salad, Bruschetta Di Burro, Italian Rosemary Bread, Deep-fried Mozzarella, Minestrone soup and -- by reservation -- great little chunks of panini bread, to be dipped in a mixture of basil and balsami vinegar. For dessert, be sure and try the extra-rich tiramisu, made with plenty of marscapone cheese.

Papa Mia's pizzas, particularly those made with the thin, black-pepper dough crust, have been long-time favorites. This tradition continues with 10 varieties, including Margherita (fresh mozzarella and basil), Gorgonzola and Salsiccia (olives, mushrooms, pepperoni and salami).

There are yet more dining options -- the good lasagna, Grilled Spring Chicken with 20-year-old Balsamic Vinegar, and Grilled Ribeye Steak with Marsala and Gravy.
Wang is proud of his upgraded wine list, which has a fine selection of mainly-Italian reds and whites, with a few excellent French varieties thrown in. A couple recommendations--the 1990 Barolo Riserva, a dry robust red, and the 1997 Monteleone Soave Boscaini, a similarly-dry, refreshing white.

Yen and Wang can be justifiably proud of making what was already an excellent establishment even better. Given the fact that these two are not content to rest on their past accomplishments, diners can be confident that Papa Mia will only improve with age.

 

 

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