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TAIWAN FUN MAGAZINE, January, 2006.

Umi Isa Restaurant

(02) 2841-3095; 2841-3161
342-350, ZhiShan Rd, Section 3, ShiLin District
Hours: 12 am-11 pm
Sunday 12 am-10 pm
Parking lot available. Credit cards not accepted.
10% service charge.

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--By Leslie Tseng Translated by Druetzler David

ZhiShan Road, heading towards the National Palace Museum, transforms from a noisy thoroughfare into a quiet, peaceful road. Uma Isa is a rustic restaurant tucked away on this road -- a virtual Shangra-La nestled between lush green mountains and gently flowing brooks.

The building itself has an old-fashioned feel, echoing days of old, that is further enhanced by its natural surroundings. When entering the courtyard through the main gate of the restaurant, an arched bridge appears before one's eyes. Ducks cheerfully frolic in the water with a series of individual courtyards, all near the rippling sounds of Wai Shuang River. Umi Isa offers outdoor courtyard dining, individual party rooms, family-style dining and a fantastic assortment of choices from the menu.
The Japanese portion of the menu includes hand-rolled sushi and scrumptious, plump clams soaked in lemon juice and dressed with onions that are especially worth mentioning. Their distinctive method of preparation brings out unique flavors in the clams. Freshly fried Chinese food includes Szechuan and Taiwanese styles as well as other Chinese provincial styles. The Chinese cuisine house specialty is the "scrambled egg white tofu" -- a delectable dish that is crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. All the healthy-living chicken hot pots are worth trying and the king crab hot pot is exceptional.

Watching the servers dash through the courtyard carrying food is also a sight to see! Find time to escape from the drone of daily life and come enjoy tea time at Umi Isa. You can sample traditional Chinese tea or healthy-living tea; and because Umi Isa is so spacious you can request your own teapot and small gas stove to make your own tea. This is a great place for the people of Taipei to get away from it all and enjoy great food while being one with nature. The price is NT$600 per person, plus 10% service charge, for all-you-can-eat. Children under 120 centimetres are half price. If you don't have a big appetite, you are welcome to order a la carte.

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