Hanabi Japanese Tapas: The Kama-Mashi Store
1-3, Lane 20, ZhongShan N Rd, Sec 2
Hours：11:30 am-2 pm, 6 pm-12 am
Credit cards accepted. 10% service charge.
HanaBi looks more like a sake house than a restaurant. Partially hidden among the alleys near the Taipei Film House, its sign is not quite visible. If you're lucky enough to find it, you'll notice the seating area is limited, but the party's already started. This Japanese tapas house starts serving alcohol at noon and the items on the menu are all appetizers that go well with booze, like tapas dishes in Spanish restaurants. One recommended appetizer is the Handmade Kebabs in Miso Sauce, a specialty dish from Nagoya. At HanaBi it's cooked the traditional Japanese way and is a favorite among regulars. --By Josie Wu, translated by Ann Lee
A. Cold Cut Duck Sausage (NT$140) is another popular order. Cooked Radish in Fish Sock (NT$80) looks a bit rugged on the outside, but has a surprisingly delicate flavor. They recommend their Kamotsuru Drink (180ml, NT$720), a unique beverage historically enjoyed by Japan's royal family. In each bottle, you'll see cherry blossom-shaped, golden pieces floating about, a treat exclusive to HanaBi.
B. Kama-mashi is a simple yet outstanding dish at HanaBi. The owners spent about NT$500,000 to create kitchen facilities able to handle these flavorful Kama-mashis--they really want you to have an authentic experience. The Seafood Kama-mashi (NT$360) takes about 20 minutes to make, but they promise it will be worth the wait. If you're too impatient, you can call ahead and make a reservation.