El Patio de mi casa
Taipei' s secretive, private Spanish kitchen
Written and translated by Diva Yang
Photos by Andy Lin
3, Lane 407, JiLin Rd, 8F
Hours: Dinner 6-10:30 pm
Credit cards not accepted. No service charge.
Two years ago, Luis left Spain and moved to Taiwan to be with the woman he loved. Even though the romance didn't work out, he fell deeply in love with Taiwan and had decided to make Taipei his new home. Luis first worked at a Spanish restaurant but didn't last long because of a disagreement over what authentic Spanish cuisine was. El Patio de mi casa was born a year ago after Luis began cooking for friends at home on the weekends, but could serve no more than four on his balcony.
Since those days, El Patio de mi casa has become Taipei's newest landmark for Spanish cuisine and a must-visit private kitchen for gourmands. Through word of mouth and the chef's guest TV appearances, this establishment is today one of the hottest restaurants in town, requiring reservation at least a month in advance. For those who have gotten in, there are rave reviews about Luis' gourmet skills, which originate with everything his mother taught him in her kitchen from a young age and include his own unique creations.
This past February, Luis moved to his current location and remodeled the rooftop apartment with some help from his good friend Ramses. They painted the walls, set up furniture and decorated the balcony. Luis says, "I aim to create an ambience just like a Spanish home and provide a comfortable casual dining space for my guests to enjoy my Spanish home cooking." The rooftop balcony is big enough to fit 15 people at once and there's also a room inside suitable for four diners.
Aside from Monday and Tuesday when El Patio de mi casa is closed, Luis goes to the traditional market to buy fresh produce, seafood and meat. There are a few spices that have to be brought back from Spain. No menu is available because it is a private kitchen. When you call for reservations, please specify any food allergies and personal dietary requests. Luis' menu (from NT$700 to NT$1,000/person) includes a 10-course dinner plus lemon-flavored beer. Sun-Dried Dates with Cream Cheese and Ham, Pan-Fried Squid with Garlic Dipping Sauce, and Crabs in Tomato Sauce are all quite popular, and the homemade Spanish flan promises to be the best pudding you've ever had!
Sitting on Luis' balcony and sipping sangria (NT$900) with a group of friends on a breezy night while Luis and Ramses sing along with guitar and drum is one fabulous way to enjoy life! On a clear night you can see Taipei 101 from at a distance, too!