Nov 10, 2010



                   No. 4-1, Ln 118, Heping E. Rd, Sec 2
Phone #:   02-2377-1142
Website: N/A
Price Range:   $$$
Accepts Credit Cards: no
Attire: casual
Good for kids: yes
Take out: yes
Waiter Service: yes
Outdoor seating:  no
Alcohol: yes


Food Quality: 4.5 out of 5
Decor:  4 out of 5
Service: 4.5 out of 5
Overall: 4.3 out of 5
Recommendation: Gourmet Pizza in a Cozy Atmosphere


Tucked in a alleyways of the NTU rear entrance restaurant area is a gourmet pizzeria called 15. They serve a wide variety of pizzas ranging from 300 NT to 500 NT, various appetizers at around 200 NT, and drinks at around 100 NT. Their decor is very gastro pubish, with a bartop available to view the pseudo brick-oven pizza making process. Their staff is very friendly, helpful, and prompt. They also welcome silly banter and make an effort to entertain their guests. At the very least, they busted our tables, asked if we needed anything, and responding quickly when summoned. This pizzeria left me with a good impression, and is currently my favorite NTU area pizzeria.
The interior area is really small. They designed the space well enough to create a cozy yet not cramped atmosphere to the restaurant. They have 2 tables inside and 2 tables outside that can seat groups of up to 6 people. It seems like these tables need to be reserved. Otherwise, they would not be readily available. Most guests without a reservation are diverted to the bar top that could seat around 10 people around it's perimeter. The people seated at the bar have a nice view of the pizza making process, which is also an entertaining diversion to those lapses of silence. 
There are usuallly two workers making the pizzas to order behind the bar top. They are very diligent and careful, and they rarely speak or joke around with each other. I admire their professional attitute and lack of horsing around, because if they talk and laugh too much, a lot of spit can end up in our food. Their cooking utensils look very clean as well, the pizza board was not excessively greasy or burnt looking. The waitress was very friendly and helpful in each part of the meal. Not only did she have the basics, her personality was outgoing and have extra conversation and interaction with the customer. I rated this restaurant pretty high based on my impression of their staff's pleasantry paired with the space's warmness.

The pizzas were superb, but the appetizers have a lot of space to improve. I ordered the cream of mushroom hoping that a Taiwanese restaurant can finally prove to deliver a hearty, flavorful soup. Sadly, I was proved wrong again, as this restaurant served a frothy cup containing "cream" of mushroom. I don't understand why the nobody is complaining about the status quo of soups in Taiwan. I have yet to find a restaurant that can serve a decent cup of soup for under 120NT. I am just asking for something comparable to Corner Bakery or Marmalade Cafe soup. However, what I got was a mushroom soup that seemed to just come out of the food processor and heated. Each spoonful was watery and lacked the buttery creaminess that soups ought to carry. I drank about half of it and pushed it aside so that I could enjoy the main attraction.

The pizzas were top tier in the Taiwanese pizza scene. Most pizzas under 180 are crunchy, lack sufficient cheese, and use low quality ingredients. I almost cried when the mozzarella stretched from the pan to my plate. This type of stringy mozzarella was not seen at Mary Jane Pizza. The crust was so soft and chewy, it reminded me of those individual pizzas at CPK or Steelhead Brewing Co. This is definitely gourmet pizza, and they model themselves after Italy instead of america, so the crusts are chewier and thinner, and the ingredients are more sparse yet high quality. This pizza above is the combination italian salami pizza, which contains salami, cheese, red paper flakes, and jalapeno slices. It was mildly spicy, sufficiently cheesy, and layered with salami oil. The toppings had a little difficulty grasping onto the undercrust, which had to do with the pizza not being cut properly. If you are hungry, do not get the 8 inch, but go straight to the 10 inch, because these pizzas are very thin. And the price for an upgrade is pretty negligible.
 The second pizza I tried was the basil, truffle oil, and mushroom pizza. I have never had anything like this before. The taste of the truffle was unambigious. The smell permeated the bartop when the pizza was served. The first bite filled your mouth with truffle and lingered around. The basil was not too strong, and the mushrooms boosted the texture of the overall pizza to make the pizza more interesting. This was an interesting pizza, yet because it lacked meat I would not tried it unless my friend ordered it. It was a pleasing experience though. I will come back and try the seafood pizza and the simple margherita.
Besides the pizza, I also made a delightful discovery of taiwanese brewed "honeydew melon beer." Upon gazing the drinks menu, I could have gone with an assortment of belgium ales, wine, or beer, but what stuck out to me was lichee beer and honeydew melon beer. I quickly asked the waiter what it was to make sure it wasn't some sort of lame cocktail, but they said it actually was brewed with these ingredients. I will have to return at a later date to try the lichee beer. I think the sweetness and carbonation of this drink complemented the pizzas. Some people here enjoy cola with their pizza, others enjoy a hearty beer, but I feel like this honeydew melon beer stood somewhere in between the two options. The introduction of this beer added a lot of extra points to this experience. I strongly recommend those in the area to check this place out.

Update 11/4/2011
I visited 15 again and I wasn't disappointed. This is the Parma Ham Pizza and it's topped with oily and savory Parma Ham, arugula, cherry tomatoes, and cheese. The crust is just as crispy on the outside and soft and airy in the inside as I remembered. If only this pizza were half the price of its 500 NT price tag, then I would eat here every week. No other pizza place on this island can properly satisfy my craving like 15 Pizzeria Napoletana.


joanh said...

glad to see they are still doing well and the pizza is still good. they are definitely among the best pizza in taipei- i just wish the location was not so far for me.

as for soups, there are some decent/good soups you can get.. but not sure about your price range. try the soup at Nonzero (good vegetable soup), Paul, No. 168 Prime Steakhouse (french onion and mushroom soup both awesome), Bianco (good mushroom soup), Yogudo..

Johnny said...

Cool, I think i'll try the french onion soup at Paul's first because I haven't had it in a long time.

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