Solo Pasta is a popular Italian eatery in the east district closeby to the Dwun Nan Eslite. According to the 2011 best Taipei restaurant poll by hungryintaipei.com this restaurant is tied for first with Papa Gio for best Italian. Their pasta seem to be on the lighter side and might be more than the denser American-Italian pastas, but they have well cooked pastas and fresh sauces to each dish. Expect to spend around 500 dollars per person if you want to get an appetizer a main entree and a drink. Try this place out if you are looking to enjoy some good Italian food in a cozy setting.
Take out: yes
Waiter Service: yes
Outdoor seating: no
Food Quality: 3.5 out of 5
Decor: 4 out of 5
Service: 4 out of 5
Overall: 3.83 out of 5
Recommendation: Light Italian Cuisine.
My main entree was this cherry tomato linguine with clams for 260 NT. I didn't know how literal they were with the description of the dish. It truly was linguine with cherry tomatos and clams. I asked for something with tomato sauce, but they presented this to me. I probably have not eaten authentic Italian food, but this is way too light for my tastes. This might be perfect for the Taiwanese women packing this restaurant. You can defintely expect to get something refreshing, light, and healthy here at Solo Pasta. I did not extremely enjoy this entree, but I did not think it tasted bad either. It just wasn't what I had in mind for linguine with clams. They should market this as cherry tomato linguine with a side of steamed clams. I thought they at least had some sort of thicker, denser, more flavorful sauce to hold all these items together. But no, they did it healthy. The linguine had some light olive oil, but it was mainly flavored by the light juices from the cherry tomato, some chopped basil, and a hint of clam juice. The clams were slightly dry, not fresh and juicy. They were ok for what they were, but they were not seasoned so well and occasionally you get an annoying crunch while eating the meat portion (probably sand or shells). I appreciated the quality of the linguine itself though. It was cooked al dente and there was not a single dry or poorly cooked strand of linguine. It was just a shame such a well cooked linguine wasn't paired with a better sauce.
I need to try Papa Gio next to get a better understanding of the best Italian Taipei has to offer, and I will also need to come back to Solo Pasta and give them another chance. I wanted to like this place, but I wasn't so impressed. Perhaps I ordered the wrong entree and did not give them a fair opportunity to wow me. They suggested the squid ink pasta or the duck breast with balsamic cream spagetti, but I wasn't feeling those two at the moment. I wanted something rich and tomatoey at the time, and they did not have a product that filled what I wanted. Next time, I'll try the duck breast with balsamic cream spagetti. I almost instantly regretted not ordering the duck breast pasta when they plopped that plate of cherry tomatos, noodles, and clams on the side.
It's times like this that make me miss the ubiquitous Italian restaurants in California that almost always don't disappoint with their marinara based linguine with various ingredients (prawns and lobster linguine in this case). And this is just some neighborhood Italian restaurant called Farfalle in a city called Thousand Oaks.
Taipei has a lot of room to grow in terms of of good Italian restaurants. If Solo Pasta is like this, then I wonder what Papa Gio would be like. I'm pretty sure there has to be better Italian restaurants than those two in Taipei, but it might just come with a greater cost...(That plate pictured below was $30) so it's probably not fair to compare it with 260 NT.