HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >


Taiwan Cafe, reopened yet?

Tried to visit Taiwan Cafe a few weeks ago and they're still closed for renovations. The sign in the window said they were going to be reopening in March. Anyone know when/if they're going to be opening again?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. it's may and, sadly, they're still closed

    8 Replies
    1. re: galangatron

      And not even close to being done (based on what I saw last weekend). On FB they're saying June now.

      1. re: Nab

        Thanks, I didn't know they had a FB page. I used to subscribe to their Twitter feed but there was never any activity so I stopped following.

          1. re: galangatron

            So, it looks like ownership has not changed; they just decided to renovate.


                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  that makes my week. they have my favorite version of scalliion pancake stuffed with roast beef

          2. gosh, I hope they aren't reinventing the wheel

            1 Reply
            1. Anyone know if it's open yet? I'm thinking of heading there today.

              13 Replies
              1. re: nsenada

                My rockstar juice wizard lady, who works at Juice Bar (which everyone should try) told me yesterday that the window paper has been removed.

                1. re: Prav

                  Mayhap I shall have a beefy pancake today. This juice wizard lady you speak of - I must seek her healing potions out.

                  1. re: nsenada

                    She's so kind and wonderful! try the lychee with lychee jelly. the fresh mango juice is extraordinary, too. (be sure to ask if the mangos are sweet that day)

                    I think it's a family run place - she, her brother, and the mother.

                    1. re: Prav

                      Next time I will try this juice - I was so crammed full after Dumpling Cafe I barely had enough room for a Portuguese Tart from Great Taste.

                      1. re: Prav

                        Hey, I thought she was kind and wonderful only to me! =)

                        I know exactly who you are talking about, and she is wonderful, and it is definitely a family run place. It only takes on episode of "Kitchen Nightmares" or "Restaurant Impossible" to dispel the myth that family-run places are always harmonious and wonderful, but Juice Bar is definitely both.

                        Lychee and mango are both excellent, as is watermelon, but I am often partial to the papaya/passion fruit mixture, with boba.

                        Juice Bar is one of my favorite things about Boston's Chinatown. I love having tea with a Chinese meal, but find I'm usually thirsty afterwards.

                        Definitely looking forward to Taiwan Cafe's re-opening. I've been worried for a while as they've slipped behind schedule, but have been hoping for the best.

                        1. re: lipoff

                          I'll have to try the papaya/passion fruit next time! So glad you've got love for the Juice Bar and their lovely proprietors. There was a time last summer where my girlfriend and I came there every day, over the course of a few weeks.

                          Side note: Anyone figure out what kind of blender(s) they're using? It doesn't look like a Vitamix or any other industrial-type blender... which amazes me, because their blender must be some kind of workhorse considering the use it gets!

                  2. re: nsenada

                    As I just reported on the Openings / Closings thread, there appears to be progress, but it was not open yet as of Wednesday. Paper off the windows, new furniture in the dining room, no other signs of life, e.g., no window card indicating operating hours.


                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                      I almost asked a woman on the steps when they were going to open, but she seemed pretty ticked of at whoever she was yelling at on the phone. Went to Dumpling Cafe instead, but their RB Scallion pancake is just not as good (though their soup dumplings are better).

                      1. re: nsenada

                        Agreed: I think Dumpling Cafe's XLB are the best in the neighborhood right now. Just had a passel of the crab / pork ones, really fine.


                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                          We only had one rupture of the six, and it was the one that had been sitting longest. I was with some xlb virgins who are now hooked.

                          1. re: nsenada

                            They could really lock up 1st place in the rankings if they started offering 100% crab xlb as well (I'm thinking Koi Palace in SF)

                          2. re: MC Slim JB

                            MC, have you tried XLB at JoJo Taipei? I think they are great....

                            1. re: xiaobao12

                              Now that you mention it, I don't think I have, but I don't get to JoJo often enough as it is.


                    2. Taiwan Cafe just posted on their Facebook page that they'll be back open tomorrow, 8/7. Pictures of new fish tanks + word of a "new menu".

                      1. I walked by yesterday and it's confirmed--it's definitely open for business now.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: bartholomeu

                          Did you get a chance to see if there's really a new menu? Anyone been here yet?

                          1. re: Dave MP

                            the menu is essentially the same with a few new dishes (sichuan wontons in red chili sauce, shredded potato with long horn pepper, sauteed snails with soy and basil, lamb in three essences, etc). and, as noted below, there are a few rice plates now included as lunch specials

                            1. re: galangatron

                              I was unable to find the shredded eel with yellow chives which I liked a lot and none of my DCs ever liked much. The waitstaff, if they understood what I was asking about, claimed it was no longer available. We did have an excellent meal there, about which I will write more later.

                        2. I just got back from lunch at TC. The new interior is shiny but the layout is about the same. They have a small fish tank at the back now and you can order live fish specials.

                          The menu is about the same. There are a few additions to the lunch specials, but it doesn't seem like anything was taken off the menu there. I didn't have a chance to scour the rest of the menu for additions/deletions. On the back page they have a new section with live fish specials and lobster course menus.

                          To eat, I had the preserved mustard greens with bean curd and it was great; just the way it was before they closed for renovations. I got there at noon and the place was full within 20 minutes with people lined up out the door. Word is definitely out that they have reopened.

                          So happy to have TC back in my life!

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: chocojosh

                            I got take out today and also glad it's back.I got the taiwanese pork chop lunch. the pork was good (the same as before) but it used to be served with pickled mustard greens, a soy sauce egg, pickled daikon and rice with a little pork belly and gravy. Now it's just the pork with a little lettuce on white rice with a soup. Very disappointed as the sides were my main reason for liking this plate. Also a dollar or so more (all lunches now $7.25). Of course it's still a bargain and tasty but not the fabulous dish it used to be.

                            1. re: gourmaniac

                              That seems weird that they'd leave off the pickled mustard greens and the egg. I agree that the sides are the best part. Have you had this dish takeout before? Are these sides usually right in the same container as the pork chop, or in a separate container?

                              1. re: Dave MP

                                haven;t had it as a take out item. It's now listed on the lunch menu whereas previously, I would order it as house special pork chop lunch. Pork chop was in a separate container than the rice.

                                1. re: gourmaniac

                                  I think there are two options. One is the Taiwanese Pork Chop on the lunch special menu, which you can pick for 3-for-$20.95 options. The lunch menu ones doesn't come with the traditional sides. The other one is under the rice/noodle options, which comes with the egg and sides, slight cheaper, and available all day long.

                                  1. re: Gigihsu

                                    Spot on. I just had the special pork chop over rice (#2 in the rice and noodle section) and it was indeed as I remembered it. Yum.

                              2. re: gourmaniac

                                that's weird. had several rice plates (including the pork chop rice plate) since they reopened and all of them came with stewed minced pork over rice, pickled mustard greens, lightly pickled cabbage, and a soy sauce egg

                              3. re: chocojosh

                                Did they renovate the bathroom, which was reminiscent of the one in Trainspotting?

                                1. re: Ruprecht

                                  I hadn't looked before, but the renovation pix I saw suggested they had demo'd the place down to the studs. I'm happy to report that the bathrooms look brand-new. You'd happily dive into the men's-room toilet to recover your opium suppositories.


                                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                                    The bathrooms are probably the best part of the entire reno, giving the Q a run for its money for best bathroom in Chinatown. Now having said that, I have many fond memories of the old bathroom and its, ah, charm.

                                    Food was its tasty old self, Jimmy was back at the helm, it's business as usual, and now life may resume again.

                              4. Anyone happen to notice if the roast beef scallion pancakes are still on the menu?

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: nsenada

                                  Yes it is. Galangatron, that is good news. Maybe a misunderstanding on the order or take out vs eat in.

                                2. We need a full review with specific best (new/old) dishes. Who's up for it? Take one (in your belly) for the team.

                                  1. Now if you are like this old hound you are blue holding your breath for the "old lion" . I visited on the Saturday after the reopening and found a higher ceiling, western w.c.s, and not exactly the same XLB on steroids that I have missed so well. We got big Tsing Tao, 5 spice Roast Beef in the scallion pancake rollade, Taiwanese style noodles with pork and veggies, baby clams with basil and black bean sauce, snow pea shoots doused in the free world's supply of buttah and gahlic, piquant home style braised eggplant that would make you run away from home , and sichuan style cucumber. We didn't try the several new menu additions. Just needed a hug after so long. All good and well received. I have exhaled.

                                    1. I've been to Taiwan Cafe and I like it overall, but I find they suffer from sugar overload a lot of times. Their eggplant with basil was silky and beautifully prepared, but inedibly sweet for me. Jo Jo Taipei's was much more to my liking.
                                      Their egg and tomato with beef was also too sweet, and I much preferred Dumpling Cafe's egg with tomato (with shrimp) for the more restrained hand with sweet gloppy sauce.
                                      The gua bao was also on the sweeter end than my favorite --- the gua bao at Temple Snacks in Flushing. The bun was also less fluffy.
                                      However, the beef in scallion pancake is wonderful. Crisp, flavorful, and generously filled.
                                      I also had shrimp fried rice from them that I thought was great, and the beef with longhorn peppers and fried pork chop plate were well done.
                                      I definitely want to try more of the recommended dishes, but I have to say I'm digging Jo Jo more for Taiwanese.

                                      9 Replies
                                      1. re: saria

                                        I think JoJo's XLB comes in 3rd behind Dumpling Cafe and Taiwan Cafe.

                                        JoJo does a pretty amazing three cups chicken, I must say. Special this week of pork shoulder in some almost-black sauce or glaze looked amazing: anyone had that?


                                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                                          are you sure it's a special? there is a pork shoulder dish (braised pork shoulder with a hint of rock sugar) on the regular menu

                                          1. re: galangatron

                                            Didn't notice another pork shoulder dish on the regular menu; this definitely was on a nightly dinner special menu earlier this week. The hunk of shoulder was really uniformly dark in color, as though glazed or coated in sauce, not crusted.


                                            1. re: galangatron

                                              There is a pork shoulder special that has been on the (Mandarin) handwritten chalkboard in the entrance for quite some time - I know I've seen it on the past few visits to JoJo which have been spaced months apart. My memory is failing me, but I think the "braised pork on rice platter" that is on the regular menu is different than the special, which I believe is the same or at least similar to the braised pork shoulder ("shin") that Mulan offers a fine rendition of (虎皮元蹄). Although the character differences could simply be the difference of serving style - small portion over rice versus monster family-sized portion.

                                              1. re: Nab

                                                This thing was pretty big, a block of shoulder I would guess weighs 20-24 ounces, though a good bit of that would be bone and gristle. The size, and the dark, almost purplish color, were what struck me. I was with a friend on her first visit to JoJo, so I stuck to old reliables.


                                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                  oops! disregard my post. thought you were talking about taiwan cafe

                                                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                    It's more or less a permanent menu item at Jojo's these days. I've had it many times, and it's very good. The sauce is somewhat sweet, and seems to consist of some combination of soy sauce, a bit of rice wine, and braising liquid along with some sugar.

                                                    Just had more or less the same thing at Taiwan Cafe last night (although at Taiwan Cafe, it comes with 4 white buns).

                                                    Jojo's seems to be cooked longer, and is more falling-off-the-bone tender. Taiwan Cafe's has a lot of star anise, bordering on too much (at least the one time I've had it). I love both of them, would be hard to choose between them.

                                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                      Hey MC,

                                                      What are your old reliables at JoJO and at Taiwan Cafe? I'm curious...


                                                      1. re: xiaobao12

                                                        Proximity to my office finds me dining at the Chinatown Taiwanese places much more often than at JoJo these days, but allow me to paste from the thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/869940 where I suggested a comparison crawl: spicy Sichuan flounder, XLB, oyster pancake, three cups / essences chicken, fried stinky tofu, roast beef scallion roll, stewed minced pork over rice, taichung meatball, shrimp with yellow chives. The overlap between the menus isn't perfect, but those are ones I often look for, along with things like that sweetish braised eggplant dish, the big hunk of falling-apart pork belly, and teriyaki chicken skin. Next on my list is a braised slab of pork shoulder in some very dark sauce that I saw at JoJo recently and Hounds tell me is pretty common elsewhere, too.


                                            2. Went to TC today. Surprisingly loved the very basic soup that they give you to start with, great flavorful broth. Thought the roast beef w/scallion pancake was the best I have had, with the fresh crunchy vegies and hoisin like sauce inside it was almost like a peking duck, except w/beef and a deep fried pancake (which sounds pretty good). XLB had thinner skins than most places, but found the filling bland. The new wontons in Szechuan red sauce were a little watery (liked the New Shanghai version better). Beef w/longhorn peppers was very good but more oily than I am used to. Shrimp w/ yellow chives had nice flavored large shrimp in a huge mess of onions with some yellow chives and a white sauce. I loved the flavors at first, but it couldn't stand up to the big flavors of the two beef dishes and the yellow chives were overwhelmed by the onions, I'm torn on that one. The new place looks great and clean and service was far more attentive than at GDH or DC.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: ScotchandSirloin

                                                Went last night for the first time. Amazing!

                                                We had preserved mustard green with dry bean curd (curious to try the one with bean curd and edamame - not sure if that's very different since it didn't specify dry bean curd)
                                                Spicy beef noodle soup (couldn't find it on the menu - not sure what it's called? but saw someone else eating it and asked for it) - delicious broth, chewy noodles, beef itself was meh, but spinach added was a very nice touch
                                                XLB (which we actually loved - they were very flavorful, better than dumpling cafe, I thought)

                                              2. Went last Wednesday, not only were they open, but the food was so good I thought they may have put a little crack in it. Apparently, it was just the prescription drugs that they are storing over the food prep area.