Grandma Nittis - Besides an overwhelmingly expensive menu, this place only hires those Chinese who are looking to be your waiter/waitress to practice their English. Don’t go here. Generally, most places in Shi-Da are traps for foreigners who want to learn Chinese. Try to avoid them and go to restaurants where you haven’t been targeted as an English speaker.
I understand that the staff at these restaurants might speak English to you, the bastards. But why does this mean you shouldn’t go there? I haven’t been to Nitti’s for a couple years, but I liked the people who worked there when I used to go. Hell, I used to get a couple of them to house-sit for me when I left town on vacation.
Just because a restaurant is geared toward Westerners doesn’t mean it’s a foreigner trap. Or maybe I don’t really understand what a foreign trap is.
I don’t go to Grandma Nitti’s all that often, but since it’s not far from where I live, I do go there occasionally. I have never had a problem speaking Chinese to the staff that I can recall. However, the other night at the Cafe Odeon, which is a couple of alleys over, while the guy in charge was nice enough, the woman, presumably his partner or maybe just the head waitress, insisted on speaking English to me.
But that’s ok. You sometimes meet individuals like that here, people who either refuse to speak their native tongue or refuse to speak at all with anyone who doesn’t appear to be Chinese. There’s always a percentage of the population that are just lame and have to be put on the old “disregard/ignore” list.
I always thought of places like Huaxijie and the American Club as “Foreign Traps”, if there are such things.
Dunno why anyone would knock Grandma Nitti’s.
It’s the only place in town to get a yummy greek salad, and even better and bigger than one I got in the US a couple weeks ago. The staff is friendly, especially the management and Rainbow. It’s not as outrageously overpriced as other ‘foreign’ eating establishments, considering the portion sizes…(ie>Jakes) There’s a second hand English bookshop on the premisis which is open on Sundays, with a great selection of fiction titles, at pretty reasonable prices. It’s a great place to study on weekdays as it’s open all day and there’s bottomless coffee. The atmosphere is comfortable, and inviting, and you always run into your friends there.
Why wouldn’t that be appreciated in any other city, where you weren’t a foreigner? Frankly, I don’t get it. Having lived in Taiwan for a good part of the past 12 years, the last thing I ever wanted to do was lose my own culture and become thoroughly enraptured and/or transmogrified by this one. It’s just plain silly and irksome, and more often than not, it’s the newbies who’re enthralled with being here. The rest of us got over it a long time ago. Be yourselves. And learn Chinese at a night market.
I think Gramma Nitti’s is a fine place. The staff are friendly. I’m surprised about the comment that they only want to practice their English on me. I usually am the one practicing my lousy Chinese on them. I also feel like I get to practice my Chinese EVERYWHERE. And have no problem giving back a little English sometimes. So many times Taiwanese people are too shy to try out their English. It’s a two-way street as far as I’m concerned.
As to the prices they are certainly higher than a cart on the street. But, I’ve also eaten at Chinese restaurants that are even more expensive. On occasion I want a taste of something familiar. They do a great job there. I recommend the place. Highly.
Well, well - Nitti’s is good for dinner, but not good for breakfast. Why? It’s too noisy (the sound echoes like crazy off of those bare walls and ceramic floors, the toast is always limp and cold, they serve those store-bought deep-fried triangle-shaped “Hash Browns” with the breakfasts, and the last few times they were still frozen in the middle!
At night, Nittis transforms with music, candlelight, and less people. The food seems to get better later in the day too…My two fen.
I can’t get the girls at Nitti’s to speak a word of English. What are you doing that I’m not, Lurk? Maybe your Chinese just blows. And the place isn’t that expensive. 2 people can grab breakfast for $550. If you can’t cough that up maybe you should stick to mian xian, scallion pancakes, and lu rou rice. Those are great calorie/NT options.
Uh, yeah. I did this afternoon. WHAT A TOTAL RIP-OFF!
A tiny glass of juice in ice, a minced slice of cold-cut ham, a minced slice of individually packaged cheese, a couple of eggs tossed together, a piece of toast and a triangular-shaped mass that was suppposed to be hash browns. The ketchup tasted like sugar water. For almost US$8? You gotta be F@@@iing kidding! American-style my ass. You’d have to be a complete fool to go there, as I found to my chagrin. Oh, don’t forget the 10% service charge. :x
I agree. An eight-year-old latch-key kid could fix better breakfast than what you would expect to find at Nitti’s. Might I add that the OJ tastes like it comes from a powder mix, like Tang.
I don’t think any sane, meat-eating person would argue against the premise that Nitti’s fried breakfasts are pretty terrible and very expensive, while those of United Mix are far better and much better value.
Oh, and the idea of being served 6 (that’s six) spindly french fries as a “portion” and getting an earful of abuse from mein hostess for complaining about it was enough to put me off that place - that kind of thing can scar some people for life, you know.
I got a scalding scolding from Caihong Xiaojie recently that strengthened my resolve not to return. I asked the waitress what the special was and she told me - scrambled eggs, juice, coffee and french toast for $150.
“Well that’s what I want”, says I, “but I don’t need the french toast - just plain toast is fine.” Come the end of the meal, I’m slightly surprised to see that I’d been charged $180. I asked and was told by [i]ma
I’ve seen her be like that more than once. I remember about twelve years ago when she used to be in the alley near the end of Fuxing S. Rd, I made the mistake of asking for a little more than the measly speck of butter I got for my toast or potato or whatever it was, the look I got! I haven’t been back there too many times since.
It’s been a while since I bought any breakfast that I didn’t slather hot sauce all over…
I didn’t feel very welcome on quite a few occasions when she was at Fuxing S. Road either, but this year, so far, I’ve been treated quite well. And Rainbow is now feeding 5 kittens that were dumped on her doorstep and doing it every hour on the hour 24 hours a day, so maybe she’s just a tad tired lately?
(Check them out, they’re cute and I imagine they’ll need homes when they get bigger!)
Or maybe she’s really something else entirely? Feeding five stray fleabags round the clock at the expense of paying customers sounds just plain wacko to me.
Her heart is in the right place though, and she’s done some wonderful things for Taipei’s strays.
I’m veggie and haven’t been there for a year or so, but always thought it was pretty good for that sort of thing. Never had any of the probs you guys were talking about and sometimes managed to make veggie substitutes for the specials.
Well it might be a bit far for you to walk, but if you go down two more lanes along Shida Rd (away from the night market) you’ll find the Mami Store. Don’t know the price, but I bet it’s cheaper than $5US a can.
If I were a stray dog or cat, or AIDS afflicted person, I know that I could find no better friend than Rainbow. On the other hand, if I want to have a reasonable chance of getting a good quality breakfast, with good, friendly service, at a reasonable price, than I might think twice before going back to Grandma Nitti’s. I say this as someone who was an extremely loyal fan for many years. I was there when she was on Fuxing, I was there when she was doing the TU Cafe on Wenzhou street, and I was there on the first day she was open on Shi-Da Road in 1997. Basically I like Rainbow as a person. She does care about animals deeply. But as a restaurant patron, well, I’ve had too many disappointments.
I really don’t care about the personality of anyone at the restaurant, perhaps because I have only been there twice and never bothered to interact with the owner or staff, but the important thing is the food.
IT SUCKS AND IT IS WILDLY OVERPRICED.
Hey, it’s a free country (that used to be a joke here…), so if spending NT$550 for breakfast for two that is shockingly bad, go ahead, knock yourself out.
The thing that bothers me is that it promotes itself as an American-style establishment. I just returned from a month in the States and I can tell you it bears NO resemblence to anywhere I ate in America.
Good atmosphere? Tables and chairs and ICRT…whatever.
By the way, I did a rough estimate of what their ham and cheese omlet breakfast would cost me to make in terms of ingredients – about NT$35.
The service is pretty special too. The staff seem incapable of delivering food to a small group of customers at the same time, even simple breakfasts. How long does it take to cook an egg? Worth avoiding really.
I went to Grandma Nitti’s a few weeks ago for a late breakfast and it was BAD. The food I mean. I think I had what was called Fish and Chips and though I don’t claim to be an expert on that dish it was terrible, didn’t taste and some of the side dishes were cold.
Not going back there.
I visited Grandma Nitty’s last weekend for brunch. (ShiDa) I hadn’t been there before so gave it a go. Prompt service, and the food was better than OK. Not great but my expectations were met. Western style ham, eggs cooked right, and toast. I truly wish that folks would learn how to cook hashbrowns. It seems they have learned that the only hashbrowns are McDonald’s style crap. Oh well. All in all it was a good meal but a bit spendy for what I got