Located in the heart of Taipei, Taiwan’s only three-Michelin-star restaurant is an outstanding treat for any food lover – especially when a tasting set menu can cost less than 100 Euros.
This article was not sponsored in any form by Le Palais restaurant in Taipei and all information provided was done based on my own personal experience and research.
This year I went to Taipei for fifth time in the past three years and I could have not be more excited about it – specially about the food. Taiwan’s capital is one of the most interesting cities when it comes to Asian cuisine and is an obligatory stop for any foodie with any budget.
During this trip I decided to stay at the Palais de Chine, a hotel in Taiwan known for its exotic décor of French 17th century lavishness mixed with classical Chinese architecture. However, my biggest surprise here was not the design of the hotel, but finding out that Taiwan’s only three-Michelin-star restaurant was located only two floors above my room.
Curious about its prices, I called the restaurant and asked for copy of the menu. Le Palais offers an a ’la carte menu with different variations of traditional dim sums and Cantonese cuisine, as well seven different tasting set menus with prices starting NT$2,680 (79 Euro) – quite a bargain, particularly for a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
Without thinking too much about it and checking my budget to see which set menu I could select, I decided to take a Chinese Set Menu for 96 EUR including tea.
Read more: Eating my way through Philadelphia cuisine
One of the cheapest three-Michelin-star restaurants in the world
Even though Le Palais offers a special “Michelin Set Menu” for NT$21,880 (650 EUR), the Michelin Guide awards restaurants and not set menus or specific plates. Travelers curious to try Le Palais and see what makes a three-Michelin-star restaurant so special could get a good deal for dinner time. For example: 3 dim sums for 13 EUR, one course for 25 EUR or a whole set menu for 79 EUR. With prices like this, this could be considered as one of the cheapest three-Michelin-star restaurants in the world.
It’s not only about the prices, Le Palais uses the highest quality ingredients in the market. They bring most of their Cantonese spices directly from Hong Kong and use only the best local ingredients.
According to master chefs duo of Executive Chef Matt Chen and Head Chef Ken Chan Le Palais signature dishes are the Cantonese style crispy roast duck and the crispy roast baby duck. Both dishes require to be ordered at least two days in advance and are definitely a highlight in Cantonese cuisine. Prices for a whole duck are NT$3,980 (118 EUR) and NT$2,580 (77 EUR) respectively.
Although Le Palais has been in operation for seven years, Chef Chan moved from Macau to Taiwan nearly 20 years ago and the restaurant was awarded three Michelin stars in the inaugural Michelin guide to Taipei in 2018.
As a specialist in Cantonese cuisine you will see Chef Chan’s signature in almost every dish of the menu. All tasting menus are available for the public to see at Le Palais official website.
Read more: Why do Germans drink so much sparkling water
A perfect spot for a private dinner
Since my arrival at the restaurant, I experience first hand the excellent service at Le Palais. The welcoming staff knew my name beforehand and took me straight to my assigned table.
Even though Le Palais’ dining room has 80-seats, the whole atmosphere felt extremely private. Traditional Asian room dividers separate each table and between each divider diverse pieces of Classic art were visible. I also didn’t feel isolated at my table as the mirror ceiling and different passages gave me the impression I was eating inside a small labyrinth.
Le Palais looks like a dining room in an Asian/European palace from the 17th or 18th century and despite the extravagant ambiance with traditional elements you could spot in a museum, the restaurant still feels fresh and contemporary. The website of the Michelin Guide describes Le Palais the following: “The lavishly furnished dining room feels modern and chic, but with nice traditional touches such as ceramic art, calligraphy and paintings”.
Being at Le Palais by myself was something very personal and in order to get that exact experience I desired, the restaurant did their best in providing an absolutely impeccable service and magnificent food.
My set menu included four different kinds of meat: barbecue pork, chicken soup, steamed lobster and deep-fried fish. Yet, I never felt saturated by the amount or variety of food. By the end of my experience, I was totally satisfied and very happy to find out about this place during my stay in Taipei.
Standing out as a foodie destination
Taipei has been a hotspot for food in Asia for a while and with night markets and food stalls all over and you can spend months tasting new restaurants every day. At the same time, Taiwan’s fine dining cuisine is very well represented with restaurants like Le Palais or DimTaiFung – Not only with an excellent quality, but also a competitive price that makes travelers want to give it a try and taste a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
One thing is for sure now, next time I visit Taipei, I will come back here and try something new. It won’t break the bank and I will get again an unforgettable experience.