From Tutus to Toilets: A Look into Taipei’s Theme Restaurants

Taipei's Theme Restaurants

White and fluffy purse-sized pups. Bedazzled fingernails, t-shirts and jean pockets. Pigtails and the color pink. The name Candy.

It’s all about the cute, or ‘ke ai’, in Taiwan.

The cute factor is more than just fashion though; it extends into just about every realm of life, including restaurants.

You mean food can be cute? Absolutely—although it’s not really the food as much as the general ambience that is essential. We’re talking theme restaurants here, and Taipei is home to some of the cutest ones around. Whether you prefer a tutu or toilet, Taipei’s got the eateries you need.

Hello Kitty Sweets

Hello Kitty Theme Restaurants Taipei Taiwan

In a country that operates Eva Air’s signature Hello Kitty themed airplane, it’s only natural you’re going to find a Hello Kitty themed restaurant too. Hello Kitty Sweets was much smaller then we initially expected, and we found the décor to be surprisingly tolerable. A massive Hello Kitty face decorates the exterior, while the inside is decorated in baby shades of white and pink, chandeliers, and kitty cuteness everywhere. Oh, and bows, bows, bows! We half expected the waitresses to sport cat ears, but sadly their costume called a quits after the pink ruffled skirts.

Hello Kitty Theme Restaurants Cakes Taipei Taiwan

It can be quite pricy to eat in the restaurant; expect to pay for the Hello Kitty food design, not the food quality itself. We chose to sample a small desert, which was surprisingly good and still came with Hello Kitty’s face molded into chocolate form.

A Cruising Couple Hello Kitty Theme Restaurants Taipei Taiwan

Hello Kitty Theme Restaurants Cake Taipei

Location: Address: 90, Da-an Rd Sec 1, Taipei City

Phone Number: (02) 2711-1132

 

Barbie Café

Barbie Cafe Theme Restaurants Sign Taipei Taiwan

I loved my Barbies just as much as any other little girl. My collection included a three story Barbie house and the entire cast to the Wizard of Oz. But even for me, this restaurant is a little bit much. It’s the first Barbie restaurant in the world, and the owners really tried to set the standard high by spending $1.7 million USD on the place. It basically looks like someone vomited pink and magenta on every square inch of the café. Tutus adorn the chairs; Barbie’s face is blown up to cosmic proportions; the waitresses don tiaras while the waiters wear suits. And of course, there’s a life size Barbie box so you get the perfect snapshot.

Barbie Cafe Theme Restaurants Taipei Taiwan

Barbie Cafe Theme Restaurants Chair A Cruising Couple

You would think this would be a little girl’s dream, but it’s actually quite the opposite. We only saw a handful of children, although the place was packed with young men and women obviously out on romantic dates.

As if Barbie didn’t already get harped on enough for promoting unrealistic expectations about body image, this restaurant pushes the limits even farther. The menu was designed by a nutritionist, and lists the calories for each Barbie-themed food choice available. I guess they assume you might lose a bit of your appetite while staring at replicas of Barbie’s non-existent waistline while you eat. Perhaps it’s a good thing we didn’t see too many young girls inside…

We chose to take some pictures, hold back our giggles at the couples gazing into each other’s eyes, and then move on.

Location: Barbie Café, 2F, 128, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road, Taipei City

Reservation Recommended

 

A380

A380 Sky Kitchen Theme Restaurants Taipei

Have a seat and prepare for takeoff. This restaurant actually looks quite reminiscent of a plane, although the seats here offer better leg space. Airplane windows, reclining chairs, personal TVs, and waitresses that double for stewardesses all combine to set the scene. Of course Sponge Bob also commands a huge presence, because, I mean, he totally flies… Unfortunately A380 is located on the same floor as the baby section of the Mitsukoshi department store, which means that most of the diners are the same people toting around their newborns in strollers. When we stopped in there were literally more crying babies than adults. Because the one thing everybody loves on a plane is a baby.  

Airplane Theme Restaurants taipei

Location: Song Gao Road, #12, 4th Floor– Shin Kong Mitsukoshi, Taipei City

Phone: (02)2722-6380

 

Modern Toilet Restaurant

Modern Toilet Theme Restaurants Giant Toilet

What’s more appetizing than swirls of chocolate ice cream in a cone? Why swirls of chocolate ice cream in a toilet, of course! Modern Toilet is, as the name suggests, all about the bathroom devices. Seats are designed as toilets, tables as sinks, showerheads decorate the walls and all food comes served in a miniature toilet bowl. Naturally the owner says he had the innovative idea while taking his own dump on a porcelain throne and reading about a Japanese cartoon character that swirled his poop on a stick. Somehow the gross idea took hold with several chains now across Asia. If you really feel like eating your food out of a toilet bowl and chugging beverages from a urinal, this is the place for you.

Modern Toilet Theme Restaurants Poo Poo Ice cream

Modern Toilet Theme Restaurants Taipei seat

Modern Toilet Theme Restaurants A Cruising Couple

Location: 2F., No.7, Lane 50, Sining S. Rd., Wanhua District, Taipei City

Phone: 02-2311-8822

 

Ninja Restaurant

Ninja Theme Restaurants Taipei

If you want to get value for your money and actually savor the food you’re eating, then the Ninja restaurant is our recommendation. We found this place to be about the food first and the theme second. Expect Japanese cuisine, with yummy selections like sashimi, sushi, barbecue, and salads. Of course, draft beer served in paper lanterns also made an appearance. We were quite pleased with the prices, the service, and the flavors, especially when compared to the other themed restaurants.

Ninja Theme Restaurants Waitress Taipei

Ninja Theme Restaurants Beer Tower Taipei

However, there are a couple things about the Ninja restaurant to keep in mind. For one, it was previously a hospital themed eatery, and the remnants are still obvious. At one point a ninja waitress who wanted to ‘play a game’ approached us. Roll the dice; guess if your number is higher or lower than your competitor. If you win, liquid from a ‘good’ syringe is dispensed into your mouth. If you lose, unluckily you get the bad one. What syringes have to do with ninjas I don’t know. Also, be aware that the ninja-gals put on a bit of a dance in the middle of dinner. Again, I don’t know what booty-bumping with people trying to eat has to do with Japanese ninjas, but just let them know in advance if you would like to participate in the half-time show or not. And be prepared, there is ice involved.

Rusing the old

Maybe we just prefer ninjas to princesses. Regardless, this was our favorite establishment.

Secret Entrance Ninja Theme Restaurants Taipei

The secret ninja door that leads upstairs. I would tell you the password but…. you know.

Location: No. 129, Section 4, ShiMin Blvd, Songshan District, Taipei City

Phone: 02-2577-3300

 

Taipei’s many theme restaurants probably won’t offer your taste buds much to think twice about. It’s okay though, because they’re not really about the food; rather, these restaurants provide whimsical, offbeat establishments that aim to delight all the senses. One things for certain: Taipei’s theme restaurants provide a unique Taiwanese experience that leaves you with a greater understanding of all the word ‘cute’ can really mean.  And come on, where else can you laugh about your poop-shaped food anyway?

 Modern Toilet Theme Restaurants poo poo

Have you been to any outrageous restaurants? Which one above sounds most appealing?

 

101ebookcoverlinkInterested in learning more about all Taiwan has to offer? Download our free eBook, 101 Tips to Living in Taiwan, for an all inclusive guide to life in Taiwan.

Meet: Casey Siemasko


Casey Siemasko is a blogger, content marketer, and co-founder of A Cruising Couple. She has been living and traveling outside of the US full-time since 2011. She finds her life inspiration in exploring the world and seeks to find the magic in the most ordinary of places.

39 Comments

  1. Husband and I went to modern toilet last week… so ridiculous! I can’t believe how many people are eager to eat out of a toilet. it was definitely more about the “experience” than the food. we may have to try the ninja place though, looks like it could be fun 🙂
    Jamie recently posted…intentional unemploymentMy Profile

    Reply
    • Very cool! It is definitely an experience, and so Taiwanese 🙂 Let us know your thoughts on the ninja restaurant if you try that one out as well!

      Reply
  2. How could we possibly have missed those crazy themed restaurants while in Taipei?
    I’d happily skip the Barbie one, the modern toilet one is definitely the most original for me despite the look of the ice-cream 😉
    Franca recently posted…Five Tips & Pics from KyotoMy Profile

    Reply
    • It’s true-you have to give Modern Toilet bonus points for a creative, although disgusting, idea. To be honest, we only learned about the theme restaurant craze after the new Barbie restaurant gained so much international publicity.

      Reply
    • YAY do it 🙂 And while you’re at it, hit up all of Taiwan-it truly doesn’t get the credit it deserves.

      Reply
      • Sounds great! Thanks for the suggestion.
        Yet another place to put on the to do list – the ever growing list!

        Reply
    • We actually rocked up at the poo restaurant a little late. The website says they close at 10 but unbeknownst to us the kitchen closes at 9 >:-{ So I snapped a photo of someone else’s uneaten food and we walked across the street for ice cream :-p

      Reply
  3. Wow. I’m not really sure what to say to that! While none of these are actually to my taste, I would have to check them all out just because they are ridiculous! And I do have to admit that I queued in Hamley’s Toy Store once so I could sit on Barbie’s knee on her 50th birthday. I was 27 at the time! Sometimes you just have to go with it and have some silly fun. I draw the line at poo-shaped food though. That’s gross!

    Reply
    • Haha, you’re only as old as you feel, right? :-p We are with you on just going for the experience. I’m pretty sure there is no way Dan is waiting in line to sit on Barbie’s lap :-p

      Reply
  4. Hello Kitty Sweets looks very lovely! I know a Hello Kitty-themed restaurant here in Indonesia, but it is too much even for a Hello Kitty fan like me.
    I watched a documentary on those theme restaurants once, and they said the Modern Toilet Restaurant served a pretty delicious curry. Will definitely visit this restaurant when I go to Taiwan :))
    Halida A. recently posted…Jatim Park 2: Museum SatwaMy Profile

    Reply
    • It’s too bad we couldn’t give it a try but I can’t imagine getting up the courage to eat curry from a toilet bowl. I hope you get to Taiwan soon!

      Reply
    • Definitely brings the kid out of you, unless you’re at the ninja restaurant :-p

      Reply
    • Well you just have to come to Taiwan then-you would fit right in! So how do you feel about Hello Kitty shirts? Because I kind of really want one now 🙂

      Reply
  5. Ha ha I love this kind of stuff you look like you’re having so much fun. My husband has been to Tokyo so he’s seen plenty of these kind of places but I haven’t yet sadly!

    Reply
    • You’re so right-we definitely had a blast! I would love to go to some theme restaurants in Tokyo too-sadly we haven’t been to Japan yet either.

      Reply
  6. Looks like some fun….love the Hello Kitty and airplane themes…not sure about the ice cream in a toilet…just doesn’t do it for me!
    Anita Mac recently posted…Paris Is Always A Good Choice!My Profile

    Reply
    • The Hello Kitty theme was definitely the most well put together. They managed to make Hello Kitty look edible! Modern Toilet on the other hand….. not so much :-p

      Reply
  7. Great list. There are even more theme restaurants and cafes. I know of another maid cafe in Ximending, but taking photos is forbidden. Ximending is full of quirky hidden cafes, it’s good to go there with locals. You also have a Germany themed restaurant (Q Square Mall, Breeze Banqiao), where the waitresses wear Bavarian hats. The food is quite ok. And there’s also a hospital themed restaurant, you can be fed by nurses, tea through infusions and injections 🙂 I’ve no idea where that one is. From the ones I’ve been so far the airplane themed restaurant was the most boring.
    MKL recently posted…Taiwan Mother’s Day fiascoMy Profile

    Reply
    • Thanks for the tips! I’ve never heard of the maid one or the German-themed one. Maybe we’ll get a chance to check them out and update our list! Ximending is quite a quirky place. I’ll always remember it was one of the first places our couchsurfing hosts brought us when we got to Taipei 🙂 As for the hospital themed restaurant, that’s the one that became the ninja restaurant I think. If you happen to find another hospital one is around, let us know, because we would love to go!

      Reply
  8. Great photos! I had heard about the toilet cafe’s in Taiwan, I’m so intrigued by them now but I don’t know if I could enjoy an ice cream that looks so inedibly familiar! Thanks for sharing, I feel inspired to visit Taiwan now, not so far from where I currently live.

    http://blogabannie.blogspot.com

    Reply
    • I’m glad we peaked your interest to visit Taiwan! We’ve always said that it’s sad more people don’t get here to travel because Taiwan is such a unique country. I hope you get the chance to check it out! The ice cream looked alright to me, it’s the chocolate brownie I was worried about :-p

      Reply
  9. I went to Modern Toilet this week! It was interesting, but I think it will be my only time going haha.
    Next up – the Hello Kitty Café!!

    http://wp.me/p3TG0V-bl

    Reply
    • It’s an interesting experience for sure. I think one time is really all you need :-p

      Reply
    • It’s an interesting experience for sure. I think one time is really all you need :-p

      Reply
    • I got an email with your reply, but I don’t see it here. Very strange! Maybe it is just delayed.
      I visited the Hello Kitty Café and the Barbie Café today, although I only looked around, I didn’t actually buy anything. Blog post in the works. My favourite colour is bright pink, and even I thought all that pink was very excessive. Very ka’ei though…

      I think that ends my venture into the themed restaurants – as they are typically way more expensive than just eating at the markets or at local restaurants. Definitely some fun idea ones though – except the airplane… I can’t imagine paying for more airplane food! haha
      Rebecca Chant recently posted…Taipei: The Capital of CuteMy Profile

      Reply
      • hahaha yes, very ke’ei. and yes, they are definitely too expensive, especially considering the quality of the food. we never actually ate at the airplane restaurant- just photographed it and looked at what everyone else was eating 🙂 you’re not missing much.

        Reply
  10. As to the A 380 restaurant: the food is as BAD as on a plane, if not worse. Everything was disappointing, from the cocktail to the soup, to the horrible steak, and the coffee. The tiramisu was the best part of the meal, and that was no more than okay, actually. So, it’s the perfect, airplane-themed restaurant! 🙂

    Reply
    • Haha! Glad to hear they are keeping things authentic :-p Thanks for sharing your experience Ronald!

      Reply
  11. I wish still open in taipei, i’ll tell it to my gf loves a lot of cutie craze.. especially she hello kitty fanatic 😀 thanks for this informative post.. we will planning for a vacation 🙂 its very near to our country.. philippines. anyway thanks a lot keep it great ! 🙂

    Reply
  12. Been to modern toilet last weekend and had the au gratin meal w the seafood, mashed potato and penne pasta that comes w tea and chocolate poop shaped ice cream. The rest on the menu looks appetizing actually. Food was nonetheless delicious despite the serving bowl used. Worth the try and would definitely come back w more friends. ?

    Reply
  13. hahaha! So Fun! Thanks for the review and the addresses of these places. Am heading there in Dec! 🙂

    Reply

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