I was lucky to have the opportunity to visit the original "Ding Tai Fung" (???) restaurant in Taipei, Taiwan. This is located at No. 194 (corner of Yunkang Street), Xinyi Road Sec. 2, Taipei, Taiwan (+886.02.2321.8928). Its hours of operation are:
- Mon ~ Fri 10:00~21:00
- Sat & Public holiday 09:00~21:00
The specialty of this restaurant is Shanghainese food. There is one in Hong Kong: 3F Cailan Delicacy, Huangpu Garden, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong, but even without comparing it to the original one in Taipei it is not one of the better Shanghainese restaurants in Hong Kong.
So I was delighted to find the food to be exceptional and the restaurant extremely efficient. When I arrived at 17:30 local time there was already a large crowd congregation outside the restaurant. Since I was looking forward to try the original restaurant I was willing to wait. The hostesses at the entrance greeting visitors were extremely friendly and professional at the same time. The kind you would expect at five stars hotels and definitely not from a busy restaurant. Definitely not the kind you find at any Hong Kong restaurants even five and six stars hotels.
The wait was reasonably short given the amount of people waiting and the continue arrival of tourist buses; dropping off 10 - 20 tourists at a time. All visitors are encouraged to choose from their menu while they wait outside. The hostesses would come around periodically to see if they can assist with orders and to collect completed orders.
When I was seated at one of table on the third floor among; just one of the four stores available, the process seems even more production-line like. Immediately the first dish arrives and then the subsequent dishes progressively arrive at the table. Within 33 minutes I was filled with great food, relaxed a bit and departed by paying the bill back on the ground floor.
The service throughout my 33 minutes was exceptional, with the servers anticipating my needs at every occasions while every tables on the floor was packed.
I absolutely did not expect the type of service I received and to top it off with great food, this is definitely a restaurant I recommend to anyone who visits Taipei, Taiwan.