To get great handmade ice cream in Taipei, you don’t necessarily have to go searching for obscure hole-in-the-wall shops that specialize exclusively in ice cream – many restaurants make ice cream as a side business. VIVO Spanish Tapas is one of these. A concept restaurant that offers a complete experience VIVO boasts authentic Spanish cuisine (the head chef is a native of Barcelona); an extensive menu that includes brunch, lunch, dinner and imported wines; artistic modern atmosphere with quirky art-deco design; indoor and outdoor seating; a full coffee bar; and, most importantly, an ice cream bar serving a selection of fresh house-made gelatos and sorbets!
I like the layout of the restaurant, with the ice cream counter at the window facing the sidewalk. You can order ice cream to go, or you can sit down at the indoor or outdoor tables and enjoy it with a coffee or a meal.
VIVO提供的冰淇淋跟雪酪選擇，隨季節更換口味，除了幾款每天固定提供的口味（比如香草、巧克力、招牌蕃紅花鳳梨等等）以外。一切都是以新鮮當地水果和高級進口食材，現做現賣的。熱情的人員會樂意的讓你試吃幾款冰淇淋幫你選擇！定價方式簡單：所有的冰淇淋與雪酪都一樣價格，NT $89/單球，NT $149/雙球。
VIVO’s gelato and sorbet selection changes depending on what ingredients are in season, although some core flavours (vanilla, chocolate, and house specialties such as saffron-pineapple) are always available. Everything is made fresh from scratch, using local fruits as well as premium imported ingredients. The staff are very accommodating and happy to let you sample several ice creams before you decide! The pricing is simple: all flavours are NT $89 for a single scoop and $149 for a double scoop.
Honey gelato and plain milk gelato.
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The dark chocolate gelato was adequately rich and dark, but not complex enough to make me fall in love with it.
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The chocolate-hazelnut gelato is a fairly standard flavour, basically like Nutella spread.
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The red wine gelato had no detectable red wine flavour in my small sample – maybe I’d need a proper mouthful to taste it. I found it quite sweet, though – not to my taste.
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The mango sorbet was nice, but after the amazing super-dense mango sorbet I had at La Maison de Glace last week, it didn’t impress me as much.
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The berry champagne sorbet was really nice – chock full of fresh mixed berries (mostly blueberries), quite natural-tasting and not too sweet, with an extra layer of depth from the dry champagne. I really liked this one and almost ordered it…but then I tried the pineapple-saffron gelato and had to change my decision!
My friend ordered the honey gelato, $89/single scoop. Like the honey gelato at Matias’ Gelato in Songshan, it’s made with local longan honey.
This honey gelato has a totally different flavour and texture from the one at Matias’, though – it seems to have a much higher butterfat content, giving it a stronger milky flavour that competes with the delicate natural flavours in the honey. Also, it has a curiously thick, heavy mouthfeel, like it’s been thickened with a high ratio of powdered milk. I asked the staff about it and they claimed they only use fresh milk, so I’m not sure where this thick texture comes from; I’ve never had anything like it before. My friend really liked it, but between the heavy milky flavour, thick texture, and high level of sweetness from the honey, I found it too cloying for my taste. I definitely preferred the honey gelato at Matias’.
I love herbal ice creams (like Snow King’s Thai basil ice cream and Tenten’s pineapple-amaretto-rosemary gelato), so of course, I couldn’t resist VIVO’s signature pineapple and saffron gelato, $89/single scoop. Somehow, this is the first time I’ve ever encountered saffron in ice cream!
The texture is super thick and rich, textured with chewy little bits of fresh pineapple pulp. This is a fairly sweet gelato – sweeter than what you’d get at more localized ice cream shops like Vita or Snow King – but still not as sweet as the gelato typically sold in Europe or North America. The pineapple flavour is very deep and rich – I thought it tasted like it had been cooked down and lightly caramelized, like the pineapple-amaretto-rosemary gelato I had at Tenten a few months ago, but I asked the staff and they said they use uncooked fresh pineapple.
蕃紅花的味雖然很微妙，但還吃得出來它的特殊香味，甚至看得到冰淇淋裡面細細的橘色蕃紅花絲! 除了精美的味道以外，它還帶給並起立超漂亮的深黃金顏色。我雖然我不是很喜歡VIVO的蜂蜜冰淇淋，但我真的很喜歡他們的蕃紅花鳳梨冰淇淋，吃完了再把紙杯刮乾乾淨淨的，有點後悔沒有點雙球! 我覺得我再來VIVO買蕃紅花鳳梨冰淇淋吃，有很大的可能性。
The saffron has a very delicate flavour. It’s not strong, but it’s definitely there – you can even see the little bits of saffron in the ice cream! It gives the gelato a gorgeous rich golden colour, too. Although I didn’t like VIVO’s honey gelato, I really liked their pineapple-saffron – I scraped my cup clean when I was done and felt a little sad I hadn’t ordered two scoops! There’s a high likelihood I’ll be coming back for seconds.
VIVO’s decor is interesting – there are several little details you don’t notice right away, like the white chairs on the right! Too cute.
This was my chair – a giant mask.
VIVO還賣外帶盒，大盒(450 ml)為NT $335，小盒(300 ml)為NT $223。
VIVO also sells take-home tubs of ice cream – NT $335 for a large container (450 ml) and NT $223 for a small container (300 ml).
VIVO Spanish Tapas | VIVO光癮時尚餐飲
Address: No. 8, Lane 232, Section 1, Dunhua South Road, Da’an District, Taipei City
MRT: Zhongxiao Dunhua (East Metro Mall exit 12)
Phone: 02 2721 4666
Time: Sunday to Thursday 12:00~22:00; Friday & Saturday 12:00~22:30