Cafe 101


While there are many restaurants within reasonable walking distance to visit after school, I didn’t think many of them had the qualities that warrant becoming a regular—until I went to Cafe 101.

The restaurant, located in a small corner of Diamond Hills Plaza, specializes in Taiwanese food and features a plethora of lunch and dinner meals. With an exterior that seemed lacking in comparison to other spots surrounding it and a somewhat drab and cramped interior, Cafe 101 failed to really capture my eye at first. Though, what the restaurant lacked in presentation, they definitely made up for in food. 

After taking time to look at the menu, I opted to get a lunch special, ordering the pork wonton noodle with an appetizer ($10.95) to-go, which was ready in just ten minutes. Considering the generous size of the portion, I found this to be well worth the price. 

The appetizer, as nondescript as it was on the menu, turned out to be a typical hot and sour soup and what seemed to be pressed pig ear with tofu. While the broth was somewhat spicy and piquant as expected from this kind of dish, it didn’t exactly stand out, though that’s not to say it was any less enjoyable.

The pig ear had a unique taste reminiscent of something fresh from a fancy charcuterie board. Its savory and salty flavors were perfectly mitigated by pleasantly firm tofu—signaling the beginning of what ended up being a fulfilling meal. 

My main course, the pork wonton noodle, was quite savory and I found myself enjoying every bite. The noodles, which were springy in texture, also had a somewhat refreshing element to them due to a generous sprinkling of green onions it came with. The wontons were plentiful in number, each filled with a fulfilling amount of juicy meat, wrapped with a soft, tasty dough.

And, although it wasn’t on the menu, I was pleased to see that the lunch special came with a small iced black tea. The taste was as sweet as it was refreshing, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the flavor wasn’t enhanced by sickly amounts of sweetener. 

With its delicious Taiwanese cuisine and reasonable prices, I see myself returning to the establishment soon.