Ninja, if you haven’t guessed, is a ninja-themed Japanese restaurant up around the East Area (Dongqu) on Civic Blvd. With ninja waitresses, waterfalls, war drums, and “entertainment,” Ninja is definitely one of the more unique dining experiences in Taipei. Often times themed restaurants are hit-or-miss where the food is good and the theme is mediocre, or the theme works really well and the food is nearly inedible. But just sometimes you are able to find a themed restaurant where the design is actually well done and the food tastes great. So did Ninja sneak its way into our hearts? Keep reading after to find out.
The Ninja Restaurant is actually very well designed. Though there are some references to Ninjas and Japanese culture, most of the design is modern and slick. As you walk down the main hallway you are greeted by a waterfall blocking your path. There you are told you must say the word “Ninja” in order to pass (though “huh?” seems to work as well).
Upon entering the actual restaurant, you will see that the tables are all large and surrounded by nice seating. The room is dark and makes for a nice dining experience. There are dummy ninjas sneaking all around the restaurant, but aside from the waitresses, the menus and some of the dishes, the ninja theme doesn’t go overboard.
It doesn’t matter when you plan go to the restaurant you always have to make a reservation prior. You have the option to reserve a private party section with larger tables and seating. In these sections, you are also presented a drum that you must hit in order to get some service. It’s a nice touch although it may be slightly disturbing to other patrons.
Regardless of how nice a restaurant is, if the food isn’t satisfying, people are gonna walk away unhappy. So it’s a good thing Ninja does food right. With a nice range of sushi platters, Japanese BBQ and other various dishes, Ninja fulfills its role as an eating establishment. The food tastes very good and the size of the portions surprised us. Furthermore, both the menu and the food are nicely displayed with Ninja-esque styling.
There are also many types of drinks both virgin and alcoholic. They are also displayed rather well and mass-orders can be made for people looking to party. The range of beer is a little disappointing, but it’s made up for with quantity and style.
Though the food is good, there is nothing particularly unique about it. Ninja has managed to keep the prices fairly low considering its location and genre. However, because it is still a theme restaurant, you will be paying more for common items.
Is it just the places we wind up at, or do Taiwanese people seem to have a fetish for highly sexualized, humiliating entertainment?
Spoiler Warning!! Stop reading if you want to be surprised during your next visit:
The “show” part of Ninja basically consists of two exotic dancers who gradually move from dancing by themselves, to picking on awkward Taiwanese guys by giving them their own special dance in full view of everyone in the restaurant. Finally, after they choose a willing victim, the dancers lead the man up to a stage where he is almost completely undressed and given a nice shower of ice cubes to his nether region.
Don’t get us wrong, it is pretty entertaining and there was a fair amount of laughing coming from our group, but it’s also something we’ve seen before. Furthermore, we’re not sure what role it plays in a Ninja themed restaurant. Watching a mostly naked and completely embarrassed dude get his grind on only to have his package iced just doesn’t seem all that appetizing.
Oh, and there is a magician too. Well, supposedly…the only trick he showed us was disappearing.
Overall, Ninja provides a memorable experience. The food tastes great and looks good even though it’s a little pricey. More importantly, the sushi is fresh and properly made. The environment works well and the design is actually very nice. There are a few understandable gimmicks and strange choices in entertainment, but in the long run everybody had fun, enjoyed a good meal, and walked away happy.
For more info check the tabs up top, or jump over to the Ninja restaurant website.