Last Dinner at Cafe Ophelia (芳苑) of Milpitas
Cafe Ophelia is a Taiwanese style restaurant serving Western style food as one would find in Taiwan. Some may call it a fusion restaurant, but it is known in the Taiwanese circles as a higher-end scale, stylish, western restaurant. Coincidentally, to survive in the bay area, they’ve also had to adjust and include many traditional Taiwanese style favorites such as the personal Hot Pots and beef noodle NiuRouMian.
The Milpitas branch has occupied the Milpitas Square (with 99 Ranch as the anchoring store) since the beginning. When I learned a couple of weeks ago that they’re closing up the Milpitas branch, I had to go have one more meal there.
One of the items they do well and not often found in other restaurants is the stir-fried seafood udon chowmein (海鮮烏龍炒麵). It is the quintessential Taiwanese style stir-fried noodle dish. The seafoods include shrimp, fake crab meat, mussels, and squid. It is rounded out by a little bit of veggies and the all important egg, which really makes the dish and gives that homey, local, Taiwanese street flavor. (Grade: A- )
Another item not commonly found is the seafood chowder with baked puff-pastry top (酥皮濃湯). It is basically a bowl of seafood chowder with a piece of puff-pastry covering the top and then baked until the pastry is golden brown. The chowder is decidedly more Taiwanese in flavor than New England. However, mixing of the baked pastry into the chowder provides that extra special soup experience. (Grade: B+ )
One of my favorite Taiwanese “fusion” item is the German-style Pork Hock (德國脆皮豬腳）. I have a fondness for all things pork. And the “German” style pork hock is everything that a pork dish should be. It is marinated and fried and then (maybe) baked. There’s not much else one needs to do to make it better. All I can say is that its tender, juicy, chewy, and crispy. (Grade: A )
Unfortunately April 30 was the last day for Cafe Ophelia in Milpitas Square. A new (gasp) Chinese vegetarian restaurant will be taking over the same location. Luckily there are two other locations where one can still enjoy the uniquely Taiwanese style offerings. The other two remaining bay area locations are in Cupertino in the Marina Market center and in Fremont at the Little Taipei (Lions Market) center.
516 Barber Ln (Closed)
Milpitas, CA 95035
(408) 943-1020(In Marina Market plaza)
10118 Bandley Drive
Cupertino, CA 95014
(408) 255-1099(In Little Taipei/Lions Market plaza)
46801 Warm Springs Blvd
Fremont, CA 94539