A small Italian near Jimbocho station. Absolutely love the lunch here. You can choose from two types of pasta and one stewed meat dish served with rice. The menu changes everyweek so I end up coming back here 2-3 times a week just to try everything because they all sound so tempting. The quality here is fantastic – actually I think it’s the best pasta lunch place in the area, but it’s slow because one chef is cooking everything and the restaurant is always packed with OLs and salarymen. Sometimes the wait could be as long as half an hour…and the counter seat around the open kitchen isn’t exactly the most comfortable place to sit for that long especially when you are hungry. Despite of the frustration of waiting, I always come back because the food is just too good. The appetizer and the soup in the picture above come with lunch, and they are always the same – onion and mushroom soup, and sweet potato salad. While they are not bad, I am so so so tired of its taste after being served it so many times – I guess no one goes back to the same lunch spot so many times like I do(^^;;;).

And for those who know about Japanese food critics…I actually saw Kurusu Kei eating there once at lunch time. I searched for his homepage(here) and checked if he has any recommendations for this area, found him blogging about another Italian restaurant near Ogawamachi station. I visited it a few times…and didn’t like the food there(^^;;).
揚げナスとリコッタサラータのスパゲッティ ノルマ風、¥900。
Fried aubergine and Ricotta Salata, Norman style, Y900.
Stewed pork and paprika, served with rice, Y1000.
Pork shoulder loin cooked with sour plum wine and vinegar, Y1000.
Kajiki Maguro(swordfish) and summer aubergine sauce, Y900.
いわしと新玉ねぎ パン粉のスパゲッティ、¥900。
Fresh sea urchin spaghetti, Y900.
Sardine and onion and breadcrumbs, Y900.
Salmon and summer turnip, tomato cream, Y900.
Pork belly and white bean, basil flavour, Y900.
ずわいガニとかにみそ フレッシュトマトのスパゲッティ、¥900。
Zuwai-gani(crab) and crab miso, fresh tomato spaghetti, Y900.
Chicken cooked in red wine, Y1000.
Maguro tail and aubergine Ragu pasta, Y900.
Scallop and asparagus, Aurora sauce, Y900.
Beef stroganoff , Y1000.
Carbonara, Y900.
生ハム 玉ネギ アマレットで煮込んだスパゲッティ アマトリチャーナ、¥900。
Amatriciana – spaghetti cooked with prosciutto, onion, Amaretto.
Pepperonchino with Iwanori seaweed and scallop.
エビと大葉 フレッシュトマトのスパゲッティ、¥900。
Prawn, Ooba(green shiso), fresh tomato.
Salmon, lemon flavoured cream spaghetti.
ツナのプッタネスカ スパゲッティ、¥900。
Tuna Puttanesca.
Beef creamy spaghetti.
ホタテと高原レタス とびっ子をのせたスパゲッティ、¥900。
Spaghetti, highland lettuce, tobiko.
Chopped anago, broccoli, Ragu pasta.
サルシッチャとドライトマト ブロッコリーのスパゲッティ、¥900。
サバと玉ネギ サフラン風味のスパゲッティ、¥900。
Salsiccia, dried tomato, broccoli.
Saba(Mackerel), onion, Saffron flavoured.
Pepperonchino with small prawn and white beans.
Prosciutto and cauliflower, tomato sauce.
Beef Pot-au-feu.
Kajiki Maguro, aubergine, Penne Arrabbiata.

Menu(J): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19.

Roberto (ロベルト)
Tel: 03-3518-0635
Add: 1-32, Jimbocho, Kanda, Chiyoda ku

Osteria Nakamura

ハーブ風味の豚耳入りソーセージ。 牛ホホ肉とレンズ豆の焼きテリーヌ。
Herb sausage with pig ear. Grilled terrine of cow cheek and lentil.
Homemade pasta with crab and leek.
里芋とベーコンあえ リガトーニ。猪と栗のラグー。
Rigatoni with Satoimo taro and bacon .
Wild boar and chestnut in Ragu sauce(Very good!).
Simmered pork with cabbage and potato. Lamb cutlet.
Panna Cotta(caramel ice-cream on the side is very good). Baba.

Hazelnut and Ricotta cheese cake.
“Bonet” – Piemonte pudding with cocoa and Amaretto liqueur.

This casual Italian is very near Tokyo Midtown – it is on a backstreet a bit off the main road so you really need a proper map to find it. I was a bit surprised it was packed on a Sunday evening. Very nice atmosphere with the open kitchen and the bustling staff – the madam who serves us most of the time is friendly and has a sense of humour! We sat in the table but the counter seats look like fun as the chef stands big and tall right behind the counter and you can really watch him at work.

I read in some reviews that the portion is quite big and the madam also suggested 4 of us to share 7 dishes and said that should be enough, so we had 2 apetitizers, 3 pasta and 2 main dishes(we split the food ourselves). Though the portion didn’t turn out as big as I thought(I mean for sharing). I wanted to order more but the food came quite slowly and it was getting late by the time we finished the main dishes. The 3 pasta we chose were all very nice – I wish I could eat more than a mouthful of each though(If you are a big eater like me, order one dish from each course!). For appetizers, I liked the sausage more than the beef terrine. For main dishes, I liked the pork more than the lamb cutlet. I had spumante, a glass of wine and a cappuccino and it was about 7000yen.

Part of the menu: 1, 2. (Check out the restaurant’s homepage for the whole regular and seasonal menu)

Osteria Nakamura (オステリアナカムラ)
Add: 2F, Roppongi 7-6-5, Mintato-ku
Tel: 03-3403-8777

Bentornato! Maggio (ベントルナート!マッジオ)

One of my favourite lunch spot in Jimbocho area! Lunch is 1000yen, including salad, bread, but not coffee. Small dessert is 200yen. Occasionally they serve free wine at lunch.
Spring vegetables ragu spaghetti.
メカジキとカリフラワーのラグー ドライトマトのオリーブオイル スパゲッティー。
Mekajiki(swordfish) and cauliflower ragu, dried tomato, olive oil.
新ゴボウのクリームソース ペンネ バルサミコ風味。
Penne with Gobo(Burdock root) cream sauce and Balsamic vinegar.
インカのめざめとアンチョビのオリーブオイルスパゲッティー パルメザンチーズがけ。
胡桃ペーストのクリームソース ペンネ。
“Awakening of Incas”(Japanese potato) and anchovy, olive oil sauce with Parmesan cheese.
Walnut paste cream sauce penne.
牛スジとレンズ豆の辛いトマトソース煮込み スパゲッティ。 カッサータ。
Beef tendon and lentils, spicy tomato sauce. Cassata.
Pancetta and mushroom, olive oil sauce. Panna Cotta.
Crab and fresh tomato, olive oil sauce. Fondant chocolat.
豚の柔らか煮と玉葱・松の実のオリーヴオイル スパゲッティー。ティラミス。
Stewed pork, onion, pine nut, olive oil sauce. Tiramisu.
Small prawn and cabbage, tomato sauce.
Lotus root cream sauce penne.
地鶏ミンチと青唐辛子の香草風味オリーヴオイル。 ポルタゲーゼ(白いプリン)。
Minced chicken and green chilli and herb olive oil sauce. Pudding.
Grilled wakegi(green onion) and beef tendon, tomato sauce.
Sunagimo(chicken gizzard) confit, rocket, olive oil sauce.
Cold cappellini with vegetable and fruit tomato. This one is 1300yen.
White sauce lasagne(Aubergine, minced chicken, porcini and eryngii). This one is always in the lunch menu.

Phew~I’ve been to this place so many times that the staff definitely recognise me. Quality is amazing and the lunch menu changes weekly and always have at least 3 choices available(tomato sauce, olive oil sauce and cream sauce) so you just never get tired. 1000yen lunch is available from Mon to Sat – busy on weekdays but usually pretty empty on Sat. I always sit at the counter but there are tables too. The portion isn’t so big but it always tastes so good that it is satisfying enough for me. +300yen for large portion.

Menu: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11.

Bentornato! Maggio
Add: 3-24-17 Ogawamachi, Kanda
Tel: 03-3518-0357

OSTU (オストゥ 代々木公園)

Dinner at a newly opened Italian restaurant next to Yoyogi Park. Prefix dinner course is available but we wanted to try this place’s specialty Piemonte cuisines so 3 of us shared the dishes from the a la carte menu. We had to split the food by ourselves.
Amuse: Egg and shirasu(whitebait). Very good bread.
短角牛のタルタル バルミジャーノがけ、¥1700。 2色のトマトテリーヌ、¥1500。
Shorthorn beef Tartare with Parmesan cheese and summer truffle. After reading a number of reviews praising this dish, I was really looking forward to try it; we ordered two portions to share so we didn’t have to fight over it. Didn’t disappoint at all. Absolutely delicious!
Terrine of tomato in two colours. Sweet and refreshing. Very good too.
Cappellini of karasumi. Himm a bit tasteless.
Spaghetti with Tsubugai Shellfish and radish. Not much impression except the radish makes it taste a bit Japanese.
仔羊のロニョーネと万願寺とうがらし入り トマトソース和えのカバテッリ、¥1700。
Cavatelli with lamb rognone(kidney), chilli and tomato sauce. The pasta was nice but the kidney stank too much that we all couldn’t quite stomach it. Normally I am okay with innards but the smell in this one was too strong.
Traditional Piemontese “Agnolotti del Plin”. This is the best pasta of the night. The filling is made from three kinds of meat. Amazingly the texture of the filling is soft and fluffy. A must try!
ビゴール豚肩ロース肉のグリル ドライトマトとケッパーのオイルソース、¥3800。
Grilled Bigorre pork loin with dried tomato and caper in oil sauce. Simple dish but the pork is juicy and layered with right amount of fat which I like.
ヘーゼルナッツ入りの暖かいトルタ、¥900。自家製ヨーグルトのプリン マンゴーソース、¥800。
Warm Tortino of Hazelnut. Very good!
Homemade yogurt pudding in mango sauce. Also Lemon Granita not in picture.

Overall the food is good, though the pasta menu is a bit hit or miss. I wish the female staff had smiled a little as the restaurant was far from busy that night, but she gave us what we needed. We had 1 glass of spumante, 2 glasses of white wine, 2 bottles of mineral water, also coffee at the end, total was about 8000yen per person.

Menu: 1, 2, 3.

OSTU (オストゥ 代々木公園)
Add: 5-67-6, Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku
Tel: 03-5454-8700

0808090004On the same week I had dinner at another Italian restaurant called “Incanto”. Taking photos of the food used to be okay(saw in other blogs) but is no longer allowed – it is written in the menu saying that it is an effort to keep a nice ambience. Though the table next to us was having a birthday celebration and they kept using flash taking photos of themselves. ^^;;; The menu is extensive with cuisines from all regions of Italy. We were all a little overwelmed by the sheer number of choices, so we decided to try the 8500yen omakase(chef’s course) but with a special request to have the horse meat option as our main dish. The course includes an amuse, two appetizers, two pasta, main dish, dessert and coffee. The amuse is quite a big one with three items: a small cup of really spicy Gazpacho, sweet corn on a chou, gorgonzola and walnut paste. First appetizer is ma-aji (very fatty fish) carpaccio with a light orange sauce, and second appetizer is perfectly baked anago pie in a delicious (slightly sour) sauce. First pasta course is “Agnolotti del Plin” – I just had this dish in “Ostu”!! Such luck that they included this dish in the course. Incanto’s version is also very nice, with summer truffle sprinkled on top which gives a really nice aroma(much better than the summer truffle I had in “Ostu”), but the sauce is a bit sour for me and the texture is not as unique as the one in “Ostu”. Second pasta is short pasta in a spicy ragu of maguro, olive and tomato. The taste is great but my friends and I all wished that they hadn’t made it so spicy! It really would have been perfect without the chilli. Later I read in some other blogs that also mentioned about the food being spicy…so we were not just unlucky but it is the chef’s style. The main dish was horse belly meat, horse heart, and horse meat sausage. There is no sauce but the soft tender meat is seasoned with honey and herb and is really good. Dessert is a nice cassata in mango sauce. The sommelier chose a bottle of amazing red wine(no memory of the name…my friend only remembered “Bio, 2002, 8200yen”) which smells wonderful and goes well with the horse meat. I had a glass of spumante, 4 of us shared a bottle of wine, the total was about 13,000yen per person – very reasonable considering the high quality of food, the great choice of wine, and the warm service. Just need to remember to ask for “no chilli”.
Front of the restaurant: 1, 2.

Incanto (インカント)
Add: 2F, 4-12-2, Minami-Azabu, Minato-ku
Tel: 03-3473-0567

La Gradisca (ラ・グラディスカ)

The entrance is quite difficult to spot! Delicious Prosecco.
Amuse is fried Sakura-ebi. Felt like I was eating tempura but it was good.
Appetizer is a few thin slices of really soft and nice chicken breast in anchovy sauce. The sunny-side up fried quail egg on the side is the cutest thing I have ever seen!
Homemade pasta(forgot name) with seafood sauce. Delicious~
Pork stewed in tomato sauce. Italian countryside styled apparently. Taste-wise it is good but the pork itself is a bit too dry and hard. Couldn’t help thinking what a shame it was cos everything had been really good so far. Though my friends who ordered fish as their main dishes said they were good.
My disappointment eased a bit when I tried the petit fours which was amazing especially the polenta cookie, and I was very surprised and immediately uplifted by the high quality of the simple dessert – honey pudding with fruits and nuts. Wrapping up with a nice cappuccino, the lunch was overall satisfying.

Lunch course alone is 4200yen. I had one glass wine, one sparkling wine, mineral water, about 7000yen in total.

La Gradisca (ラ・グラディスカ)
Add: B1, 3-3-23, Nishi-Azabu, Minato-ku
Tel: 03-5918-7055

Ristorante La Barrique Tokyo (リストランテ ラ・バリック トウキョウ)

Lunch was too good(see tag) so we decided to come back for dinner. This time we let the restaurant decide the menu and the wine for us with a budget of 20,000yen per person. Money well spent! The quality surpassed all our expectations. First amuse is the same as last time. The second is a cold amuse with prawn, saltwort(veggy underneath) and ricotta cheese.
We were a group of 8 and I am not sure if it was difficult for the kitchen to have everyone served the same thing at the same time, or maybe they just wanted to let us try more things, each course came in two varieties and we just shared in pairs.
Cold appetizer 1: Tomato soup. There is mozzarella cheese, tomato sorbet, tomato jelly, crab meat and dried tomato in it.
Cold appetizer 2: Hon-maguro(tuna) tataki salad.
Warm appetizer 1: Foie gras and fig tart in Marsala sauce.
Warm appetizer 2: Abalone saute.
Ayu pasta. Ikasumi(squid ink) pasta.
Main 1: Baby goat from Hokkaido.
Main 2: Igor pork. Not sure about the name. Similar to Iberico pork apparently but I haven’t had Iberico pork tasting this good.
Chocolate. Passion fruit.
The Italian wine chosen by the sommelier was amazing, especially the white wine in the picture. We had sparkling wine, white wine, red wine(two different kinds of red? Too drunk by the end to remember….). This time we sat in the main dining room with very romantic Japanese-style decor. A truly wonderful experience! My crappy writing can’t possibly convey how great this restaurant is!

btw, I thought it would be hard for my friends who were visiting this place for the first time to locate the entrance in the dark but the tiny sign was lit at night so it was in fact easier to spot.

More pics from my friend’s review here(J).

Ristorante La Barrique Tokyo (リストランテ ラ・バリック トウキョウ)
Add: 2-12-2 Suido, Bunkyo-ku
Tel: 03-3943-4928

Ristorante La Barrique Tokyo (リストランテ ラ・バリック トウキョウ)

Lunch at this hidden and a bit out-of-the-way Italian restaurant. It is very near to Edogawabashi station and the exact location is not that difficult to find, but even you are right in front of it, you will stil hesitate if it is the right place cos the front just looks like somebody’s house and the tiny sign is impossible to spot. In fact, the building used to be the owner’s house.
This is the waiting room. We booked the private room on the second floor(used to be the study room) but the main dining room is beautifully decorated with Japanese-style screens made from paper and wood. We had the 4500yen lunch course(plus service charge 10%).
Amuse is warm mini bread with pickled cabbage and ham.
Second amuse(?). White asparagus sorbet, uni and consomme jelly.
ミントの香るトリッパのトマト煮 グラタン仕立て。
Trippa in tomato stew, gratin style. Baroro.
馬ヒレ肉のロースト バローロソース。
White asparagus and smoked ham spaghetti.
Roasted horse meat in Barolo sauce. The yellow cubes on the side is polenta.

0804260074Chocolate creme brulee. Grappa.

Every single course was absolutely delicious. You just can’t imagine from the rather boring looks that the taste can be so good. The pasta looks like an ordinary carbonara, and the trippa looks like what you can get in bistro or even yoshoku places, but once you put them in your mouth, you are in for a surprise – they are nothing short of impressive. The horse meat is highly recommended by my friend who is a regular customer of this restaurant – unbelievably tender meat with very delicious sauce made from Barolo wine. To go with the meat, I also had a glass of Barolo which is amazing – completely wiped out my not-so-pleasant image of Italian wine. Apparently it is supposed to be really luxurious wine…of course I had never heard of it until that day. ^^;;; I don’t recall having an Italian meal that is so refined(not that I have been to that many Italian restaurants!). I had sparkling wine, red wine, grappa(included in lunch), and also coffee at the end – about 8000yen in total.

Lunch menu here.
More pics from my friend’s review here(J).

Ristorante La Barrique Tokyo (リストランテ ラ・バリック トウキョウ)
Add: 2-12-2 Suido, Bunkyo-ku
Tel: 03-3943-4928