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

和牛屋赤坂 くうたら (Wagyuya Akasaka Kuutara)

From the 6825yen course. Everything in the photos are for one person. Cold potato soup and “dadacha” beans. Wagyu sashimi. Normally it should include raw liver(what this restaurant is famous for apparently) and boiled cow stomach, but we went on “Obon” holiday and they didn’t have raw liver that day. My friend doesn’t like innards so we also skipped the cow stomach, and had three types of raw wagyu beef instead.
Fried cow cheek on a skewer. Lettuce.
Raw beef nigiri-sushi. Beef nikomi(simmered) and garlic toast. The nikomi is quite nice, but I wish the garlic toast were bigger to mop the thick sauce with.
Yamaimo. Very hot wasabi taste. Charcoal-grilled wagyu steak. Hmm, I expected better quality for the main beef steak….

0808140036Curry rice made with beef dashi. It is quite salty. Matcha ice-cream.

I can’t say the food is bad, but it is not that great either. It was just two of us and we wanted to try a bit of everything so we opted for the set course; maybe a la carte is better? Also we didn’t get to try raw liver and motsu-nabe which are recommended in the reviews I read about this place.

Menu(J): 1, 2.

和牛屋赤坂 くうたら (Wagyuya Akasaka Kuutara)
Add: 3-11-7 Akasaka, Minato-ku
Tel: 03-3568-2129

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

Aroma-Fresca (アロマフレスカ )

最初の一皿。空豆のスフレ風オムレツ アロマフレスカ風。
From the 14,500yen dinner course.
Amuse is anago with a super-thin slice of potato chip on top.
Soramame(broad bean) souffle-style omelette. Fluffy omelette stuffed with lots of soramame. The sauce is a bit carbonara-ish. Very nice!
Hotaru-ika(tiny squid) in gratin style. There are white asparagus and karasumi(squid ink) risotto at the bottom.
Cold uni soup.
Akaza-ebi(langoustine) risotto. Delicious!
Chitarra with spring cabbage and Iberico pork. A bit yakisoba-ish(^^;;) but nice.
Hirasuzuki(a kind of seabass) “Al Sale”(encrusted in salt). Comes with grilled white asparagus and sansai(mountain vegetables) tempura. The soup has strong butter taste. I love this dish!
Citrus sorbet is so sour that my friend actually choked on it. ^^;;
Cotoletta with formaggio cheese stuffed inside. Takenoko(bamboo shoot) on the side is very sweet. Aka-nasu(a kind of aubergine) in a Cocotte that also comes with the main dish is unbelievably juicy and full of flavours…actually it left a deeper impression than the main dish itself(which is by no means bad, just a bit predictable).
Dessert is “eat as much as you like”(^^;;). There were altogether 5 choices and we ordered one of each to share(we were a group of 4). We liked the strawberry soup with cotton candy the most so we asked for one more of that too….
Can’t remember the exact names of the desserts…left pic is cheese pudding, right is chocolate mousse.
Mango pudding. Also petit fours and a selection of coffee and tea to choose from.

The food is of course good, and even though I am no wine expert, I must mention that this is one of the few Italian restaurants offering wine in glasses that I actually think is delicious and end up drinking more than I should.

Seriously I believe this restaurant(and its sister restaurant Casa Vinitalia) casts a “forget-the-time” spell on customers…The first time I visited, I missed the last train and had to crash at my friend’s place at the end. The second time I forgot the time again and had to dash to Azabu-Juban station with a full stomach and a blurry head in 5 mins(takes more than 10 mins to walk normally) to make the last train. And this time I specifically warned my friends beforehand: “Let’s watch the time and get our butt out of the restaurant before the last train.” I could NOT believe it when my friend took a look at her watch and announced that it was already midnight. I missed the last train again!!! Four hours, in a blink! Evil restaurants trying to hypnotize their customers with enchanting ambience should be banned. How nasty of them to offer free second helpings of desserts too. I ended up taking a taxi home…
Menu: 1, 2.

Aroma Fresca (アロマフレスカ)
Add: 1-7-31, Minami-azabu, Minato-ku
Tel: 03-5439-4010

Le Chocolate de H (ル ショコラ ドゥ アッシュ)


0801270124ショコラショー、¥1050。 ステファン、¥399。
Stephan: Gateau cholate cake with almond caramelise. Chocolate chaud(hot chocolate). I love them both! Very very rich and smooth chocolate taste but not too sweet. The indoor cafe space is tiny but there are some big couches outside the shop which look comfortable.

Le Chocolate de H
Add: Roppongi Hills keyakizaka dori, Roppongi 6-12-4, Minato-ku
Tel: 03-5772-0075

浪花屋総本店 (Naniwaya Souhonten)

Very famous taiyaki shop in Azabu Juban. The funny guy in picture just slid in front of my camera when I tried to take pictures of the grill. ^^;;;
To take-out the taiyaki, you need to phone and reserve a few hours in advance(not that it takes a few hours to make the taiyaki but the shop is always too busy with too many orders). There is a newly opened cafe on the second floor where you can have freshly-made taiyaki. Drink set with one taiyaki is 600yen. Also ordered a kinako roll cake with red bean paste. Both are very good! Take-out taiyaki are still very nice if you reheat them in a toaster or oven. The charcoal aroma from the bag made my mouth water all the way home.

Add: 1-8-14 Azabu Juban, Minato
Tel: 03-3583-4975

macchinesti coffee (マキネスティ コーヒー)

Corn soup with bread.
Cafe Latte.

0801270121Egg Benedict. I have been wanting to try the Egg Benedict in this place for so long but somehow never got around to it. The quality doesn’t disappoint at all! The best I have eaten so far(not that I’ve tried that many).

There are two branches of this coffee shop in the same area. Only this branch in Azabu-Juban does Egg Benedict, which is only available on weekends and it runs out quickly. We went at around 12 on a Sunday and the place was quite packed but we managed to get seats. When we lined up in front of the counter to get our food, my friend ordered hers first, and when my turn came, the staff told me they had run out of Egg Benedict! My other friend bebind me and I were so devastated – we came especially for it. For about 5 mins not knowing whether to order something else or go someplace else, I tried begging the staff saying that we came a long way just to eat the Egg Benedict here. Then the male staff said that if we could wait for 30mins then he will make them for us. Of course we wait!! So I ordered the corn soup cos I was so hungry, though it took them almost half an hour to prepare the corn soup anyway….The food was so good that it was worth the effort but gosh why is it so difficult to get a bloody Egg Benedict in Japan?! ^^;;;

macchinesti coffee Azabu Juban (マキネスティ コーヒー)
Add: 2-23-12 Higashi-Azabu, Minato-ku
Tel: 03-5562-6118