Italian Cuisine & Restaurants

Italian Cuisine: Shizuoka Products at Aquavite!

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great and very large washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable to expensive. Top-class Italian wines. Private room for~8 people.
no-smoking-logo1 Non-smoking at counter!

Like many restaurants in Shizuoka City and Shizuoka Prefecture, many restaurants are going through changes for many reasons including someunavoidable.
When chefs decide to leave to work under other skies recruiting new and good staff is vital.
Aquavite has had to go through that time and came out for the better!

The new team (Chef: Masaru Aoki/青木優 and Maitre d’Hote: Kazuma Mochizuki/望月計満) is not only young and enthusiastic, but also professional and endeavouring to use as many local products as possible.

Vegetables from Shizuoka Prefecture!

They are always on the lookout for new producers and farmers when it comes to vegetables and fruit!

Antipasto Misto (Broccoli and Cauliflower in Anchovy sauce, stewed red and yellow pimento with dry tomatoes, mizudako octopus and Inca mezame potato and mushrooms and shrimps)

Like all good Italian Restaurants Aquavite bake their own bread!

They also propose a great variety of pasta!

Now, this excellent pasta was made with Barilla N05 spaghetti and a ragu of cuttlefish caught in the Suruga Bay!

Fish and seafood is the true specialy at Aquavite.
The above is matodai/John Dory or St. Peter’s Fish caught of Numazu Harbour fried in Meuniere style with a herb sauce!

This succulent sauteed chicken is “Jidori/地鶏” from Fuji City. All vegetables are Shizuoka-Grown!

Artistic and delicous tiramisu for dessert!

Real coffee served the proper way!

And exquisite home-made Italian biscuits!

Looking forward to the next visit!

Address: 420-0034 Shizuoka Shi, Tokiwa-cho, 1-2-7, Tomii Bldg. 3F
Tel. & fax: 054-2740777
Opening hours: 11:30~14:00 (on reservations only), 18:00~22:00
Closed on Sundays
Homepage (Japanese)
Credit Cards OK
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Italian Cuisine: Umegashima Wild Boar Ragu Pici Pasta at Il Castagno

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: clean
Prices: reasonable
Specialty: Central and south Italian-style cuisine. Home-made pasta. Very reasonables prices. Progressive wine list.
no-smoking-logo1 Non-smoking!

The other day as I cyccled around to find out where I was going to have my lunch between two bouts of computer work, I noticed an interesting if not unusual dish on the menu of the day posted in front of Il Castagno:
Umegashima Wild Boar Pasta!

Umegeashima is the area located near the source of the Abe River flowing across Shizuoka city.
It is nationally famous for its many hotsprings, tea culture and wasabi and shamo chicken.
But what people know lees is that it is a region replete with wild game, especially deer and wild boar!
The chef at Il Castagno managed to put his hands on a wild boar leg and hind which had been shot down a few days before my visit!

He amrinated the meat for 24 hours in herbs, wine and ingredients he did not really want to reveal…
He then simmered slowly with white wine into an incredible Ragu!
Themeat had been so softened that it was easily shredded into convnient bits for a pasta dish.
The present pasta are Toscana Pici, hand-made at the resataurant (all pasta there is freshly hand-made!).
Serve with Italian parsley and Parmeggiano Regiano, it made for an utterly extravagant pasta dish!

IL CASTAGNO
420-0843 Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Tomoe Cho, 48 (along Kitakaido Street)
Tel. & Fax: 054-247-0709
Business hours: 11:45~14:00, 17:30~21:00
Closed on Mondays and second Tuesdays
Lunch: 1,260 and 1,860 yen
Dinner: 4,000 and 5,000 yen
A la Carte menu and wine list available. Wine by the glass ok
Reservations recommended.
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
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Cozze e Gamberi Salsa al Pomodoro at Il Castagno in Shizuoka City

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: clean
Prices: reasonable
Specialty: Central and south Italian-style cuisine. Home-made pasta. Very reasonables prices
no-smoking-logo1 Non-smoking!

On Sundays, if I don’t any cricket to attend to nor an interview to conduct, I ususally make a point to take lunch at Il Castagno in Shizuoka City.
It is unpretentious and very welcoming, but the food, reasonably priced, is authentic and definitely worth a firs and second visit.
The specialties are mainly from the South, especially the Puglia area where the chef and his partner have recently visited some old friends.

Yesterday I opeted for a different type of pasta: Olechiette, typical of South Puglia. Incidentally all pasta at Il Castagno is home-nade fresh Pasta!

The past was accompanied with mussles and large prawns.
The sauce was prepared with tomatoes and finely chopped zucchini.
The whole was delicately presented in an oval deep plate with fresh Italian parsley.

Simple and so sophisticated at the same time!

IL CASTAGNO
420-0843 Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Tomoe Cho, 48 (along Kitakaido Street)
Tel. & Fax: 054-247-0709
Business hours: 11:45~14:00, 17:30~21:00
Closed on Mondays and second Tuesdays
Lunch: 1,260 and 1,860 yen
Dinner: 4,000 and 5,000 yen
A la Carte menu and wine list available. Wine by the glass ok
Reservations recommended.
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

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Vegan Italian Cuisine: Appetizer at Il Paladino

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great and very large washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable to expensive.
Specialty:Sicilian Cuisine. Top-class Italian wines and great collection of Grappa.
no-smoking-logo1 Non-smoking at tables.

With the scalding heat frying us all day long, what can we possibly eat without overcrowding our system?
When I visited Il Paladino, probably the best Italian restaurant in the Prefecture (BG is going to kill me again for that kind of comment!), the chef genially replied: “Just eat vegetables, more vegetables, and even more vegetables!”

Shizuoka Prefecture is blessed with an almost limitless array of vegetable varieties. Actually one has to keep his eyes, nose, and even ears well open, as many more new ones come by the day! I am certainly not one to complain as such knowledge comes inhandy at work when interviewing local farmers!

Present (notice I said “present”) Italian gastronomy wouldn’t exist without tomatoes. Well, I know some good Italian friends who would love to discover the local cultivars.
Shizuoka is receiving a lot of attention for its tomatoes, especially the “Ameera/Very Sweet” genus, which comes in various sizes, from minuscule to large plum-sized.
Il Paladino’s chef chose the latter to prepare his appetizer. They are not only very sweet and fleshy, they also are red all the way through with very little water and pips. You thoroughly enjoy cutting them with a knife, a rarity in Japan!

The tomatoes are peeled first before being marinated with garlic, cucumber (that is served together), lemon, vinegar, olive oil, laurel leaves, sugar, salt, pepper and some “secrets”.

The tomato is then served chilled with the cucumber. Red pimento (not marinated) and basil leaves are added for taste and looks. Finally marinade will be sieved above the whole before being served with toasted home-made bread. I cannot guarantee that the latter was vegan, though, but you certainly need the bread to sponge off the marinade (make sure your bread is vegan, then!)

Tratorria Il Paladino
420-9839 Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, Takajo, 2-8-19
Tel.: 054-253-6537
Opening hours: 11:30~13:30, 17:00~22:00
Closed on Mondays
Credit cards OK (Dinner only)
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Italian Cuisine: Appetizers at Acqua Di Fonte (3)

As I said before, I’ve found over the years that in Japan, and especially Shizuoka, that it is more fun to ask for a few appetizers with a couple of glasses of good wine at Italian Restaurants (mind you, the same would apply to Spanish Restaurants and izakayas!) than to go for the full course repeatedly in the same restaurant.
When a good and unpretentious restaurant like Acqua Di Fonte in Shizuoka City agrees to it, it is simply great fun!

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: very clean all around
Prices: reasonable
Specialty: Central and south Italian-style cuisine. Very reasonables prices. Very reasonably-priced wines.
no-smoking-logo1 Non-smoking at tables and most of the counter!

From left to right: tsubugai/small turbo shells, shako/squilla and Zucchini Flowers Fritto (stuffed with cheese).

Nasu/egg-plants-aubergines, shishito/Japenese peppers, tuna flakes, maitake mushrooms and kabocha/Japanese pumpkin.

Salami in front.

Home-made duck confit in the front.

ACQUA DI FONTE Antica Osteria
420-0839 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajo, 1-10-10, Pia Takajo, 1F
Tel. & Fax: 054-266-6440
Opening hours: 11:30~14:00, 18:00~22:00
Closed on Wednesdays and first Tuesday
Credit cards OK (Dinner only)
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Italian Cuisine: Genovese Sauce Trofie Pasta at Il Castagno

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: clean
Prices: reasonable
Specialty: Central and south Italian-style cuisine. Home-made pasta. Very reasonables prices
no-smoking-logo1 Non-smoking!

The owners of Il Castagno having just come back from a 4-week long holiday all over Italy, I thought it was about time to “check” them again!
They make all by pasta by hand and endeavour whenever possible to use local produce.
As I have already introduced this favourite restaurant of mine, I will only introduce either antipasri, pasta or single dishes like I do for other restaurant.

This particularly delicious pasta consists of Trofie, or thin twisted pasta, which have to be rolled one by one btween the palms of the hands.

The Genovese sauce was made with basil, cress, wanuts and almonds (the latter two roasted whole and ground into powder.
It was added with zucchini, string beans, small pieces of potatoes, seasoning and Parmegiano.

A large shrimp was placed on top for more taste and colour contrast.

Delicious!

IL CASTAGNO
420-0843 Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Tomoe Cho, 48 (along Kitakaido Street)
Tel. & Fax: 054-247-0709
Business hours: 11:45~14:00, 17:30~21:00
Closed on Mondays and second Tuesdays
Lunch: 1,260 and 1,860 yen
Dinner: 4,000 and 5,000 yen
A la Carte menu and wine list available. Wine by the glass ok
Reservations recommended.
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
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Italian Cuisine: Appetizers at Il Paladino (5)

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great and very large washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable to expensive.
Specialty:Sicilian Cuisine. Top-class Italian wines and great collection of Grappa.
no-smoking-logo1 Non-smoking at tables.

As I mentioned before, I’ve found over the years that in Japan, and especially Shizuoka, that it is more fun to ask for a few appetizers with a couple of glasses of good wine at Italian Restaurants (mind you, the same would apply to Spanish Restaurants and izakayas!).
When a good restaurant like Il Paladino in Shizuoka City agrees to it, it is simply great fun! This is I hope the continuation of a long series of delicious appetizers!

The first sample of this series is called Falsomagro, or Farsumagru in old Siscilian.
It is made as a roll with pork, although beef and especially veal can be used.

As pre-cooked and kept in the restaurant.
This is actually very traditional food cooked in homes in Sicily. Similar dishes can be found in many other European countries such in Lyon, France where such meat roll concept is popular.

The pork roll is filled with boiled eggs, salami and spinach before being slow-cooked.

It is cut into thick slices and re-heated before being served.

Served with plenty of fresh tomato puree, ground black pepper and EV olive oil, it does make for a substantative appetizer!

Now, this second appetizers a simple and delicious marriage between Italy and Japan!

Can you guess what is inside these fritatta/omelettes?

Broad beans and Japanese baby conger eels (called “noresore” in Japanese)! Very unusual, even in Japan!

“Baby corn” is very popular in Japan (they are not gene-modified!) and make for some delicious, is simple, appetizers! This particular one was grown in Aichi Prefecture.

Not only the corn, but almost everything inside the “leaves” and the whole stem are tender and edible. Grilled over charcoal and served with some EV olive oil, they make for the perfect vegan appetizer!

The last sample of this series is quite simple in concept but made with the highest quality ingredients: A slice of Scarmozza (could be described as a hard and creamy type of smoked mozzarella) coated with fin panini crumbs and fried in EV olive oil with the right amount of seasoning and great vegetables!

For a side view!

For an even more tantalizing view of the Scarmozza!

See you again next time around!

Tratorria Il Paladino
420-9839 Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, Takajo, 2-8-19
Tel.: 054-253-6537
Opening hours: 11:30~13:30, 17:00~22:00
Closed on Mondays
Credit cards OK (Dinner only)
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Italian Cuisine: Appetizers at Acqua Di Fonte (2)

As I said before, I’ve found over the years that in Japan, and especially Shizuoka, that it is more fun to ask for a few appetizers with a couple of glasses of good wine at Italian Restaurants (mind you, the same would apply to Spanish Restaurants and izakayas!) than to go for the full course repeatedly in the same restaurant.
When a good and unpretentious restaurant like Acqua Di Fonte in Shizuoka City agrees to it, it is simply great fun!

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: very clean all around
Prices: reasonable
Specialty: Central and south Italian-style cuisine. Very reasonables prices. Very reasonably-priced wines.
no-smoking-logo1 Non-smoking at tables and most of the counter!

Puree di Fave/Broad Beans Puree and home-made lard.

From left to right:
Strachiatella mozzareella cheese, “Shishito” chili pepper and tuna flakes and wild chickory, Egg-plant/Aubergine Terrine

Buanchala/Pork cheek and Salami.

Zucchini stuffed pork and seasoned with tomato sauce.

Looking forward to the next visit!

ACQUA DI FONTE Antica Osteria
420-0839 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajo, 1-10-10, Pia Takajo, 1F
Tel. & Fax: 054-266-6440
Opening hours: 11:30~14:00, 18:00~22:00
Closed on Wednesdays and first Tuesday
Credit cards OK (Dinner only)
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Appetizers at Il Paladino (4)

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great and very large washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable to expensive.
Specialty:Sicilian Cuisine. Top-class Italian wines and great collection of Grappa.
no-smoking-logo1 Non-smoking at tables.

As I mentioned before, I’ve found over the years that in Japan, and especially Shizuoka, that it is more fun to ask for a few appetizers with a couple of glasses of good wine at Italian Restaurants (mind you, the same would apply to Spanish Restaurants and izakayas!).
When a good restaurant like Il Paladino in Shizuoka City agrees to it, it is simply great fun! This is I hope the continuation of a long series of delicious appetizers!

Anyway the above picture is an impromptu Ponpelmo Insalata/Grapefruit salad.

The chef used a half grapefruit, emptied it of its flesh and juice.
He prepared the filling/salad with raw shrimps, green asparagus, melon (orange fleshed), grapefruit flesh, Emmental cheese, tomato and sweet basil. The whole was seasoned with salt, pepper, White wine vinegar (Italian), balsamico and extra virgin oil.

Very refreshing and perfect for a warm day!

See you again next time around!

Tratorria . Il Paladino
420-9839 Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, Takajo, 2-8-19
Tel.: 054-253-6537
Opening hours: 11:30~13:30, 17:00~22:00
Closed on Mondays
Credit cards OK (Dinner only)
—————————–
Appetizers at Il Paladino (3)

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great and very large washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable to expensive.
Specialty:Sicilian Cuisine. Top-class Italian wines and great collection of Grappa.
no-smoking-logo1 Non-smoking at tables.

As I mentioned before, I’ve found over the years that in Japan, and especially Shizuoka, that it is more fun to ask for a few appetizers with a couple of glasses of good wine at Italian Restaurants (mind you, the same would apply to Spanish Restaurants and izakayas!).
When a good restaurant like Il Paladino in Shizuoka City agrees to it, it is simply great fun! This is I hope the continuation of a long series of delicious appetizers!

Anyway the above picture is a plate of antipasti misto: Carrot sporumate/oven baked carrot pudding, Insalata di zanpone/Pig’s feet salad, Siciliana Carpione/Escabeche of Aji/Mackerel pike and simmers pimento.

Matta/Dandelion (France) salad with Prosciuto ham fried with balsamico and parmeggiano.

Asparagi Bismarck.

Same as served: white asparaguses (France) with fried egg and parmeggiano.

Gnocchi al ragu di Cighilae/Gnocchi with stewed wild boar.

See you again next time around!
—————————–
Appetizers at Il Paladino (2)

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great and very large washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable to expensive.
Specialty:Sicilian Cuisine. Top-class Italian wines and great collection of Grappa.
no-smoking-logo1 Non-smoking at tables.

As I mentioned before, I’ve found over the years that in Japan, and especially Shizuoka, that it is more fun to ask for a few appetizers with a couple of glasses of good wine at Italian Restaurants (mind you, the same would apply to Spanish Restaurants and izakayas!).
When a good restaurant like Il Paladino in Shizuoka City agrees to it, it is simply great fun! Thiis is I hapoe the continuation of a long series of delicious appetizers!

Salad/appetizer composed of broad beans, Buffala Ricotta Cheese (water buffalo), “Petit Tomato” (Shizuoka), Trvise and Anchovy Dressing.

French white asparaguses the Italian way!

The French white asparaguses were topped with Prosciutto hame fried with echalottes and Parmegianno Cheese!

Tratorria . Il Paladino
420-9839 Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, Takajo, 2-8-19
Tel.: 054-253-6537
Opening hours: 11:30~13:30, 17:00~22:00
Closed on Mondays
Credit cards OK (Dinner only)
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Italian Cuisine: Appetizers at Acqua Di Fonte (1)

As I said before, I’ve found over the years that in Japan, and especially Shizuoka, that it is more fun to ask for a few appetizers with a couple of glasses of good wine at Italian Restaurants (mind you, the same would apply to Spanish Restaurants and izakayas!) than to go for the full course repeatedly in the same restaurant.
When a good and unpretentious restaurant like Acqua Di Fonte in Shizuoka City agrees to it, it is simply great fun!

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: very clean all around
Prices: reasonable
Specialty: Central and south Italian-style cuisine. Very reasonables prices. Very reasonably-priced wines.
no-smoking-logo1 Non-smoking at tables and most of the counter!

Italian salami and mortadella.

Tmbalo di Spaghettini, French washed type cheese Luccolon, Zucchini Flan and home-made lard on Bruschetta in the middle.

Marinated paprika, mint-flavore grilled kabocha, and marinated and sauteed radicchio.

Simple, healthy, yummy and fun!

ACQUA DI FONTE Antica Osteria
420-0839 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajo, 1-10-10, Pia Takajo, 1F
Tel. & Fax: 054-266-6440
Opening hours: 11:30~14:00, 18:00~22:00
Closed on Wednesdays and first Tuesday
Credit cards OK
———————-
Italian Cuisine: Appetizers at Il Paladino

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great and very large washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable to expensive.
Specialty:Sicilian Cuisine. Top-class Italian wines and great collection of Grappa.
no-smoking-logo1 Non-smoking at tables.

I’ve found over the years that in Japan, and especially Shizuoka, that it is more fun to ask for a few appetizers with a couple of glasses of good wine at Italian Restaurants (mind you, the same would apply to Spanish Restaurants and izakayas!).
When a good restaurant like Il Paladino in Shizuoka City agrees to it, it is simply great fun!

Here are a few examples of what I had the pleasure to savour recently:

Although Italian in concept, I would call this appetizer the “Tomato Road”! Sorry for the bad pun!

Tomato mousse.

Scallops in jelly with green peas, carrot and zucchini.

Involtini di Melanzane/Egg-plants rolls

Egg plant slices are rolled around Emmental cheese, Prosciuto Cotto ham, Mozzarella and Parmegiano.

This Sicilian specilaty is then covered with tomato sauce and baked in the oven.
It is served with a topping of high quality extra virgin oil.

Insalata Carapippara

Re pimento and celery strips, mozzarella wdges, Parmegianno strips, Green olives, Balsamico, Basil leaves and olive oil.

Tratorria . Il Paladino
420-9839 Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, Takajo, 2-8-19
Tel.: 054-253-6537
Opening hours: 11:30~13:30, 17:00~22:00
Closed on Mondays
Credit cards OK (Dinner only)
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Italian Cuisine: Chipola Ripieri/Stuffed Onion at Il Paladino

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great and very large washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable to expensive.
Specialty:Sicilian Cuisine. Top-class Italian wines and great collection of Grappa.
no-smoking-logo1 Non-smoking at tables.

Just had to go for a “glass of wine” after a long work day before definitely calling it a day and have dinner at home!

The chef came up with an interesting “appetizer”, a specilaty from Piemonte: Chipola Ripieri/Stuffed Onion!

A large onion is cut in half and “dug out” to just leave a couple of “layers” of fresh onion inside the outside skin.
It is then filled the chopped dug out part mixed with wild boar ragu/stew. The wild boar came from Shimad City in the Central part of Shizuoka Prefecture!

It was topped with a generous measure of parmiggiano and Italian parsley before being baked to perfection!

Will definitely have to make it back home!

Tratorria . Il Paladino
420-9839 Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, Takajo, 2-8-19
Tel.: 054-253-6537
Opening hours: 11:30~13:30, 17:00~22:00
Closed on Mondays
Credit cards OK (Dinner only)
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“Quick Fix” at Il Paladino

Rainy day/evening…
Having a break…
Il Paladino almost next door…
A no-brainer!

And I was there before I could say “it’s still raing cats and dogs outside!”.

“A plate of antipasti misto and make it small as I have to eat dinner back home!”
“Bona!”

Madago/octopus and Uikyou/Japanese fennel salad, Fritatta of zucchini and eggs, Broccoli AOP Peperocino with anchovy seasoning, and marinated tomato. And home-made focaccia and bread!

“You know, we have these big white asaparaguses from Holland…”
“Not fair! OK, I’ll have one of them!”

For another view.
The asparagus is simply grilled and served with a delicious dressing.
The new bamboo shoot is fried. It is actually the extremity of the shoot called “himekawa/姫皮/Princess’ skin”. The inside is almost fruity and part of the “leaves” are edible and crunchy! A great asociation of European and Asian vegetables!

Now, how was I going to explain that to the MIssus….
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ACQUA DI FONTE

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: very clean all around
Prices: reasonable
Specialty: Central and south Italian-style cuisine. Very reasonables prices. Very reasonably-priced wines.
no-smoking-logo1 Non-smoking at tables and most of the counter!

Acqua di Fonte/The Fountain Water followed in the steps of the good Italian restaurants in Shizuoka City when it opened this year on March 11th.
It is located in a former fashion shop in the Takajo district, which is fast becoming a reference in the whole Prefecture when it comes to tasting gastronomies from all corners of the world in a single area, and this at the highest level. As there arejust enough seats for 8 at the counter and 12 at tables, it is a good idea to reserve.

Young chef Hidetake Suzuki is a local as he was born in Fujieda City. Before working in another Italian restaurant in the same city, he spent no less than three and a half years studying his trade in Napoli and Sicilia, and it shows. Notwithstanding the great taste his cuisine is light, precise and very traditionally Italian in concept with great products and this at very reasonable prices.

The wine list is a welcome show of reasonability:
White and red wines are listed in three different parts at 2,800, 3,800 and 4,800 yen a bottle.
You can also order by the glass at 550 yen.

I ordered a very solid wine for 4,800 yen from the Campania region, KLEOS, Luigi Maffini, Aliano grapes.

Very deep red with a good fruity flavor. Very solid with welcome tanginess. Very good with meat in particular.

Dinner set menus are priced at 4,200, 6,000 and 8,000 yen but the carte is worth exploring with 9 Primi Piatti, 5 Secondi Piatti and 3 Dolce.
A short carte, but to the point and with some unusual discoveries.
Here is what I chose for my first visit:

Caprese salad. The tomatoes are Ameera Tomatoes from Shizuoka. The luccolla is wild luccolla!

Solento Gnocchi

Vitello Taliata/Veal with a sauce made with chestnut flower honey, red wine and balsamico!

A plate of Italian charcuterie!

The Focassa is home-made.

Semi-freddo di Mandorle/almond ice-cream!

Second visit planned soon! I certainly need to take better pictures next time!LOL

ACQUA DI FONTE Antica Osteria
420-0839 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajo, 1-10-10, Pia Takajo, 1F
Tel. & Fax: 054-266-6440
Opening hours: 11:30~14:00, 18:00~22:00
Closed on Wednesdays and first Tuesday
Credit cards OK
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Lunch at Il Castagno (’10/02/28)

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: clean
Prices: reasonable
Specialty: Central and south Italian-style cuisine. Home-made pasta. Very reasonables prices
no-smoking-logo1 Non-smoking!

I’ve heard that some countries are suffering from unusually unclement weather (snow drifts in the US and floods in Western Europe), and here we are assailed by sudden chages in temperatures going as far 13 degrees Celsius within 24 hours.
Last Sunday was not a day for sport and I decided to do some work at the office as the Missus is away working for an orthondontist (Sunday is the busiest day).
As usual I felt ravnous at lunch time and decided to have some proper food at neighbouring Il Castagno, a very reasonable and extremely popular Italian restaurant.

They have eminently drinkable wines at very reasonable prices, and I always end up drinking a couple of glasses in spite of the early hour (that is for drinking!).

A bit strange picture as you can see my fist holding the glass in side the glass!
Wine: Chianti, Villa Puccini Riserva, 2004. Grapes: Sangiovese+Cabernet Sauvignon+Canaiolle.
Solid and and pleasant Chianti

I opted for the full lunch set menu.
The antipasti misto consisted of Carrots, large white beans and red onions salad, Squid ink Crostini, Quiche (bacon, onion, potato and cabbage), home-made smoked salmon and pickled lotus root. A very global dish!

now, the pasta dish was worth the visit for itself!
Il Castagno serves exclusively home-made fresh pasta, a luxury in Jpaan!
These particular pasta were tagliatelle (comparatively narrow) in Gorgonzola and Radicchio (a variety of Trevise) Cream sauce. Perfectly balanced and the right quantity. As for the taste, I start to understand why so many local expats have started patronizing the place!

The dessert plate consisted of blanc mange, Apricot Cheese Cake (another specialty expats are running for!), strawberries and Neburu Orange (popular Japanese variety) Sherbet/Sorbet.

Coffee and home-made Italian mignardises!

IL CASTAGNO
420-0843 Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Tomoe Cho, 48 (along Kitakaido Street)
Tel. & Fax: 054-247-0709
Business hours: 11:45~14:00, 17:30~21:00
Closed on Mondays and second Tuesdays
Lunch: 1,260 and 1,860 yen
Dinner: 4,000 and 5,000 yen
A la Carte menu and wine list available. Wine by the glass ok
Reservations recommended.
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
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New Team at Aquavite!

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great and very large washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable to expensive. Top-class Italian wines. Private room for~8 people.
no-smoking-logo1 Non-smoking at counter!

High quality Italian Cuisine is a trademark of Shizuoka City thanks to the extravagant supply of impeachable ingredients both from the nearby sea and the land, which have contributed to an ever-increasing level in all kinds of cuisines. But Italian gastronomy must be the most competitive specialty inthis status-conscious city.

Like in many top restaurants, recruiting first-class staff upon the departure of established chefs to other shores is a constant headache for Aquavite who are justly proud of their rank as the best Italian Restaurant in town and feel responsible for constantly maintaining and improving standards.

The regulars know only too well, and the place being crowded on a Monday evening just proved it was “business as usual”!

The new team in charge of the kitchen is now Chef Kenichi Honda who worked in Roma for two years and holds an Italian Sommelier License,

and his sous-chef Yuhei Kajiyama.

Both are born in Shizuoka City, a marked advantage when it comes to choosing the best local products which for the majority of their creations.
Like the best Japanese chefs they bring another dimension to Italian cuisine with their almost obsessive attention to every detail.

I managed to pay them a quick visit last night to have a chat (a long one as they were very busy!) and a few pics before I visit them for a full dinner and report in the near future.
Please forgive the inferior quality of the pics, but taking them over the counter in minimum time was not easy!LOL

Stir-fried scallop and grilled “Kinki seabream”.

Italian charcuterie!

Beef Roast.

Porcini cream gnocchi.

Extravagant Minestrone!

Mekajiki/Marlin and Scampi on a bed of couscous.

See you next time!

Address: 420-0034 Shizuoka Shi, Tokiwa-cho, 1-2-7, Tomii Bldg. 3F
Tel. & fax: 054-2740777
Opening hours: 11:30~14:00 (on reservations only), 18:00~22:00
Closed on Sundays
Homepage (Japanese)
Credit Cards OK
—————————–
Perfect Napolitana Pizza Trio at Venty Due!

Margarita Pizza!

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great cleanliness
Prices: reasonable
Specialty: Real Napolitan Pizza baked on wood fire
no-smoking-logo1 Completely Non-smoking!

I had to come back to Venty Due and taste all their pizza on the same day/evening!
But I certainly couldn’t do it on my own and had to wait to find a friend to help me!
Finally this I could achieve last night!

As I explained before, the pizza will be on your plate within 3 minutes from the moment you order it: crusty to a perfection with all its ingredients cooked as they should be!
Why and how?
That is where “simple” becomes extravagant:
the pizza is cooked inside a real wood oven.
All wood is “nara no ki/Japanese oak” delivered all the way from Tottori Prefecture on the other side of Japan!
It takes two hours to bring the oven to the right temperature of 450 degrees Celsius, but then the pizza will come litterally smoking on your plate.

So we ordered the Margarita as a start since I had already tasted for better comparison with next two:

Marinara Pizza, with fresh tomatoes, peccorino, organo and olive oil!

Bianca, all peccorino!

The three of them quickly disappeared with a few glasses of solid Itlian red wine!

Did I say simple is best?

22 Venty Due
420-0839 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajyo Machi, 3-21-20
Tel & Fax: 054-260-4522
Business hours:18:00~21:30
Closed on Sundays
Reservations advised.

———————————
DINNER AT CONTORNO

Service: excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: very reasonable, good value.
Strong points: Very fresh local ingredients extensively used.
no-smoking-logo1 All non-smoking!

Yesterday was Friday. The university having taken a day off before the final exams, there was no lecturing duty. The weather, although a bit chilly and windy, was absolutely glorious. I did not need more reasons to get away from that computer!
Contorno Italian Restaurant stands 5 minutes walk from Mochimune Station, 2 stops away from Shizuoka City.
It became a good opportunity to take a long 2-hour stroll on my own at my pace along the shore to work up an appetite!

I did show a bit early but the owner nonetheless invited me and opened the place for me.
I rewarded his hospitality by ordering a bottle and share it ith nad his sous-chef.

FALCHINI 2007, white, Vernaccha, Di San Gimignagno

Great golden colour.
Very clear and clean.
Aroma: Muscat and raisins.
Tasting: Solid attack.
Lingered longer on than expected.
Deep muscat and raisins.
Holds well with food.
Soft but solid on the palate. Memories of oak
Overall: Very honest, solid, well-balance white wine. Eminently drinkable with any food.
Melinda and Jen are going to kill with that kind of succinct tasting report!

As for the antipasto misti, I can already hear Lou-Ann and Frank scream in the distance!
Look at these fresh oysters! They are called Ako Kaki and they come all the way from Hyogo Prefecture (near Kobe City). They are small by Japanese standards, but I can garantee you they are a mouthful. Fat but vey firm, just perfect. Notice the edible fresh seaweeds around them. These disappeared quickly, too!
The rillettes (pork) are of course home-made.
That with the Parma ham, semi-dried tomato and black olives and my appetite was really sharpened (as we say in French)!

I din’t bother looking at the menu and consulted the small blackboard on which were chalk-written the recommendations of the day.
I first opted for the Duck Breast Roast.
Served with a solid and delicious sauce made red wine and fond de veau, the duck was raosted to perfection, red and soft inside.
As for the vegetables, including yellow, red pimentoes, kabocha, brocoli, carrot, rape plant, sweet potato, string beans and red daikon, they were all organically grown in Fujinomiya City at the foot of Mount Fuji!

But my eyes (and stomach!) had noticed something else which urged me to check the blackboard again after I had finished the duck:
Shungiku Risotto Kaki Soroe: “Shungiku” is a variety of chrysanthemum grown for its edible leaves, “kaki” means “oyster” and “sore” means “topped with”.

One enormous sauteed Ako Oyster on top of the risotto (sorry for the fuzzy picture, butI was desperate!)!
Perfectly balanced risotto, sublime simplicity and that oyster again!
Italian Cuisine with Japanese finesse!

And the dessert!
Shizuoka (Most famous area for strawberries in Japan!) straberry tart conceived on a marzipan base. A real red fruit sauce concocted with red wine, fruit coulis, lemon juice and real red fruit.
Once again sublime simplicity, great balance and perfect volume!

I will have a hard time explaining the Missus what I wa doing in Mochimune! LOL

CONTORNO
421-0122, Shizuoka City, Suruga Ku, Mochimune, 5-1-10, Sunrise Mochimune (5 minutes walk from Mochimune JR Station. Second stop after Shizuoka)
Tel.: 054-2565877
Business hours: 11:30~14:30, 17:00~21:30
Closed on Wednesdays
——————–
LUNCH AT IL CASTAGNO

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: clean
Prices: reasonable
Specialty: Central and south Italian-style cuisine. Home-made pasta. Very reasonables prices

I’ve wondered for some time why there were so many good Italian restaurants in our Shizuoka Prefecture.
I believe that they actually share a common trait: an intelligent combination of local products and foreign ingredients!
The other reason is probably the mild climate of our region, the warmest in Japan after Okinawa.

I took advantage of this Sunday being free of any obligations, apart of cooking dinner for my other half to belatedly visit Il Castagno.
It is a very unassuming restaurant/osteria run by three friends, a rarity in Japan where the majority of restaurants are run by couples.
You definitely need to reserve as the low prices attract many customers and there are not so many seats (maximum 15~16).
Service is very friendly and attentive, and questions are answered with extra courtesy.
Have a good look at menu as you are in for some intersting surprises (have you heard of boar raised in Ikawa?)!

This was my first visit and here what I had as one of the lunch courses:

Antipasti Misto: Romaine lettuce, vegetables quiche, pate de campagne and broccoli soup.

Il Castagno not only make 80% of their own pasta, they bake great focaccia bread!

The pasta was very elegant and succulent: home-made trufie short pasta with scallops, cockles, squid, and amaebi sweet shrimps. Marrying Japan and Italy!

A couple of glasses of Nero d’Avola from Sicilia.
Check their wine list: 14 x white (3,900~6,000 per bottle), 23 x red (3,800~12,000 per bottle), 4 x spumante (3,900~6,000),… and Shizuoka Sake Isojiman (3,300 per bottle, an extravagant one!)!

Dolce/dessert set: strawberry Ice-cream, fruit, chocolate cake and panacotta with acacia honey.

Coffe was included.

IL CASTAGNO
420-0843 Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Tomoe Cho, 48 (along Kitakaido Street)
Tel. & Fax: 054-247-0709
Business hours: 11:45~14:00, 17:30~21:00
Closed on Mondays and second Tuesdays
Lunch: 1,260 and 1,860 yen
Dinner: 4,000 and 5,000 yen
A la Carte menu and wine list available. Wine by the glass ok
Reservations recommended.
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
——————–
PIZZA AT 22 VENTY DUE

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great cleanliness
Prices: reasonable
Specialty: Real Napolitan Pizza baked on wood fire
no-smoking-logo1 Completely Non-smoking!

The Japanese are so avid when it comes to pizzas that they lose all sense of reality and eat anything called so.
It has been a long wait, but at long last, in October 2009 to be exact, someone finally had the courage to make true pizzas in our gastronomy-crazy city of Shizuoka: 22 Venty Due!

Now, absolutely everything is made from scratch the true artisan’s way!
“Simple is best!” Chef Hiroki Nakagawa claims. That might sound like a boast, but he certainly keeps everything to basics. On the other hand, “simple” also means slightly extravagant!
The dough is home-made and double leavened as it should be as it will cook in a minute at the most.

The moment you order, make sure you are ready to eat:
The dough will come out its box, it will be spread in a few seconds. Here come the tomato puree, the peccorino cheese ( a true beauty!), the basil leaves, the seasoning and the olive oil. On the baker’s wooden giant spoon, and…

A few gestures, and the pizza comes out, crusty to a perfection with all its ingredients cooked as they should be!
Why and how?
That is where “simple” becomes extravagant:
the pizza is cooked inside a real wood oven.
All wood is “nara no ki/Japanese oak” delivered all the way from Tottori Prefecture on the other side of Japan!
It takes two hours to bring the oven to the right temperature of 450 degrees Celsius, but then the pizza will come litterally smoking on your plate less than 3 minutes after you have ordered it!

22 Venty Due serves only 3 types of pizza: Margharita, Marinara and Bianca (1,000~1,250 yen), but it is just what you need!
Other side dishes like salami, mortadella, ham, Fritta/fritters can also be ordered with wine by the glass or bottle (about 20 brands).
Hiroki and his wife, Chinatsu, can arrange dinner courses according to budget and preferences. Both of them are actually from Shizuoka and came back home after trips to Italy and working in Tokyo. Welcome back!

Now, why after less than 3 months of existence have all the Shizuoka magazines featured photoes of Hiroki Nakagawa’s pizzas, if I may ask?

Incidentally, smoking is strictly prohibited! Bravo!

22 Venty Due
420-0839 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajyo Machi, 3-21-20
Tel & Fax: 054-260-4522
Business hours:18:00~21:30
Closed on Sundays
Reservations advised.
———————
DINNER AT IL PALADINO

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great and very large washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable to expensive.
Specialty:Sicilian Cuisine. Top-class Italian wines and great collection of Grappa.
no-smoking-logo1 Non-smoking at tables.

It had quite some time since I last had a full dinner in an Italian restaurant in Shizuoka City as I tend to visit them only for a quick fis in between work.
I finally had the chance to enjoy a full-course dinner the other day at Il Paladino as an end-of the year dinner with friends.

Il Paladino’s two chefs prepare Italian cuisine mainly of Sicilian inspiration.
As I was the man in charge of the menu, I had just met them a while before to agree on the number and dishes and their basics. After it was all up to their skills and seasonal avaibility!

Antipasti misto plate for 4

The restaurant being very busy that day, I took charge of serving portions to the four of us into each of our plates (Japanese guests practically never do that, especially men!).
The antipasti, among others, included Japanese rock seaweed fritters, Pesce manticato/Brandade, marinated mackerel and grilled vegetables.

The fish dish was isaki, a fish caught off the Izu Peninsula in eastern Shizuoka Prefecture. It bears the odd English name of “Chicken Grunt”!

Dividing and serving the fish into 4 portions turned into a performance!

One of us belonging to a famous strawberry-growing family (there are 1,500 registered strawberry growers in Shizuoka Prefecture alone!),the chef had come up with a bright idea: Flaglora Risotto/strawberry risotto with fine Piemonte truffles seasoning, parmegiano and supreme olive oil!
A discovery and beauty!

Grilled Lamb for the meat dish!

Hard work again for your servant!

The ladies had to have a pasta dish!

Funghi e salzizia with Buccoli Pasta!
Light and perfect!
Note: the fact it was served individually made the waistline-conscious ladies a bit more secure! LOL

For dessert the specialty of the house: Home-made (completely) vanilla ice-cream with grappa and caramelized almonds and hazlenuts!

As for the wine, read the repport I posted yesterday below!

A somewhat unusual Italian white wine!

Don’t expect to find this wine on their “official” menu!
You must ask for the owners of the place to look what they have stashed away/hidden in the cellar at the very back of the restaurant!

Name: Alois Lageder (Italian White Wine)
Place: Sud Tirol, Alto Adige
Grape: Pinot Griggio (Pinot Gris)
Bottled in 2008.

Clarity: very clear
Colour: Light golden
Aroma: Fruity amd light. Lots of muscat and green apples
Taste: Very light, almost feminine attack.
Dry and fruity with muscat and green apples faithful to its aroma.
Very pleasant and easy to drink, especially a little chilled.
Very fine bubbles disappearing quickly.
Shortish tail.
Holds its own well with food in spite of its light weight.

Overall: An unusual wine, very similar to an Alsace of the same grape.
Very pleasant and light. Woth drinking with antipasti misto and fish.
Will prove a great experience for young beginners!

Tratorria . Il Paladino
420-9839 Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, Takajo, 2-8-19
Tel.: 054-253-6537
Opening hours: 11:30~13:30, 17:00~22:00
Closed on Mondays
Credit cards OK (Dinner only)

————————-
CHEESECAKE AT IL CUORE

Altough cheese cakes originally came from reece, the Japanese have simply turned into an art of their own!

This very Sunday, as we had finished our cricket session very early, I still had time for a quick lunch/snack as I cycled across town on my way back for a quick visit to my office and laptop.

Il Cuore is my favourite Italian Caffeteria in Shizuoka City, a locality replete with Italian establishements. It is unpretentious, but authentic (although all the staff is Japanese) and very convivial.
I ordered a plate of Parma Ham and a smaller one of Italian cheese with home-made bread and a couple of glasses of red Italian wine.
I was about to call it quits when my eyes spotted the enormous cheese cake in the display fridge. It was 30 cm (1 foot!) wide and at least 5 cm ( at least 2 inches) thick! Officiallyit made for 12 portions, although I suspect it could make for far more!LOL
I just had to have it, regardless of my waistline!

Served with some icing sugar and a sprig of fresh mint, it had the perfect balance (nothing to do with the cloying sweetness of some cakes bought over the counter!).
Made by the young chef, Seiya Maejima, It was fullfilling but light and very easy to eat (wolf down!). I didn’t ask for his secrets, but I know it took 1 kg of cream cheese to make.

As for the biscuit base, I only know they are Italian.
A cake to emulate!

CAFFETERIA IL CUORE
420-0035 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Shichiken-cho, 13-20, Ishiwata Bldg. 1F
Tel. & fax: 054-2723737
Business hours: 11:30~23:00 (closed on Tuesday)
Credit Cards OK
—————————–
PANDA’S VANISHING ACT?

VANISHING-BEAR-1

VANISHING-BEAR-2

VANISHING-BEAR-3

Just had some fun with another capuccino at Caffeteria Il Cuore!

CAFFETERIA IL CUORE
420-0035 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Shichiken-cho, 13-20, Ishiwata Bldg. 1F
Tel. & fax: 054-2723737
Business hours: 11:30~23:00 (closed on Tuesday)
Credit Cards OK
————————–
LUNCH AT IL PALADINO

PALADINO-3

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great and very large washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable to expensive.
Specialty:Sicilian Cuisine. Top-class Italian wines and great collection of Grappa.
Non-smoking at tables.

The Autumn days are definitely getting shorter but we still enjoy plenty of warm fine weather making ideal for lunches taken on a terrace!
Although Il paladino’s Terrace is a bit small I would never exchange it for a seat inside!
Though I must say there is always a good chance for its seats to be available as the Japanese haven’t caught onthe habit of eating outside yet!

PALADINO-1

Il Paladino offers great lunch courses for a bargain.
Since their ingredients are seasonal only, there is little chance for a repeat menu.
The Missus and I visited them the other Thursday, a rare day when we can go out together.
Mylady had the antipast misto of the day,including agreat litle quiche!

PALADINO-2

As for me I started with a saladof vegetables rown locally. Very well chosen, they wouldplease any veganor vegetarian friend!

PALADINO-4

The Missus, being apasta fanatic, couldn’t resist the spaghetti of the day with calamari squid, mushrooms, greens and parmegiano.

PALDINO-5

Veg and pasta are fine, but I needed something more solid.
I chose the grilled marlin with a parmegiano cream sauce.
Plebtiful, very tasty and goingso well with the home-made fogaccia bread (see pic ath top of this posting)!

Looking forward to our next dinner there!

Tratorria . Il Paladino
420-9839 Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, Takajo, 2-8-19
Tel.: 054-253-6537
Opening hours: 11:30~13:30, 17:00~22:00
Closed on Mondays
Credit cards OK (Dinner only)

————————
CONTORNO

CONTORNO-3

Service: excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: very reasonable, good value.
Strong points: Very fresh local ingredients extensively used.

Contorno is the new Italian restaurant in fashion in Shizuoka. It was open in Spring this year by a former chef working for Hana Hana, another remarkable French/Italian restaurant in Shizuoka City.
The proximity of Contorno to the seashore and harbour of Mochimune means access to gereat and fresh seafood.
It makes an extensive usage of local vegetables, fish and meat whenever possible, and that only is a good enough reason to visit it!
Moreover it is open on Sundays and has its own car park.
Anyway the other day, a very hot Sunday, I decided to make a trial visit.

CONTORNO-1

It certainly looked charming from the outside.
The welcome is warm if a bit shy.
As it was lunch, there was a choice of set menus and side dishes.

CONTORNO-2

The Italian smoked ham and other tidbits served as an appetizer with the first drink were surprisingly of very high quality!

CONTORNO-3

My other half had this superlative cold pasta seafood salad while I was having roast guinea fowl (sorry, lost the pic!). Now all ingredients are of perfect freshness. As for the taste, the dishes were remarkable for their simplicity and great balance in perfect accordance with the season!

CONTORNO-4

Italian restaurants, however good, are not always renown for their desserts. It was certainly a pleasnat surprise to discover Contorno’s creations:
Above, the Catalan Creme Brulee might not be Italian, but I know a lot of people would not complain and visit the restaurant for that single dessert!

CONTORNO-5

Now, the Sicilian Dry fruit and nuts Sicilian ice cream was very Italian, and I can tell I was happy leaving my half eating (most of) the creme brulee!

Conclusion?
I must the lace for dinner! Full stop!

CONTORNO
421-0122 Shizuoka City, Suruga Ku, Mochimune, 5-1-10, Sunrise Mochimune (5 minutes walk from Mochimune Station)
Tel.: 054-2565877
Opening hours: 11:30~14:30, 17:00~21:30
Closed on Wednesdays
——————-
LA PRIMA PORTA

PRIMAPORTA-2
(Haruka Yamaguchi)

Service: excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable, good value.
Strong points: Authentic Italian Cuisine with a local twist. Very fresh local ingredients extensively used.

End of last April, Il Cuore finally opened its second restaurant called Prima Porta!
The concept is completely different and it took me some time to find a seat there, so popular it has become!
Located in the middle of the Shizuoka “nightlife quarter”, it has the particularity to be opened from 18:00 to 02:00, making it the “latest” Italian restaurant in town.
Its young but experienced and very talented chef Keizo Kaneko is already quite famous, especially among female night-owls, and I can garantee you had better reserve your seat(s) in this place which used to be “izakaya” and was quickly re-decorated with the minimum fuss.
Keizo usually works on his own in front of his customers with the help of a single waitress to look after 8 guests at the counter and the same again at tables.
There is plenty to use from the menu, but just ask Keizo what he has in the fridge and proceed from there!

To cut a long stroy short, I visited for the second time with my good friend Haruka Yamaguchi who took the pics for me!

PRIMAPORTA-6

Keizo has a short but very well-balanced wine list to select wines from. What I do usually is just give him a price and let choose one for me!
I FRATI, Lugana, 2007, White, Ca dei Frati in Lombardia
Jen and Melinda, the following tasting notes are for you!
Colour: Very clear light golden hue
Aroma: Fruity and flowery. Sweetish. Muscat
Taste: Pleasant tingle. Well-rounded. Sweetish at first. Muscat and raisins. Dry finish with nice acidity.
Lingers for a while in back of the palate.
Great on its own, but makes for a great match with food, especially vegetables.

PRIMAPORTA-5

The two-year matured raw Parma Ham was just too much to ignore!

PRIMAPORTA-4

Justmake a salad of it! I ordered.
The picture does not give enough credit to th mountain of succulent local vegetables hiddden under the succulent ham!

PRIMAPORTA-3

As for the meat, we had a choice between poultry, pork andd beef. We opted for the pork.
Very simple “Kogane Buta/Small golden pork” from Niigata Prefecture sauteed with balsamico sauce and giant asparafuses and string beans from Shimizu, Shizuoka City!
Simple in appearance and concept but sublimein taste. I usually am not that fond of fat, but when crispiness turns into a melting swetnees under your teeth, ou just forget it was fat!

PRIMAPORTA-2

After some discussion we chose risotto over pasta as the night was still young (meaning that we planned to go somewhere else!).
my friend just could not stop extolling the gastronomic virtues of this beautiful vegetarian risotto with gree peas and broad beans grown in Shizuoka!

Don’t worrytehre’s more coming soon! LOL

PRIMA PORTA
420-0032 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Ryogae-cho, 2-7-1, Akiyama Bldg. 1F
Business hours: 18:00~26:00
Tel.: 054-251-6633
Closed on Sundays and National Holidays
Credit cards OK
Homepage (Japanese)
————————–
CAPPUCINO FUN AT IL CUORE!

cappucino-fun-1

Since the Missus was down with a virus, I went for lunch at Il Cuore in Shiuzoka City.
A friend just happened to pass by when I was about to order coffee. I invited to join me and we had some fun together with Cappuccinos.
Mine (see above picture) was cute, I mus admit.

cappucino-fun-3

But my friend’s was cute, too!

cappucino-fun-2

The fun didn’t stop there as we found later when the character refused to vanish (mine above!)

cappucino-fun-4

Same for my friend’s!

CAFFETERIA IL CUORE
420-0035 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Shichiken-cho, 13-20, Ishiwata Bldg. 1F
Tel. & fax: 054-2723737
Business hours: 11:30~23:00 (open every day)
Credit Cards OK
———————-
CAPPUCINO ART: Big Bad Wolf?

cappucino-wolf

I’ve been lazy today. I mean as far as blogging is concerned.
I just had too much on my agenda. I have to work sometimes! LOL

I was just having this “business meeting” at one of my favourite Cafettaria, namely CAFFETERIA IL CUORE in Shizuoka City, when I realized that the Cappucino I had asked was worth a second look.
Rowena will probably tell me this run-of-the-mill in Italy, but in Japan, where people are in a hurry, taking the time to prepare an artful cup of coffee is almost a luxury.

Anyway, I think this wolf is a bad one. His face is just too sly! LOL

CAFFETERIA IL CUORE
420-0035 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Shichiken-cho, 13-20, Ishiwata Bldg. 1F
Tel. & fax: 054-2723737
Business hours: 11:30~23:00 (open every day)
Credit Cards OK
———————
Trattoria . Il Paladino

paladino-14

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great and very large washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable to expensive.
Specialty:Sicilian Cuisine. Top-class Italian wines and great collection of Grappa.
Non-smoking at tables.

The main difference between eating Italian food in Tokyo and away from that megalopolis i a “smaller” town like Shizuoka City is that in Tokyo, for all the superlative presentation and service, the food is designed to please Japanese palates first and foremost.
Now, in Shizuoka, chefs have a direct and private access to the local fishermen and farmers, enbling them to offer more authenric and adventurous Italian culinary delights.
Moreover, they all tend to specialize in one single region of the fames peninsula with extraordinary results and (comparatively) ridiculous prices.

Before opening his Trattoria late last year, Chef-owner Tetsuya Kokawa counts in his 17 years of experience 6 months spent travelling through Italy tasting and trying everything instead of the usual “study” at a particular Italian restaurant.
He specializes in Sicilian food whenever he can combining produce from Shizuoka Prefecture, Italy and France.
His sous-chef, Tsutomu Nakamura, with 10 years of experience and his wife Chieko Kokawa combine with him into a hard-working smiling team, always ready to chat with customers.

The present article is actually an anthology of one lunch and two dinners taken in quick succession. I will just keep to describing the food first and all the wines we tasted at the end:

paladino-1
Antipasti misto 1

paladino-8
Antipasti misto 2

paladino-15
Antipasti misto 3

All mainly done with Shizuoka produce!

paladino-2
“Shirako/Cod Sperm Sacs” Gratin: a specialty in most Italian and French restaurants in Shizuoka City!

paladino-11
Pig Ears Jelly Terrine.

paladino-9
Gorgonzola Gnocchi. So simple and elegant!

paladino-3
Shizuoka-grown Mizuna and cockles spaghetti.

paladino-16
Sicilian sardines, raisinas and pine nuts spaghetti.

paladino-4
“Suwagani/Suwa Crab” and its “brains” Risotto.

paladino-5
Oven-Baked lamb chops with vegetables. So juicy!

paladino-17
Roasted soft pork from Shizuoka baked and fried with a sweet sauce (secret!)

paladino-12
Oven-baked “Shamo” Chicken with herbs. Again, so simple and tasty (and juicy!)

paladino-6
Raspberry Panacotta.

paladino-18
Tea and Mascarpone Tart and Sicilian-style crunchy ice-Cream.

And now, to the wines:

paladino-7

Barrocco 2001, Avide Co., Cerasuolo di Vittoria, Comiso, Sicilia, Red, Frappa + Calabrese grapes. 14 degrees. Bottled numbered
-Deep rich red
-Sweetish aroma. Flowers. Camelia. Raspberry. Getting stronger with time.
-Tastes like Sangiovese. Still young and tannic. Long tail.
Powerful and sharpish. Red fruits, sunlight (impression). Very Itlaian.
Opens slowly. Later makes a comeback with cherries.

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Tancredi 2005. Donnafugata Co. Sicilia. Cabernet Sauvignon (70%) + Nero d’Avola Grapes. 14 degrees.
-Very deep rich red
-Aroma: powerful, cassis, red fruits.
-Taste: pwerful, well-rounded, full-bodied in spite of tannick attack. Still young. Shortish tail.
Red fruit appearing with second sip.

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3.Carati, 2004, Sicilia, 100% Nero d’Avola Grapes.
-Deep red
-Aroma: Fruity and swetish: raspberry, blackberries, red fruit, green shrubs.
-Taste: Pine tree, very little tannin, soft. Short tail.
Coffee beans and bitter chocolate lingering in the back of the palate.

Alright, that’s about it (for this time!)!

Tratorria . Il Paladino
420-9839 Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, Takajo, 2-8-19
Tel.: 054-253-6537
Opening hours: 11:30~13:30, 17:00~22:00
Closed on Mondays
Credit cards OK (Dinner only)
———————-
AQUAVITE (first visit in 2009)

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(pics by Haruka Yamaguchi)

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great and very large washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable to expensive. Top-class Italian wines

Last week was my first “visit” to this old favourite Italian Restaurant of mine in Shizuoka City, namely Aquavite.
A ever-solid reference, I have introduced it time and again, therefore I will keep to the basics, that is the food I enjoyed in the company of my good friend, Haruka Yamaguchi, who was kind to help me with the photographs!

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(Haruka Yamaguchi)

I’m slowly introducing my (young, and don’t start gossiping! I know her whole family!) friend to wine, and I’m sure that friends like Jen would approve! Haruka wanted white wine.
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(Haruka Yamaguchi)
Aquavite had this (for a reasonable price!) 2002 Tenuta Castellino, Terre di Francia Acorta in Coccaglio (12.5 proof). Rowena, have you heard of it?
A very pleasant aroma of Muscat, dry and fruity was rediscovered in tasting it, fruity, dry flowery with a gentle lingering. Proved as soft, elegant and complex for the whole meal. Haruka was not holding up this time!

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The first hors d’oeuvre was a succulent Iwate “Sanriku” Oyster served with just enough sesaoning.

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The second hors d’oeuvre,”Shirako Gratin” did not make my friend blush! (“shirako” is what male cod fish are proud of!). Light, eminently tasty, I wish I could serve it online!

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The pasta dish was a beautiful creation in its simplicity: Shizuokagrown mizuna with “Taragani” Crab Peperocino Spaghetti!
Light, elegant and the perfect amount of spiciness!

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Grilled scallops with mizuna and Parmeggiano. Need I comment?

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The Milano Risotto and its Foie Gras! Perfect balance with a very light risotto and rich foie gras sauteed with balsamico!

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“Shamo Niwatori” Chicken (extravagant in Japan!) with fired new potatoes and its ramequin of liver and heart!

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And then it was time for dessert:
Tiramisu for me (let’s keep things simple! LOLO)

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(Haruka Yamaguchi)

Haruka kept very silent as she devoured her Torta di Bosaiola with prunes and nuts!

Well, well, where are going next (actually expect something soon about Italian Cuisine!)

Address: 420-0034 Shizuoka Shi, Tokiwa-cho, 1-2-7, Tomii Bldg. 3F
Tel. & fax: 054-2740777
Opening hours: 11:30~14:00 (on reservations only), 18:00~22:00
Closed on Sundays
Homepage (Japanese)
Credit Cards OK

————————–
AQUAVITE (revisited)

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Last night, I finally had the pleasure the visit again one of the “best three Italian Restaurants” in Shizuoka City and Prefecture: Aquavite.
As I was sharing the company of two old friends, Marcus and Yumiko, we were no less than three Foodbuzz Foodies from Shizuoka City to make sure that compliments thrown by Rowena and Jen were amply hustified by a more appropriate tasting report of the wines of the day!
I had the honour th o choose the first bottle (see pic above. Sorry, the pics are not great, the light being too dimmed!):

2002 BOLGHERI by Podore Guado al Mela i Castagneto Cardocci in Toscana.
Red made with Merlot, Cabernet-Sauvignon and Sangiovese grapes.

Colour: Rich dark red/Garnet

Aroma: Floral/red roses, deep, really full

Taste: Strong attack. Not open yet. Tannic and still young.
Red fruits/cassis. Hints of chocolate later.
Loses its tannic quickly though and turns gentler with time.

Overall: Very positive wine. Takes time to develop, but worth waiting.

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The first hors d’oeuvre was oyster from Iwate Prefecture.

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Antipasto Misto.

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I forgot to take a pic during the very busy converstation of the moment: Hokkaido Spider Crab Safran Risotto includingthe “brains” of the Crab.
Followed by Gorgonzola Cheese Cream Gnocchi.

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Marcus chose thenext bottle:
2004 San Pio by Mastroianni in Sienna, Toscana.
Red made from Cabernet (80%9 and Sangiovese (20%) grapes

Colour: Rich deep red

Aroma: Hearty, young, Terroir. red fruits: Strawberries and cherries.

Taste: Smooth. Little or no tannic. Fruity: red fruits.
Soft attack, pleasant.
Tends to come back later with more strength.

Ovearll: Solid pleasant wine perfectly suited to food.

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“Kajiki/Marlin” prepare in “Katsu/Deep-fried cutlet” fashion.
Once again I lost the picture of the sauteed fresh Porcini Mushroom and during the very serious wine tasting view exchange! I’ll ask Yumiko if she has got them!

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Dessert: La France pears tart on a bed of fresh cream and custard with chocolate, cranberry and mint sauce!

Address: 420-0034 Shizuoka Shi, Tokiwa-cho, 1-2-7, Tomii Bldg. 3F
Tel. & fax: 054-2740777
Opening hours: 11:30~14:00 (on reservations only), 18:00~22:00
Closed on Sundays
Homepage (Japanese)
Credit Cards OK
————————-
VIA DEL BORGO (revisited)

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Last week, I thought it was about grand time to pay a visit to one of the best three (in my biased view) Italian Restaurants in Shizuoka: Via Del Burgo.
Since their re-location last August, the restaurant has ceaselessly and amply justified its reputation for great quality and inventiveness.
That is why I never bother to read the menu in such an establishment.
My friend and I just ordered the Chef’s recommendations!

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But first things first: I went into their cellar (yes, I’m allowed to do so, and any guest should act likewise as their cellar is open to everyone!) and chose a slightly extravagant Barolo red 2002, Azienda Agricola Cascina Fontana, Perno, Monforte d’Alba.
A very rich brew with a lot of red fruits, a slightly tannic attack turning quickly smooth on the palate after a little twirling around. The perfect nectar for the dishes that graced our table on that particular evening! (Rowena and Jen are going to kill me for such a succinct appraisal!)

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We were offered a pair of small crostini to help us wait for our first order: blue cheese cream and liver paste.

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Zuwagani Chitarra Pasta. Zuwa Crab is a delicious and slightly extravagant crab coming from the cold seas of the North. Great balance attained with the tomato and cream sauce.

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Ezo Shika Ragu Tagliatelle. Ezo Shika is a great indigenous (Japanese) deer/venison that would adorn any of our good tables in the Old and New Worlds!

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Black Truffles Risotto.
One reason why I consider Via Del Borgo one of the three best Italian Restaurants in Shizuoka is simply because they make the best risotto in the Prefecture!

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Roasted Boar Cub from Kumamoto.
Brought me back memories of French “marcassin”!

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As we had a little wine left, I asked the chef to bring a little cheese:
A spoon of acacia honey for Quartirolo (cow’s milk), Taleggio, dry figs, green pepper smoked cheese and a little home-made bread.

I have been told that my reports are a bit dry, which I totally agree with! Photos will always say more than all the prose you might embark on!
LOL

VIA DEL BORGO
420-0034, Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tokiwa-cho, 3-2-7
Tel/fax: 054-221-7666
Business hours: Lunch (11:30~14:30), Cafe (15:00~), Dinner (18:00~22::00)
Closed on Tuesdays
Credit cards OK
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
—————————–
VIA DEL BORGO has re-opened (2)

It finally took us almost three weeks to arrange our maiden dinner at recently re-opened Via Del Borgo in Shizuoka City just by Tokiwa Park.
Apparently it has already become the “new” place to visit and did well to reserve a table for the three of us. I can guarantee you that the staff of five were working full steam all evening!
Alright, I’ll cut all the prose and keep to what we tasted for our first dinner. Expect more in the near future as their menus are exclusively seasonal!

Via Del Borgo has a good cellar open for all to see. To ease the waiters’ task we just entered it, chose our wine and handed it at the counter for opening and serving!
The first bottle was a red, 2004 Rosso di Montalcino, Mastroianni, Toscana/Sangiovese.
A bit tart at first, it came around very quickly with red fruits after a little airing.

For the antipasti we chose a very simple, delicious buffalo Mozzarella with “fruit tomatoes” grown in Shizuoka Prefecture,

a seasonal vegetables terrine and octopus millefeuille combination,

and Roman trippa (cow’s intestines and stomach) with Peccorino cheese.
That disappeared very quickly with the wine as we chatted along and realized we had to go back to the cellar!

We discovered a very solid 2006 MAMURI, Nero D’Avola from Sicilia.
We asked for a decanter and aired it a little at a time. Just perfect for the Primo Piatti!

Saffran Risotto. Absolutely superb. We made a point to order some home-made bread to scoop the sauce!

Puttanesca Linguine with Orida Aubergines (egg-plants) grown in Shimizu Ku (practically next door!). We had a little fight with the aubergines as we had decided beforehand to share everything and taste as many dishes as possible!

Taliorini with Guinea Fowl ragu (ragout) and vegetables. A find as the combination of small bits of guinea fowl and lotus roots made for such an intesting crunching experience with the al dente pasta!

And it was back to the cellar again! Alright, we did not drink it all as we had chosen it to share it with the staff! 2004 Roccamora Schola Sarmenti. Very rich red, almost rural in concept with plenty of red fruits again.

Secondo Piatti:
Milanese Veal Schnitzel on the bone. The veal came all the way from Ibaragi Prefecture. From then on, I took care of the cutting/carving! I will have to try this veal again all by myself!

Tokushima Prefecture “Awaodori” Chicken (probably the best in Japan!) Roast. I did cheat a bit and cut myself a larger share!

Skillet lamb on the bone. Would you believe that a normal serving is three cuts and that we were three of us! Juicy, tender, a delice!

Sorry, but by then we had spent three hours at the restaurant and were full. The desserts will have to wait until next time!

VIA DEL BORGO
420-0034, Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tokiwa-cho, 3-2-7
Tel/fax: 054-221-7666
Business hours: Lunch (11:30~14:30), Cafe (15:00~), Dinner (18:00~22::00)
Closed on Tuesdays
Credit cards OK
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
————————————-
VIA DEL BORGO has re-opened (1)

Via Del Burgo has finally re-opened in a different locality!
This time it is conveniently situated along Tokiwa Park away from the bustle of Shizuoka City central area.

Although the food will be of the same quality concocted by Mr. Takahiko Kato, the concept is vastly different.
First of all, the place is vastly larger and can sit a total of over 40 with a cafe seating along the bay window, a large dining room with a cozy fire-place and two private party rooms. One of them can be reserved for its large cable T.V. to watch sports in a private party around a good bottle!

It will serve not only lunch and dinner, but will serve also as a caffetaria in the afternoon.
As for lunch, guests will be able to choose among three set menus (1,300~2,800 yen).
Dinner courses (3,800~7,000) have to be reserved but one can order from the carte (alla carta) without any restrictions: 10 antipasti, 6 primo Piatti, 5 secondo piatti and 3 desserts.

Now the big news is that they have vastly improved their cellar presently including 60 to 80 vintages. As they are not all featured on the menu, do not hesitate to ask about them, or even better check them yourself!
Of course wine can be ordered by the bottle, half bottle or glass. Beer and soft drinks are also available as usual.

Well, this posting being only an announcement, wait until the report on the food which should come very soon!

VIA DEL BORGO
420-0034, Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tokiwa-cho, 3-2-7
Tel/fax: 054-221-7666
Business hours: Lunch (11:30~14:30), Cafe (15:00~), Dinner (18:00~22::00)
Closed on Tuesdays
Credit cards OK
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
—————————
LUNCH AT CAFFETERIA IL CUORE

Bad news often have the knack to become good news before you think about it…
Caffeteria Ciccio is no more. Viva Caffeteria Il Cuore!
On May 24th, the owners, and the place changed. And frankly speaking for the better.

The new owner, Mr. Shiichiro Yagi and his chef, Keizo Kaneko, kept changes to the minimum. The seating, tables and chairs are different, and the “restroom” replaced with state-of-the-art sanitary equipment, but on the whole the atmosphere is similar, although improved and more convivial.

The big changes mainly concern the menu, the business hours and the chef. Keizo Kaneko, thanks to his stay in Italy, has introduced a very adequate menu to content all purses and preferences.
If you choose a la carte to accompany your drinks, you can explore among 15 kinds of antipasti, 10 pasta dishes to be multiplied by 7 varieties, from spaghetti to parpadelle, 5 pizza, 4 risotto and 9 meat dishes. The wine list has been judiciously expanded to 9 reds, 6 whites from various countries, to which have to be added Spumante, Champagne, Cocktails, beers and a load of soft drinks.

Now, last Sunday, a rare day without cricket, I decided to enjoy a quick lunch in solitary tranquility and test the place
There are three set lunches on offer. I opted for the “Slightly Extravagant Lunch” priced at 2,200 yen (13 Euros, 20$):

Antipasti: pickled vegetables, octopus salad and crostini.

Mushroom and Bacon Bolognese Spaghetti (actually looks smaller on the above pic) and side salad. Cooked precisely al dente, good balance!

Chicken and Vegetables in Cream Sauce. An elegant surprise.

Triple dessert and coffee (sorry, the pic is a bit fuzzy!)

Very reasonable for lunch!
Wait for the next posting on dinner!

CAFFETERIA IL CUORE
420-0035 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Shichiken-cho, 13-20, Ishiwata Bldg. 1F
Tel. & fax: 054-2723737
Business hours: 11:30~23:00 (open every day)
Credit Cards OK
———————
LATINA

Mr. Kojima is far from being a new face in Shizuoka City. For a long time he was the chef at Ciccio Ristorante, renamed Via de Burgo since then, before he had to take a year-long holiday due to health problems. In september 2006 he came back with a vengeance with his own restaurant, Latina, south of Shizuoka City JR Station, the fastest-changing area in town.
His (forced) move could not have happened at a better time when he took over an enormous cafe to modify it in a restaurant with a minimum of work. One can sit at a table away from the kitchen or next to it, or at a long counter overlooking Mr. Kojima’s kitchen.

Not only the food is great and very reasonably-priced, but the wine list is definitely top-class.
Now, I would suggest anyone to have a word with the master of the place before choosing one’s nectar as they are not all featured on the menu. The two friends who visited the place last Friday in my company being extremely knowledgeable, I chose a Rosso di Montalcino 2006 from Toscana. A bit young I admit, but with plenty of swirling around it did pretty well with our first order.

Although the ever-changing menu is written for all to see on a blackboard above your heads, you could always get your favourite dishes by notifying Mr. Kojima a few days in advance.
In any case, the antipasto misto was a beauty including homemade ham, crostini with homemade liver paste, omelette, meat balls, ratatouille and so forth.

Alright, I should have done my homework and prepared a menu beforehand, but as my friends intend to go as far as to organize a wine-tasting dinner there, it is only postponed!
So, to follow up in accordance with the wine, we ordered roasted guinea fowl (above)

roasted quail (notice the yellow-fleshed potatoes. Not yams, but a different variety of potatoes served as wedges with their skin, perfect!),

and a soft, so tender, venison stewed in red wine!
All cooked to precision but without any ostentation. Solid, delicious, homely fare, like in the Italian country!
Rowena, don’t kill me! And don’t ask where the Missus was!

As we still had some beautiful homemade bread left in the basket, we could not resist ordering a somewhat extravagant Carbonaione 1998 to go with some cheese in lieu of dessert. Mind you, it is only the first of a few more surveys. I shall be able to tease the likes of Memory Girl and Foodhoe later!

For this time I’ll be content with teasing Gaijin Tonic when I tell him that he Master of the place came with no less than eight kinds of Grappa for after drinks (on the house!) and two homemade liqueurs with lemon and orange!

Holy macaroni! I can tell you it was about time we took our leave as two of us were working from 9:00 a.m. the next day! Look forward to the next article!

LATINA
422-8062 Shizuoka City, Suruga Ku, Inagawa, 1-1-29
Tel. & Fax: 054-289-6522
Business hours: 11:45~14:00 (Saturday, Sunday & National Holidays only)
18:00~23:00
Closed on Mondays (or Tuesday if Monday is a National Holiday)
————————————
AQUAVITE’S 10TH ANNIVERSARY DINNER

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2008 saw the 10th Anniversary of Aquavite Restaurant and I just could not resist their “invitation” to their Special Dinner Course!

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They still had that favourite wine of mine in their “cellar”, so choosing this Mastremilio 2003 was easy. A high quality red wine from Toscana, it a great spicy character with lots of red berries and does need to be aerated first. But it will open quickly and become a great friend of your food!

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The starters were certainly a bit of a surprise: Carpaccio (raw, yes) of ostrich raised in Ibaraki Prefecture abundantly served wit parmeggiano and luccola. The serving was comparatively big for a Japanese restaurant and the wine proved the best choice for it!

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The pasta dish was a beautiful marriage of spaghetti with home-made “botarga/dried mullet roe”, “shirasu/whiting” (from Shizuoka), French dandelion, and shark fin/”fukahire” from Miyagi perfecture (Kyushu). Talk of a truly international dish!

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The main dish (sorry for the fuzzy pic!) consisted of a sauteed cut of “sawara/large mackerel variety” cooked to perfection with new potatoes, Brussels sprouts (Shizuoka). carrots (Shizuoka) and a sweet red pimento puree/coulis. I can garantee you I wiped/swept all the sauce away with the home-made bread!

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The dessert was an original combination of panacotta, Shizuoka “Benihoppe/Red Cheek” strawberries, “Tama Konnyaku” from Yamagata Prefecture and at least three kinds of fruit coulis.

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Were we full by then? Yes, but we could not have called this dinner complete without a glass of a great Grappa Sgnappe del Checo from Friuli region to accompany our expresso!

I’m sure Rowena would have been the first to compliment the chefs!
But I’m certainly not going to wait ten more years until my next visit! LOL

AQUAVITE
Address: 420-0034 Shizuoka Shi, Tokiwa-cho, 1-2-7, Tomii Bldg. 3F
Tel. & fax: 054-2740777
Opening hours: 11:30~14:00, 18:00~22:00 (Closed on Sundays)
Homepage (Japanese)
Credit Cards OK
————————–
BAR RUSTICALE

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Ten years ago when for the first time I came through Aino, Fukuroi City off Aino JR Station on my way to university, the word “desert” in any meaning was the only term I could think of.
How much it has changed since then! The Station had been created out of nothing to accomodate football/soccer fans going to the Ecopa Stadium. Since then, companies, houses and shops have sprouted everywhere on the then cheap land. It has moreover become a practical bedtown halfway between Fujieda and Hamamatsu.
The net result is that it has given birth to a few very decent restaurants, bars and even a good supermarket where I was able to acquire some hard-to-find local sakes!

Now, I had for some time wondered what was concealed behind the simple facade of this small restaurant just 3 minutes walk off Aino Station south exit. I had the opporyunity to find Bar Rusticale on the Internet and decided it was worth a visit!

Toshikazu Nakayama and his wife, Yoshie opened this unprepossessing bar-restaurant in August 2006 and have already attracted a faithful clientele including foreign visitors from the nearby Hi-Tec Company.
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Venturing there on my own proved a mistake as it was physically impossible to sample all the offerings. The cuisine, simple and tasty, bears a personal note and goes down so well with the beer, wine, cocktails, shochu and, surprise! surprise!, a sake by the Aoshima-Kikuyoi Brewery in Fujieda City. Actually I drank the sake as it was perfect with the Italian cuisine (luckily I do not know any Italians in Fukuroi City!).
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Now, the unconditional pizza lovers will be happy to learn that they offer a scrumptious “kinoko sauce/mushroom sauce pizza, just the right size for a single hungry expat!
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But the simply extravagant mushrooms and sea urchin cream risotto would be reason enough to eat at Bar Rusticale!
It is also the perfect place to relax on your own or in company either at the counter or at a table surrounded by a very clean and clear decor. There are enough drinks and tidbits to keep you busy for a while!

Problem is that it will be difficult to avoid it from now on as I have to go past it every Friday!

Bar Rusticale
437-0031 Fukuroi City, Aino, 2042
Tel. & Fax: 0538-446387
Opening hours: 11:00~14:00, 17:30~22:30
Closed on Sundays and 3rd Monday.

HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
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Caffe Ciccio 2: Panini lunch set
CLOSED ON MAY 24th, 2008

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Was a bit in a hurry this Sunday, in-between shopping for dinner and writing at the office (no cricket today).
I decided to visit Caffe Ciccio to check what they had on their menu.
They had the perfect snack, not heavy but hearty enough before coming back to work:
Panini Set.
Look at the picture above and you will see a crunchy raw ham (there are others) cut to size with a piece of excellent quiche, a cup of vegetables soup and a side salad and a drink.
For 1,050 yen (about 9.$50), not bad at all, and very tasty!

CAFFE CICCIO
Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, Shichikencho, 13-20
Tel. & Fax: 0542528767
Opening hours: 11:30~22:00
Clsed on Tuesdays

——————
AQUAVITE 3

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Last Friday, I went again to Aquavite for “quick” dinner to see if I could find some new morsel to taste.
I certainly was not disappointed!
Although I passed the tantalizing antipasti piling up on the counter, I could not resist the “seasonal pot”:
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Not really big, it was nonetheless very satisfiying. It is an oven-baked combination of fresh porcini mushrooms, large scallops, potatoes and shrimps. Just out of the oven, scalding and delicious.
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As usual I challenged my chef-friend with gnochhi I just does not seem to have enough.
This time he came up a chestnuts (not walnuts as I first wrote in a hurry!) and cream sauce. Remember that walnuts are also eaten as vegetables all over Europe. Fabulous!

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LUNCH AT AQUAVITE

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Aquavite is my favourite restaurant in Shizuoka City, but I rarely visit for lunch.
Today was an exception and I thought I ought to re-introduce it because their lunches are so good value!

Today, Friday, August 17th, there was a choice of three set lunches:

-Lunch A: 850 yen
Choice of one of today’s pasta + soup

-Lunch B: 1,000 yen
Antipasti + Choice of one of today’s pasta + soup

-Lunch C: 1,300 yen
Salad + Choice of one of today’s pasta + Today’s dish + soup

All included bread and coffee. A dessert could be chosen for an extra 400 yen

Pasta Menu: – Three pimento, capers, anchovy pepronchino
– Zucchini, black olives Tomato sauce
– Raw ham, trevise Cream sauce
– Tomato cream sauce and lemon

Dolce (dessert): Strawberry Mousse/Mango Tart/Season fruit macedoine ice cream

I chose Lunch C: Tomato Cream sauce and lemon, salad and grilled pork escalope

For 1,300 yen, that is less than 11$ or 8 euros, definitely a bargain! As for the taste, I told you this the best in Shizuoka City, didn’t !?

AQUAVITE
Address: 420-0034 Shizuoka Shi, Tokiwa-cho, 1-2-7, Tomii Bldg. 3F
Tel. & fax: 054-2740777
Opening hours: 11:30~14:00, 18:00~22:00 (Closed on Sundays)
Homepage (Japanese)
Credit Cards OK

—————–
CAFFE CICCIO
CLOSED ON MAY 24th, 2008

In this era of fast food and uniform “chain” cafeterias, it is refreshing to find that at least one true old-fashioned (traditional) open cafe has braved the trebds through the ages and still welcomes a slow-food clientele who value quality and good service over speed and cheap prices.

Opening its large bay window-doors onto Shichikencho, Ciccio in Shizuoka City is a small haven of tranquility where you can sit, have a drink or meal and enjoy the spectacle outside on your own or in gregarious company (or make new friends!)

Real coffee lovers will be glad to know that more than 20 varieties of their favourite beverage are available along more than 10 international beers and a plethora of liqueurs. For wine lovers, Ciccio offers all what you can drink from 4 varieties at 1,575 yen per person!
At lunch (11:00~14:30) you can choose either of the two sets of the day. As of June 11th, 2007, they offered a doria set or pasta set for 945 yen with salad, homemade bread, and a drink! as for single dishes, paninin (420 yen) and pizza (650 yen) are available.
For dinner (17:30~22:00), salads and antipasti are on but have a talk with the chef and they will tell what they have in the fridge to accomodate your appetite! (great quiches, by the way!)

Of course cakes and ice-creams are on display for the sweet teeth!

CAFFE CICCIO
Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, shichikencho, 13-20
Tel. & Fax: 0542528767
Opening hours: 11:30~22:00
Closed on Tuesdays

———————-

VIA DEL BURGO
WILL RE-OPEN AT DIFFERENT ADRESS IN JULY 2008

There is a plethora of Italian restaurants in Shizuoka City. But when it comes to consider quality and originality, the five fingers of a hand would be too many to count them!

Via Del Burgo is fortunately one of them!

Do take your time before ordering from the blackboard hung against the wall. This is a slow food Italian restaurant anyway.
They have a good wine list with seasonal recommendations. We decided to try the recommendation:

A Milleuve, very dry white from Venezia Giullia 2003 that was just perfect, if not complex, with the food.
As our order was taking some time, we were offered some grilled vegetables (above) before being served an assortment of antipasti:

Brruschietta, parma Ham, Ratatouille, Tomato salad and rice-stuffed calamari.
Next came a specialty of the house:

Suteed scallops and avocado topped with tomato salad with just enough seasoning. A real find!
As I could not escape from my better half’s pasta order, we had a succulent

Linguine with “sazae” (turbo shell), anchovy, green olives and Puttanesca Tomato. I must admit I was impressed!
It was about time to savour my order:

Deep-fried ris de veau (Veal spleen) with baked risotto.
Now, that was a beauty! Ris de veau requires a perfect timing, so you can imagine the difficulty of the seemingly easy dish that Mr. Takahiko Kato is so expert at preparing!
The fact he spent a whole year in Italy in perfecting his art at famous establishments after a long experience in Japan explain things!
We still have some space left. Mr. Kato proposed something off the menu:

Iberico pork sauteed together with spring potatoes and garlic. The perfect balance.
We were full by then, and as usual we shall have to come back soon again to tackle the desserts!

Via Del Burgo
420-0035 Shizuoka Shi, Aoi-Ku, Shichikencho, 8-26
Tel & Fax: 054-2217666
Business hours: 11:30~14:30, 17:30~22:00
Closed on Tuesdays
Credit cards OK

——————–

AQUAVITE

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Tsutomu Nakamura & Shimpei Hanyuu

On Friday, March16th, I decided to pay a visit to my favourite Italian Restaurant In Shizuoka Prefecture to celebrate the birthday of a good friend.
Aquavite has established itself for quite a few years as the best Italian Restaurant in the Prefecture, if not in the whole Tokai Region, thanks to the energy and enthusiasm of its Manager, Miss Shiho Tomii, the daughter of Etsuko Tomii who looks after the celebrated Japanese restaurant, Tomii, downstairs. She always has had the knack to recruit frist-class local staff, and is presently employing Mr. Tsutomu Nakamura as First Chef and Mr. Shimpei Hanyuu as Second Chef, as well as three young staff she is nurturing for the future.
If you want something special or ordinary, ignore the menus and talk directly with Miss Tomii or the Chefs. It will probably end up into a heavier bill, but it is worth the extravaganza, although itmust be said that the bill will never reach the heights attained in Tokyo for the same quality.

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First, the wine. We ordered a Mastremillo 2004 from Toscana (around 8,000 yen). A bit young, everybody agreed as I had filled a glass for the chefs, but after plenty of stirring, the wine revealed a lot of character with a smooth rich palate full of red fruits.

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I ordered a very simple plate of antipasto, as Aquavite homemade antipasto and bread very often end up as a full meal to eat while waiting for the fish to come.

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The fish, grilled over charcoal, was a “hanadai” caught off Mochimune (Shizuoka City) the very morning in the rich Suruga Bay. Perfect, no frills, peserving the true taste of the fish.

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As the next dish would take another 40 minutes to cook, Miss Tomii offered a “small” platter of cheese on the house (alright, I’m a regular!) to help us wait. Incidentally, if youwant to dine one a full platter of Italian Cheese and Salami cum Prosciutto, this is the place!

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The main dish we ordered was Wild Hare again grilled over charcoal with a few fried fresh arichoke quarters with herbs and a little touch of olive oil. Nothing, nothing less. Not to mention we did not bother with foks and knives long, but grabbed the morsels and devoured them with our fingers!

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As we were getting near our limit and obviously would not be able to go through the pasta range (no pizza, there, thanks goodness!), the cheese and the desserts (Next article!), I asked Mr. Nakamura to prepare my favourite, gnocchi with mushrooms in cream sauce. Holy Macaroni, they had run out of mushrooms! No panic, I still wanted my gnocchi, so I asked the Chef to improvise. No problemo! And I thank Bacchus and Odin for my luck as he came with a sublime spinach gnocchi in wild boar sauce! The dish is enough to warrant a visit! Well, next time, I will ask for the combination of the two!

To be continued.

Address: 420-0034 Shizuoka Shi, Tokiwa-cho, 1-2-7, Tomii Bldg. 3F
Tel. & fax: 054-2740777
Opening hours: 11:30~14:00, 18:00~22:00 (Closed on Sundays)
Homepage (Japanese)
Reasonable to expensive
Credit Cards OK

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