Courtesy Eduardo Galvani
positioned next to a gelato stall. The bar/coffee counter spans the front section of the ground level, with tables and friendly chatter spilling out into the quad. There is a sign leading patrons upstairs toward the restaurant Guido per Italy, the elite concept of the Eataly experience. It reads: “To be simple is difficult.”—a saying true to good Italian cooking. At Guido per Italy, just as throughout the complex, the focus is on quality of products going into each creation. “Our concept is based on the raw material—the ingredients,” explains Rasca. “So we tend to elaborate on our dishes less and less. We want to show that a real chef can make you taste the single ingredients. “You will really feel the touch of the chef and of each dish’s elements,” he says. This goes a long way to explaining why items lining Eataly’s shelves will never be mass-produced brands. Instead, Eataly chooses to support small Italian companies—buying the food directly to keep prices low for its customers. Eataly offers cooking classes and lessons about wine and beer. Though, at present, these offerings are held only in Japanese, with the right amount of interest, instruction in English could be offered. Eataly wasn’t the first to bring a large slice of Italy to Tokyo, though. At the end of 2006, the Shiodome Italia Creative Center and its surrounding little Italy began business. Situated around a piazza (open square), the Italian-themed area features a number of shops and restaurants housed within 30 distinctly Italian buildings. Though filled with Italian restaurants, the space originally was opened with the intent to introduce Italian design and culture, rather than just good food. You’ll encounter Italian-themed art and design exhibitions, as a result, through which to peruse while working up an appetite. At the restaurant and shop Ferrarini, one of Europe’s long-established prosciutto producers introduces the Italian food philosophy. Here you’ll find Italian food staples—pasta, olive oil and proscuitto. But should you prefer to let the chefs work their magic on these ingredients, dining is always an option at Ferrarini. At the heart of both Eataly and Shiodome Italia is an important factor—passion. The same trait can be found at Frittoli’s Italian restaurant, Mario i sentieri.
Mario Frittoli opened Mario i sentieri in August 2008—the first restaurant he has solely owned since arriving here 20 years ago. The romantic nook tucked away behind Nishi-Azabu crossing is full most nights of the week, both with guests and Frittoli’s avid Italian presence. “I wanted people to feel cozy—like they were in my home—while being able to eat original food, have a good time, and feel comfortable,” he says. Featured on the current menu are flavorful dishes like a primi piatti of fresh tagliolini with scampi, porcini mushrooms and mascarpone cheese; le carni of roasted pork shoulder with Tuscany herbs; and I dolci of light crepes filled with salty caramel cream. Frittoli values changing the options every three months, so you may be treated to a new selection when visiting. Tokyoites, indeed, possess a heightened sense of what defines good Italian fare. Coupled with the growing number of authentic Italian restaurants from which to choose, along with easier access to quality Italian ingredients, the dining scene has clearly improved for lovers of quality pizza, pasta—and fine Italian cuisine.
Karryn Miller is a freelance writer based in Tokyo.
Recipe Pasta al Pesto Genovese
(serves approx. 4) Courtesy of Eataly
• 400g Linguine Pastaio di Gragnano • Sauce: 20g Basil 10g Pine nuts 10g Parmesan cheese 1g Salt • 50g Extra Virgin olive oil ROI (light olive oil from the Liguria region, available for purchase at Eataly) 1. Wash basil very carefully and separate leaves from stems. Roast pine nuts in a saucepan at low heat to give them a delicate brown color. Blend basil, pine nuts and the extra virgin olive oil in a kitchen processor. Add salt and grated Parmesan cheese. 2. Bring water to a boil and salt slightly, then add the pasta. When the pasta reaches the point of being cooked “al dente,” take it out of the water and mix the pasta immediately with the Pesto sauce in a preheated ceramic bowl. Authentic Pasta al Pesto Genovese is served with diced boiled potatoes and boiled green beans. The dish can be decorated with some roasted pine nuts, grated Parmesan cheese and a fresh leaf of basil. 12 / Kaleidoscope
Eataly 20-23 Daikanyamacho, Shibuya-ku Nearest station: Daikanyama Tel: 03-5784-2736 www.eataly.co.jp Opening hours: Cafeteria daily: 8:00-22:30 Store daily: 10:00-22:30 Ristorantini Weekdays, 11:30-15:00, 17:30-21:30 Weekends & holidays, 11:30-21:30 Restaurant Guido per Eataly 18:30-21:30 Closed on Mon (if Mon a holiday, then Tue instead) Shiodome Italia Creative Center 2-14-1 Higashi Shimbashi, Minato-ku Tel: 03-3432-6263 www.shiodomeitalia.com Opening hours: Varies with each establishment Mario i Sentieri Comfora Nishi Azabu, 4-1-10 Nishi Azabu, Minato-ku Nearest station: Roppongi Tel: 03-6418-7072 www.mario-frittoli.com Opening hours: Mon-Sat: 18:00-2:00